Donna Wilkes

Donna Consuelos Wilkes (born November 14, 1961) is an American film actress. She began her career as a child actor in commercials before making her feature film debut in Jaws 2 (1978). She subsequently had a supporting role in Almost Summer (1978), followed by lead roles in the horror films Schizoid (1980) and Blood Song (1982). She also appeared in several television programs, including the soap opera Days of Our Lives (1982–1983), portraying Pamela Prentiss.

Donna Wilkes
Wilkes in Angel (1984)
Born (1961-11-14) November 14, 1961
OccupationActress
Years active1978–present

Wilkes is perhaps best known for her starring role in the thriller Angel (1984), in which she portrayed a preparatory student in Los Angeles who lives a double life a prostitute by night.[1] Other credits include the horror film Grotesque (1988), opposite Linda Blair and Tab Hunter, and guest-starring roles on the series Dragnet (1989) and FBI: The Untold Stories (1991).

Biography

Early life

Wilkes was born in Manhattan, New York City,[2] in Spanish Harlem to a Spanish and French mother and Irish father. Her father was a doctor and her mother was a nightclub singer who divorced when she was 3 months old.[2] Wilkes's birth year and birthdate are unknown; some sources state 1961, while others state 1959.[lower-alpha 1]

When she was six she made her first commercial, for Keds sneakers. She trained in acting at Dominica American Theatre of Performing Arts, but stopped her training at age 11 to become a "normal student." At age 12, she went to live with her aunt and uncle in the Dominican Republic. Being a good student at high school, she skipped a few grades, graduating at the Collegio Santo Domingo at the age of 14. At age 15, she moved to Los Angeles, California,[2] but, unable to work at such a young age, convinced many employers that she was 18 and married. Her first jobs included being a computer operator for an ambulance service, and secretarial work for a large corporation in Culver City, adding up to 16 hours a day for five days a week.

Career

Wilkes began acting again at age 17. Her first role was the part of Jackie Peters in the 1978 Universal Pictures film Jaws 2. That same year, she starred as Meredith in Almost Summer, on which she earned a SAG card. At around age 18, she married 39-year-old actor Billy Gray, known for his work on Father Knows Best. The marriage soon ended in divorce. Wilkes played Pamela Prentiss on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, from 1983 to 1984.

Her best known role was in the 1984 cult classic sexploitation film Angel, in which she played Molly Stewart/Angel, a high school honor student by day, and a prostitute by night. The film spawned three unsuccessful sequels in which Wilkes had no involvement. Wilkes was 25 at the time she played the 15-year-old character. To prepare for the role she spent time in halfway houses and rehabilitation centers in LA. "I actually walked on the streets with these girls and talked with them... and I also talked to the people with the group called Children of the Night, and to the Hollywood Police Department, too."

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1978Jaws 2Jackie Peters
1978Almost SummerMeredith
1979FyreCarol
1979Hard KnocksChrisAlternate titles: Mid-Knight Rider and Hollywood Knight
1980SchizoidAlison FalesAlternate title: Murder by Mail
1982Blood SongMarionAlternate title: Dream Slayer
1984AngelMolly 'Angel' Stewart
1988GrotesqueKathy
2013My Stepbrother Is a Vampire!?!Miss Fortune
201490210 Shark AttackPamela

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1978The Courage and the PassionTracyTV movie
1978The Incredible HulkAlice MorrowEpisode: "Alice in Disco Land"
1979Hello, LarryDiane AlderMain cast (14 episodes)
1979Diff'rent StrokesDiane AlderEpisode: "The Trip: Part 1"
1979The RunawaysEpisode: "Land of Honey"
1981Born to Be SoldCindy CarlsonTV movie
1981House CallsEpisode: "The Sex Police"
1982Father MurphyEmma WalkerEpisodes: "The First Miracle" (Parts 1 & 2)
1982T. J. HookerKaren StewartEpisode: "King of the Hill"
1982–83Days of Our LivesPamela PrentissMain cast (14 episodes)
1983Teachers OnlyEpisode: "Praise the Lord and Pasta Ammunition"
1984Gimme a Break!GinaEpisode: "The Center"
1984Partners in CrimeSandyEpisode: "Fantasyland"
1985Hell TownMegEpisode: "The Rat Man Cometh"
1986Superior CourtEpisode: "Date Rape"
1989DragnetAmy RedmondEpisode: "Safe in Jail"
1991FBI: The Untold StoriesTeresa StarrEpisode: "The Murder of Judge John Wood"

Notes

  1. AllMovie lists Wilkes' birthdate as January 1, 1961[3] while the Mr. Skin's Skincyclopedia states she was born November 11, 1959 in California;[4] this contradicts a 1984 People article, which states that Wilkes was born in Manhattan. The People article also claims she was 20 years old at the time, placing her birth year as 1963–1964.[2]

References

  1. Canby, Vincent (January 13, 1984). "Angel (1984) FILM: 'ANGEL,' IN SCHOOL AND OUTSIDE THE LAW". The New York Times.
  2. People Staff (March 19, 1984). "She's No Angel in Her New Movie, but for Donna Wilkes, Being the Star Is Heavenly". People. Archived from the original on August 20, 2019. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  3. "Donna Wilkes". AllMovie. Archived from the original on August 20, 2019. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  4. McBride, Jim (2004). Mr. Skin's Skincyclopedia: The A-to-Z Guide to Finding Your Favorite Actresses Naked. New York: Macmillan. p. 593. ISBN 978-0-312-33144-3.
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