Although she may not have achieved her youthful dream of becoming a Solid Gold dancer, some might argue that it was more a matter of overshooting that dream rather than failing to achieve it. Elise Neal still loves to dance, even appearing on Star Search before working professionally as a dancer, though she is more likely to be recognized for her frequent work in television and film.
Born in Tenessee, Neal's ballerina beginnings were set into motion after spending long hours in front of the television admiring the cutesy song-and-dance antics of Shirley Temple. A popular teenager, Neal was voted Homecoming Queen, and after high school moved to New York to pursue a career as a dancer. Finding frequent work in musical theater that eventually led to small roles in commercials, Neal soon began to realize her affection for appearing on camera.
After moving to L.A. to chase her newfound dreams of becoming a full-time actress, Neal made an appearance on Law & Order before her screen debut in Spike Lee's Malcolm X (1992). Appearing frequently in television for the next few years with recurring roles in such series as SeaQuest DSV and Tales of the City, Neal later appeared in John Singleton's Rosewood and Money Talks (both 1997) before making a memorable appearance in Scream 2. Moving seamlessly between roles in television and film, Neal moved into sitcom territory with The Hughleys before returning to the screen in 2000 with Mission to Mars.