Actress Angela Goethals propelled herself to child stardom during the late '80s and early '90s. Around 1985, at the tender age of eight, Goethals auditioned for -- and then landed -- a series of theatrical roles that carried her directly to the Great White Way. Several memorable supporting turns in A-list U.S. features followed, as well as the lead in a short-lived sitcom, before Goethals withdrew from the limelight to focus exclusively on her education. In 2002, the actress returned to Los Angeles with a renewed presence on television and in films.
Born May 20, 1977, in Manhattan to Rosalind and Michael Goethals (the grandson of Panama Canal architect George Washington Goethals), Angela Bethany Goethals grew up in New York. Her father abandoned the family in 1979, leaving both Angela and her sister, Sara, in the custody of their mother, Rosalind, a kindergarten teacher. In the mid-'80s, Rosalind Goethals held a brief tenure as assistant stage manager for a local Shakespeare company, and opted to take both daughters to work; Angela reportedly fell in love with the theater at first glance, and auditioned at the behest of a friend, exuding natural dramatic ability that astonished everyone.
A string of challenging and demanding stage portrayals followed, in such noteworthy Broadway productions as Tina Howe's Coastal Disturbances (1987) and John Guare's Four Baboons Adoring the Sun (1992, playing opposite Stockard Channing and James Naughton), as well as off-Broadway productions including Lynda Barry's period piece The Good Times Are Killing Me (1991). Goethals debuted on film opposite her sister Sara at the age of ten in the wistful, underrated ensemble piece Rocket Gibraltar (1988), directed by Daniel Petrie -- opposite Burt Lancaster, Kevin Spacey, Suzy Amis, and a very young Macaulay Culkin.
Culkin and Goethals reunited onscreen two years later for an effects-laden comedy directed by Chris Columbus called Home Alone, and the fate of that picture is, by now, notorious. It outstripped everyone's expectations, shooting up like a rocket to qualify as not only the highest grosser of 1990, but one of the most lucrative films of all time -- reeling in around 450 million dollars globally. In the picture, Goethals played Linnie, the bratty and crass-mouthed older sister of Culkin's Kevin. Goethals doubled up this effort with a turn in the Jeff Kanew-directed box-office stinker V.I. Warshawski (1991), as the wisecracking teenage daughter of the titular private dick (Kathleen Turner).
As a teenager, Goethals attended Manhattan's prestigious, academically advanced Stuyvesant High School and, not long after, signed with ABC for her first television series, Phenom. The sitcom (with more than a hint of autobiographical influence) cast the actress as Angela Doolan, a 15-year-old tennis prodigy being raised by her single mother (Judith Light) and honing her skills under the aegis of megalomaniacal coach Lou Del La Rosa (William Devane). Unfortunately, that program failed to catch fire with the public and was canceled at the tail end of its first season in 1994. Not long after, Goethals put acting on the shelf temporarily and -- save a role in Jerry Maguire (1996) -- focused exclusively on her studies as a French major at Vassar.
Returning to acting in the early 2000s (first in New York, then in L.A.), Goethals drew on her prior experience (and resumé) to land an enviable series of roles that she tackled with great dexterity. These included the box-office sleeper Changing Lanes (opposite Sam Jackson and Ben Affleck) and recurring stints on the prime-time series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and 24. In 2003, Goethals signed for yet another series, the promising David E. Kelley comedy drama The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire (opposite Randy Quaid and Mare Winningham), but it folded only a month after it premiered.
A few years later, Goethals received second billing in the low-budget horror comedy Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2007), a kind of Americanized Man Bites Dog remake about a documentarian (Goethals) and her crew following a serial killer around and spurring him on to increasingly grisly acts. The film opened to generally enthusiastic reviews but received only limited distribution.
In addition to her on-camera work, Goethals voiced the audio books of Ann Brashares' novel The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Dan Gutman's novel The Get Rich Quick Club, and is an avid equestrian.