Actress Janine Turner was trained at New York's Professional Children's School. (She can still do a mean tap-dance if called upon.) Though she endured the usual audition rounds while seeking out acting and modelling work, Turner's break came by way of fortuitous happenstance--at 17, she was spotted while standing in a supermarket checkout line by TV producer Leonard Katzman, who asked her to read for a small part on "Dallas." Two years later she was cast as kleptomaniac espionage agent Laura Templeton on TV's "General Hospital," a role that required her to dye her coffee-brown hair blonde. Turners's film debut was in Young Doctors in Love (1982), a spoof of daytime dramas that costarred several other soap regulars. In 1990, Turner was cast as fiesty Alaskan mail pilot Maggie O'Connell on the quirky prime-time series "Northern Exposure," a role that made her a major star. She continued to essay the part until the series' demise in 1995. Turner's more recent assignments have included a standard damsel-in-distress turn in the Sylvester Stallone vehicle Cliffhanger (1993), and a series of automobile advertisements, each as graceful and classy as Turner herself. In the years to come, Smith would remain active on screen, starring on the series Strong Medicine, and appearing on Friday Night Lights.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- At age 15, began working for New York's Wilhelmina Modeling Agency, becoming one of the agency's youngest models at the time.
- Her big break was playing bush pilot Maggie in 1990's Northern Exposure.
- Named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People Magazine in 1993.
- Made her directorial debut with the 2004 short film Trip in a Summer Dress.
- Appointed a member of the President's Volunteer Service Council in 2006.
- Memorably played the wife of the domineering father of a high-school football player on the acclaimed drama series Friday Night Lights in 2008 and 2009.
- Recipient of the Women at Work Award from the National Commission on Working Women.
- A political activist and supporter of Republican party causes, she is the author of Holding Her Head High: 12 Single Mothers Who Championed Their Children and Changed History.