Donna Wilkes

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Donna Wilkes
Donna Wilkes (1984) crop.jpg
Wilkes in Angel (1984)
Bornc. 1961 (age 57–58)
OccupationActress
Years active1978–present

Donna Consuelos Wilkes (born c. 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.

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[edit]

Early life[edit]

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.[a]

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[edit]

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."[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1978 Jaws 2 Jackie Peters
1978 Almost Summer Meredith
1979 Fyre Carol
1979 Hard Knocks Chris Alternate titles: Mid-Knight Rider and Hollywood Knight
1980 Schizoid Alison Fales Alternate title: Murder by Mail
1982 Blood Song Marion Alternate title: Dream Slayer
1984 Angel Molly 'Angel' Stewart
1988 Grotesque Kathy
2013 My Stepbrother Is a Vampire!?! Miss Fortune
2014 90210 Shark Attack Pamela

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1978 The Courage and the Passion Tracy TV movie
1978 The Incredible Hulk Alice Morrow Episode: "Alice in Disco Land"
1979 Hello, Larry Diane Alder Main cast (14 episodes)
1979 Diff'rent Strokes Diane Alder Episode: "The Trip: Part 1"
1979 The Runaways Episode: "Land of Honey"
1981 Born to Be Sold Cindy Carlson TV movie
1981 House Calls Episode: "The Sex Police"
1982 Father Murphy Emma Walker Episodes: "The First Miracle" (Parts 1 & 2)
1982 T. J. Hooker Karen Stewart Episode: "King of the Hill"
1982–83 Days of Our Lives Pamela Prentiss Main cast (14 episodes)
1983 Teachers Only Episode: "Praise the Lord and Pasta Ammunition"
1984 Gimme a Break! Gina Episode: "The Center"
1984 Partners in Crime Sandy Episode: "Fantasyland"
1985 Hell Town Meg Episode: "The Rat Man Cometh"
1986 Superior Court Episode: "Date Rape"
1989 Dragnet Amy Redmond Episode: "Safe in Jail"
1991 FBI: The Untold Stories Teresa Starr Episode: "The Murder of Judge John Wood"

Notes[edit]

  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[edit]

  1. ^ Canby, Vincent (January 13, 1984). "Angel (1984) FILM: 'ANGEL,' IN SCHOOL AND OUTSIDE THE LAW". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d 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.
  3. ^ "Donna Wilkes". AllMovie. Archived from the original on 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.

External links[edit]