essica says she didn't get a chance to choose acting from the time she was a child in Toronto, Canada. "My extended family was always creating drama, costumed to the hilt for our annual Christmas skit and our house was crazy with wild and hilarious characters whom my dad (then a director) and mom (an actor) would bring home from the theater. When you grow up surrounded by such animated and exciting people where it seems that the circus is always in town, it's hard to resist becoming part of the act."
Jessica, born in Toronto, was 8 years old when she got her first role, in the Canadian childrens TV series "The Sunrunners." Later, when she was 18, her mum moved to Montreal and she remained in Toronto. In the mid-1980s she appeared as the daughter of a character played by her childhood idol Lindsay Wagner in the TV movie "Young Again" (with fellow Canadian Keanu Reeves, a former schoolmate).
She landed roles in Toronto, especially with guest spots on Canadian-produced series such as "The Littlest Hobo," "Night Heat," "Sweating Bullets," and "Street Legal" among many others. In 1989, she co-starred in the Tristar musical "Sing" and decided it was time to move to New York. Ironically, she spent more time flying back and forth between California and Canada than she did in New York. During a five-week stint subbing for a pregnant actress on the New York shot soap "Loving" she gave birth to the character's baby. The limited gig raised her profile enough to be flown back and forth to L.A. in order to get a co-starring role as Linda, the union organizer, on the critically acclaimed drama series "Homefront," in 1992-93.
Jessica's Canadian motion picture credits include "Flying," "Still Life" and "John and the Missus." She was a regular cast member on the syndicated series "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future." Among her TV movies are "High Country" and "Small Gifts," (for which she received a Gemini Award for "Best Actress") both for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and "Workin' for Peanuts" and "The Truth about Alex" for HBO. She has guest-starred on such TV series as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and was in the pilot of the hit TV series "Wiseguy."
During 1994-95, Jessica portrayed a genetically enhanced doctor in the NBC TV science-fiction series "Earth 2." Since that time, Jessica has landed guest appearances on such TV series such as "The Outer Limits," "ER," "Murder One," and "Touched by an Angel."
In 1997, Jessica landed one of her biggest roles yet in the movie "Trial & Error" that starred Jeff Daniels and Michael Richards. How did Jessica prepare to play tough-as-nails District Attorney Elizabeth Gardner, who prosecutes one of the slimiest characters in the eleven western states? "A friend of mine was going through law school, and we went down to the courts together. She took me through the whole scene down there, and then she gave me a tape of Marcia Clark's closing arguments in the O.J. Simpson case," says Jessica.
In 1999 Jessica had 2 movies come out, including the TV movie "Smart House" for The Disney Channel and the award winning independant film "Question of Privilege." Also in 1999, Jessica appeared in TV series episodes of "The Pretender," "The Outer Limits" and "The Practice."
Some of Jessica's most recent work includes doing another episode of the popular ABC series "The Practice" as well as an episode of the series "Monk." Jessica also landed a role in the TV movie "The Pact" based on the novel by author Jodi Picoult for Lifetime Television. In 2002 Jessica made her first professional stage debut in the play "Ms. Trial" in Los Angeles.
Jessica is a huge fan of David Suzuki, a Canadian environmentalist, and would love for you to check out his website at www.davidsuzuki.org. Also be sure and check out the sites for The World Society for the Protection of Animals and Western Canadian Wilderness Committee.
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Last update: October 21, 2002 8:01 PM