Biography

A fair-haired character actress who maintained a nearly constant presence in American television series and features (making her countenance eminently familiar), Jeanetta Arnette began her career in late-'70s exploitation pictures, such as the 1977 releases Teenage Graffiti and The Class Reunion Massacre. Beginning with a bit part as a party guest in Blake Edwards' midlife-crisis comedy 10 (1979), however, Arnette segued gently into more mainstream efforts. She specialized in playing upbeat, highly energetic women with a professional edge. Early assignments included Rob Cohen's underrated Age of Aquarius period film A Small Circle of Friends (1980), the made-for-television sci-fi opus Brave New World (1980), and Andrew V. McLaglen's telemovie Western The Shadow Riders (1982). Arnette achieved her broadest fame and recognition for several years in 1986, when she signed on to play Bernadette Meara, the assistant principal of the Monroe High School for teen prodigies, on the popular sitcom Head of the Class (1986-1991) -- a role she carried for the entire run of the series. Subsequent assignments included the Rodney Dangerfield comedy Ladybugs (1992), the gender-bending melodrama Boys Don't Cry (1999), and Lasse Hallström's offbeat romantic drama The Shipping News (2001). In 2007, Arnette tackled a more prominent role in director David Gordon Green's earnest ensemble drama Snow Angels. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi