Biography

An actress with the kind of versatile beauty that has allowed her to effortlessly alternate between earthy and glamorous roles, Veronica Cartwright's steel-blue eyes have a strange way of piercing through the screen and transcending their two-dimensional restraints. Having successfully made the transition from child actor to seasoned screen veteran, Cartwright continued a career which allowed her to explore roles that ran the gamut from straight drama to chilling horror. A native of Bristol, England, Cartwright's family emigrated to the United States when she was still very young. Following a series of modeling jobs and print ads, the aspiring actress became a familiar face to television viewers as the "Kellogg's Girl" in a series of breakfast cereal commercials. She made her screen debut in the 1958 war drama In Love and War, and, in the years that followed, alternated between film and TV work with roles in such features as The Children's Hour (1961) and The Birds (1963), in addition to a turn as Lumpy's sister on the small-screen classic Leave It to Beaver. From 1964-1968, the actress endeared herself to television viewers as Jemima Boone on the popular Daniel Boone series. Although the transition from adorable child star to serious adult actor has been a serious stumbling block for generations of young stars, Cartwright skillfully avoided this pitfall with a series of memorable roles in the 1970s. Playing opposite such heavies as Richard Dreyfuss in Inserts (1975) and Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Cartwright was well on her way to crafting an enduring film career. A role as the ill-fated navigator in the 1979 sci-fi horror classic Alien found her taking part in what would become one of the most lucrative and prolific franchises in cinema history, and a memorable performance in the 1983 space program drama The Right Stuff (in which she worked again with Body Snatchers director Philip Kaufman) helped to sustain her career through the '80s. Subsequent roles in Flight of the Navigator (1986) and Wisdom (1987) offered little in the way of dramatic depth, though Cartwright's winning performance in George Miller's The Witches of Eastwick (1987) found her nearly stealing the show from stars Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Despite the fact that Cartwright kicked off the '90s with a memorable turn in the popular weekly drama L.A. Law, the roles which followed were mostly comprised of thankless appearances in made-for-TV features and forgettable horror sequels. Although she remained busy, her parts just weren't as rich as they had been. Despite the dry spell, however, Cartwright was nominated for an Emmy for three memorable appearances in the popular small-screen chiller The X Files. The following decade found her edging back toward memorable film work with appearances in In the Bedroom (2001), Scary Movie 2 (2001), and Just Married (2003). After facing off against a cat-munching alien in the 2002 short Mackenheim, Cartwright essayed a substantial role in Richard Day's 2004 comedy Straight Jacket. She played the wife of famous sexual researcher Alfred Kinsey in the 2004 biopic of the man, and appeared in the 2007 sci-fi film The Invasion. In 2009 she returned to familiar ground with a part in the small-screen adaptation Eastwick, and she landed a major part in the 2011 thriller InSight. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi