Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
June 12, 1964
1992 - Present
Currently Known For:
TV Acting Career
Gary Unmarried, Murder in the First, Cupid
There have been many shows that produced eventual stars, and perhaps more so than any other over the past 30 years has been “The Wonder Years”. Outside of the main cast, the series had plenty of recurring characters and guest stars that would find long careers on television. Among them is Paula Marshall, who played a key role in the final season of the series.
Marshall was born on June 12, 1964 in Rockville, Maryland, growing up in a family that had lived quite comfortably, as her brother would eventually become a politician and they spent time in her childhood at a local country club. From a very young age, Marshall knew that she wanted to be an actress, and landed her first acting gig in a commercial for her home state’s lottery, and shortly afterward moved to New York City to further her career.
From there, Marshall would get her first appearance on television in an episode of “True Blue” in 1990, and later that year had appearances in “Mancuso, FBI” and “The Flash”. The series had high hopes for CBS, but would only air for one season, and Marshall only appeared during the pilot episode. Marshall remained on TV, continuing to play minor guest roles in “Superboy” and “Dinosaurs”.
After appearing on TV a handful of times, Marshall would make her film debut in 1992 with “Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth” as Terri. For her, it was quite the learning experience. “I learned a lot,” she said. “It was my first movie. When you do anything for the first time, you want to do it perfectly. I learned continuity from the script supervisor. That is, having to do the same thing over and over. If you don’t do that, the editor will hate you. I learned a lot about the technical aspects of making movies.”
Later in 1992, Marshall would have a recurring role on the series “Life Goes On” as Jill Gordon”, and then landed a spot in the sixth and final season of “The Wonder Years”. During that time, she’d guest star in three episodes, with her debut coming in November 1992’s episode “Wayne and Bonnie”. During her short stint, she played Bonnie Douglas, and started dating Kevin’s older brother Wayne (played by Jason Hervey).
During the series, it’s learned that Bonnie had worked with Wayne before, and that she was much older and already divorced with a son. After two episodes away from the series, Bonnie came back for the episodes “Let Nothing You Dismay” and then made her final appearance in “New Years”. In that episode, it’s learned that Wayne and Bonnie have split up in one of the bigger storylines of the final season.
With “The Wonder Years” behind her, Marshall would continue to work regularly on television throughout the 1990s. Her first appearance came as one of Jerry Seinfeld’s many love interests on the popular sitcom “Seinfeld”, and marked it with multiple guest appearances. In 1994, Marshall landed a main role on the series “Wild Oats”, which would probably be successful now considering that Paul Rudd was also one of the stars.
However, the series lasted for just four episodes before being canned, even though six total had been filmed. It wouldn’t take long for Marshall to land back on her feet, thankfully, getting regular roles on “Chicago Sons” and “Spin City” in the later part of the decade. It seemed that Marshall was going to be back in a major network role once again in 1998, as she starred along with Jeremy Piven in the series “Cupid”.
The series focused on the two as the main characters and was featured on ABC, but was sent to Saturday nights at 10 p.m., which is usually disaster for a series. That’s one of the reasons it aired only 14 episodes, but before 1999 was over, she was back on another show in a main role in the form of “Snoops” as Dana Plant. Like her previous forays into network TV, “Snoops” was cancelled before all of its episodes in the first season had been aired.
Since then, Marshall’s found success with shows that have lasted a bit longer, including “hidden Hills” and “Out of Practice”, while continuing her career as a guest star on popular shows that include “Veronica Mars”, “Californication” and “Veronica Mars”. Her longest lasting show in which she had a starring role came in “Gary Unmarried” with Jay Mohr that lasted from 2008 to 2010. In more recent years, Marshall has shown up on “Doubt” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” just to name a couple.
Looking back for Marshall, “The Wonder Years” is still one of her favorite roles to date. “It was a great recurring job,” she said. “Fred Savage, who is now a director, was such a responsible young actor. He was never late. He knew all his lines. It’s funny, because he was under 18, he couldn’t work over a certain number of hours. So when we had scenes together, we would do his coverage, and then he would leave. I would have to finish the scenes acting with a piece of tape on the floor or something. I see him once in a while actually. I once walked up to him and said…’You’re all grown up!’”