Vanessa Marcil returned to General Hospital as Brenda Barrett after a seven-year absence, and after many rumors in past years announcing the actress' possible return to the series. In the interim, she costarred in two TV series: Las Vegas from 2003-2008 and the series Lipstick Jungle in 2008. Marcil also made two made-for-TV movies and had recurring roles on NYPD Blue, Without a Trace, and Crossing Jordan. She won the role of Brenda Barrett in 1992.
Marcil was born Sally Vanessa Ortiz (she was named after actress Vanessa Redgrave) on October 15, 1968, in Indio, California. She started acting in plays at the age of eight, and won a talent show singing a song she wrote in the sixth grade. She performed in theatrical productions before being contracted for Brenda at the age of 23..
Marcil soon found herself in immediate demand outside of the soap opera. She made her feature film debut in The Rock (1996), which starred Nicholas Cage, and she starred in a made-for-TV movie, To Love, Honor and Deceive in 1996. She left General Hospital in 1998 to play the part of Gina Kincaid on Beverly Hills, 90210.
She returned to General Hospital in 2002, and in 2003, she won a Daytime Emmy Award as Outstanding Supporting Actress. But GH was about to lose her again, this time to the prime-time series Las Vegas, in the role of Sam Marquez, a casino host. Over the years, stories surfaced that Marcil would return to GH, especially after Las Vegas' last season in 2008. In 2010, she finally made it back. She supposedly signed for one to two years, but the show was in a state of upheaval in 2011, and Brenda left Port Charles.
Marcil was married to actor Corey Feldman from 1989-1993. She met Beverly Hills 90210 star Brian Austin Greene while working on the show; the two had a son, Kassius Lijah Marcil-Green in 2002. In 2010, she married Carmine Giovinazzo of CSI: New York. The two are now divorced; during their marriage, she acted under the name of Vanessa Marcil-Giovinazzo. During her initial time on General Hospital, she was involved with Tyler Christopher (Nikolas).
Vanessa Marcil: The Facts
- Ethnic Background: Mexican on her father's side; French, Italian, and Portuguese on her mother's. On her mother's side, she is the great-great granddaughter of the great mime Marcel Marceau.
- Siblings: Two sisters and a brother; she is the youngest.
- Studied Law at College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California.
- The tattoo on her lower back symbolizes peace and love.
- Turned down the cover and layout in Playboy Magazine.
- Has two dogs, Woof and Joey.
- Marcil has a clothing line for children called Kass, after her son, which benefits mothers and children in Africa by aiding in the building of schools and opening centers that offer support to families.
- Turned down Nell Porter on Ally McBeal because of her commitment to Beverly Hills, 90210. The role went to Portia de Rossi.
- Was considered too beautiful for the part of Nancy in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.
- Opened Patricia House in Los Angeles, which aids women who cannot care for their children.
- Named on People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People" list (2008), because she was the artist formerly known as Prince's muse; he wrote his 1994 song "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" about her.
- Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels is Kassius' godmother.