Fans probably know actress Janine Turner for her role as Nancy Beth Marmillion in Steel Magnolias, Maggie O’Connell in the TV series, Northern Exposure in the early to mid-1990s, and more recently, for her role as Katie McCoy in Friday Night Lights.
With an acting career that spans four decades, Janine Turner shows no signs of stopping. Here’s more info about her acting career, what she’s doing now and how you can stay up-to-date on her active life.
Janine Turner, whose real name is Janine Loraine Gauntt, was born on December 6, 1962, in Lincoln, Nebraska. However, soon after her birth, her family relocated to Texas where she grew up. Janine was involved with the performing arts from a very young age which included theater, ballet, cheerleading, and modeling.
With her love of the performance arts, she enrolled in New York’s Professional Children’s School with the approval of her parents and actually relocated there with her mother. While enrolled, at just 15 years old, she became the youngest model to ever sign with famed modeling company, Wilhelmina Agency. After spending a little time with the agency and doing some commercial work, she returned to Texas where she then landed a guest starring role on the hit TV show, Dallas between 1980-1981.
This bit part on Dallas ignited a flame in Janine, who at 17, attempted to break into Hollywood. And, the rest as they say in the business, is history (but let’s dive into it anyway).
After landing a three-episode spot as Susan on Dallas between 1980-1981, she landed a few other bit parts in the early 1980s that included Mr. Merlin, Young Doctors in Love, Happy Days, and The Love Boat.
Her big break would come about two years into acting (at about 20 years old) when she landed the role of Laura Templeton on General Hospital. She appeared in a total of 43 episodes from 1982-1983. The character of Laura Templeton was the on-screen love interest for Luke.
After leaving General Hospital, she continued having guest starring roles on several TV series throughout the 1980s, including the A-Team, Knight Rider, and Another World. These were all one-episode appearances.
In 1986, her career transitioned from the small screen to the big screen, as she played Shevaun Tillman in Tai-Pan, Linda Aikman in Monkey Shrines, and Nancy Beth Marmillion in the highly popular film, Steel Magnolias.
The year following Steel Magnolias, Janine landed her most notable role, playing Maggie O’Connell on Northern Exposure from 1990-1995.
The show was a major hit, winning seven Primetime Emmy awards during its run.
Janine Turner played the character of Maggie O’Connell on the show. Maggie is a feisty and independent pilot from New York City who moves to the small, quirky town of Cicely, Alaska, to start a new life.
As a pilot, she becomes an important part of the town’s transportation system and often finds herself in the middle of the town’s strange happenings. Maggie’s character is known for her intelligence, strength, and wit, as well as her complicated relationships with the other characters on the show, particularly the town’s doctor, Joel Fleischman.
What Happened After Northern Exposure?
After Northern Exposure, Janine mostly starred in films and TV movies, however, none of them really hit box office success. Her career hit a resurgence again in 2000 when she landed the role of Dr. Dana Stowe in Strong Medicine, appearing in 50 episodes from 2000 to 2002.
After more TV movies, she joined the cast of the hit series, Friday Night Lights in 2008 as Katiy McCoy. She appeared in 12 episodes from 2008-2009. She did a little directing and producing in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Janine has worked consistently, appearing in several movies from 2015 – 2021.
What is Janine Turner Doing Now?
In 2021, she played the role of Bonnie Barclay in the TV movie, Taking the Reins. In 2023, it was announced that Sylvester Stallone is going to reprise his role of Gabe Walker from the 1993 movie, Cliffhanger, which Janine originally starred in. There’s been no official word as to whether or not she will reprise her role of Jessie Deighan.
Outside of acting, Janine dedicates much of her time to advocacy and civic participation. She has written several op-eds for the Washington Examiner and Fox News, as well as over 80 essays on the Federalist Papers. She routinely participates in public speaking tours that focus on a wide range of topics, including but not limited to politics, faith, the importance of heart health, and the Constitution. She did find herself in a bit of controversy recently when she discussed abortions at a school speaking engagement, however, outside of that, she has mostly remained out of controversy since.
While she’s not on Cameo, she remains pretty active on social media, sharing snippets of her life, including her adorable pets, projects, speaking engagements, and home life. She also shares clips of her former acting roles for a nostalgia pop and insider’s knowledge. You can follow her at @janineturner on Instagram.
Janine has been romantically linked to many big names in Hollywood including Sylvester Stallone, Troy Aikman, and Alec Baldwin, who she was engaged to. However, she has never married.
She did have a daughter, Juliette Turner-Jones, with Jerry Jones, Jr. in 1997.