Dozens of boozed-up, horny teenagers were unfortunate enough to cross paths with the murderous Jason Voorhees throughout the 1980s. Over the course of twelve Friday the 13th movies, including the 2009 reboot and his famous battle against Freddy Krueger in Freddy vs. Jason, the prolific serial slasher has amassed a body count of 157 unlucky souls. It seems no one stands a chance against the hockey-masked, machete-wielding camp killer. Well, not no one.
There have been about a dozen survivors throughout the series, and few of them enjoy the fully-realized characterization that Chris Higgins does. The protagonist of Friday the 13th: Part III, Chris was portrayed with great depth by actress Dana Kimmell, who took on the role after auditioning with a scream. Kimmell channeled Chris’ past traumas when bringing the character to life on the big screen, and she displayed a similar ability to portray complex characters in a number of other movie and television roles. Let’s learn more about the life and career of this intriguing actor!
Dana was born to Dolores and W. Dane Kimmell on May 21, 1959 in Kingsburg, California. Her family moved to Texas when she was still a child. When she was fifteen, Kimmell got her start as a model and soon after appeared on the cover of Teen magazine. Gifted both creatively and academically, she graduated high school as valedictorian, signed with a modeling agency, and became interested in acting. Things moved quickly for Kimmell, as she shifted from local theatrical productions to her first paid gig in 1977–a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial!
Following her commercial debut, Kimmell’s career took off like wildfire! She landed her first series guest spot playing Holly on an episode of Charlie’s Angels called “Pretty Angels All in a Row.” She racked up an impressive resume quickly thereafter, appearing in Happy Days, Facts of Life, and The Return of the Beverly Hillbillies. Her most prominent role in this era was playing Dawn Marshall in fifty-one episodes of the soap opera Texas (but she left the show prior to its second season).
At the height of her television success, Kimmell accepted the part of Marci Burke in the slasher film Sweet Sixteen, which garnered her the attention she needed to land her most famous role–that of Chris Higgins in Friday the 13th: Part III.
Friday the 13th
Part III of the famous slasher series was notable for introducing Jason Voorhees’ iconic hockey mask and being the only film in the series to be released in 3D! But it was Kimmell’s performance as Chris that grounded the film in a story of human vs. supernatural terror and ultimately turned the entry into a fan favorite.
Chris brings a group of friends to her old home at Crystal Lake in an effort to face her past and deal with the trauma of having been attacked by Jason as a child. Of course, Jason has other ideas! The movie is full of creative kills and establishes Chris as a fierce opponent as she directs her grief and rage into an exhilarating face-off against the masked murderer.
While Kimmell has frequently expressed her distaste for excessive sex and violence in movies, she has also said that she is proud of her work on Friday the 13th. Still, Sweet Sixteen is her favorite!
What did she do after Friday the 13th?
Kimmell returned to TV, guest starring on classic shows like the A-Team, T.J. Hooker, and Diff’rent Strokes. She performed in famous soap operas as well, including Days of Our Lives, Dynasty, and The Young and the Restless. In 1983, she acted opposite Chuck Norris in Lone Wolf McQuade, playing his character’s daughter, Sally. This would become her final film to be released in theaters.
Dana Kimmell ended her acting career in 1990 with By Dawn’s Early Light.
Where is Dana Kimmell now?
Kimmell is retired from acting and currently works as a real estate broker. She also owns and manages a property management company with her husband in Hemet, California.
She still has a Facebook page that she appears to have been active on until 2016. She would post about her appearances at fan conventions like Mad Monster and Weekend of Horrors. However, Kimmell didn’t post anything for six years until 2022 when she shared a cute video of a dog and a baby.
Her most recent convention appearence seems to have take place in March 2023 at the Monster Mania convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
She doesn’t appear to manage a website or any other social media accounts.
Kimmell was briefly married to Mark Plambeck, whom she divorced in 1980, and she got married again in 1982 to John Anderson. The couple are still married to this day, and they had four children together–Cody, Kyle, Haley, and Jenna. As members of the Mormon faith, most of her kids went on to attend Brigham Young University in Utah.
Cody and Jenna attempted to follow in their mother’s footsteps in the entertainment industry by auditioning for American Idol in 2008. While neither of them made it far in the competition, their participation highlights the family’s talents and interests in the arts. Unfortunately, Cody passed away in 2021.
Demonstrating a knack for writing, Kimmell’s second-oldest child, Kyle published a sci-fi horror story in 2018 called Red Lashers, which is about the post-apocalyptic hell of the United States after the invasion of a mysterious race of killer creatures. Like his mother, Kyle’s writing hopes to espouse strong morals and values.