It’s astonishing to realize that it’s been over 30 years since Kelly Jo Minter starred as Yvonne in the classic 1989 horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child.
As one of the few Black actresses with a prominent role in the popular Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, Minter’s performance stood out among the predominantly white cast. So what happened to the actress after Freddy Krueger slashed his way through Dream Child? Where did Minter go after her brush with Elm Street fame?
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Kelly Jo Minter grew up in Compton, California in a large family of 9 kids. Her mother divorced when Kelly was young, leaving the kids largely unsupervised for weeks at a time with little money or food. This led Kelly and her siblings to steal and do burglaries just to get by. She joined a gang for protection and to assimilate into the culture of 1970s Los Angeles. Though she knew right from wrong deep down, Kelly did what she had to do to survive in her difficult circumstances.
When Kelly was 13, her mother turned her into juvenile hall for a brief period. This provided structure, meals, and therapy which helped Kelly despite the dysfunction in her family. Kelly remained in dangerous situations with older boyfriends and gang members as a young teen. She recalls near death experiences but felt protected by God even when doing wrong.
Rise to Prominence
In her mid-teens, a friend helped Kelly get her first acting role as an extra on Fame. This began her acting career which became a creative outlet and way to make money legally. However, Kelly continued in her old lifestyle of theft and gangs for survival at the same time. She went to film school and acted in projects like Mask and The Lost Boys, while learning the craft.. She also had smallTV roles on The Magical World of Disney, Hill Street Blues, and A Different World.
Some other notable projects from Minter’s early career were the TV movies Charley Hannah (1986), Badge of the Assassin (1985), and Sharing Richard (1988). She also appeared in the films Miracle Mile (1988), Summer School (1987), and The Principal (1987). By the late 80s, Minter had established herself as a regular TV and film actress, paving the way for her breakout role in A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child in 1989.
A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child
One of her most notable roles came in 1989 when she was cast in the fifth Nightmare installment, Minter plays Yvonne, a close friend of the protagonist Alice who is struggling with nightmares of Freddy Krueger. Minter brought warmth and likability to the role, along with strength as she helps Alice try to defeat Freddy. Her performance was critically praised, cementing her as a new scream queen. Minter landed the part after impressing producers, beating out hundreds of other actresses auditioning.
Post Elm Street
After her breakout role in A Nightmare on Elm Street: The Dream Child in 1989, Kelly Jo Minter continued acting in films and TV shows throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, though never quite reaching the same level of mainstream fame.
In the early 90s, she appeared in movies like The People Under the Stairs, New Jack City, House Party and TV shows like Father Dowling Mysteries, Sibs, and WIOU. She also had minor roles in Out for Justice and Doc Hollywood.
In the mid 90s, Minter landed parts in The Rich Man’s Wife, Cosmic Slop, ER, and A Face to Die For. She also had a recurring role as Rhodesia on the sitcom Martin from 1993-1994.
As she entered the late 90s and 2000s, Minter’s roles became more sporadic. She appeared in the films Dead Men Can’t Dance (1997) and Sunset Grill (1993), as well as episodes of Providence and Strong Medicine
Her last credited roles was on the teen sitcom Zoey 101 in 2008. After that, Minter seemed to step back from acting.
Where is Kelly Jo Minter Now?
Today Kelly Jo Minter is a wife, mother, and still acts occasionally while pursuing other creative projects. She remains down to earth and non-materialistic after her tumultuous early life. Kelly believes in being true to yourself above all else. She’s outspoken about the poor treatment of people in the entertainment industry.
She has been married to singer-songwriter Georgio Allentini since 1992, and they have three sons.