Jenilee Harrison, with her effervescent charm and undeniable talent, became a familiar face on American television during the late 1970s and 1980s. Most notably recognized for her role as Cindy Snow on the iconic sitcom “Three’s Company,” Harrison’s journey in the entertainment industry has been both varied and intriguing.
But where has she been since her days on the popular show, and what has she been up to? Let’s delve into the life and career of Jenilee Harrison.
Born on June 12, 1958, Jenilee Harrison’s early life was marked by a blend of academic pursuits and unexpected forays into the entertainment world.
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, she hailed from an intellectual family background; her father was an aerospace engineer, and her mother was a math teacher.
Jenilee herself was a top student, outshining even her academically inclined family members.
She initially aspired to become a medical doctor, enrolling at Occidental College and later graduating from USC with an impressive A average.
Her entry into show business was rather serendipitous. Following a breakup with a boyfriend, a young Jenilee decided to participate in a local beauty contest.
This decision set her on a path she hadn’t planned for; she won several titles, including Miss Young America, and subsequently began appearing in television commercials.
Jenilee Harrison is best known to many for her role in the iconic sitcom “Three’s Company.” She joined the cast as Cindy Snow, the cousin of Suzanne Somers’ character, Chrissy Snow.
This casting change came about after Somers left the show due to contract disputes. Harrison’s character, Cindy, was portrayed as a somewhat clumsy yet endearing farm girl from Fresno, bringing a fresh dynamic to the apartment shared with Jack and Janet.
Her physical comedy, influenced by her athletic background, added a unique flavor to the show’s comedic scenarios.
Jenilee graced the series for two seasons, appearing in 42 episodes from 1980 to 1982. After her tenure as Cindy, the show introduced a new character, Terri Alden, played by Priscilla Barnes, but Harrison’s contribution to the series during its transitional phase remains memorable to fans.
Jenilee Harrison also made a significant mark on the television landscape with her role in the long-running drama “Dallas.”
She portrayed Jamie Ewing, a character introduced as the sister of Bobby and J.R. Ewing. Jamie was a fresh face from Alaska, bringing with her a set of new challenges and dynamics to the already intricate Ewing family saga.
Her character played pivotal roles in various plotlines, especially concerning the ownership stakes in the Ewing Oil company.
Harrison was a part of “Dallas” for three seasons, from 1984 to 1986, appearing in a total of 70 episodes.
After her role as Jamie Ewing Barnes on Dallas in the 1980s, Jenilee Harrison’s acting career continued with a mix of roles in TV movies, films, and guest appearances, though she never quite reached the same level of fame again.
Some highlights included starring in the TV movie The Redemption in 2000, playing Carol on That ’70s Show in 1999, and appearing in small and independent films like Fists of Iron, Silent Fury, Illicit Behavior, and Curse III: Blood Sacrifice throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Her last acting credit came in 2002 for a tv movie called "The Power."
Jenilee Harrison’s foray into the business world extended beyond her roles on screen. She showcased a keen entrepreneurial spirit, diving into various business ventures that capitalized on her fame and expertise.
She became a prominent face in the world of infomercials. Her genuine enthusiasm for new products, combined with her ability to ad-lib and authentically connect with audiences, made her a sought-after endorser. One of her notable endorsements was for athletic exercise products like the AB flex.
What is Jenilee Harrison Doing Now?
Jenilee Harrison, once a prominent figure on “Three’s Company,” has gracefully transitioned into various roles both in and out of the entertainment spotlight. Today, her passion extends beyond the camera, particularly towards her love for animals. She proudly owns and manages a thoroughbred horse farm located in Kentucky, where she dedicates a significant amount of her time.
In the realm of show business, Jenilee hasn’t stepped away entirely. She’s actively involved in writing and producing, showcasing her versatility and creativity. While she occasionally steps in front of the camera, she’s also keen on working behind the scenes, developing content and bringing fresh ideas to life.
Beyond her acting career, Jenilee showcased her business acumen. She revealed that she attended real estate school at 17 and began investing in properties during her “Three’s Company” days. This foresight was attributed to her disciplined upbringing and a strong work ethic instilled by her parents.
In 2017, Jenilee Harrison took part in the Three’s Company Reunion which was aired on Antenna TV, a multicast network of Tribune Broadcasting. Joyce DeWitt (Janet), Richard Kline (Larry), Priscilla Barnes (Terry), and Jenilee Harrison (Cindy) convened at KTLA’s studio in Los Angeles. They participated in an exclusive interview with Tribune Broadcasting’s anchor, Tamsen Fadal, where they reminisced about their time on the show and shared poignant memories of series star John Ritter.
In her personal life, Harrison has had her share of notable relationships. In the early 1980s, she dated L.A. Rams guard Dennis Harrah and Major League Baseball player Reggie Jackson. Later, she married Dr. Bruce Oppenheim, a Los Angeles-area chiropractor and the ex-husband of actress Cybill Shepherd.
When asked about how she maintained her integrity and avoided the pitfalls of fame, Jenilee credited her disciplined upbringing and the fact that she never indulged in drugs or alcohol. She also expressed immense gratitude for her time on “Three’s Company,” emphasizing that every day on set was a gift. She fondly remembered working with legends like John Ritter, Joyce DeWitt, Don Knotts, and Richard Kline.