Olivia Burnette began her journey in the hearts of America as the endearing Dorothy Jane Torkelson on the beloved family sitcom “The Torkelsons,” which aired in the early 1990s. With her heartfelt monologues to the “Man in the Moon,” Burnette won over audiences with her portrayal of a dreamy, optimistic teenager navigating the trials of adolescence and family life in a single-parent household.
But as the final episode faded to black, and the Torkelsons’ story came to an end, many fans were left wondering: what happened to the young actress who so convincingly brought Dorothy Jane to life?
She was born on March 24, 1977 in San Clemente, C.A. Not much is known about her personal life at all, letting her acting career speak for her.
Olivia started young in the industry. Her career technically began at only six years old, but her first acting credit on a tv show was at eight.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Though she had a couple more tv appearances, Olivia really hit it big when she starred as Marti Page, daughter of Steve Martin’s character Neal in comedy classic Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.
Other shows Olivia acted in in her earlier years include Our House, Designing Women, and Charles in Charge.
Set against the backdrop of early 1990s Oklahoma, “The Torkelsons” offered a poignant glimpse into the life of a struggling single mother, left to raise her five children alone after her husband’s departure.
At the heart of the show was 14-year-old Dorothy Jane Torkelson, portrayed by Olivia Burnette. Dorothy Jane was the soulful, articulate daughter whose introspective musings were shared with viewers through her heartfelt dialogues with the “Man in the Moon” from her bedroom window.
Olivia’s portrayal of Dorothy Jane was a constant through all 33 episodes of the series. The show spanned two seasons, with the second bringing significant changes as the Torkelsons relocated to Seattle, transforming the series into “Almost Home.”
Career after The Torkelsons?
After “The Torkelsons,” Olivia Burnette appeared in “The Quick and the Dead,” albeit in a minor role, sharing the screen with Gene Hackman, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Russell Crowe. She also played a significant part in “Eye for an Eye,” portraying the daughter of Sally Field’s character, who becomes a victim of a brutal crime committed by Kiefer Sutherland’s character.
Burnette continued her acting career with a role in “Children of the Corn V,” a horror sequel based on Stephen King’s work, where she played Lily, a character who encounters a dangerous cult. The film is notable for being Eva Mendes’s first movie.
At one point, Olivia left her native California with the goal of obtaining an education. She moved to the Big Apple and enrolled in NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, from which she graduated with a double major in English and Film.
Sons of Anarchy
Olivia’s last acting credit was on the gritty gang drama, Sons of Anarchy. Across the seven seasons of the show, Olivia appeared in 11 episodes as a mysterious homeless woman.
Lots of speculation surrounds the purpose of Olivia’s character, some postulating that 11 is a religious number and she represents a guardian angel for main character Jax, especially when it’s implied only he can see her in real life.
Her final acting credit came in 2014, for a season 7 episode of the show.
What is Olivia Burnette doing now?
Olivia Burnette has stepped away from the acting scene, with no new roles in over a decade, suggesting she may have retired from her acting career.
Burnette has embraced a life of privacy, with no recent interviews or public appearances, and maintains no presence on social media, further distancing herself from the public sphere she once inhabited as an actress.
She is married to Julian Sakata, a musician known for his work in movie sound departments and composing scores, who also performs under the name “Still James.” His 2008 album “See?” is available on Spotify. Olivia is a stepmother to Julian’s son, Rain.
We wish Olivia Burnette all the best in her future endeavors, whatever they may be, as she continues her journey beyond the public eye.