Bess Motta is an American actress, singer and fitness personality. She is best known for portraying Ginger Ventura in James Cameron’s classic The Terminator (1984), and as the lead instructor and choreographer for the television exercise program :20 Minute Workout (1982).
She was born on February 10, 1958 in Burbank, California, the daughter of Eric, a scientist, and Rita, an operetta singer. Bess was raised in Woodland Hills, California, and was a competitive ice skater as a pre-teen. At age 13, she began studying drama with Austrian actor Francis Lederer. She attended William Howard Taft High School and starred in multiple theater productions and was also active in summer productions and drama competitions with other San Fernando Valley actors Mare Winningham, Val Kilmer and Kevin Spacey. At age 18, Bess was cast in the San Francisco production of “The Great American Backstage Musical”.
British actor Anthony Andrews saw Bess in the production and decided to produce the show in London and brought her over as the sole American in the show. After returning from England, Bess became interested in aerobics and because of her dance and musical background, she quickly became one of the most popular instructors in Brentwood, California. It was there that she came to the attention of the director who was developing an exercise show :20 Minute Workout (1982). The show was filmed entirely in Toronto, Canada and Bess is often credited for putting TV aerobics on the map. Even though the show was only produced for two seasons, the program ran in international syndication for over 10 years.
Bess was cast as Sarah Connor’s roommate Ginger Ventura in The Terminator (1984), in which she performed her own stunts in the film. Bess continued to work in theater throughout her career, performing in a various Los Angeles productions, including Charles Busch’s “Psycho Beach Party”. In August 2010, she gave an interview to the Terminator Fans website in which she confirms that she has attended the occasional Comic-Con convention (Burbank and Chicago). Bess currently continues acting as a voice-over artist.
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