This lovely, fresh-faced Lincoln, Nebraska native was born on December 6, 1962, to stalwart Texans Turner and Janice Gauntt. The younger of two children, she grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and trained, while a child, in ballet, tap, theater, and modeling (from age 3). A cheer leading beauty into her teens, she moved with her mother to study at New York’s Professional Children’s School and was lucky enough to be picked up by the famed Wilhelmina Agency as a model (at 15 she was the youngest at the time to ever be signed). After some commercial work, however, she returned to school in Texas and happened by chance to find some minor work on various episodes of Dallas (1978).
This led to a Hollywood attempt at age 17 and a major TV break two years later when she won the role of Laura Templeton on TV’s popular daytime soap General Hospital (1963), a role that required her long tresses to go from brunette to blonde. This, in turn, fed into another 1980s regular part on Another World (1964). Janine subsequently made her film debut in the daytime parody Young Doctors in Love (1982) that featured her along with other soap stars in cameos. In between, she managed find time to attend Pepperdine University but left when she earned a film role in the movie Tai-Pan (1986). At this stage of the game, she tended to specialize in cute and flighty roles, but all that changed when Janine won the role of spunky, crop-haired Alaskan air taxi pilot Maggie O’Connell opposite Rob Morrow on the eccentric prime-time series Northern Exposure (1990). It was role of her career, a meaty, delightfully quirky star turn that made her a household name. The show lasted six seasons. Since then, she has been able to subsist on a fairly full plate of TV-movie and film assignments. She’s top-lined such women’s mini-pictures as Stolen Women, Captured Hearts (1997) and A Secret Affair (1999), while in film playing a lady-in-distress co-star to Sylvester Stallone in the action thriller Cliffhanger (1993), “perfect Mom” June Cleaver in a film remake of Leave It to Beaver (1997) and one of Richard Gere’s “women” in Dr. T & the Women (2000). She found another series regular role with Strong Medicine (2000) that lasted two years. Moving into directing, writing, and producing on the side, she is also dabbling in singing. She has a daughter, Juliette, born in 1997.
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