A handful of Hollywood actors and actresses become so eclipsed by one role, in the eyes of viewers, that it threatens to overshadow their ability to extend themselves into alternate parts. This is particularly true of American thespian Gabrielle Carteris. As the oldest member of "teens" on the blockbuster FOX series Beverly Hills 90210, Carteris -- then 29 -- "played young" (read: a character around half her age) to portray high-school newspaper editor Andrea Zuckerman. Though Carteris only remained on 90210 for five years out of its decade-long run, and then attempted to scale new heights, her involvement in subsequent projects often seemed, for better or worse, to pull her back to Andrea.
Gabrielle and her twin brother, James, began life in Phoenix, AZ, in 1961 -- the only children of restaurant proprietor Ernest Carteris and realtor Marlene Carteris. Six months after the children were born, their parents split, and Marlene moved to San Francisco, Gabrielle and James in tow, where she opened a boutique for children's apparel; her parents moved into the household to help raise the children. Gabrielle attended high school in Marin County, CA, in the late '70s -- a self-admitted loner, introvert, and bibliophile who practiced ballet on the side and toured Europe as a mime at age 16. Carteris attended Sarah Lawrence College in the early '80s (graduating in 1983), then held down roles on the daytime soap opera Another World (as a troubled teen) and in ABC Afterschool Specials.
In 1990 -- at the exact same time that she met her husband-to-be, stockbroker Charles Isaacs -- Carteris auditioned for the Zuckerman role, under the aegis of mega-producer Aaron Spelling -- and everything fell into place. Within the context of the series, model student Andrea graduated from high school, had multiple affairs, got pregnant outside of wedlock, married Jesse Vasquez (Mark D. Espinoza), and gave birth to a premature, underweight baby -- and then, when Carteris announced her departure from the show in 1995, moved with Jesse to Connecticut, where she enrolled in a pre-med program and he accepted a teaching post at Yale. In actuality, Carteris intended to parlay her 90210 success into other areas, beginning with a daytime talk show, Gabrielle (1995). Unfortunately, that program failed to catch fire and folded after approximately one year.
In successive years, Carteris' two highest-profile assignments did not carry her off in new directions, but capitalized on her 90210 run. The first -- an appearance on the WB's satirical reality series The Surreal Life (2003) -- threw Carteris and other celebrities of declining infamy (MC Hammer, Corey Feldman, Emmanuel Lewis) into a household and studied their interactions over a two-week period. The second -- an hour-long special entitled Beverly Hills 90210: Ten Year High School Reunion -- followed up on the cast members ten years after their characters graduated from high school and three years after the end of the series run. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi