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Nancy Valen

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Basic Information

Nancy Valen

Date of Birth: 16 December 1965
Place of Birth: Hallandale, Florida, USA
Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)


Nancy Valen (born December 16, 1965) is an American actress and television producer. She is best known for portraying Captain Samantha Thomas on Baywatch.

Early life

Nancy Valen was born and raised in Hallandale, Florida, on the beach of the southern Atlantic coast. By the time she was 12 years old, she was spending summers modeling in New York City and studied acting at Uta Hagen's HB Studios. After graduating from a performing arts high school in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Valen won a theatrical scholarship to the University of Florida. She ultimately declined the scholarship in favor of continuing her professional career in Miami. Meanwhile, she attended Broward Community College, where she studied theatre and paid for her tuition by modeling and acting, appearing in two episodes of Miami Vice.

After one year of college, Valen went to New York to pursue a theatrical career. Within one month of being in New York, she landed a series regular role on the daytime drama Ryan's Hope. Valen stayed with Ryan's Hope for two years before moving to Los Angeles to pursue other interests.



Valen made her film debut in the 1985 comedy film Porky's Revenge, followed by a role in The Heavenly Kid with Richard Mulligan and Jane Kaczmarek. In 1989, Valen co-starred alongside Patrick Dempsey in the film, Loverboy. She also had a small role opposite Kirk Cameron in the film Listen to Me. Her other film appearances include Seven Sundays alongside Molly Ringwald; directed by Academy Award-winning director, Jean-Charles Tacchella.

In addition to films, Valen has also appeared in various television series. In 1990, she guest starred in an episode of Saved by the Bell. That same year, she co-starred in the short-lived musical series Hull High. After the series premiere, TV Guide proclaimed her "the most agreeably watchable new star on TV". Valen has also guest starred on Hardball, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Friends, Spin City, Boy Meets World, Miami Vice, Murder She Wrote, and Saved by the Bell.

Valen has also appeared in several infomercials for the Bun and Thigh Roller, Slam man, Thin 'n Sexy Body Wrap, Kevin Trudeau's Debt Cures "They" Don't Want You To Know About, and the Instyler.


Valen, alongside Craig J. Nevius, formed Windmill Entertainment. Among the television programs she has produced include Living in TV Land, Chasing Farrah, William Shatner in Concert, and Let's Kill Scott Baio.

Personal life

Since October 1994, Valen has been married to Nels Van Patten (son of actor Dick Van Patten). Her cousin is actress Talia Balsam.


Year Film Role Notes
1985 Porky's Revenge Ginger
The Heavenly Kid Melissa
1989 The Big Picture Young Sharon
Loverboy Jenny Gordon
Listen to Me Mia
1992 Final Embrace Candy Vale/Laurel Parrish
1993 Little Devils: The Birth Lynn
1994 Seven Sundays Nicky Alternative title: Tous les jours dimanche
1998 Black Thunder Mela
2000 The Flunky Cop
2002 Written in Blood Mary Ramson
2007 The Wager Tanya Steele
Year Title Role Notes
1985 Miami Vice "Got a Light" Girl


2 episodes
1985–1987 Ryan's Hope Melinda Weaver Unknown episodes
1988 Charles in Charge Tammy 1 episode
1989–1992 Murder, She Wrote Selina Williams Waverly

Lily Roland

2 episodes
1990 Saved by the Bell Jennifer 1 episode
Hull High Donna Breedlove 8 episodes
1991 The Young Riders Samantha Edgars 1 episode
Full House Lisa Green 1 episode
1992 Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing Mala Sikorski Television movie
1993–1994 Silk Stalkings Sylvia DeCastro

Dr. Jillian Dupree

2 episodes
1994 Walker, Texas Ranger Laura 2 episodes
Hardball Jennifer 1 episode
Fortune Hunter Madison Reynolds 1 episode
Boy Meets World Ms. Kelly 1 episode
1995 Friends Lorraine The One with the Candy Hearts
1996–1997 Baywatch Samantha Thomas 23 episodes
1997 Viper Bianca Carson 1 episode
1994 The Love Boat: The Next Wave Leslie 1 episode
2001 Black Scorpion Angel of Death/Detective Angela Archer 1 episode
2002 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Neighbor 1 episode
Spin City Ashley 1 episode


  • Won a theatrical scholarship to the University of Florida, but declined it to pursue her career in Miami.
  • Measurements: 34-24-35 (Source: Celebrity Sleuth magazine)
  • Sister-in-law of Eileen Davidson, James Van Patten, Shana Hiatt and Vincent Van Patten.
  • Niece-in-law of Joyce Van Patten and Timothy Van Patten.
  • Cousin of Talia Balsam.
  • Daughter-in-law of Dick Van Patten and Pat Van Patten.
  • Auditioned for the role of "Cassie Winslow #2" when Laura Wright abruptly exited the role, but lost to Nicole Forester.
  • Has played a health professional on two different high school sitcoms, "Boy Meets World" (1993) and "Saved by the Bell" (1989).
  • Best friend of actress Yasmine Bleeth. They worked together in "Baywatch" (1989).
  • Screen tested for Milos Forman's Valmont (1989), but lost the role to Meg Tilly.