Scream Queen Profile: Danielle Harris

Danielle HarrisDanielle Andrea Harris (born June 1, 1977) is an American film and television actress, best known as a scream queen for her multiple roles in horror films, four of them in the Halloween series: in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers as Jamie Lloyd and in Halloween and Halloween II as Annie Brackett. Other work includes voice acting for the complete TV series run of The Wild Thornberrys (1998-2004), as Debbie Thornberry, and Father of the Pride (2004-2005), as Sierra.

Harris was born in Queens, New York, and raised by her single mother, Fran. Harris’s family moved to Port Orange, Florida and there she attended Spruce Creek Elementary School.

Harris still lived in Florida, when winning a children’s beauty contest found her in New York. Moving back there, Harris began her professional career by appearing in television commercials while maintaining an A average at PS 117 and PS 232 in Queens, New York. Her first acting role followed in 1985, when she made her debut as little Samantha ‘Sami’ Garretson on ABC’s One Life to Live, a part she would continue to play for three years.

In 1988, Harris auditioned and was chosen (beating out Melissa Joan Hart) for the part of Jamie Lloyd, Michael Myers’s niece and intended victim, in the film Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Just one year later, she would reprise the role in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. The character of Jamie returned in 1995 for Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers but Harris did not participate due to disagreements regarding the changes to her character on the script. Also, an agreement for her requested salary could not be reached. Thus J. C. Brandy ended up playing Jamie in the film.

Harris would eventually return to the franchise to portray a different role, re-creating Michael Myers’s original babysitter victim Annie Brackett for Rob Zombie’s Halloween, a 2007 re-imagining of John Carpenter’s 1978 original. In this film, she had nudity for a sex scene and her facing Michael Myers, the first such turn in her career. She stated “[It] is something that I wanted to do because everyone’s like, ‘Oh, she’s little Jamie. She’s 14.’ And it’s like, no, actually, I’m 30. It’s something that I’ve never done before.” The character of Annie returned and Harris reprised her role for Rob Zombie’s Halloween II, released in 2009.

Danielle HarrisFollowing her earlier Halloween appearances, various youth roles were played by Harris on film, some of them as daughter or niece to renowned action stars. Credits during this time include Marked for Death (1990) alongside Steven Seagal, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (1991) with Christina Applegate, The Last Boy Scout (1991) alongside Bruce Willis and Damon Wayans, Free Willy (1993), Daylight (1996) alongside Sylvester Stallone, Wish Upon a Star (1996) portraying two body-swapping characters along with Katherine Heigl, and her first horror film since her Halloween beginnings, Urban Legend (1998). Also during this period she began to develop her extensive television credits, with a recurring role on the sitcom Roseanne during the 1992-93 season (as Roseanne’s teenage neighbor Molly), plus special appearances on Boy Meets World, Diagnosis: Murder, Charmed and ER, among others; she was a supporting player for the two-year run of CBS drama That’s Life, the voice of Debbie Thornberry on the animated series The Wild Thornberrys, which ran for five seasons, and the voice of Sierra, the adolescent white lioness on the CGI-animated sitcom Father of the Pride. One of her characters originating from television, Debbie Thornberry, has gone on to appear in theatrical films: the animated The Wild Thornberrys Movie and Rugrats Go Wild.

More recent work, close to and following her later Halloween appearances, includes the films Debating Robert Lee, Race You to the Bottom (an Outfest prizewinner) and the Halloween-themed Left for Dead, as well as an appearance in the music video for the song “The Bleeding”, by Five Finger Death Punch. She also starred alongside Lance Henriksen, Bill Moseley, AFI’s Davey Havok, and Battlestar Galactica’s Nicki Clyne in the Illustrated Film series Godkiller. For Fearnet, she hosted Route 666: America’s Scariest Home Haunts.

Harris has continued to increase her horror and fantastic film credits. Her films Godkiller and Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet saw DVD release by the time Fear Clinic, a Fearnet original web series featuring Harris as well as Robert Englund, Kane Hodder, and Lisa Wilcox, made its debut the week of Halloween 2009, and her own upcoming horror resources website, horrorgal.com, was announced. She can also be seen as Felicia Freeze in the comedic superhero film Super Capers, and alongside Robert Patrick in The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond. On December 3, 2009, Harris confirmed a lead in the slasher Hatchet II, taking over Tamara Feldman’s role of Marybeth, which was released October 1, 2010. Other such credits include Jim Mickle’s second feature film, the vampire/post-apocalyptic picture Stake Land, and Night of the Living Dead: Origins 3D, director Zebediah de Soto’s prequel/re-telling of George A. Romero’s 1968 original. She is set to star in William Forsythe’s directorial debut, the vampire film New Blood. Harris’s own directorial debut is the horror comedy Among Friends, in which she also has a supporting role.

Danielle HarrisIn 2010, Danielle Harris was hailed as ‘horror’s reigning scream queen’ by NY Daily News. She has provided the cover feature for such horror/glamour publications as Girls and Corpses and Gorezone magazine, as well as a subject for the photo-book The Bloody Best Project.

In 2011, Harris won the Best Actress award at the Shockfest Film Festival for her starring role in the short film Nice Guys Finish Last.

Harris is Jewish. She has a sister, Ashley. Fellow actors Harris has been in a romantic relationship with include Michael Rosenbaum and Corin Nemec.