Wife Pretty Hall of Fame: 80s Edition – Olivia d’Abo

Post image for Wife Pretty Hall of Fame: 80s Edition – Olivia d’Abo

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck

in Memorygasms, Women

Most of us were first introduced to Olivia d’Abo when she appeared as Karen Arnold, older sister of Kevin and Wayne Arnold on The Wonder Years. The show ran for six seasons on ABC from 1988 through 1993, and was one of TV Guide’s Best 20 Shows of the 80s.

Born in London, England, d’Abo was somewhat destined for stardom. Her father was in a successful band, and her mother was a model and actress. d’Abo’s Karen was my favorite 80s TV hippie who didn’t ride around in a van and solve mysteries with a talking dog and a “dick in a neckerchief“. I grew up terribly afraid of incurring my father’s wrath, so I shared the Arnold boys’ fear of their short-tempered dad. Whenever Karen entered a scene with Jack Arnold the tension was palpable and I remember feeling uneasy knowing they were about to embark on a knockdown-drag out fight in front of the family.

Olivia d’Abo’s character was used sparingly on The Wonder Years, which lent her appearances a distinctive feel (she appeared on 67 of the show’s 115 episodes). One particularly nasty disagreement with her father led to her “shacking up” with her college boyfriend Michael (played by David Schwimmer), who she later ends up marrying. The couple moved to Alaska, which effectively ended d’Abo’s run as a regular on the show.

As if being a Wonder Years alum wasn’t enough, d’Abo gained even more geek cred by appearing as a voice talent in animated productions such as Star Wars, Avengers, Batman Beyond, Green Lantern, and Justice League shows and video games. Showing her broad range of talent, Olivia sings with Jon Bon Jovi in the acoustic version of the song “Living On a Prayer”. Her 2002-2008 run on Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Nicole Wallace turned into one of my favorite TV villains of all-time, one I wish they hadn’t killed off when they did.

d’Abo’s body of work epitomizes the target content of our site. Today we are proud to induct Olivia d’Abo into the UnderScoopFIRE Wife Pretty Hall of Fame.

We want to hear from you! Who else deserves induction in the Wife Pretty Hall of Fame? Leave your nominees in the comments section, tweet them to @underscoopfire, or email to howard@underscoopfire.com.

Thank you again for all of your support. We treasure every reader that comes to this site. If you dig UnderScoopFIRE, please share the link through your Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, or email with your friends and family. We can’t grow without your help!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joseph Tages January 22, 2012 at 10:25 am

Definitely a hottie. She’s always reminded me of Rosanna Arquette. I didn’t watch The Wonder Years very much but I best remember Olivia from Conan the Destroyer, where Arnie had to babysit her through most of the picture. And of course, I also remember her as Maryam d’Abo’s younger sister. Maryam having been a Bond Girl in The Living Daylights.

Happy Birthday, Olivia!


Brian Morin January 22, 2012 at 11:19 am

I never realized that she was the princess in Conan!


Howard Decker January 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Neither did I! Comments like Joseph’s are one of the best parts about blogging, you learn stuff! I can’t tell you guys enough how much I appreciate you commenting and reading these posts.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: