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.
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