Family & Companions
California born and bred, multitalented actress Nia Peeples made the most of the versatility afforded by her exotic beauty and contrasting girl-next-door wholesomeness, and racked up an impressive number of television credits throughout her career. After guest roles on series including "Hardcastle & McCormick." "T.J. Hooker" and "Tales of the Gold Monkey" (all ABC, 1982) and a recurring role on the network's daytime drama "General Hospital," the petite dark-haired exotic beauty shot to fame on "Fame." For three seasons (1984-87) on the popular syndicated series, Peeples auspiciously showcased her vocal and dance talents as well as her acting skills through her portrayal of sensitive but strong-willed performing arts student Nicole Chapman. Beautiful and brainy but down-to-earth and kind, her likable characterization of the high school girl and impressive performance in the musical numbers that frequently punctuated the drama series won the esteem of viewers, and when Peeples' character was killed off in a drunk driving accident, the audience response was overwhelming. This 1987 departure closed a chapter in the actress' career, and opened another, with Peeples making her film debut that same year in the trivial but enjoyable surf drama "North Shore." Charming and well-spoken, the actress was drafted to host CBS' broadcast of the long-running British music series "Top of the Pops" (1987-88). Her impressive presenting skills were later put to use on the dance music series "MTV's Friday Night Street Party," the Arsenio Hall-produced late night nightlife program "The Party Machine with Nia Peeples" (1991) and later, the vastly different PAX TV dramatization series "It's a Miracle" (for the 1998-99 season).
Peeples' TV roles have been prolific, due in part to the fact that many of her series commitments have been short-lived. In 1995, she had a regular role as a driven and dedicated public defender on CBS' "Courthouse" which suffered an early demise just as the same network's medical drama "Crisis Center" two years later. Peeples has stayed busy and in the public eye with frequent TV-movie appearances and guest starring series roles in projects as varied as "Swimsuit" (ABC, 1989), "Nasty Boys" (NBC, 1989-90, as Benjamin Bratt's pregnant wife), "Return to Lonesome Dove" (CBS, 1993, essaying a female gunslinger) and "Mr. Stitch" (Sci-Fi Channel, 1996, playing a psychiatrist treating a Frankenstein-like monster). The actress returned to regular series work in 1999, joining the cast of the hit CBS drama "Walker, Texas Ranger," playing Sydney Cook, a daring undercover officer skilled in martial arts.
While best known for her television work, Peeples has appeared in a handful of features since her debut in the Hawaii-set romance "North Shore," including the sci-fi adventure "DeepStar Six" (1989), the independent thriller "Improper Conduct" (1994). Additionally, she starred opposite Jason Alexander in the poignant romantic comedy "I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore" (1992). She then portrayed an appealing but tough Los Angeles police officer in the lackluster 1998 sequel "Blues Brothers 2000" and then played the opposite side of the law as a trained mercernary in the in the action crime feature "Half Past Dead" (2002), which starred Steven Seagal. A talented singer as well as actress, Peeples excelled in roles that made use of her vocals, from "Fame" to "I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore," where she contributed three traditional Italian songs to the soundtrack. Before pursuing an acting career, She was a featured member of 'The Young Americans' song troupe. The group frequently guested with Liberace, and Peeples earned an early TV credit in this capacity, performing on the famed pianist's cable-aired 1980 holiday special. Her singing also landed her on European television, as one of the stars of the 13-episode series "Music Shoppe," playing a young aspiring singer. Music again took center stage in Peeples' career in 1988, with the release of her debut album "Nothin' But Trouble" which spawned the dance hit single "Trouble." She followed up with the less successful 1992 self-titled release, emerging with a new more sophisticated look that distanced herself from her days, but failed to live up to her first release. Instead, Peeples has been able to reach a much larger audience through her acting pursuits.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Began performing at age seven (date approximate)
Moved with family to Waco, Texas for one year at age ten (date approximate)
Returned to West Covina, California (date approximate)
Performed with Liberace as part of 'The Young Americans' on his cable-aired Christmas special
Landed a role as a young upstart singer on the series "Music Shoppe", aired only in Europe
Made guest apearances on episodes of "Hardcastle & McCormick", "T.J. Hooker" and "Tales of the Gold Monkey" (all ABC)
Took a recurring role on the ABC daytime drama "General Hospital" as a high school track star with a leg injury
Starred as Nicole Chapman on the syndicated "Fame"
Made feature film debut with a starring role in "North Shore", portraying a Hawaiian native who falls in love with an Arizona surfer visiting the island to brave its waves
Appeared in the sci-fi horror feature "DeepStar Six"
Guest starred in an episode of "Matlock" as a beauty pageant winner charged with murdering a fellow contestant
Featured in the NBC TV-movie "Swimsuit"
Hosted the late night music series "The Party Machine with Nia Peeples"
Starred opposite Jason Alexander in the feature "I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore", playing a psychology student who is interested in a man as a research subject while he is interested in her romantically
Had a featured role in the TV miniseries sequel "Return to Lonesome Dove"
Appeared in the independent thriller "Improper Conduct"
Guest starred on the CBS series "Touched By an Angel"
Had a regular role as a dedicated public defender on the short-lived CBS series "Courthouse"
Starred in the Sci-Fi Channel premiere movie "Mr Stitch" and the USA Network's "Bloodhounds II"
Was a regular on the short-lived medical series "Crisis Center"
Starred in the Disney production "Tower of Terror", aired on ABC
Featured in the sequel "Blues Brothers 2000"
Cast in the action feature "Half Past Dead"