This pretty, petite (5'2"), brunette began her career as an actor, including a stint with the famed improv group The Groundlings, but has found greater fame behind the scenes in features and TV.
Throughout the early 1980s, the Kansas-born player found work in small roles in front of the camera in several TV-movies and the occasional feature. Often cast much younger than her years, Stoner first caught audiences' attention in two TV-movie sequels to the long-running "Little House on the Prairie." Her feature roles were also limited to generally bit parts (as in her debut in 1984's "Impulse"). Perhaps her biggest part of note was as one of the titular "Reform School Girls" (1986), a campy spoof of "women-in-prison" films (i.e., "Caged" 1950). Stoner played Lisa, an unstable teenager whose precious stuffed rabbit is taken from her by an obese matron (Pat Ast). Representing the weakling who cannot cope in a harsh environment, the actress played her role earnestly, even when the character was driven to suicide by the matron's harsh treatment and the overtures of a leather-clad lesbian (Wendy O Williams).
With her acting career stalled, Stoner finally found a new career: beginning in 1987 she began posing for the Disney animation team creating Ariel, "The Little Mermaid" (1989). Working for no more than two days a month over a two-year period, she provided the live action reference for the animators, who incorporated several of Stoner's idiosyncrasies into the character (e.g., her penchant for biting her lower lip; her use of her hands). Pleased with her work, Disney hired her as a live action model for Belle in 1991's "Beauty and the Beast." (In this case, the design team incorporated the way Stoner pushed back her hair.)
Around the same time, Steven Spielberg hired her to work as a writer on the CBS animated special "Tiny Toon Adventures: The Looney Beginnings" (1990), which had Bugs Bunny recounting the creation of a new generation of cartoon characters based on and inspired by classic figures. Stoner worked for two years as producer and story editor on the subsequent syndicated "Steven Spielberg's Tiny Toon Adventures," which, despite its target audience of children, was filled with adult humor, in-jokes and pop culture references. It set the tone for each of the series on which Spielberg and Warner Brothers collaborated. Some of Stoner's work was repackaged on the short-lived Saturday morning spin-off "The Plucky Duck Show" (Fox, 1992). Impressed with her efforts, Spielberg had her provide additional material to each episode of the short-lived primetime animated series "The Family Dog" (1993). By the time Stoner had been selected as producer and story editor on "Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs," she had found her calling. She created the Marilynesque Minerva Mink and wrote some of the more memorable segments of "Pinky and the Brain" (which was spun-off into its own series in 1995). Additionally, she provided the raspy voice for Slappy Squirrel, an irascible cartoon figure with a penchant for explosions followed by the catchphrase "Now that's comedy!" During her long tenure in animation, Stoner has accrued three Daytime Emmys for her work as producer and/or writer.
By 1995, Stoner had segued to writing for the big screen, collaborating with Deanna Oliver on the script for "Casper," executive produced by Spielberg. Critics were divided over this comedy; most praised its spectacular visual effects, but quibbled over its script. Some found it delightful and filled with knowing humor, while other complained of sentimentality and an uneven tone. Nevertheless, "Casper" proved to be a box-office success spawning an animated TV series and a sequel (in development as of 1997).
Cast (Feature Film)
Writer (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Writer (TV Mini-Series)
Film acting debut, "Impulse"
Provided additional vocals for "The Little Mermaid", credited as Sherry Lynn
Produced and served as story editor for the animated series "The Plucky Duck Show" (Fox), a spin-off of "Tiny Toon Adventures"
Contributed additional material to the Spielberg-produced CBS animated series "The Family Dog"
Wrote and served as story editor on "Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky and the Brain" (The WB)
Feature screenwriting debut, "Casper"; co-wrote with Deanna Oliver
With Oliver, co-wrote feature version of the 1960s TV series "My Favorite Martian"