An intelligent brunette who went from playing public defender Joyce Davenport on "Hill Street Blues" to becoming a fixture in TV-movies, Veronica Hamel began her showbiz career as an Eileen Ford model. After about a decade as a model, she turned to acting. Based in New York, Hamel appeared in Off-Off Broadway productions and toured in a road company of "Cactus Flower" before settling in Los Angeles in 1975. She was soon appearing in TV episodics, such as "The Bob Newhart Show" and "The Rockford Files," as well as telefilms like "City of Angels" (NBC, 1976). Hamel's profile in TV grew after she appeared as Helen Thornton in the Emmy-winning "The Gathering" (ABC,1977), and its 1979 NBC sequel. By the time "Hill Street Blues" came along in 1980, the buzz on Hamel was already there--she was to be a star. Due to an actors' strike, the premiere of the series was delayed until 1981, but its debut brought Hamel instant recognition. Her character was a bit too serious, maybe even dour, but she worked in a harsh world. She seemingly could only relax with her lover, police captain Frank Furillo (Daniel J Travanti), whom Joyce affectionately dubbed "Pizza Man." The role earned Hamel five Emmy nominations and led to her being cast as the survivor Jennifer in the 1981 CBS remake of "Jacqueline Susann's 'Valley of the Dolls'." Once "Hill Street" departed the airwaves, Hamel began churning out TV-movies in both the thriller and tearjerker genres. Among her numerous credits are "The Conviction of Kitty Dodds" (CBS, 1993), as a woman who escapes from prison who saves a man's life and caught, "The Shadow of Obsession" (NBC, 1994), as a college professor framed for a crime, and "A Child's Cry for Help" (NBC, 1994) as a doctor who cares too much. In 1995, Hamel showed her flair for comedy assuming the role if Lily Munster (originated by Yvonne DeCarlo) in "Here Come the Munsters" (Fox).
Hamel's attempts to become established in feature films have been less successful. She was the female lead in "Cannonball" (1976), but as the movie was about car racing, grunting and fighting, there was not much for her to do. She struggled to survive with injuries while still wearing a barely ripped evening dress in "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure" (1979), but the movie was a disaster in more ways than one. Alan Alda gave Hamel perhaps her best movie chance in "A New Life" (1988), casting her as his second wife, but the film failed to find an audience.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Moved to Los Angeles
Made feature film debut in "Cannonball"
Co-starred in miniseries "79 Park Avenue"
Starred in miniseries remake of "The Valley of the Dolls"
Co-starred in Alan Alda's "A New Life"
Last feature film to date "Taking Care of Business"
Did comic turn in "Here Come the Munsters" (Fox)
Acted in the ABC movie "Talk Time"
Starred in the CBS telefilm "Stranger in My Home"
Had a recurring role as a judge on the ABC series "Philly", produced by Steven Bochco