Paige Turco is an American actress, best known for playing April O’Neil in the two ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ films from the early 1990s. She was born and raised in Massachusetts, USA, and aspired to become a ballerina ever since she was a kid. She took ballet lessons for that and ended up joining New England Dance Conservatory among other dancing companies. When her ballerina career was going good, she suffered an ankle injury, following which she stopped dancing. She however, gained interest in acting and graduated from the University of Connecticut in Drama. In 1987, she made her television debut playing a supporting role as Dinah Chamberlain in 18 episodes of the soap opera titled ‘Guiding Light’, followed by another supporting role in the soap opera titled ‘All my Children’. She started her film career in 1991 with ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze’ and ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III’ and had her career breakthrough early on. Over the years, she appeared in films such as ‘Vibrations’ and ‘Rhinoceros Eyes’ and series’ such as ‘The Agency’, ‘The 100’ and ‘Person of Interest’. She played a supporting role in the television film titled ‘Separated at Birth.’
Childhood & Early Life
Paige Turco was born Jean Paige Turco, in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 17, 1965, to Joyce Jean and David Vincent Turco. She has an English, Italian, and French ancestry. Her father passed away shortly after her birth. Her mother moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, with the family, where Paige spent rest of her growing up years.
She was interested in performance arts ever since she was a kid. But acting was not her interest of profession; she aspired to become a ballerina. She took ballet lessons extensively as a kid. She attended Walnut Hill School and continued her academics along with dancing lessons.
During her teenage years, she performed as a soloist in the New England Dance Conservatory, The Amherst Ballet Theatre Company and the Western Massachusetts Ballet Company. She was seriously looking forward to a career in classic ballet dancing when an accident injured her ankle and she had to stop dancing immediately.
She became depressed for a while and later admitted that it was a painful experience for her every time she attended ballet dancing after the accident.
However, she did not give up on performance arts and chose acting to be the profession she wanted to pursue further. She enrolled into the Bay Path College and completed her majors in drama from the University of Connecticut.
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In 1987, she made her acting debut appearing in the soap opera titled ‘Guiding Light’ and played a supporting role as Dinah Chamberlain. She appeared on the opera for the next two years and reprised her recurring role in 18 episodes.
She followed with another recurring role in another soap opera titled ‘All My Children’, in which she played Melanie ‘Lanie’ Cortlandt Rampal in 16 episodes, from1989-1991.
She also made her film debut in a big way, playing one of the lead roles as April O’Neil in the fantasy superhero comedy drama film titled ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze’ in 1991. She further reprised her role in the third instalment of the series in 1993. Both the films received average reviews but became commercially successful.
In 1994, she further played one of the main lead roles in the independent drama film titled ‘Dead Funny’. She played Louise in the film, which was a commercial and critical failure. In the same year, she appeared playing a supporting role in the television drama series titled ‘Winnetka Road’.
In the rest of the 1990s, she appeared playing supporting roles in series’ such as ‘American Gothic’, ‘NYPD Blue’ and ‘Party of Five’. After playing back to back supporting roles, she also played key roles in films such as ‘The Pompatus of Love’, ‘Vibrations’ and ‘Dark Tides’.
In 2000, she appeared in the independent drama film titled ‘Urbania’ and played the lead role as Cassandra. The film received a very limited theatrical release, but was a huge critical success and was officially selected to be played at many film festivals. In the same year, she appeared playing the lead role as Elena in the independent film titled ‘Astoria’.
In 2001, she appeared playing one of the lead roles as Terri Lowell in the action drama series titled ‘The Agency’, based on the inner workings of the CIA. The series was a huge success and ran for 2 seasons and 44 episodes.
After appearing in the pilot episode of the series titled ‘Women in Law’, she appeared playing small roles in series’ such as ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Big Shots’, followed by a supporting role as Stacey Strobl in the television film titled ‘Taking Chance’. The film was a huge critical success and was selected to be premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
In 2009, she further appeared playing a guest role in the series titled ‘Life on Mars’ and followed in the same year with a supporting role as Christine Purcell in the television series titled ‘Damages’.
She followed with lead role in the television film titled ‘Secrets of the Mountain’ and played Dana James. The film turned out to be a commercial success.
From 2011 to 2016, she played a recurring role as Zoe Morgan in the series titled ‘Person of Interest’, followed by a regular role in the series titled ‘The 100’.
Since late 2000s, she has devoted more time to her television projects and the last few films that she appeared in were titled ‘The Game Plan’, ‘The Favor’ and ‘The Stepfather’.
More recently, she was seen playing a supporting role in the television film titled ‘Separated at Birth’, in which she essayed Elizabeth Marshall.
Family & Personal Life
Paige Turco was raised as a religious person. She is an ardent follower of Roman Catholicism.
She met Jason O’Mara, an Irish actor, on the sets of her 2001 series ‘The Agency’ and the couple began dating. They got married in 2003, and Paige gave birth to a son named David in 2004. She named her son in honor of her deceased father.
Their personal life went through difficult time in 2017, and the couple announced their separation in May 2017. They have since filed for a divorce.