2017 Hall of Fame Honoree

Merrin Dungey
Rio Americano High School

Merrin Dungey has been entertaining audiences since strapping on her ballet shoes at the age of four. Always quick on her feet, the talented dancer moved from ballet to ice skating before discovering her talent as an actress when she began appearing on television while she was still a student at Sacramento's Rio Americano High School. She graduated from high school in 1989, and despite her performance background, she entered UCLA intent on majoring in English. She appeared in plays at the school, however, and after winning the university's prestigious American Theater Award as a sophomore—the youngest person ever to win the award—she switched her major to theater.

Following her graduation, the up-and-coming actress developed a one-woman show entitled Black Like Who? for the HBO Comedy Workspace. It didn’t take long for Dungey’s reputation as a talent to watch spread through Hollywood, and on the heels of Black Like Who?, she signed with the William Morris Agency. Television roles were quick to follow, and after guest appearances on Martin and Living Single, Dungey landed a recurring role on the television series Party Girl (an adaptation of the 1995 Parker Posey indie).

After making her film debut with a small role in the 1998 disaster flick Deep Impact, Dungey returned to the small screen in supporting capacity with The King of Queens in 1998. With roles in EDtv (1999) and The Sky Is Falling (2000), Dungey seemed to be balancing films and television nicely, and following a memorable turn on Malcolm in the Middle, she was cast on the small-screen spy drama-thriller series Alias in 2001. In addition to continuing roles on television on such popular shows as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Dungey still appearred in such features as Scream at the Sound of the Beep (2002). In 2004, Dungey took on a role in the made-for-television drama Summerland

Most recently, Dungey guest-starred on the ABC sitcoms Surviving Suburbia, Better Off Ted, Castle, and HBO's Hung. She portrayed Ellie on the Nick at Nite television series Hollywood Heights in 2012 and the recurring role of Alissa Barnes on ABC's Betrayal in 2013. In 2014 she appeared in a featured role opposite Pierce Brosnan in Some Kind of Beautiful. Also in 2014 she began portraying the recurring role of Ursula on ABC's Once Upon a Time.

Beginning October 2016, Dungey began playing investigator Maxine Bohen on the ABC legal drama Conviction.

Merrin Dungey's Resume.

Read The ABCs of Merrin Dungey from the October-November 2016 issue of Sactown Magazine.