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Vanessa Marcil was born on October 15, 1968, in Indio, California, USA, to Peter Ortiz, a contractor, and Patricia Marcil Ortiz, an herbalist. She grew up in Palm Desert with her parents and her two older sisters Tina and Sherry and her older brother Sam.
When Vanessa was 8, she started acting in plays and even performed her own song at a 6th grade talent show in which she won. Soon afterward, she began pursuing an acting career and starred in several theatre productions before landing the role of Brenda Barrett on the ABC daytime soap opera "General Hospital" (1963) in 1992. She made her feature film debut in "The Rock" (1996) starring opposite Nicholas Cage as well as starring in a made-for-television movie To Love, Honor and Decieve (TV) in 1996. She stayed with General Hospital (1963) until 1998 and then left to join the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990) as Gina Kincaid, a former ice skater replacing Tiffani Thiessen as the show's vixen.
She met actor Brian Austin Green on the show and the two had a baby together named Kassius Lijah Marcil-Green born in March of 2002.