If television and movie buffs with a keen eye suspect that they may have seen actress Amy Yasbeck somewhere before, it could be from her early roles on the long-running soap opera mainstay Days of Our Lives or a mid-’90s stint on Wings, but it’s possible that Yasbeck’s recognition factor reaches back even further into the pop culture public conscience. As a child, the pretty actress was featured on the box of the wildly popular Easy Bake Oven.
Born and raised the daughter of a grocery store proprietor father and a homemaker in Cincinnati, OH, Yasbeck got her break in show business after moving to New York City, where she was discovered by an agent while working in a restaurant. Moving to Los Angeles shortly after she began auditioning for roles, the aspiring actress made her television debut on Love, American Style before taking a villainous turn as Olivia in Days of Our Lives. As her small-screen career began gaining momentum with roles in Dallas, Magnum P.I., and The Cosby Show, Yasbeck also appeared early on in such features as House II: The Second Story (1987), Pretty Woman, and Problem Child (both 1990), on the set of which she met future husband John Ritter. Her versatile ability to transform herself into a given character regardless of apparent physical disparities was later evidenced in Yasbeck’s role as Maid Marian in Mel Brooks’ zany parody Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Though her role description called for a buxom blond actress of British persuasion, the artifices of a wig, a phony accent, and some creative costume-stuffing won the actress the role while simultaneously winning the favor of director Brooks (who later cast Yasbeck opposite Wings co-star Steven Webber in Dracula: Dead and Loving It ). Drifting between television (Alright, Already, I’ve Got a Secret) and film (Odd Couple II, Denial [both 1998]) in the later 1990s, Yasbeck’s comfort in both realms seemed to ensure the actress a long and healthy future career.