Catherine Oxenberg Biography


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Birth Name: Catherine Oxenberg
Born: 1961


Born Sept. 22, 1961 in New York City, but raised in London, England, Catherine Oxenberg was the eldest daughter of HRH Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia and her first husband, Howard Oxenberg, a Jewish dress manufacturer and friend of the Kennedys. Although she could not personally claim a royal title, Oxenberg's unique lineage made her a descendant of the Serbian Karađorđević dynasty and a distant heir to the British throne. Named for her ancestor Catherine the Great, Oxenberg earned personal acting lessons from screen great Richard Burton, who was engaged to her mother in 1974. She was accepted to Harvard, but deferred for a year to pursue acting and modeling, and eventually enrolled at Columbia, where she studied philosophy, psychology and mythology.

Oxenberg's breakthrough came as the world's favorite princess-to-be, Lady Diana Spencer in "The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana" (CBS, 1982), and she also began a run as a successful model. A handful of glamorous guest spots on "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986) convinced Aaron Spelling to add her to the fifth season of "Dynasty" (ABC, 1981-89) as Amanda Carrington, the long-lost daughter of supreme ice queen Alexis (Joan Collins) Carrington. Revealed to be the secret child of Alexis and Blake (John Forsythe), Amanda's wedding to Prince Michael kicked off an entire era of the long-running show, extending its upper crust bitchery from Denver to the European country of Moldavia. Oxenberg's most memorable moment from the series involved a cocktail-dress catfight in a swimming pool with Sammy Jo (Heather Locklear).

Although she made a huge pop cultural splash on the series and earned two Soap Opera Digest Awards, Oxenberg left "Dynasty" after two seasons. The role of Amanda was recast, and then completely dropped from the series after 13 new episodes, never to be mentioned again. At the height of her "Dynasty" fame, Oxenberg hosted an episode of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), but post-Carrington, her acting career languished. She failed to fill Audrey Hepburn's shoes in the TV remake of "Roman Holiday" (CBS, 1987) and played a virginal Englishwoman menaced by an ancient snake cult in the Ken Russell oddity "The Lair of the White Worm" (1988). Offscreen, the actress gave birth to a daughter in 1991, but never publicly revealed who the father was. She reprised her royal role in the sour "Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After" (ABC, 1992) and starred as an MI6 agent on the first season of the syndicated action series "Acapulco H.E.A.T." (1993-99).

Working steadily in forgettable TV movies, Oxenberg made headlines when she married notorious producer Robert Evans on July 12, 1998, but the marriage was annulled nine days later. She enjoyed a longer lasting relationship with "Starship Troopers" (1997) actor Casper Van Dien, with the two co-starring in the Christian thriller "The Omega Code" (1999). That same year, they married, and soon gave birth to two children. With Oxenberg's first child and Van Dien's two additional children living with them as well, the parents presided over a large, blended family. Occasionally billed as "Catherine Van Dien," Oxenberg continued to book lower profile TV movie gigs and guest spots. She was portrayed by another actress in the behind-the-scenes biopic "Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure" (ABC, 2005), and the following year, Oxenberg reunited with her old castmates to dish about the show in "Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar" (CBS, 2006).

The short-lived reality show "I Married a Princess" (Lifetime, 2005) followed Van Dien, Oxenberg and their children, but made little impression on audiences. The same fate befell the telenovela "Watch Over Me" (MyNetworkTV, 2006-07), which saw the couple playing villains. Oxenberg and Van Dien continued to work together, announcing that they were co-writing the biopic "Prince Paul Royal Exile" based on Oxenberg's own royal ancestors for Van Dien to direct and Oxenberg to star in.




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