Friday, October 17, 2008

Tiffany Brissette

Tiffany Brissette is a former child star known for her role as Voice Input Child Identicant ("V.I.C.I.," pronounced "Vicki") the robot on the successful mid-1980s sitcom, Small Wonder. Brissette was born on December 26, 1974 in Paradise, California.

Brissette began her entertainment career in the late 1970s. Her mother was her biggest fan, entering her in many beauty pageants and talent competitions as a child. Such early exposure eventually led to television voice-over work and appearances in commercials for products such as the Care Bears, Florida Orange Juice, IBM, and Jell-O Puddin' Pops, to name just a few.

Brissette's first television role was in the made-for-TV move, A Woman Called Golda, where her voice was used, but she was not shown. She also had a minor voice role in the 1982 mini-series, Marco Polo. Brissette followed up with a minor role in the 1983 big screen movie, Heart Like a Wheel. In 1984 she appeared of several episodes of the hit sitcom, Webster. Her early roles led to her greatest success in 1985, when she landed a starring role on the hit sitcom, Small Wonder.

As previously mentioned in the profiles for Jerry Supiran and Emily Schulman, Small Wonder was a very usual show. Small Wonder was a hit in syndication and the show focused on the Lawson family. The parents of the Lawson family were Ted and Joan Lawson, played by Dick Christie and Marla Pennington, respectively. The son of the Lawson family was Jamie Lawson, played by Jerry Supiran. Ted Lawson worked as an engineer/inventor for United Robotronics, working on a robot for assisting handicapped children. Ted invented the V.I.C.I. robot, which was an android that looked like a 10-year-old girl. The Lawson family pretended that Vicki was the family's adopted daughter.

The show was generally focused on Vicki and her interactions with Jamie and other kids such as the annoying next door neighbor, Harriet Brindle (played by Emily Schulman). Even though Small Wonder was a weird show, I have to admit that I did watch it regularly during its initial run. I liked Brissette on the show - she was very cute and played a monotone robot with some skill. Granted, it probably was not that difficult to play a robot, but Brissette was good in her role and was undoubtedly the main draw of the show.

Brissette acted on Small Wonder until the show's cancellation in 1989. Unfortunately, Brissette's carrer practically ended with the cancellation of Small Wonder. Brissette made minor appearances on shows such as Teen Win, Lose or Draw and Parker Lewis Can't Lose between 1989 and 1991. She also appeared in a Debbie Gibson charity sci-fi play in 1991 with fellow sitcom actresses Josie Davis (from Charles in Charge) and Alyssa Milano (from Who's The Boss?), as shown in the picture below:

Unfortunately, Brissette has not managed to secure any acting roles since the early 1990s. I think it is a shame, as Brissette was a very attractive young woman and a decent actress, albeit for a sitcom. Brissette has apparently also shied away from publicity since the early 1990s as her acting roles dried up. I was, however, able to locate a few photos of her from the past decade. The picture on the left below was supposedly taken in 1999 - as shown, Brissette was still looking very good in her mid-20s. The picture on the right is of Brissette and her mother along with friends - this photo was supposedly taken in Hawaii in 2001.

In her personal life, Brissette has taken up running and is a good distance runner. On March 2, 1997, she participated in the Los Angeles Marathon and finished in 4:33:06. She placed 921st among 5,312 females, and 101st out of 545 in her age class. She placed 5,110th in an overall field of 15,899 entrants. In 2001, Brissette ran the Sunrise Stampede 10K race in a time of 46:52, which is a pace of 7:32/mile - for a female runner, that is a very good 10K time. Brissette is also supposedly the woman in the middle of the picture below on the right - this photo was apparently taken during fall 2002 at a charity marathon race.

Brissette has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Westmont College and currently lives in Boudler Colorado. She has worked as a nanny in the past and is studying to be a nurse. She is also an experimental dancer. In 2007 she appeared in a "Child Stars Revisited" video. Here are some pictures of Brissette that were taken in 2007:

As one can see from the pictures above, Brissette has changed quite a bit since her days on Small Wonder. She used to be absolutely adorable, but unfortunately her cuteness seems to have faded. She either had a really bad hair day when the pictures below were taken, or she has aged very poorly. For this and her effectively dead acting career, there can be no dispute that Tiffany Brissette is one washed-up celebrity!

*** Update - May 22, 2009 ***

I just discovered that Tiffany Brissette was interviewed on The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet in January 2009. She looks cute again, so maybe the 2007 photos were taken when she was having a bad day. During her appearance, Brissette mentioned that she currently lives in Boulder, Colorado and is still in nursing school. She also said that she enjoys skiing and biking. She is not yet married and does not have any children.

*** Update - May 31, 2012 *** 

Tiffany was interviewed by the New York Post after the story broke about Jerry Supiran being homeless and living under a bridge. Tiffany is apparently doing well - she mentioned that she voluntarily left acting herself to pursue a normal life after Small Wonder went off the air. She is still living in Boulder, Colarado and is now a nurse.

Tiffany Brissette seems to do well for herself. Accordingly, I no longer consider her to be washed up. I will, however, keep her profile up because I know that it is hard to find good information about her on the Internet and her fans like reading about her.