Julliard-trained actress Diane Venora made both her New York stage and film debut in 1981. The play was the off-Broadway production Penguin Touquet; the film was Wolfen. In 1983, Venora became the focus of voluminous press coverage for her appearance in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet–not as Ophelia or Gertrude, but in the title role! Her subsequent film roles included Gloria Swanson in The Cotton Club (1984), Ellen in FX (1986), Peg in Ironweed (1987), and, best of all, Chan Parker, the put-upon wife of jazz great Charlie Parker (Forest Whitaker), in director Clint Eastwood’s Bird (1988). Previously seen on television as Corinna in the 1985 miniseries AD and as Ed Asner’s daughter in the pilot episode of the 1994 weekly series Thunder Alley (Robin Riker played the role in the series proper), Diane Venora was cast as Dr. Geri Infante in the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope (1994- ).