Elise Neal, former dancer, kicked up some dust in the media when the native Tennessean guest-starred as a recovering breast cancer patient on a an unforgettable episode of "Chicago Hope" - a serious role that needed some unusual nudity to give information that could help save many breast cancer patients' lives. "The producers and I wanted to show that with skin grafts, women can have a normal-looking breast despite suffering from breast cancer, so they don't have to put off the operation" says Neal. "Purposely, there was no advance promotion for the episode, but there was a lot of press attention the next day. I had never done any nudity before and I had to think about accepting the part. I still get jammed about it from my friends. My phone rang forever that night. My mom's a nurse, so she was very supportive."
She was born on March 14 and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Elise Neal was the youngest of 3 sisters whose parents were divorced when she was the age of 15. After graduating from high school at 17, Neal headed for Philadelphia, where she studied at the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts for a year. She moved to New York to study dance and acting ("Although dancing is my first love, everyone treats dancers like dirt," she admits). She appeared on Broadway in David Merrick's musical "Okay," as well as other local productions. During this time, Neal also worked in TV commercials - she earned her SAG card doing one for a soap product - and was a regular in the daytime drama "Loving" for four months as Janie, a gritty young woman educated in the streets.
In 1992, Neal arrived in Los Angeles and soon appeared in music videos and industrial films. She also guest-starred in the NBC series "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and starred in "Daddy's Girl," an upcoming Afterschool Special. Her feature film credits include "Let It Be Me." Attentive viewers might spot her in a series of Nike shoe commercials with former San Antonio Spur basketball star George "The Iceman" Gervin ("It's a great way to get free shoes!").
Away from the set, Neal enjoys playing tennis, shooting pool, attending movies on opening day - and is a self-admitted fan of daytime dramas.