Born in Baltimore on March 14, 1961, Penny always dreamt of being an actor. When her high school teacher discouraged her from going into acting, she strengthened her resolve. She got into Julliard School for the Arts and later graduated from there. Her big break came as the titular character in the made-for-TV movie, 'The Files on Jill Hatch.'
She soon began making guest star appearances on shows such as 'T.J. Hooker,' 'Paper Chase,' and landed a role on the daytime soap ‘General Hospital.’
Supporting roles on 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ and the 'Larry Sanders Show' followed and kept her into the national eye. She later landed a guest starring appearance on ER.
However, her role as master manipulator Sherry Palmer on '24' is the one that has brought her the most recognition. Her stint as the diabolical wife of President David Palmer allowed her to exhibit great range. She would show ruthlessness one moment and kindness in the next.
Her most recent television starring role was as Condoleezza Rice in a television biopic concerning the events surrounding the 9/11 tragedy.