Who was Dana Hill?
The late American actress Dana Hill was born Dana Lynne Goetz in Los Angeles, California USA, on 6 May 1964, meaning that Taurus was her zodiac sign. She appeared in 68 movies and TV series prior to her death in 1996, and is perhaps still remembered best for playing Audrey Griswold, one of the main characters in the evergreen 1985 adventure comedy movie “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”, which also starred Beverly D’Angelo and Chevy Chase, and was directed by Amy Heckerling. It follows the Griswold family as they’re vacationing in Europe, and the film won one of its two award nominations.
Remembering DANA HILL (May 6, 1964 – July 15, 1996), who played Princess Amanda in "The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out…
Education and early life
Dana was raised in Los Angeles alongside her brothers Matthew and Daniel, by their mother Sandy nee Hill who was a housewife, and father Theodore Arthur ‘Ted’ Goetz who was a director of commercials.
Dana grew up being passionate about running, and aged 10 placed #3 nationwide in the 880-yard run, as well as #4 in the mile run; she collapsed while running a couple of weeks later, and was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. This marked the end of Dana’s career as an athlete, and she thus focused on acting.
She studied at a local high school in Los Angeles, but upon matriculating in 1982 didn’t enroll at college.
Roles in TV series
Dana had made her debut TV series appearance in the 1978 episode “Mork the Gullible” of the family science fiction comedy “Mork & Mindy”, and the year 1979 saw her play Maggie Joy in all the three episodes of the adventure series “The French Atlantic Affair”, which starred James Coco, Horst Buchholz and Jean-Pierre Aumont, and follows a group of terrorists who’ve hijacked a luxury liner; the series won a 1980 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Title Sequences, for Phill Norman.
The year 1980 saw Dana appear in an episode of three series: the family adventure “The Magical World of Disney”, the adventure comedy “ABC Afterschool Specials”, and the drama “Family”.
In 1981 and 1982, she starred as Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Gallagher in all the 20 episodes of the comedy “The Two of Us”, which also starred Peter Cook and Mimi Kennedy, and follows single mother Nan Gallagher who’s hired British man Robert Brentwood as her butler; the series was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Young Actress in a Television Series. Some of Dana’s following appearances were in single episodes of the action crime adventure “Magnum, P. I.”, the adventure comedy “CBS Schoolbreak Special” and the adventure “The Rousters”.
In 1987 and 1988, she voiced the lead character Orphan Scrappy in 19 episodes of the animated action adventure “Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures”, while she then voiced Raggedy Dog in eight episodes of the short animated comedy “The Adventures of Raggedy Ann & Andy”.
In 1990 and 1991, Dana voiced Kevin in 14 episodes of the animated family comedy “Widget, the World Watcher”, created by Peter Keefe, and which starred Russi Taylor, Jim Cummings and Kath Soucie. It follows the alien Widget as he’s learning about humans on Earth, and the series won a 1992 Environmental Media Award for Children’s Animated.
Dana’s final three TV series roles were voicing Wee Willie Winkle in the 1996 episode “Three Ghosts and a Baby” of the short animated adventure “The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper”, various characters in 19 episodes of the short animated adventure “The Pink Panther” from 1994 through 1996, and Charles in 46 episodes of the animated adventure comedy “Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man” from 1994 through 1997.
Roles in movies
Dana’s debut film role was playing Courtney Featherstone in the 1979 comedy “Featherstone’s Nest”, and she could then have been seen appearing in the 1980 drama “The $5.20 an Hour Dream”, the 1980 crime adventure “The Kids Who Knew Too Much” and the 1981 drama “Fallen Angel”.
She played Sherry Dunlap in the 1982 drama “Shoot the Moon”, directed by Alan Parker, and which starred Albert Finney, Diane Keaton and Karen Allen. It follows a mother of four who’s been abandoned by her husband for a younger woman, and the film was nominated for seven awards. Dana was then cast to appear in the 1982 drama “The Member of the Wedding”, the 1983 biographical romantic drama “Cross Creek” and the 1983 comedy “Branagan and Mapes”.
She played Sergeant Andrea Pritchett in the 1986 comedy “Combat High”, directed by Neal Israel, and which starred Keith Gordon, Wallace Langham and George Clooney; it follows two boys who’ve been forced to enroll at military school. The remainder of the ‘80s saw Dana voice characters in the 1988 animated adventure comedy “The Flintstone Kids’ Just Say No Special”, the 1989 animated drama “Marvin: Baby of the Year” and the 1990 animated family comedy “Jetsons: The Movie”.
Remembering Dana Hill, The actress who played Audrey Griswald in National Lampoon's European Vacation and voiced Jerry in Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Charles in Duckman, and Max Goof in Goof Troop. pic.twitter.com/K60QY9SFNX
— Alec Behan (@alec_behan) May 6, 2020
In 1991, Dana played Francy in the drama “Final Verdict”, directed by Jack Fisk, and which starred Treat Williams, Olivia Burnette and Glenn Ford. It follows the life of journalist Nora Rogers, whose father Earl Rogers was the best lawyer in the country, and the film was nominated for four awards.
Dana’s final three film roles were in the 1992 short animated adventure “The Odyssey: A Journey Back Home”, the 1993 short animated adventure “The D.A.R.E. Report: The Land of Decisions and Choices” and the critically acclaimed 1996 animated family drama “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, all voice roles.
Dana sang the song “Reach Out and Touch Someone” in the 1985 movie “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”, the song “Friends To The End” of the 1992 “Tom and Jerry: The Movie”, and the song “Reindeer Rumba” of the 1992 movie “Goof Troop Christmas”.
She received special thanks (posthumously) for the 1997 episode “Ajax & Ajaxer” of the animated series “Duckman: Private Duck/Family Man” and the 2012 episode “Blu-Ray: Las Vacaciones Europeas de una Chiflada Familia Americana” of the historical comedy series “Special Collector’s Edition”.
Some of Dana’s talk-show appearances were in “Hot Potato”, ”Body Language” and “To Tell the Truth”.
Awards and nominations
Dana was nominated for four Young Artist Awards, winning two: in 1982 for Best Young Actress in a Television Special, for her performance in “Fallen Angel”, and in 1984 for Best Young Actress, Guest in a Television Series for “Magnum, P. I.”
Love life and relationships.
Dana preferred to keep the details of her love life to herself, and never spoke of any men, or perhaps women whom she’d dated.
She was in an on-screen matchup with American actor William Zabka when they starred alongside in the 1985 movie “National Lampoon’s European Vacation”; some people believe that the two might had been dating in real life, but this hasn’t been confirmed.
There are also those who believe that Dana was in a long-term relationship with a fellow actor at the time of her passing, but that she preferred to keep their relationship a secret; this hasn’t been confirmed either.
Dana was single at the time of her death, never marry and didn’t have children.
Interesting facts and hobbies
Dana’s growth was stunted during her teenage years because of diabetes, and some people mistook her for a 12 or 13 years old girl even when she was in her late 20s.
For her performance in the play “Picnic”, played at the Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre, Dana won a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Distinguished Featured Performance.
She was highly friendly and found it easy to get along with fellow actors and actresses.
Dana was involved in charity, and mostly contributed to non-profit organizations aiming to help diabetics.
She was a lover of animals, and dogs were her favorites.
Dana was a fan of actor Marlon Brando, and some of her favorite movies were “Last Tango in Paris”, “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Superman”.
Death and wealth
Dana struggled with diabetes her entire life, and in May 1996 fell into a diabetic coma; she suffered a paralytic stroke a month later, and died on 15 July 1996, aged 32. Her remains were cremated.
At the time of Dana’s passing, her net worth was estimated at over $1 million.