Emma Samms (née Samuelson) was born into a happy, affluent family in London
in the summer of 1960. At age six, she began studying at the prestigious Royal
Ballet School. But Samms' charmed youth was marred when her younger brother died
of a rare blood disease. Samms escaped the pain by focusing on dance, but an
injury she sustained at age 16 ended her ballet career. After a brief modeling
stint, Samms took up acting. Her first role, in the 1979 movie "Arabian
Adventure," garnered her the British Film Award for Most Promising
Newcomer. At the movie's London premiere, a benefit for sick children, Samms
befriended a young boy named Sean who had been diagnosed with cancer. Their bond
continued even after she moved to the United States.
In America, Samms was forced to pay her acting dues all over again; in 1981,
she landed a part opposite Mark Harmon in the flick "Goliath Awaits."
Samms also brought Sean and his mother out to California to fulfill his dream of
visiting Disneyland. Encouraged by the positive experience, Samms and her cousin
started the Starlight Children's Foundation in honor of Samms' deceased brother.
The foundation grants wishes to sick children. As Samms' organization grew, so
did her career. In 1982, she joined the cast of "General Hospital" as
the devious Holly Sutton. Four years later, at age 24, she attained
international fame as heroine Fallon Carrington on the prime-time soap
"Dynasty." Meanwhile, Samms' offscreen life was tainted by two failed
As the indulgent '80s ended, so did the decadent "Dynasty." Samms
reprised her role on "General Hospital" before joining the ill-fated
show "Models Inc." in 1994. Luckily, her personal life was faring
better; she reconnected with childhood friend John Holloway and married him in
1996. The couple moved to the English countryside and had two children, son
Cameron and daughter Beatrice. Samms continues to perform in made-for-TV movies
and has written and sold several screenplays. Throughout her career, she has
always used her fame to help others. Today, the Starlight Children's Foundation
helps more than 100,000 children each month in 1,000 hospitals throughout the
Did You Know?
Emma Samms' mother was a
Samms once worked as a
certified emergency medical technician in Los Angeles.
She has twice turned down
Playboy's offer to be a centerfold.
Samms is now a screenwriter.
At age 38, she sold her first
movie screenplay, "His bodyguard," about a deaf-mute man who
witnesses the theft of an experimental antivirus medication.
*To view videos of Emma answering Lifetime TV questions, click