Ana Alicia

Ana Alicia
Born Ana Alicia Ortiz
(1956-12-12) December 12, 1956
Mexico City, Mexico[1]
Citizenship American, Mexican
Alma mater Wellesley College
University of Texas at El Paso
Southwestern University[2]
Occupation Actress
Voice actress
Years active 1977–1997
Known for Ryan's Hope
Falcon Crest
Spouse(s) Gary R. Benz (1994-present; 2 children)

Ana Alicia (born December 12, 1956) is a Mexican-born American actress. She is best known for her role as scheming heiress Melissa Agretti on the long-running primetime soap opera Falcon Crest.

Early life

She was born as Ana Alicia Ortiz in Mexico City to Carlos Celestino Ortiz and Alicia Torres Ortiz, who ran businesses in Acapulco, Mexico. She was the third of four children. Her family moved to El Paso, Texas when she was a child of 6 years old after the passing of her father. There, she lived with her grandmother, widowed mother, her uncle Louie and three siblings in a house her father had purchased for her grandmother. Upon graduating high school in 1972, Ortiz earned a scholarship to Wellesley College. Upon arrival at Wellesley College, Ana Alicia auditioned and won the lead role for Jules Feiffer's "Crawling Arnold". On summer break after her freshmen year, Ana Alicia auditioned for The Adobe Horseshoe Dinner Theatre outside El Paso, Texas. The theatre offered her a position as a recurring actress in all feature productions. The opportunity would allow her to work with name actors from Hollywood and New York and receive a large weekly salary. She accepted the offer and also acquired her actor's equity card through her term. She left Wellesley College, instead pursuing her bachelor's degree in drama at the University of Texas at El Paso to be closer to her mother and three brothers.[2] Her first professional role under an AEA contract was as one of the Pigeon Sisters in a production of The Odd Couple starring Bob Denver at The Adobe Horseshoe Dinner Theater in El Paso.[3]

Ana Alicia spent the next three years, performing in main stage productions at UTEP as well as having significant roles in the Adobe Horseshoe repertoire.


After earning her degree in 1977, Ortiz moved to Los Angeles and started auditioning for roles in various productions. She won the part of Alicia Nieves on Ryan's Hope, a daytime soap opera, moving to New York City for taping. After fifteen months on the show, Ortiz moved back to Los Angeles part-time and kept auditioning while attending law school at Southwestern University at night back in Texas. Eventually, her acting opportunities suffered and she decided to pursue acting full-time.[3]

Now going by "Ana Alicia" professionally, she landed several guest roles in episodic television, including Starbuck's love interest, Aurora, in the 1979 Battlestar Galactica episode "Take the Celestra" and Gloria Alonzo in the episode "Space Croppers" of the series sequel Galactica 1980. Between these she appeared as Falina Redding in the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century episode "Vegas in Space." Then, she played a major role in the 1981 TV movie Coward Of The County, which also starred Kenny Rogers and was based on his hit song of the same name. Next Ana Alicia auditioned for the role of spoiled, selfish vineyard heiress Melissa Agretti on Falcon Crest as a replacement for actress Delores Cantú who had played Melissa for one episode in early 1982. Melissa went on to become the series' "love to hate" character and a firm fan favorite, as a worthy rival for the show's arch-villainess Angela Channing, played by Jane Wyman. In 1979 Ana Alicia appeared in the made-for-TV movie The Sacketts as Drusilla, the love of Tyrell Sackett. The movie was based on the Louis L'Amour books The Sacketts and The Daybreakers. Ana Alicia appeared in the 1983 TV-movie, Happy Endings, opposite John Schneider and her former Ryan's Hope co-star, Catherine Hicks.

In 1989, Ortiz appeared with Raúl Juliá in the movie Romero, her only non-television film role apart from Halloween II in 1981. Then in 1990, Ana Alicia appeared in the 1990 made-for-TV movie Miracle Landing as flight attendant Michelle Honda. The film is based on an in-flight accident aboard Aloha Airlines Flight 243 that occurred in April 1988. Ana Alicia continued to play guest roles on episodic television, including two episodes in the action series Renegade which reunited her with her former Falcon Crest screen husband Lorenzo Lamas. This was her last known acting role. She has taken a hiatus to raise her family.[4]

Alicia sang two songs on the soap, Falcon Crest. The first song was called Goody Goody and is a famous 1936 song composed by Matty Malneck with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The song was first sung by Bing Crosby. The second song was Body and Soul. It was written by Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton and Johnny Green in 1930. The song was presented by Libby Holman in the revue Three's a Crowd and used as the theme of the 1947 film, Body and Soul, becoming a jazz favorite.[5]

In October 2010, Ana Alicia appeared in a promotional video for the Norwegian television show Gylne Tider. She and other celebrities filmed a cover of The Beatles song "Let It Be."[6]

Ana Alicia was the national spokesperson for the Humane Society. She has given out awards promoting Hispanic accomplishments in the media from the Golden Eagle Awards.[2]


Alicia married Gary Benz on April 24, 1994. They have two children.


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Halloween II Janet Marshall
1989 Romero Arista Zelada
1994 To Die, to Sleep Kathy's Mother Voice
Year Title Role Notes
1977-1978 Ryan's Hope (TV series) Alicia Nieves 102 Episodes
1978 The Next Step Beyond (TV series) Angela Mendoza Episode "Portrait of the Mind: (1.9)
1979 The Hardy Boys Mysteries (TV series) Suzanne Clifford Episode "Life on the Line" (3.10)
1979 Battlestar Galactica (TV series) Aurora Episode "Take the Celestra" (1.20)
1979 The Sacketts (TV movie) Drusilla
1979 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (TV series) Falina Ređing Episode "Vegas in Space" (1.3)
1979 The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (TV series) Millie Rogers Episode "The Boom Boom Lady" (1.9)
1980 Galactica 1980 (TV series) Gloria Alonzo Episode "Space Croppers" (1.9)
1980 Quincy M.E. (TV series) Nurse Nancy Berger Episode "No Way to Treat a Patient" (5.22)
1980 Condominium (TV miniseries) Thelma Messenkott
1981 B.J. and the Bear (TV series) Dolores Episode "Seven Lady Captives" (3.11)
1981 Coward of the County (TV movie) Violet
1981 The Ordeal of Bill Carney (TV movie) Lisa Saldonna
1982 McClain's Law (TV series) Episode "A Matter of Honor" (1.8)
1982 Tattletales (TV series) Herself 5 Episodes
1982-1988 Falcon Crest (TV series) Melissa Agretti Cumson Gioberti 173 Episodes
1983 Happy Endings (TV movie) Veronica
1983 Battle of the Network Stars XV (TV series) Herself - CBS Team
1984 Hollywood '84 (TV miniseries) Herself Episode (1.2)
1984 The Love Boat (TV series) Samantha Gregory Episode " My Mother, My Chaperone/Present, The/Death and Life of Sir Alfred Demerest, The/Welcome Aboard: Part 1: (8.11)
1984 The Love Boat (TV series) Samantha Gregory Episode "My Mother, My Chaperone/Present, The/Death and Life of Sir Alfred Demerest, The/Welcome Aboard: Part 2" (8.12)
1985 Hotel (TV series) Mary Ellen Carson Episode "Bystanders" (2.17)
1986 The CBS Easter Parade (TV special) Herself - Host
1987 Sex Symbols: Past, Present and Future (TV movie) Herself
1988 Moonlighting (TV series) Mary Erin-Gates Episode "And the Flesh Was Made Word" (4.14) (as Ana-Alicia)
1989 Falcon Crest (TV series) Samantha Ross 5 Episodes
1990 Miracle Landing (TV movie) Michelle Honda (as Ana-Alicia)
1991 Life Goes On (TV series) Shanna Grey Episode "Lighter Than Air" (2.21)
1993 Rio Shannon (TV movie) Dolores Santillan
1994 Murder, She Wrote (TV series) Sgt. Hilda Dupont Episode "Northern Explosion" (10.11)
1994 Acapulco H.E.A.T. (TV series) Linda Davidson Episode "Code Name: Easy Riders" (1.12)
1994 Renegade (TV series) Dr. Grace Prescott Episode "Sheriff Reno" (2.19) (as Ana-Alicia)
1996 Renegade (TV series) Angela Baptista Episode "Hard Evidence" (4.19) (as Ana-Alicia)
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (TV series) Duchess of Earl / Businessman's Daughter Episode "The Pied Piper" (5.2) (Voice)
2004 E! True Hollywood Story (TV series) Herself Episode "Scream Queens"


Year Title Song Notes
1985 Falcon Crest (TV series) "Mairzy Doates" Episode "Cold Comfort" (4.23)
1987 Falcon Crest (TV series) "Goody Goody" Episode "Cold Hands" (6.23)
1987 Falcon Crest (TV series) "Body and Soul" Episode "Body and Soul" (6.24)
1987 Falcon Crest (TV series) "Body and Soul", "Goody Goody" Episode "Loose Cannons" (6.25)


Year Title Role Notes
1973 "The Odd Couple" Pigeon Sister Adobe Horseshoe Dinner Theater
"Busybody" Adobe Horseshoe Dinner Theater
"Boeing, Boeing" Adobe horseshoe Dinner Theater


Year Award Category Production Result
1986 Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role on a Prime Time Serial Falcon Crest Nominated
1988 Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role: Prime Time Falcon Crest Nominated
1990 Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress: Prime Time Falcon Crest Nominated


External links

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