At 20 years old, Vanessa Marquez made her acting debut in the 1988 drama Stand By Me. She landed guest roles in television series and several forgettable movies before securing the part of “Nurse Wendy Goldman” in the popular medical drama ER. Later, she took a turn at comedy in a recurring role on the sitcom Malcolm & Eddie.
It was on a 2005 episode of the reality series Intervention where she was confronted by a group of friends and family trying to convince the actress to seek help with her on-going depression. Vanessa was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and agoraphobia that essentially ended her acting career. Friends later revealed that the treatment Vanessa received was unsuccessful.
In August 2018, police were called to Vanessa’s South Pasadena apartment. Her home was in disarray and she told officers and accompanying medical personnel that she was having a seizure. However, when authorities approached her front entrance, Vanessa raised and pointed a gun at them. The officers — who at first retreated — called for her to drop the weapon. When she refused and continued to advance on them, they fired. Vanessa was shot and killed. It was later determined that Vanessa’s weapon was a BB gun. An investigation concluded that officers acted in self-defense. Vanessa was 49 years-old.
In February 2019, Vanessa’s mother filed a wrongful death claim against the City of South Pasadena. The claim alleged a number of charges including battery, negligence, unlawful entry, wrongful death, negligent training, conspiracy, seizure of property, failure to summon prompt medical care and violation of the Bane Act, which forbids acts of violence because of race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin.
In March 2020, bodycam footage released by the police department show Vanessa pleading with police to kill her while she wielded the gun.
Vanessa’s cremated remains were scattered at the Hollywood sign.