Melinda Culea was born on May 5th, 1955 in Western Springs, Illinois – a suburb of Chicago. At the age of 20, she moved to New York to join a prestigious modeling agency; her first marriage broke up in the process. After four years in New York, she moved to California to break into the TV industry.
After doing a number of commercials, including a successful Burger King campaign, she landed a starring role in the 1981 sitcom pilot Dear Teacher.
Culea is best known for playing Amy Amanda Allen in the 1980’s hit TV series The A-Team. Her role was as a newspaper reporter who worked with the team for the first season and half of the second season.
Introduced in the feature-length pilot episode “Mexican Slayride”, her character was presented as feisty. However, Culea soon started to complain that her character had very little to do.
Reportedly, star George Peppard did not like a female lead being part of the show, and made his feelings quite clear. Culea also pushed for her character to be involved in the team’s fights, something which the producers resisted.
Culea was ultimately dropped from the series in 1983, with her final appearance being in Season 2 Episode 12, “The White Ballot”, although her character continued to be mentioned by the team during the show shortly thereafter.
Shortly after leaving The A-Team, Culea gained a leading role as Terry Randolph in the short-lived series Glitter. Her other most substantial role was playing the recurring character Paula Vertosick on Knots Landing for two seasons, from 1988 to 1990.
She also made appearances on many other notable TV shows including Family Ties, St. Elsewhere, The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Brotherly Love, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Murder, She Wrote.
In 1994, Culea played the role of Constance Taylor in the movie Wagons East! directed by her future husband Peter Markle, Buried Secrets in 1996, and played Anna in Dying on the Edge in 2001.