Elyssa Davalos along with her alter ego, Nikki Carpenter, both celebrated their 60th birthday today.
Elyssa is best know as MacGyver’s no-nonsense co-worker, Nikki Carpenter in season 3 of the 80’s action adventure show. But her first appearance in the show was as another love interest in the season 3 pilot episode ‘Lost Love’ where she played Lisa Kohler, an old flame of MacGyver’s who reappears years after he thought she had died.
Just four episodes later Elyssa would appear again but this time as cast regular, Nikki Carpenter who was, as rumor has it, brought into the show in an attempt to replicate the ‘Moonlighting’ dynamic which at the time was ABC’s biggest rating show. The move was quickly met with harsh backlash with producers receiving hundreds of what Richard Dean Anderson would later go on to refer to in an interview as “scathing” letters resulting in the character being dropped midway through the season.
The daughter of actors Richard & Ellen Davalos, Elyssa started her acting career in the 1973 movie ‘Student Teachers’ and went on to have a regular flow of one-off character roles until striking a 5 part recurring role as Hillary Gant in the 1978 western TV series ‘How The West Was Won’. She would continue to capture regular guest roles through the 80’s before landing the role of Nikki Carpenter. After leaving MacGyver she continued to have success as a guest-star on many shows through the 90’s and into the early 00’s. Her final appearance in front of the camera was in the 2007 Nancy Drew movie after which she moved behind the camera for a short stint as producer and writer before seemingly retiring from the industry and public life.
While Elyssa may have disappeared from public view, the Davalos name continues on in Hollywood with her daughter Alexa landing staring roles in both TV and film in recent years.