Vanessa Marcil was born in Indio, California, on October 15, 1969. Her father, Peter Ortiz, is a contractor, and her mother Patricia, an herbalist. She has a mix of Italian, Portuguese, French, and Mexican blood. She has two older sisters, Sherry and Tina, and grew up with them in Palm Desert. She went to school at the Indio High School and College of the Desert in Palm Desert. Vanessa Marcil was only 8 years old when she started acting in school plays, and also performed at talent shows.
Vanessa Marcilís first professional acting gig was in 1992 when she landed the role of Brenda Barrett on General Hospital. Her performance earned her a Daytime Emmy in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2003, and two other Emmy nominations. She also won a Soap Opera Digest Award for Favorable Return, Outstanding Lead Actress, and Hottest Female Star for her performance on General Hospital. Vanessa Marcil stayed on General Hospital for six years.
Vanessa Marcilís debut onto film was in 1996 when she was cast in The Rock alongside Nicholas Cage. She starred in the television movie To Love, Honor, and Deceive, in 1998, and also starred in the police drama television show, High Incident. Also in 1998, she was cast in Beverly Hills 902010, as Gina Kincaid. She stayed for one and a half seasons of the show, but continued to pursue memorable film projects including Storm Watch, This Space Between Us, and Nice Guys Sleep Alone. Vanessa Marcil also returned to General Hospital in 2002. She also has a son with Brian Austin Green, a star on Beverly Hills 90210.