A striking, dark-haired actress of Puerto Rican descent, New York City native Lisa Vidal began acting in repertory theater at age 14 and was cast the following year in the PBS series "Oye Willie" (1980-81), jump-starting a long and varied acting career, most often playing grounded professionals balancing work and family. A small role in the 1984 comedy "Delivery Boys" marked Vidal's feature debut. In 1986 she played the charming housekeeper for a good-natured elderly heiress (Loretta Young) in the NBC holiday TV-movie tearjerker "Christmas Eve." The late 1980s saw the actress busy on the small screen with guest roles on such wildly popular series as "The Cosby Show" and "Miami Vice" (both NBC). Determined to take roles that reflected the diversity of the Latino community while at the same time building it up, Vidal acted in the two "ABC Afterschool Special" educational presentations "Class Act: A Teacher's Story" (1987) and "In the Shadow of Love: A Teen AIDS Story" (1991).