updated 07/06/1992 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/06/1992 AT 01:00 AM EDT
"I hope I'm not that abrasive," says Dillon, who grew up in Cleveland, the second of four children. "But I like to think I'm as direct and I rank as Toby is." An alumna of Syracuse University and Saturday Night Live, the 5' Dillon has an unmistakable presence—part moll, part Kew-pie doll—that has led to her being cast as everything from Doreen, the disco loser who flings herself at John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, to the 6'8" Richard Moll's klutzy girlfriend on Night Court. It's what Dream On director John (Coming to America) Landis calls "her pugnacious energy," and Dillon's mother, Maggie, calls "that light-up quality." Adds Maggie: "I remember really noticing Denny's talent when she did this grade-school lip sync to Frank Sinatra's 'That's Life!' "
With Dream On renewed for next season, the unmarried Dillon ("single with two dog-daughters") has settled into a two-bedroom house in Pacific Palisades, Calif., where she loves to throw poker parties. "I always win," she cackles.
That pugnacious energy, you know.