Yancy Butler is an American actress best known for her performance as Detective Sara Pezzini in the supernatural television series “Witchblade.”
Yancy Victoria Butler was born in Greenwich Village, New York City, the USA on July 2, 1970. Joe Butler, a former drummer who is now the main vocalist of the band “The Lovin’ Spoonful,” and Leslie Vega Butler, a former actress who is now a Broadway company manager, are her parents.
Growing up with artists as parents and grandparents with theatrical backgrounds, Yancy was captivated by the performing arts. At the age of 13, she attended workshops at the famed HB (Herbert Berghof) Facilities, one of New York’s original performing arts studios, to prepare for her career in the entertainment industry.
She also studied ballet at the renowned Joffrey Ballet School and dance at the prestigious The Ailey School. Yancy was also able to graduate with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1991 and was named a Griggs Scholar.
The First Step
After college, she landed a job in “Law & Order,” a newly created NBC television show starring Steven Hill and Jerry Orbach, in 1991. This cameo opened the path for producer Dick Wolf and director Robert DeLaurentis to cast Yancy as Sgt. Eve Edison in “Mann & Machine” in 1992. It premiered on NBC on April 5, 1992, but was canceled after nine episodes, with the final five episodes handled as burnoff – airing at unpopular timeslots.
It was heavily panned for being too similar to another failed comedy series from the 1970s. She did, however, receive largely positive feedback for her performance.
“South Beach,” a Dick Wolf/Robert DeLaurentis production, was produced just for her in 1993. It was an action-drama TV show inspired by Modesty Blaise. This time, she played Kate Patrick, a criminal who was given the option of working for the government rather than going to prison. However, it was another failed production since, although filming for seven episodes, only the first six were televised before the NBC network canceled it. It ran from June 6 to August 12.
Debut In A Film
Due to the poor reception of her television series, she accepted movie jobs in between production. In 1992, she co-starred in the film “Hard Target” alongside Jean Claude Van Damme. It was her first film, and it was also famed filmmaker John Woo’s first Hollywood film.
The film was released in 1993 and grossed roughly $74 million against a $19.5 million budget.
It was followed by another action film, “Drop Zone,” directed by John Badlam and starring Wesley Snipes and Gary Busey in 1994. Despite a promising start, the film was a commercial flop. With earnings of $28 million against a budget of $45 million, it failed not to attract additional viewers.
To escape being type-cast in action films, Yancy accepted a job as a sensual dance instructor in “Let It Be Me,” a 1995 film starring Patrick Stewart and Campbell Scott. It was followed by “The Ex,” an erotic thriller based on a novel by John Lutz starring Nick Mancuso and Suzy Amis. She portrayed an ex-wife hell-bent on destroying her ex-newfound husband’s happiness.
Success In The Future
Yancy returned to television in the police drama series “Brooklyn South,” which aired from September 22, 1997, to April 27, 1998. With 22 episodes previously aired, she anticipated the show would be renewed for a second season, but network executives canceled it shortly after the final episode of Season 1. Even having 10.5 million viewers, it struggled in the TV ratings as it competed with Monday Night Football on ABC and Dateline Monday on NBC.
Her Most Significant Break
She was cast as the lead in “Witchblade,” a made-for-TV supernatural action picture based on a popular comic book, for the TNT network in 2000. She portrayed Detective Sara Pezini, who can dispense justice by using a mystical antique sword.
It was a commercial success, as it received 5.2 million viewers during its broadcast on television. The outcome was so competitive that it was comparable to the figures made by successful TV shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” at the time. Following its success, the same network commissioned a full-fledged TV series adaptation with 11 episodes for the first season, which was renewed for a second season with 12 episodes. It ran from June 12, 2001, through August 26, 2002. The series had a cult following and would have lasted longer if Yancy’s personal life hadn’t gotten out of hand, hurting her work. After the second season, it was canceled. TNT, on the other hand, indicated that they wanted the series to end on a strong note.
She took a much-needed hiatus after “Witchblade” to deal with personal matters. She returned to filmmaking in 2004, with the most prominent films being “The Last Letter” with William Forsythe and Grace Zabriskie, “Wolvesbayne” in 2009 as the powerful ancient vampire Lilith, and the “Lake Placid” franchise movie series in which she played a badass hunter named Reba.
Yancy is still active in making television movies and independent films, as well as appearing in a few TV shows in minor roles.
Yancy is currently single and does not have any children. There was no word of her being married, but she was thought to be in a relationship with Jeff Havey, her costar in “The Hit List” in 1993.
The romance did not continue long, and no one knew why it ended. In 2007, she also dated Earl Ward Jr. and a man named James Driscoll, who pursued and harassed her following their split.
While her dating history was limited, she was frequently in the news owing to her long battle with alcoholism. The police arrested her multiple times. The first one occurred in November 2003 in Delray Beach, Florida, as a result of disorderly drunkenness. She was sentenced to a substance abuse treatment program.
The second occurred in 2007, when she drove her car into a guard rail and authorities discovered she was under the influence of alcohol. Yancy was jailed for many hours before being freed after posting a $500 bond.
Earl Ward Jr., her boyfriend at the time, called 911 to seek assistance in appeasing Yancy after he refused to hand over the car keys. The cops discovered that woman was severely inebriated and also smoked crack cocaine.
The most recent occurred in Sag Harbor in 2017, when she was charged with drunk driving after being discovered passed out slumped over the steering wheel of her car, which she had driven onto a sidewalk. When police officers approached her, she was slurring, and her breath test result was far higher than the 0.18 limit. Additional charges were filed after 14 Xanax pills were discovered in her purse and she allegedly spits on the officer in the face. charge’s
Fascinating Facts And Rumors
- An ex-boyfriend stalked and harassed her by making threatening phone calls after she broke up with him. He even posted several defamatory posters outside the treatment center where she was undergoing a substance treatment program. He entered a plea deal when he was arrested and charged.
- The network executives of TNT thought that her “Witchblade” series would be another “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” after achieving high ratings and a loyal audience. An additional budget was approved for the production of the show as well as for promotional purposes. Due to her problems, they decided to just cut it short so as not to risk tainting the “Witchblade” brand with scandals for future rebooting plans.
Yancy Butler stands 5ft 7ins (1.73m) tall and weighs approximately 124lbs (56kgs). She has long, wavy dark brown hair and hazel green eyes.
Yancy Butler’s net worth is projected to be around $2 million as of early 2020, according to sources. She is continuing appearing in films and on television as a guest star.