In films and on TV, Ticotin (pronounced "tick-oh-tin") has often proven effective playing cops, soldiers, officials and other women with demanding jobs. She made her film acting debut playing a drug-addicted nurse involved with policeman Paul Newman in "Fort Apache, the Bronx" (1981). Ticotin received her widest big screen exposure as Melina, the enigmatic woman of Arnold Schwarzenegger's dreams in the lavish sci-fi thriller "Total Recall" (1990). TV-movies have offered her more centrality and a wider range of roles but Ticotin has yet to enjoy a stint on a successful series.
After starting dance lessons at age eight, the Bronx native made her stage debut a few years later as a princess in a production of "The King and I" at NYC's City Center Theatre. By age 12, Ticotin was a member of Ballet Hispanico of New York. She went on to work with such choreographers as Alvin Ailey, Geoffrey Holder and Anna Sokolow. Trying her hand at acting, Ticotin made her stage acting debut in the Baltimore run of "The Me Nobody Knows". Her film debut found her twirling again as a Gypsy dancer in "King of the Gypsies" (1978).
Ticotin had a chance to watch film professionals at work in NYC as a production assistant on Philip Kaufman's "The Wanderers" (1979), Brian De Palma's "Dressed to Kill" and "Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull" (both 1980). Continuing to hone her acting skills, she studied at The H B Studio and made her off-Broadway debut in Miguel Pinero's "The Sun Always Shines for the Cool". Ticotin's film debut in "Fort Apache: The Bronx" was the happy upshot of her going to an open casting call. She moved to Los Angeles for her first job as a TV series regular on the short-lived military drama "For Love and Honor" (NBC, 1983-84) playing the only female recruit in a division of paratroopers. A few TV-movies and some time off for child-rearing followed before Ticotin won her first feature lead in "Critical Condition" (1987), a minor Richard Pryor comedy. Returning to TV, she joined the second season cast of ABC's "Ohara", a failed crime drama vehicle for Pat Morita, as a driven federal law enforcement official.
Though Ticotin still appeared in films ("FX2 - The Deadly Art of Illusion" 1991; "Where the Day Takes You" 1992; "Falling Down" 1993) it was generally in supporting roles. She remained a leading lady on TV in another failed series, playing a policewoman in "Crime and Punishment" (NBC, 1993), and several relatively ambitious TV-movies including "Prison Stories: Women on the Inside" (HBO, 1991) and "Deconstructing Sarah" (USA, 1994). Ticotin appeared in two 1995 romantic comedies in a supporting role in "Don Juan De Marco", opposite Johnny Depp and a lead in "Steal Big, Steal Little", opposite Andy Garcia.