Townsend is best known for her roles as Wendy Reardon on the NBC daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives (1994–96). In 1987, Townsend was crowned Miss Talented Teen California. From 2015 to 2018, she recently stars as Kira Cooper (opposite of Zendaya) on the Disney Channel sitcom, K.C. Undercover.
Townsend was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Anorene, an African-American interior designer, and Thomas Townsend, an English judge with Yugoslavian ancestry.Townsend is a 1988 graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
Townsend began her acting career in 1985, appearing in the episodes of television sitcoms such as Diff'rent Strokes and Charles in Charge. From 1994 to 1996, she played Wendy Reardon on the NBC daytime soap opera, Days of Our Lives. From 1995 to 1998, Townsend played the recurring role of Greta McClure in the ABC sitcom Family Matters. In 1997, she had the female leading role in the comedy film The Pest starring John Leguizamo. She later guest starred on The Practice, Felicity, Walker, Texas Ranger, Friends, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Townsend was regular cast member on the short-lived sitcoms Rock Me, Baby (2003–04) and Sherri (2009). She had the recurring roles on Lincoln Heights, Switched at Birth, and The Client List. In 2015, Townsend began starring as Kira Cooper, the mother of Zendaya' lead character, on the Disney Channel sitcom, K.C. Undercover. She was also cast as Melissa in the 1999 UPN series Grown Ups reuniting with Jaleel White and Bumper Robinson.
- She also portrays as K.C. Cooper's (played by Zendaya) mother Kira Cooper in Disney Channel's sitcom K.C. Undercover.
- It is probably not related to Stuart Townsend, (a considered actor for The Lord of the Rings, but turned it down, and ended up to Viggo Mortensen).