Notable for her recurring roles in the television series The Quest (as Carrie Welby), Night Court (as Lana Wagner), and Live Shot (as Helen Forbes), Austin also appeared in several films, including The Wicked Within (2013), The Rum Diary (2011), and Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel (2000).
After earning a bachelor's degree in theatre from Virginia's Mary Baldwin College, she completed the dramatic literature master's program at Illinois' Northwestern University.
She appeared alongside Drew Barrymore in the 1989 thriller Far from Home.
A native of Welch, West Virginia, she later settled in Los Angeles, California, with her daughter Olivia.
She appeared with Mary McCormack in several episodes of Murder One.