In 1978, Danning moved to Hollywood, California, to further her career in American films. She left all her friends and family in Europe behind, and pursued her career with no contract, no agent, and no idea what the future would bring. In 1980, Danning portrayed an extraterrestrial Amazon named Saint-Exmin in the science fiction film Battle Beyond the Stars. This performance earned her "The Golden Scroll Award of Merit" from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films. The cult films Jungle Warriors, Panther Squad, and S.A.S. San Salvador followed in quick succession.
In 1983, Danning appeared on the cover of the August issue of Playboy magazine and in a nude celebrity pictorial inside. Next, Danning co-starred again with Christopher Lee in Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf, playing Stirba, an evil werewolf queen. She began to guest-star in many American television series, notably A Man Called Sloane, Vega$, Simon & Simon, Masquerade, The Fall Guy, and V (The TV series). In 1986, Danning was seen with the troubled rocker Wendy O. Williams in Reform School Girls, a campy "Women in Prison" film. After the sketch parody Amazon Women on the Moon, Danning founded her own production company, "Adventuress Productions, Inc.", and produced L.A. Bounty, in which she starred and wrote the script.
In the vein of Elvira, Danning was the hostess of her own collection of 26 action-adventure films that bear the title Sybil Danning's Adventure Video for the "USA Home Video" company. She appeared at the beginning, with campy one-liners, introduced the video, and returned at the end to wrap it up. In 1989, Danning re-teamed with the producers of Bluebeard, The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers, and The Prince and the Pauper to play a succubus in the television series Superboy.
In 1990, Danning's acting career was delayed by an accident in a gymnasium while she was rehearsing a film stunt. For the next two months, she rested, while working with writers from her film L.A. Bounty, but the pain worsened. Doctors misdiagnosed her condition as either a strained muscle or a damaged nerve, and they prescribed painkillers and massages. Finally, a surgeon, recommended by Jack Nicholson, discovered that Danning had two severely herniated discs, and was put into the hospital that same afternoon.