Lorraine Bracco
Bracco in 2007
Born (1954-10-02) October 2, 1954 (age 69)
OccupationActress
Years active1979–present
Spouses
Daniel Guerard
(m. 1979; div. 1982)
(m. 1994; div. 2002)
PartnerHarvey Keitel (1982–1993)
Children2
RelativesElizabeth Bracco (sister)

Lorraine Bracco (born October 2, 1954) is an American actress best known for her performances as psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi on the HBO crime drama series The Sopranos (1999–2007) and for her breakthrough role portraying Karen Hill in the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas (1990). Her performance as Meryl in Waheed AlQawasmi's debut film Jacir (2023) was critically acclaimed. Bracco began her career modeling in France and appeared in Italian-language films in the 1980s. Her English-language debut came in The Pick-up Artist (1987), which was followed by roles in Someone to Watch Over Me (1987), Sing (1989), and The Dream Team (1989). She has been nominated for an Academy Award, four Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Early life

Bracco as a senior in high school in 1972

Bracco was born on October 2, 1954,[1][2] in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York. She is the daughter of Eileen (née Molyneux) and Salvatore S. Bracco Sr. She has a sister, actress Elizabeth Bracco, and a brother, Salvatore Jr. Her father was of Italian descent, while her mother was born in England, and had some French ancestry.[3][4] Her parents met during World War II, marrying in Andover in 1946; Eileen came with Salvatore to the United States as a war bride.[5][6] Bracco grew up in Hicksville, New York, on Long Island,[4] from fourth grade,[7] and graduated from Hicksville High School in 1972.[8]

Career

Bracco moved to France in 1974, where she became a fashion model for Jean-Paul Gaultier. She lived there for about a decade.[9]

While still modeling, Bracco was approached by Marc Camoletti, who offered her a major role in the film adaptation of one of his plays, Duos sur canapé (1979). Bracco did not imagine that she could be an actress, and initially refused. She eventually made the film, but found the experience "boring" and her performance "terrible." Nevertheless, she played supporting roles in two other French films "for the money."[10]

After one of her friends suggested that she might enjoy acting if she took some training, she took seminars with John Strasberg.[11] Although she loved the lessons, she was still unsure of her talents.[12]

During the 1980s, she worked as a disc jockey for Radio Luxembourg.[13] She also appeared as Paul Guilfoyle's hostage in the first season of the series Crime Story, in the episode "Hide and Go Thief". Her sister Elizabeth played a coffee shop waitress in the series pilot.

Eventually, Italian director and novelist Lina Wertmüller gave Bracco a small part in the film Camorra. "She dressed me up like an Italian woman of no means. A street woman clad in disheveled clothes, hair unkempt and all that, and threw me on the set. She was so creative. I mean, Lina accentuated my eyes with dark make-up, the way Sophia Loren used to appear in those epic roles in the '60s. And talk about talent. She's so bright and perceptive. I mean, she's just fantastic. And yes, I learned a lot from her. She's a master of her profession, and I've been blessed not only with her, but also with so many masters," recounted Bracco to Daniel Simone during a 2007 interview. The experience inspired Bracco to pursue acting.[9]

Her other films include Someone to Watch Over Me, Switch, Riding in Cars with Boys, The Basketball Diaries, Medicine Man, Radio Flyer, and Hackers.

Bracco received her big career break when she was offered the role of mobster wife Karen Hill in Goodfellas, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.[14][15] She won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress.[16][17]

Bracco in 1997

During the audition process for The Sopranos, David Chase wanted Bracco to audition for the lead female role of Carmela Soprano. However, Bracco had read the script and was drawn to the part of psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi as she wanted to try something different and felt that the part of the highly educated Dr. Melfi would be more of a challenge for her.[18] Bracco felt so strongly about her ability and desire to play the part that she arranged a meeting with Chase and talked him into letting her have a chance as Melfi.[19] It netted her three consecutive nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the Emmy Awards in 1999, 2000, and 2001, and at the Golden Globe awards for Best TV Actress in a Drama in 2000, 2001, and 2002. She lost out at the Emmys in 1999 and 2001, and at the Golden Globes in 2000 to her co-star Edie Falco.[20] She was nominated again at the 2007 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and thus was pitted against her The Sopranos co-star Aida Turturro for the award.[21]

Bracco is the owner of Bracco Wines, in association with Straight-Up Brands LLC.[22] Her line of wines was featured on the Season 1 finale of Bravo's show Top Chef in 2006. She appeared as a guest judge for the show's two-episode finale[23] and as a special judge on Top Chef: All Stars, in the episode titled "An Offer They Can't Refuse", which featured Italian cuisine.[24] Bracco also appeared on a season 6 episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, as a guest judge for the ravioli throwdown.[25]

From 2010 to 2016, Bracco co-starred on the TNT crime drama Rizzoli & Isles as Angela Rizzoli, mother of Jane Rizzoli, portrayed by Angie Harmon. She appeared in all 105 episodes of the series over its seven-season run.[citation needed]

Beginning in 2016, Bracco had a recurring role as Toni on the Showtime comedy series Dice.[26] In 2017–2018, she had a five-episode recurring role as Mayor Margaret Dutton in the CBS police drama series Blue Bloods.[27]

In 2020, Bracco starred in the drama Jacir as Meryl, an opioid addicted next-door neighbor of a Syrian refugee living in poverty in Memphis, Tennessee.[28] Delivering an emotionally charged performance that has been dubbed as "her best performance since Goodfellas"[29]

Also in 2020, Bracco starred in the HGTV documentary television series My Big Italian Adventure. Shot in Sambuca di Sicilia, it chronicled her renovation of a 200-year-old house she purchased for €1 at Via Guglielmo Marconi.[30][31][32][33][34]

In 2022, Bracco worked in the Robert Zemeckis remake of Pinocchio where she voiced Sofia the Seagull.[35]

Personal life

Bracco married Frenchman Daniel Guerard in 1979; they divorced in 1982. They have one daughter, actress Margaux Guerard.[36]

Bracco was in a 12-year relationship with actor Harvey Keitel, whom she met while living in Paris. They have one daughter, Stella Keitel (born 1985). Bracco and Keitel fought a lengthy custody battle over Stella, resulting in Bracco's depression and $2 million in legal fees.[37][38]

Bracco's second marriage was to actor Edward James Olmos in 1994; they divorced in 2002.[36]

Bracco is a practitioner of Shotokan Karate.[38] In 2015, she wrote a self-help book, To the Fullest: The Clean Up Your Act Plan to Lose Weight, Rejuvenate, and Be the Best You Can Be.[39]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1979 Duos sur canapé Bubble
1980 What Did I Ever Do to the Good Lord to
Deserve a Wife Who Drinks in Cafes with Men?
Barbara AKA Mais qu'est-ce que j'ai fait au bon Dieu
pour avoir une femme qui boit dans les cafés avec les hommes?
1981 Fais gaffe à la gaffe! Margaux
1985 Camorra (uncredited) AKA Un complicato intrigo di donne, vicoli e delitti
1987 The Pick-up Artist Carla
Someone to Watch Over Me Ellie Keegan
1989 Sing Miss Lombardo
The Dream Team Riley
Up to Date Sheila
Sea of Love Denice Gruber Scenes deleted
1990 Goodfellas Karen Friedman Hill
1991 Talent for the Game Bobbie
Switch Sheila Faxton
1992 Medicine Man Dr. Rae Crane
Radio Flyer Mary
Traces of Red Ellen Schofield
1993 Even Cowgirls Get the Blues Delores Del Ruby
1994 Being Human Anna
1995 The Basketball Diaries Mrs. Carroll
Hackers Margo Wallace
1996 The Liars Helene Miller AKA Les Menteurs
1997 Silent Cradle Helen Greg
2000 Ladies Room Gemma
2001 Riding in Cars with Boys Teresa Donofrio
Tangled Det. Anne Andersle
2003 Death of a Dynasty Enchante R&B Singer #2
2005 Crazy for Love Sheila
2011 Son of Morning Leda
2012 The Bensonhurst Spelling Bee Unknown Short film
2016 Monday Nights at Seven Damian Robertson
2019 Master Maggie Maggie Short film
2020 A Ring for Christmas Margaret Moore
2021 The Birthday Cake Sofia
2022 Disney's Pinocchio Sofia the Seagull (voice)
2023 JACIR جاسر Meryl
TBA Boys of Summer Post-production
Nonnas TBA Filming
Key
Denotes films that have not yet been released

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1980 Commissaire Moulin Jenny Episode: "Le transfuge"
1986 Crime Story Hostage Episode: "Hide and Go Thief"
1993 Scam Maggie Rohrer Television movie
1994 Getting Gotti Diane Giacalone Television movie
1996 Reckoning Kits Maitland Television movie
1998 The Taking of Pelham One Two Three Det. Ray Television movie
1999–2007 The Sopranos Jennifer Melfi Main role
2001 Sex in Our Century Narrator Television movie
2003 Custody of the Heart Claire Raphael Television movie
2005 Law & Order: Trial by Jury Karla Grizano Episode: "Vigilante"
2006 Top Chef Herself/Guest Judge Season 1, Episode 12 "Finale Part Two"
2007 Snowglobe Rose Moreno Television movie
2008 Long Island Confidential Norah Larkin Television movie
Lipstick Jungle Janice Lasher 2 episodes
2010 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Halfway House Matron Episode: "Disciple"
2010–2016 Rizzoli & Isles Angela Rizzoli Main role
2011 I Married a Mobster Narrator 10 episodes
Top Chef Herself/Guest Judge Episode: "An Offer They Can't Refuse"
2014 Mulaney Vaughn Episode: "Sweet Jane"
2016 Dice Toni 2 episodes
BoJack Horseman Dr. Janet (voice) 2 episodes
2017–2018 Blue Bloods Mayor Margaret Dutton 6 episodes
2018 Summer Camp Island The Werewolf Queen (voice) Episode: "Hedgehog Werewolf"
2019 The Dead Wives Club Herself/host 6 episodes
Jerk Tim's mother 12 episodes
2020 AJ and the Queen Herself Episode: "Baton Rouge"
My Big Italian Adventure Herself/host 3 episodes (HGTV)
2022 Welcome to Mama's Maria "Mama" Tucci Television movie; AKA The Perfect Recipe

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1990 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Goodfellas Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1991 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated
1993 Razzie Awards Worst Actress Medicine Man Nominated
Traces of Red Nominated
1999 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series The Sopranos Nominated
2000 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2001 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2002 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2003 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2005 Nominated
2007 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2008 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actress – Drama Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2023 Reel East Texas Film Festival Best Actress - Feature Film JACIR Won
2023 Razzie Awards Worst Supporting Actress Walt Disney's Pinocchio Nominated

See also

References

  1. ^ Bracco 2006, p. 38.
  2. ^ "UPI Almanac for Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019". United Press International. October 2, 2019. Archived from the original on October 2, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2020. … actor Lorraine Bracco in 1954 (age 65)
  3. ^ Carr, Jay (October 15, 1987). "Lorraine Bracco Savors Her Big Break As A Hollywood Strong Woman". Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ a b Witchel, Alex (September 27, 1990). "A Mafia Wife Makes Lorraine Bracco a Princess". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Eileen Bracco Obituary". The Record. New Jersey. November 28, 2010. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  6. ^ "Obituaries: Bracco, Salvatore Sr". The Journal News. New Jersey. March 19, 2013. Archived from the original on March 19, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  7. ^ Werts, Diane (April 3, 1999). "Just Like Family: HBO's Surprise Hit 'The Sopranos'". Newsday. New York City / Long Island. Archived from the original on January 27, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  8. ^ Bernstein, James; Mann, Laura (January 25, 2007). "Rich Cribs". Newsday. New York City / Long Island. Archived from the original on January 27, 2021. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Daniel Simone (December 14, 2007). "Who's Here: Lorraine Bracco – Actor". Dan's Papers. Archived from the original on December 1, 2008.
  10. ^ Bracco 2006, p. 70.
  11. ^ Bracco 2006, pp. 70–71.
  12. ^ Bracco, On the Couch
  13. ^ Witchel, Alex (September 27, 1990). "A Mafia Wife Makes Lorraine Bracco a Princess". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  14. ^ Fox, David J. (February 14, 1991). "Oscar Dances With 'Wolves' : Costner Film Leads Pack With 12 Nominations". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  15. ^ Fox, David J. (December 28, 1990). "'Godfather' Wins 7 Golden Globe Nominations : Awards: Foreign press recognizes 'Dances With Wolves' and 'L.A. Law' but ignores 'Civil War' and 'Simpsons.'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  16. ^ Caro, Mark (March 8, 1991). "'GOODFELLAS' REAPS BEST FILM AWARD FROM CHICAGO CRITICS". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  17. ^ Mathews, Jack (December 17, 1990). "'GoodFellas' Tops L.A. Critics Poll : Best Picture, Director Awards Go to Gangster Tale, Costner a Runner-Up; Irons, Huston Also Honored". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  18. ^ Kashner, Sam. "The Family Hour: An Oral History of The Sopranos | Vanity Fair | April 2012". Vanity Fair | The Complete Archive. Retrieved September 30, 2022.
  19. ^ Bracco 2006, p. 28.
  20. ^ "FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES". Backstage. February 12, 2002. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  21. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (July 20, 2007). "'Sopranos' Tops Drama Contenders for the Emmys". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  22. ^ "Straight Up Brands, Inc. (STRU) Acquires Wine and Spirits Venture". CNNMoney.com. Market Wire. August 24, 2006. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  23. ^ Top Chef: The Cookbook: Original Interviews and Recipes from Bravo's Hit Show. Chronicle Books. October 21, 2011. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-8118-7522-6.
  24. ^ "An Offer They Can't Refuse". Top Chef. Season 8. February 2, 2011. Bravo. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  25. ^ "Ravioli". Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. Season 6. March 25, 2009. Food.
  26. ^ "Adrien Brody and Lorraine Bracco to Guest Star on New Showtime(R) Comedy Series "Dice"". October 13, 2015.
  27. ^ "Lorraine Bracco". IMDb.
  28. ^ "Lorraine Bracco's Breathtaking Performance in "Jacir" Is One That You Need to See! – Tamron Hall Show". Tamron Hall. Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  29. ^ "Lorraine Bracco: The Oscar Legends Interview". Awardsdaily. January 10, 2023. Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  30. ^ "Immobili a 1 euro". MUNICIPALITY of SAMBUCA di SICILIA. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  31. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). www.comune.sambucadisicilia.ag.it. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 14, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Actress Lorraine Bracco Buys and Renovates a Sicilian Home for One Euro in New HGVT Series 'My Big Italian Adventure'" (Press release). Discovery Networks. September 16, 2020. Archived from the original on October 13, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  33. ^ Maglio, Tony (September 16, 2020). "'Goodfellas' Actress Lorraine Bracco Is Going to Renovate a Home in Sicily for New HGTV Series". TheWrap. Archived from the original on October 13, 2020. Retrieved October 13, 2020.
  34. ^ "Here are the houses you can buy for just €1 in a Sicilian village". The Local Italy. The Local Europe AB. January 23, 2019. Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved November 17, 2020.
  35. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 3, 2021). "'Pinocchio': Robert Zemeckis Movie Adds Cynthia Erivo As Blue Fairy; Joseph Gordon-Levitt As Jiminy Cricket". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 3, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  36. ^ a b Geraldine Fabrikant, Bankruptcy? Tougher Than Counseling a Soprano, January 1, 2006
  37. ^ John Lombardi (January 12, 1998). "Scenes From a Bad Movie Marriage". New York Magazine.
  38. ^ a b Bracco 2006, p. 129.
  39. ^ "Lorraine Bracco Explains How To Stop Your 60s From Being 'The Beginning Of The End'". April 7, 2015.

Bibliography