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Lorraine Bracco

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lorraine Bracco
Lorraine Bracco.jpg
Bracco in 2007
Born (1954-10-02) October 2, 1954 (age 66)
Years active1979–present
Daniel Guerard
(m. 1979; div. 1982)
(m. 1994; div. 2002)
Partner(s)Harvey Keitel
RelativesElizabeth Bracco (sister)

Lorraine Bracco (Italian: [ˈbrakko]; born October 2, 1954) is an American film and television actress. Known for her distinct husky voice and Brooklyn accent, she has been nominated for an Academy Award, four Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Born in New York City, she began her career modeling in France and began appearing in Italian-language films around the turn of the 1980s, including Lina Wertmüller's Camorra (1986), which featured Bracco's then-partner Harvey Keitel. Bracco's 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). Her breakthrough role was that of Karen Hill, wife of mob associate Henry Hill, in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.

On television, Bracco is best known for portraying Jennifer Melfi, the psychiatrist of Tony Soprano, in the HBO series The Sopranos (1999-2007). She was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her performance across the show's first three seasons. Beginning with the fourth season her role began to decline slightly, though by the end of the series, at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Early life

Bracco as a senior in high school in 1972
Bracco as a senior in high school in 1972

Bracco was born on October 2, 1954,[1][2] in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. She is the daughter of Eileen (née Molyneux, 1926–2010) and Salvatore 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, with French ancestry.[3][4] Her parents met during World War II; 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] Bracco graduated from Hicksville High School in 1972.[8]


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 also worked as a disc jockey for Radio Luxembourg.[13] Also, she appeared as Paul Guilfoyle's hostage in the first season Crime Story episode, "Hide and Go Thief". Her sister Elizabeth played a hostage 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 was one of many actresses who were considered for the role of Catwoman/Selina Kyle in Tim Burton's film Batman Returns but declined the role.

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 is the owner of Bracco Wines, in association with Straight-Up Brands LLC.[18] 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[19] and as a special judge on Top Chef: All Stars, in the episode titled "An Offer They Can't Refuse", which featured Italian cuisine.[20] Bracco also appeared on a season 6 episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay, as a guest judge for the ravioli throwdown.[21]

Bracco in 1997
Bracco in 1997

During the audition process for The Sopranos, David Chase wanted Bracco to read for the lead female role of Carmela Soprano. However, Bracco had read the script and was drawn to the part of psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi. Bracco felt strongly enough about her ability and desire to play this part that she arranged a meeting with Chase and talked him into letting her have a chance as Melfi.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]

Beginning in 2016, Bracco had a recurring role as Toni on the Showtime comedy series Dice.[25] From 2017 to 2018, she had a five-episode recurring role as Mayor Margaret Dutton in the CBS police drama series Blue Bloods.[26]

Personal life

Bracco has been married and divorced twice.

She married Frenchman Daniel Guerard in 1979; they divorced in 1982. They have one daughter, actress Margaux Guerard.[27]

She was in a 12-year relationship with actor Harvey Keitel, whom she met while living in Paris. They have one daughter, Stella Keitel (b. 1985). Bracco and Keitel fought a lengthy custody battle over Stella, resulting in Bracco's depression, a loss of acting roles, and $2 million in legal fees.[28][29]

Bracco's second marriage was to actor Edward James Olmos in 1994; they divorced in 2002.[27]

Bracco is a practitioner of Shotokan Karate.[29] 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.[30]



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?

(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
(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 Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1991 Talent for the Game Bobbie
Switch Sheila Faxton
1992 Medicine Man Rae Crane Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
Radio Flyer Mary
Traces of Red Ellen Schofield Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
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
(Les Menteurs)
Helene Miller
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
TBA The Birthday Cake Post-production


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 69 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2000, 2008)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2000–02)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (2000–02)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2000, 2002–03)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2001–03, 2005, 2007)
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"
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 101 episodes
2011 I Married a Mobster Narrator 10 episodes
2011 Top Chef Herself/Guest Judge 1 episode
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
2019 Jerk Tim's mother Episode #1.3
2020 AJ and the Queen Herself Episode: "Baton Rouge"

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1990 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Supporting Actress Goodfellas Nominated
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 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series 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

See also


  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. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  8. ^ Bernstein, James; Mann, Laura (January 25, 2007). "Rich Cribs". Newsday. New York City / Long Island. 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, p. 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. ^ "Straight Up Brands, Inc. (STRU) Acquires Wine and Spirits Venture". Market Wire. August 24, 2006. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ "An Offer They Can't Refuse". Top Chef. Season 8. February 2, 2011. Bravo. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  21. ^ "Ravioli". Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. Season 6. March 25, 2009. Food.
  22. ^ Bracco 2006, p. 28.
  23. ^ "FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES". Backstage. February 12, 2002. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  24. ^ Steinberg, Jacques (July 20, 2007). "'Sopranos' Tops Drama Contenders for the Emmys". The New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  25. ^ "Adrien Brody and Lorraine Bracco to Guest Star on New Showtime(R) Comedy Series "Dice"". October 13, 2015.
  26. ^ "Lorraine Bracco".
  27. ^ a b Geraldine Fabrikant, Bankruptcy? Tougher Than Counseling a Soprano, January 1, 2006
  28. ^ John Lombardi (January 12, 1998). "Scenes From a Bad Movie Marriage". New York Magazine.
  29. ^ a b Bracco 2006, p. 129.
  30. ^ "Lorraine Bracco Explains How To Stop Your 60s From Being 'The Beginning Of The End'". April 7, 2015.


  • Bracco, Lorraine (2006). On the Couch. Putnam Adult. ISBN 0-399-15356-X.
  • Bracco, Lorraine; Davis, Lisa V. (2015). To the Fullest: The Clean Up Your Act Plan to Lose Weight, Rejuvenate, and Be the Best You Can Be. Rodale Books. ISBN 0399199608.

External links

This page was last edited on 27 October 2020, at 23:35
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