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Lorraine Bracco is an actress known for prominent roles in the film Goodfellas and the TV series The Sopranos.
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Actress. Born on October 2, 1954, in New York, New York. Despite being voted the ugliest girl in the sixth grade, Bracco grew up to become a successful fashion model. While working as a model in Paris during the 1970s, she began to explore other career opportunities. Bracco worked as a radio disc jockey for a time and made her film debut in the comedy Duos sur canapé (1979).
Bracco returned to the United States in the 1980s to make her mark on Hollywood. She drew strong reviews for her portrayal of Ellie Keegan, a cop's wife, in the thriller Someone to Watch Over Me (1987). But it was her performance as Karen Hill, a long-suffering wife of a mobster, in Goodfellas (1990) that brought her fame and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
During the 1990s, Bracco continued to act, appearing in several films, including Switch (1991), Radio Flyer (1992), Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993), and The Basketball Diaries (1995). Her most successful project to date came at the end of the decade when she landed the role of Dr. Jennifer Melfi on the hit HBO series, The Sopranos. Bracco was originally offered the part of Carmela Soprano, wife of troubled mob boss Tony Soprano. She asked instead to play the part of Tony's therapist. Dr. Melfi's professional, calm demeanor has served as an interesting contrast to Tony's dark moods and emotional outbursts. Bracco has earned several nominations for her work on the series, including three Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1999, 2000, and 2001.
Outside of acting, Bracco has been active in environmental and artistic organizations. Bracco is a longstanding member of the board of directors of Riverkeeper, an environmental organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Hudson River. She also serves on the Board of the New York Council for the Humanities. In an effort to help other women in the arts, Bracco spoke at a congressional hearing about women in the workplace in 2002.
Bracco lives in New York and has two daughters. Margaux Guerard, her oldest daughter, is from her brief marriage to Daniel Guerard. She later married actor Harvey Keitel, and together they had a daughter named Stella Keitel. They split in the early 1990s and engaged in a bitter custody battle over Stella, which was later resolved. Bracco was also married to actor James Edward Olmos; the couple divorced in 2002.
In 2006, Bracco published her memoir On the Couch, in which she shares many of her personal and professional triumphs and challenges.
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