Lorraine Bracco (born October 2, 1954) is an Academy Award-, Golden Globe- and Emmy Award-nominated, as well as Screen Actors Guild Award-winning, American actress. She is best known for her roles as Karen Hill in Goodfellas and Dr. Jennifer Melfi on the hit HBO TV series, The Sopranos.
Bracco was born in the Brooklyn
neighborhood of Bay Ridge
and grew up in Hicksville
on Long Island
She moved to France
in 1974 where she became a fashion model for Jean-Paul Gaultier
. She also once worked as a disc jockey for Radio Luxembourg. Her father is Italian American
and her mother is English
, and Lorraine is fluent in English, French and Italian.
Bracco appeared as Paul Guilfoyle
's hostage in the first season Crime Story
episode "Hide and Go Thevies". Her sister Elizabeth
played a hostage in the series pilot. She has appeared in several films, including Riding in Cars with Boys
, The Basketball Diaries
, Medicine Man
, Radio Flyer
Bracco received her big career break when offered the role as the mobster-wife Karen Hill in Goodfellas, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. During the audition process for The Sopranos, Bracco had originally vied for the lead female role of Carmela Soprano, but turned it down fearing the part was too similar to her role as the mob-wife in Goodfellas and that the role of mob-psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi would be a new and bigger challenge for her. The role has netted her several award nominations, including 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. She was nominated again at the 2007 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, thus being pitted against The Sopranos co-star Aida Turturro for the award.
Bracco has been married and divorced twice. Her first marriage was to Daniel Guerard from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, after which she entered into a long-term relationship with Harvey Keitel
. Following a turbulent breakup with Keitel, she then married Edward James Olmos
. She has two children, Stella Keitel
and Margaux Guerard
. Bracco engaged in a five-year legal battle that ended in 1999 for custody of her daughter Stella from the relationship with Keitel. The huge legal fees and taxes forced her to file for bankruptcy
, and she and Olmos filed for divorce in March 2002. Bracco is currently dating former Syracuse Orange
basketball star Jason Cipolla
and has long since recovered financially thanks to the success of The Sopranos
She is the owner of Bracco Wines, with association of straight up brands LLC 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 two-episode finale.
On Thursday, May 24, 2007, Bracco appeared on Oprah to discuss how she conquered clinical depression and to promote her book on the subject, On the Couch.
- On the Couch (Putnam Adult, 2006) ISBN 0-399-15356-X