Cathy Moriarty is an American actress, best known for her role in the film ‘Raging Bull'. Over the course of her nearly four-decade-long career, she has accumulated over 70 film and TV credits. A native of New York, she participated in and won a bathing-beauty contest at a bar. Moriarty debuted on the big screen in Martin Scorsese's biographical sports drama ‘Raging Bull’ in 1980. About nine years later, she made her TV debut in an episode of the crime-drama series ‘Wiseguy’. After recovering from a near-fatal automobile accident and portraying a series of bad roles, Moriarty was cast in the soap opera-satire film ‘Soapdish’, which radically turned her career in a positive direction. She has since become one of the most prolific actresses working in the industry today. Distinguished by her hoarse and smokey voice, blonde hair, and dark eyes, Moriarty has made a career out of portraying tough, acerbic women.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on November 29, 1960, in The Bronx, New York, USA, Cathy Moriarty is one of the three children of Catherine and John Moriarty. She has a brother, Tommy, and a sister, Mary. Both of her parents were Irish Catholic immigrants. Her father worked at a warehouse while her mother was a homemaker.
At the age of 18, prompted by her friends, she took part in a bathing-beauty contest at a bar. After winning the contest, she met an Italian man, who later turned out to be Joe Pesci. Through him, she landed the role of Vickie LaMotta in ‘Raging Bull’.
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Cathy Moriarty had a meteoric debut in ‘Raging Bull’ in 1980. Despite this, she experienced her share of struggle in the early days of her career. Her next film, the comedy ‘Neighbors’, was poorly received by the critics.
In the early 1980s, she was in a near-fatal automobile accident in which she severely injured her back. The subsequent recovery process was nothing short of gruelling. In 1985, she was set to work with Jack Nicholson in ‘The Two Jakes’. The project was shelved and when it was finally made, she was no longer part of the production.
In 1991, Moriarty made her superlative return to mainstream Hollywood by portraying the wickedly funny voluptuous beauty Montana Moorehead in ‘Soapdish’. She later stated that the movie was the personal favourite of all her films. She debuted on the small screen in a season three episode of CBS’ crime drama ‘Wiseguy’.
Moriarty’s memorable roles include those of Lois in the romantic-comedy ‘Forgetting Paris’ (1995), the vengeful Carrigan Crittenden in ‘Casper’ (1995), mob boss Patti LoPresti in the crime-comedy ‘Analyze That’ (2002), Irene in the action-comedy ‘The Bounty Hunter’ (2010), and Armand Assante's wife in the crime-drama ‘Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn’ (2013).
In 1997, she worked with Seth Zvi Rosenfeld in his universally acclaimed directorial venture ‘A Brother’s Kiss.’ Moriarty is set to appear in the crime-drama ‘Flinch’ and the action thriller ‘Shooting Heroin’.
In 1993, she earned the CableACE Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Series for her outing as Alison Peters in the season four episode, ‘Seance’, of HBO’s horror anthology series ‘Tales from the Crypt’.
Between 1995 and 1996, she played the female lead, Alice Clayton, opposite Andrew Dice Clay’s as Burt Clayton in CBS’ short-lived sitcom ‘Bless This House’. She lent her voice to the recurring character Tish Wittenberg in Nickelodeon’s ‘Hey Arnold’.
She was cast as police officer Toni Howard in NBC’s crime-drama TV series ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ in 2005. In 2018, she appeared in two episodes of FX’s ‘The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story’.
In Ante Novakovic's 2014 short film, ‘Tammy’, she portrayed the titular character whose relationship with her son drastically changes during a regular Sunday visit. She garnered a Best Actress award nomination at the Jersey Shore Shorts Film Festival for her performance.
Cathy Moriarty was two weeks shy of her 20th birthday when she had her cinematic debut in ‘Raging Bull’. She portrayed Vickie LaMotta, the second wife of the volatile boxing champion Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro). Despite having no prior experience in acting, Moriarty was hired by Scorsese because the legendary director was looking for a thoroughly natural, spontaneous actress to portray the abused LaMotta.
For her performance, Moriarty was nominated for the Academy, BAFTA, Golden Globe, and NFSC Awards for Best Supporting Actress.
Family & Personal Life
Cathy Moriarty has been married twice in her life. On November 29, 1980, she exchanged wedding vows with theatrical manager Carmine D'Anna. At one point in her career, D’Anna served as her manager.
In April 1992, it was reported that the couple has filed for divorce with D'Anna suing her for $1 million under California's community property laws.
She married her second husband, financier Joseph Gentile, on August 28, 1999, in Long Island. They have three children together, twins Catherine Patricia and Joseph John (born September 11, 2000) and daughter Annabella Rose (born November 15, 2001).