Lorraine Bracco is an American actress, known for her notable performance in the television series ‘The Sopranos.’ Born in New York, she grew up in Long Island and later moved to France in pursuit of a career in show business and began working as a fashion model. She later ventured into other streams like working as a radio jockey for radio Luxembourg. In the late 1970s she made her feature film debut and appeared in a couple of other French feature films as well. A few years later she shifted back to the US in pursuit of a career in Hollywood. Her biggest Hollywood film success came in ‘Goodfellas’, a performance for which she was nominated for several prestigious awards including the Academy Award. Though she initially worked in feature films, she later took up opportunities in television series as well and attained great success in the latter. Her most noted performances include the role of Dr. Jennifer Melfi in ‘The Sopranos’ and Angela Rizzoli in ‘Rizzoli & Isles’. Apart from acting, she is also an environmentalist and has been part of organizations like Riverkeeper and the New York Council for the Humanities.
Childhood & Early Life
Lorraine Bracco was born on 2 October 1954 at Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to Eileen and Salvatore Bracco, Sr. She has a brother Salvatore Jr. and a sister Elizabeth Bracco, who also grew up to become an actress.
She spent her childhood in Westbury, Long Island, and graduated from the Hicksville High School in 1972.
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Lorraine Bracco shifted to France in 1974, where she worked as a fashion model for fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. It was during this time that she was acquainted with Italian novelist and screenwriter Lina Wertmüller.
While working as a fashion model, she explored other career opportunities and worked as a radio disc jockey with Radio Luxembourg for a short while.
In 1979, she made her feature film debut with the French comedy film ‘Duos sur canapé’. She then went on to act in several other French language films.
In the 1980s she returned to the United States of America to look at projects in Hollywood. She appeared in the episode ‘Hide and Go Thief’ on the drama television series ‘Crime Story’. The feature film projects that she was part of include ‘The Pick-Up Artist’ (1987), ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ (1987), ‘Sing’ (1989) and ‘The Dream team’ (1989).
In 1990, she was part of the cast in the biographical crime film ‘Goodfellas’. Her role of a mobster’s wife earned highly positive reviews and several prestigious award nominations including nominations for the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award.
Over the decade, she acted in feature films like ‘Switch’ (1991), ‘Radio Flyer’ (1992), ‘Traces of Red’ (1992) and ‘Even Cowgirls Get The Blues’ (1993). During this time, she also acted in television movies like ‘Scam’, ‘Getting Gotti’ and ‘The Taking of Pelham One Two Three’ (1998).
In 1999, she was cast to play the role of psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi in the HBO television series ‘The Sopranos’. This role came as the biggest success of her career so far. The television series was successfully aired for six seasons, until 2007.
After the ending of the successful television series, she made several appearances in other television shows like ‘Lipstick Jungle’ (2008) and ‘Law & Order: Trial by Jury’ (2010).
In 2010, she became part of the cast for TNT television crime series ‘Rizzoli & Isles’. She played the character of Angela Rizzoli, the mother of detective Jane Rizzoli. The series was aired across seven seasons until 2016.
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Lorraine Bracco turned narrator and producer for the documentary show ‘I Married a Mobster’, that was aired from 2011 to 2012.
In 2016, she was part of a few episodes in the comedy television series ‘Dice’ alongside Adrien Brody. The same year, she lent her voice for a guest character in the animated comedy drama series ‘BoJack Horseman’.
She is the owner of Bracco Wines, and her list of wines was listed on the Season 1 finale of the reality competition show ‘Top Chef’ in 2006. She has made appearances on the show as a guest and special judge.
Lorraine Bracco is best known for her roles in the television series ‘The Sopranos’ as a psychiatrist, and as Angela Rizzoli in series ‘Rizzoli & Isles’. Though she began her career as a model and then ventured into feature films, she achieved great success and fame from her work in television.
Awards & Achievements
Lorraine Bracco was awarded the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘Goodfellas’.
In 1991, she was awarded the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards - Best Supporting Actress for her role in ‘Goodfellas’.
She was the winner of the 2000 Screen Actors Guild Award for the ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series’ for her performance in ‘The Sopranos’.
In 2008, she won the Screen Actors Guild Award for ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series’ for ‘The Sopranos’.
Personal Life & Legacy
In the late 1970s she married Daniel Guerard and they had a daughter Margaux Guerard. However, they separated in the 1980s.
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Lorraine Bracco was in a 12-year-long relationship with actor Harvey Keitel with whom she has a daughter named Stella Keitel (born in 1985). Upon ending their relationship, the couple had a long standing dispute over the custody of their child that affected her mentally, financially and professionally.
In 1994 she married actor Edward James Olmos; however they parted ways in 2002.
She is a practitioner of the Shotokan form of karate.
In 2006, she released her memoir ‘On the Couch’, in which she speaks about her professional and personal victories and challenges. In 2015, she authored a book titled ‘To the Fullest: The Clean Up Your Act Plan to Lose Weight, Rejuvenate, and Be the Best You Can Be’.
She has been active in dealing with issues related to the environment and is in the Board of Directors of ‘Riverkeeper’, an organization that works towards the protection and preservation of the river Hudson. She has also been a part of the New York Council for the Humanities.
Currently, Lorraine Bracco lives in New York with her daughters.
Lorraine Bracco has an estimated net worth of USD 19 million. Her primary source of income is acting.
Her father is of Italian descent, whereas her mother was born to French parents in England. Lorraine Bracco is fluent in the languages English, French and Italian.