Marla Sokoloff is an American actress, singer, and guitarist. Born and raised in California, her acting career began when she moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles when she was twelve. She played the character, Gia Mahan, in the ABC sitcom ‘Full House’. She was cast in the role of the best friend of the protagonist and appeared as a regular until the end of the series. She later made her film debut, more than a decade later, as Cokie Mason in ‘The Babysitter’s Club’. Before she got her major breakthrough, she starred in many guest actor roles in popular series such as ‘Step by Step’, ‘Home Improvement’, and ‘Party of Five’. She received her breakthrough when she was cast as Lucy Hatcher, one of the main characters, in the legal drama series ‘The Practice’. The series ran for six seasons; until 2004. Since then, Marla has made several other guest appearances in award winning series such as ‘FRIENDS’, ‘Desperate Housewives’, and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. She has also acted in the Netflix original ‘Fuller House’ and in the movies ‘Summer in the City’ and Do You Take This Man’. Apart from acting, Marla also sings and often performs at various venues in Los Angeles.
Childhood & Early Life
Marla Sokoloff was born on December 19, 1980, in a Jewish family, to Howard and Cindi Sokoloff. Her father was a podiatrist, while her mother worked as a caterer. She has a brother, Jared Sokoloff. She studied and graduated from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.
She started acting a young age, in the series ‘Full House’, when she was just twelve years old, and appeared in eight episodes. She also filmed a few episodes for ‘Boy Meets World’ but was replaced by another actor.
She made several other appearances on TV as a teen actor in ‘Third Rock from the Sun’, ‘7th Heaven’ and ‘The Fosters’ .Her first film was ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ in 1995 and she also appeared in ‘Freaky Friday’ in the same year.
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In 1997, Marla was cast in a regular role as Gwen Martin in the series ‘Over the Top’, and she was seen in eleven episodes. She also appeared in the short film ‘The Date’.
Sokoloff received her breakthrough with the legal drama series ‘The Practice’, where she played the role of a sassy receptionist, Lucy Hatcher. She played this role in the entire series, which ran for six seasons from 1998 until 2004.
While starring in ‘The Practice’, Marla acted as a guest actor in several hit series such as ‘Strange Frequencies’ (2001), and ‘Night Vision’ (2001).
She also starred in movies as Maggie Carter in ‘Whatever It Takes’ (2000), Wilma in ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ (2000)’, Lisa Janusch in ‘Sugar and Spice’ (2001), Sarabeth Cohen in ‘The Tollbooth’ (2004) and Eve Stuckley in ‘Love on the Side’ (2004).
Her appearances in TV movies from this decade include ‘A Date with Darkness: The Trial and Capture of Andrew Luster’ (2003) and ‘Christmas in Boston’ (2005).
In 2006-2007, she received her second biggest role as Alice in the ABC series ‘Big Day.’ However, the show was cancelled after the first season. Other guest appearances on TV include ‘Modern Men’ (2006), ‘Burn Notice’ (2009), ‘Meteor’ (2009), ‘Drop Dead Diva’ (2009), and ‘Maneater’ (2009).
Her movies in the late 2000s include ‘Flower Girl’ (2009), ‘Gift of the Magi’ (2010), ‘Play the Game’ (2009), and ‘BIONICLE’ (2010). Later, in 2011, she was seen in the movies ‘The Chateau Meroux’ and ‘Scents and Sensibility’.
In 2011, she marked her appearance in the popular series ‘CSY:NY’ as a guest character Abigail West in the episode Party Down. She later starred as Dr. Chelsea Mullins in ‘Melissa & Joey’ before being cast in the main role of Dani for ‘The Fosters’ in 2014.
In 2015, she played Glenda Castillo in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ for two episodes and later played Chloe in ‘Hot in Cleveland’ the same year. In the following year, she was seen in the movies ‘Summer in the City’ and Do You Take This Man’.
In 2016, she was roped in to play Gia Mahan in the Netflix original ‘Fuller House’. She was a recurring character until the series ended in 2018. She is currently working on the short film ‘Preschool in L.A.’ that is scheduled to be released in 2019.
Family & Personal Life
Marla Sokoloff was previously in a relationship with James Franco, her co-actor of ‘Whatever It Takes’, from 1999 until 2004. They parted ways amicably.
She started dating an American, Alec Puro, Deadsy drummer and songwriter, in 2004. They subsequently got married on November 7, 2009. The couple has two daughters: Elliotte Anne and Olive Mae. Marla often talks about how motherhood changed her life.
Marla Sokoloff is an accomplished musician as well as an actor. She was the lead singer and guitarist for the band Smittin and continues to perform at live shows in Los Angeles.
She has blogged on People.com.