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Lorraine Bracco (born October 2, 1954) is an 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.

Early life

Bracco was born in the Brooklynmarker, New York Citymarker neighborhood of Bay Ridge and grew up in Hicksvillemarker on Long Islandmarker. Her father is Italian American and her mother is English; Lorraine is fluent in English, French and Italian.


Bracco moved in 1974 to Francemarker, where she became a fashion model for Jean-Paul Gaultier. While there, she was introduced to the director and novelist Lina Wertmuller. In the early seventies, Wertmuller recruited Bracco in a new film production titled Camorra. "She dressed me up like an Italian woman of no means. A street woman clad in disheveled clothes, hair unkempt and all that, and threw me on the set. She was so creative. I mean, Lina accentuated my eyes with dark make-up, the way Sophia Loren used to appear in those epic roles in the sixties. And talk about talent. She's so bright and perceptive. I mean, she's just fantastic. And yes, I learned a lot fom her. She's a master of her profession, and I've been blessed not only with her, but also with so many masters," recounted Bracco to Daniel Simone during an interview, which was published in the December 14, 2007 issue of Dan's Papers.

Bracco acted in several French-language films. She also once worked as a disc jockey for Radio Luxembourg. She appeared as Paul Guilfoyle's hostage in the first season Crime Story episode "Hide and Go Thief". Her sister Elizabeth played a hostage in the series pilot. Her other films include Someone to Watch Over Me, Riding in Cars with Boys, The Basketball Diaries, Medicine Man, Radio Flyer and Hackers.

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. The part of psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi would be a greater challenge. It netted her 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.

Personal life

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.

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.

Bracco appeared on a season 6 episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay as a guest judge for the ravioli Throwdown.

Selected filmography


  • On the Couch (Putnam Adult, 2006) ISBN 0-399-15356-X


  1. Lorraine Bracco, On the Couch, p. 38
  2. A Mafia Wife Makes Lorraine Bracco a Princess - New York Times
  3. Lorraine Bracco, On the Couch, p. 129
  4. Bracco Wines
  5. straight up brands

External links

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