“Unlike a movie, you kind of learn things about yourself every week, ... When
you get a new script, you find out, oh, I was with the FBI, or oh, my father was
this, or oh, this is where I grew up. They can make it up as they go along.”
American actress Annabella Sciorra has constantly delivered go-getting and
gripping acting turns regardless of the rough quality of her projects. She is
probably best-recognized as the blue-collar bride in Nancy Savoca’s True Love
(1989), the Italian-American woman in love with a married Black architect in
Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever (1991) and the mother dealing with the psycho nanny in
Curtis Hanson’s thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992). The striking
brunette, who frequently cast in the wife or girlfriend roles, went on to give
memorable performances in such films as The Cure (1995), as the parent of an
AIDS-stricked child, and What Dreams May Come (1998), portraying Robin Williams’
desperate widow. She is also known for playing supporting parts in the Abel
Ferrara films The Addiction (1995), The Funeral (1996) and New Rose Hotel
On the small screen, Sciorra received acclaim and became famous for her role as
the mistress of Tony Soprano, Gloria Trillo, in the highly successful HBO series
“The Sopranos” (2001-2004). The role brought the actress a 2001 Emmy nomination.
More recently, she was cast as Detective Carolyn Barek, the partner of Chris
Noth’s Detective Mike Logan, in NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”
Off screen, the American beauty of Italian heritage was listed as one of 12
“Promising New Actors of 1990” in John Willis’ Screen World. As for her private
life, Sciorra married actor Joe Petruzzi from 1989 until 1993. The resident of
Manhattan has been romantically involved with actor Bobby Cannavale since 2004.
Joe Petruzzi’s Ex
Childhood and Family:
Born Annabella Gloria Philomena Sciorra, on March 24, 1964, in Wethersfield,
Connecticut, Annabella Sciorra moved with her family to Brooklyn, New York at
the age of 11 due to his parents’ job. She studied dance as a child and began
taking drama lessons as she grew older. After graduating from South Shore High
School, Annabella went to college, but dropped out to pursue a career in acting.
On December 31, 1989, Annabella was married to actor Joe Petruzzi. The marriage,
however, ended in divorce in 1993.
Eschewing college to pursue her dream of acting, Annabella Sciorra formed her
own small theater company, The Brass Ring Theatre Company, when she was 20 years
old. She subsequently landed roles in NYC productions such as “Stay With Me” at
the West Bank Café, “Love and Junk” at LaMaMa and “Trip Back Down” at the Actors
Repertory Theatre. Her first major role came in 1988 with the NBC miniseries
“Mario Puzo’s The Fortunate Pilgrim,” playing the daughter of Sophia Loren, but
Sciorra did not come to prominence until 1989 when she made an auspicious film
debut as tormented, Italian-American, Brooklyn-raised bride Donna in True Love,
directed by Nancy Savoca. The role brought her a 1990 Independent Spirit
nomination for Best Female Lead.
Before long, Sciorra found herself starring mainly in wife and girlfriend roles
such as playing Tim Robbins’ cheating spouse in Cadillac Man (1990), as Richard
Gere’s wife in Internal Affairs (1990) and was Ron Silver’s lover in Reversal of
Fortune (1990). The next year, after a successful supporting turn in The Hard
Way (1991), the young actress received her first wide-ranging recognition as
Angie Tucci, an Italian-American woman who has an affair with a married Black
architect in actor/writer/director Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, and gained
additional attention as a young mother who recruited a psycho nanny in 1992’s
thriller The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, for director Curtis Hanson.
Unfortunately, Sciorra failed to become a full-fledged leading lady with
miscarries like Whispers in the Dark (1992) and The Night We Never Met (1993).
Sciorra portrayed the former wife of Matt Dillon in Anthony Minghella’s Mr.
Wonderful (1993) and debuted on Broadway in the following year with a role in
David Rabe’s “Those the River Keeps.” Then in 1995, she worked with Abel Ferrara
for the first time in the director’s horror-drama film The Addiction, appearing
as a vampire, and gave an excellent supporting portrayal of the mother of a
young AIDS patient, Linda, in The Cure (1995). Sciorra rejoined Ferrara for the
crime-drama The Funeral (1996), where she costarred as a Mafia wife, opposite
Christopher Walken and Chris Penn, and served as an associate producer. After
performances in films Highball (1997), Little City (1997, starred Jon Bon Jovi),
Cop Land (1997, with Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro), Mr. Jealousy (1997,
costarred with Eric Stoltz) and Abel Ferrara’s New Rose Hotel (1998, had a
feature role as Madame Rosa), and the ABC miniseries “Asteroid” (1997), Sciorra
received rave reviews for her bravura presentation as the hopeless widow of
Robin Williams in the fantasy What Dreams May Come (1998).
2000-2001 saw roles in the independent film Sam the Man (2000, with Fisher
Stevens), Above Suspicion (2000), the Rosie Perez and John Leguizamo starring
vehicle King of the Jungle (2000), Once in the Life (2000, as the wife of a
contract killer), Domenica (2001) and the biopic Jenifer (2001, TV). Sciorra
also guest starred in an episode of “Touched by an Angel” (2001), as Dr. Sarah
Conover, but it was her seven-episode role in the popular HBO drama series “The
Sopranos” (2001-2004) that made the actress a favorite among the TV audiences.
As Gloria Trillo, a car saleswoman and Tony Soprano’s girlfriend, Sciorra was
handed a 2001 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress.
The pretty performer was cast as the gorgeous, fiery Judge Kim Vicidomini in the
brief CBS judicial drama “Queens Supreme” (2003), along side Oliver Platt and
Robert Loggia, appeared as Cynthia Morales in the Mandy Moore comedy film
Chasing Liberty (2004), starred as Jeanette Maier in the drama made-for- TV film
The Madam’s Family: The Truth About the Canal Street Brothel (2004) as well as
co-starred opposite Kimberly Williams and Jason London in the telepic Identity
Theft: The Michelle Brown Story (2004).
In 2005, following a guest appearance on the first episode of producer Dick
Wolf’s “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” Sciorra joined the cast of the NBC “Law &
Order: Criminal Intent,” in which she portrayed police detective Carolyn Barek,
the female partner of Chris Noth’s Detective Mike Logan. She stayed with the
show until May 2006.
During that same periods, Sciorra was also seen as Carla Chung in Michael
Cuesta’s sophomore feature Twelve and Holding (2005), portrayed Vin Diesel’s
tough-as-nails former spouse in the Sidney Lumet-directed comedy Find Me Guilty
(2006), which represents the longest criminal trial in U.S. history, and had a
small part in the comedy-drama Marvelous (2006), written and helmed by Síofra