“Nobody is born speaking two languages.” Maria Grazia Cucinotta
One of Italian fruitful actresses, Maria Grazia Cucinotta gained her initial
worldwide recognition for her role as the love interest in the enormously
popular The Postman (1994). To most American, the tall, dark-haired Sicilian
beauty is perhaps best-known for portraying the Italian correspondent in Frank
Rainone’s crime/drama A Brooklyn State of Mind (1997), where she was handed a
New York International Independent Film & Video Festival Award, and as the
assassin in the 007 adventure The World Is Not Enough (1999). She added her
Hollywood resume by playing roles in Picking Up the Pieces (2000, opposite
Sharon Stone and Woody Allen) and Just One Night (2000, with Timothy Hutton).
A well-known movie and TV actress in Italia, Cucinotta will costar as Caterina
in the thriller Fly Light (2006), along with Flavio Bucci and Nathalie
Former model Cucinotta stands 5’ 10½” tall and measures 39D-25-35. In her free
time, the outgoing but shy Cucinotta enjoys staying at home, cleaning the house,
talking on the phone and reading books. As for her marriage life, she marries
businessman Giulio Violati, who becomes the father of their only child.
Childhood and Family:
In Messina, Sicily, Italy, Maria Grazia Cucinotta was born on July 27, 1969. She
started modeling while still in high school, working during her summer holidays
in Milan. But, when she completed her studies, Maria decided to put modeling on
the backburner, citing she was never required to use her head. An aspiring
actress from an early age, she then turned her attention to acting. To help full
fill her dream, she began taking drama classes and pronunciation lessons to get
rid of her Sicilian accent. She also provided time to learn English.
As for her love life, Maria was married to businessman Giulio Violati on October
8, 1995. Maria and her husband of 11 years, Violati, have one child and they
currently reside in Rome.
The voluptuous Maria Grazia Cucinotta got her start as a model in Milan as a
teenager, but soon got bored with the modeling life and chose to depart in favor
of acting. She then made audition circuits and broke the small screen for the
first time with a part as a sexy concubine in the Renzo Arbore television show
Indietro Tutta, a gig that triggered her acting career. She then joined with an
agent and went on taking spots on small programs and variety show. However, it
wasn’t easy for Cucinotta to get herself film roles. This led her to receive
work on TV commercials, most notably for Persol glasses and Banca di Roma bank.
A somewhat in-demand ads model, Cucinotta caught the attention of moviemakers
who soon got her parts in their projects.
In early 1990s, Cucinotta kicked off her film career in her native country of
Italy with roles in Journey of Love (1990), Christmas Vacation ’90 (1990) and
its installment Christmas Vacation ’91 (1991), High Risk, It All Started by
Chance, and Abbronzatissimi 2 - un anno dopo (all 1993). She also appeared in
series “Andy e Norman” (1991) and miniseries “Ragnatela, La” (1991).
Cucinotta, however, didn’t receive international recognition until director
Michael Radford cast her in the female lead of Beatrice Russo, the sexy barmaid
who attracts Massimo Troisi’s interest in The Postman (1994). The drama/romance
was a worldwide hit and won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best
Original Dramatic Score. As for Cucinotta, the film’s phenomenal success helped
elevate her career.
More film roles knocked on her doors after the breakthrough performance. She
appeared on the international-released comedy The Day of the Beast (1995) for
director Alex de la Iglesia, and was seen in such movies as Leonardo
Pieraccioni’s victorious Graduates (1995), Italians (1996), The Mayor (1996) and
Camere da letto (1997).
Also in 1997, the alluring Cucinotta made her first English-language debut with
the Frank Rainone-helmed A Brooklyn State of Mind, a crime/drama she costarred
with Vincent Spano, Danny Aiello, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Tony Danza and Jennifer
Esposito. Although the film was not a massive hit, Cucinotta’s promising
portrayal as Italian journalist Gabriela won her a New York International
Independent Film & Video Festival for Best Actress in a Dramatic Feature. The
same year, she also took on roles in TV movies Solomon and The Fourth King.
After teaming up with Michael and Virginia Madsen in Ballad of the Nightingale
(1998) and starring as Anna in the comedy La Seconda moglie (1998), Cucinotta
earned her next international exposure with a small, but memorable, turn as
merciless killer Julietta the Cigar Girl in the James Bond movie The World Is
Not Enough (1999), starring Pierce Brosnan. She kept on her small screen
presence with roles in Padre papà (1998), In punta di cuore (1999) as well as
“Avvocato Porta, L” (1999). She also guest starred in one episode of “Wildside”
(1998) and “The Sopranos” (1999).
Following a lead in Italian-produced TV movie Mary Magdalene (2000), Cucinotta
had her next American projects with the Sharon Stone and Woody Allen comedy
vehicle Picking Up the Pieces (2000) for director Alfonso Arau and Alan Jacobs’
comedy Just One Night (2000), opposite Timothy Hutton. She then held her own
with fine acting in Stregati dalla luna (2001), Strani accordi (2001) and the
series “Bello delle donne, Il” (2002, as Rosy Fumo), and in 2003, she appeared
on TV with the made-for-TV film Marcinelle.
2004-2005 saw performances in Vaniglia e cioccolato (2004, as Penelope), the
comedy Our Italian Husband (2004, along side Brooke Shields and Chevy Chase),
Miracolo a Palermo! (2005), the drama All the Invisible Children (2005, appeared
as a bartender) and the animated series “The Simpsons” (2005, voiced of
Francesca). Cucinotta is set to portray Caterina in upcoming Italian thriller
Fly Light (2006), opposite Flavio Bucci and Nathalie Caldonazzo.
New York International Independent Film & Video Festival: Feature Film
Award, Best Actress in a Dramatic Feature, A Brooklyn State of Mind, 1997