A husky-voiced New York native who enjoyed an early career as a popular model for Jean Paul Gaultier in France, Lorraine Bracco went on to build an enviable resume as an actress in film and television. Bracco made her U.S. feature debut in Ridley Scott's modern noir, Someone to Watch Over Me (1987). A few years later, she delivered a memorable supporting performance in director Martin Scorsese's iconic mob drama, Goodfellas (1990), opposite Ray Liotta. She went on to play the despairing mother of troubled teen Tom Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the gritty biopic The Basketball Diaries (1995), prior to taking on the most indelible role of her career, that of psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi on the groundbreaking crime family drama The Sopranos (HBO, 1999-2007).
Martin Scorsese had Bracco in mind for a role in Goodfellas, playing mob wife to Ray Liotta in the film adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi's Mafia memoir. A meeting between Bracco and Liotta proved successful, and when Scorsese learned that Bracco's upbringing had been strikingly similar to that of the actual Karen Hill, he gave her the role. The film, which chronicled the life of Mafia associate-turned-FBI informant Henry Hill, was a critic's pick and box office success, consistently cited as one of the best films of all time. Bracco's captivating portrayal of Karen Hill, whose initial attraction to Henry's dangerous, mysterious life eventually gave way to fear of her drug running husband with many mistresses, earned Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress.
The mid and late nineties were a period of great personal upheaval for the actress, who ended up millions of dollars in debt following custody battles with ex-husband Keitel and was struggling with debilitating clinical depression. She had filed for bankruptcy and was working with a therapist herself in 1999 when she was approached by David Chase for a role in his new HBO Mafia drama series "The Sopranos."
Chase initially had Bracco in mind for the role of Tony Soprano's wife Carmela, but Bracco was instantly attracted to the character of psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi, an educated, Italian-American woman the likes of which had not been seen on television before. Following the introduction of new patient Tony Soprano in the show's premiere episode, Melfi's character evolved significantly over the next six seasons. In addition to her crucial role as the sole confidante of a high-ranking mob associate, she faced her own moral dilemmas, alcoholism, violent crime, and emotional counseling. The show's highly anticipated final episode aptly included Melfi breaking off their patient-doctor relationship. For her impressive, stabilizing work, Bracco was nominated for Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2007; as well as Best Actress Golden Globe Awards in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Her work as Dr. Melfi was also recognized with an award from the American Psycho-Analytical Association.
Even though Lorraine Bracco is one of the world’s most dynamic actresses, when she reached her fifties, she felt she was losing her luster. During the long illnesses of her parents, she began to gain weight and felt her energy and self-confidence take a dive. Watching her parents die within 9 days of each other was her wake-up call to take charge of her life. She made a commitment to herself to stay healthy.
Each paid attendee will receive Bracco’s upcoming book, To the Fullest. By living a healthy life Bracco gradually lost 35 pounds and kept it off.
Early RSVPs are suggested here as the event will reach capacity.