Laura San Giacomo

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Laura San Giacomo
Laura San Giacomo.jpg
San Giacomo in August 2011
Born (1962-11-14) November 14, 1962 (age 57)
EducationCarnegie Mellon University (BFA)
Years active1987–present
m. 1990⁠–⁠1998)

m. 2000)

Laura San Giacomo (born November 14, 1962)[1] is an American actress. She is known for playing Cynthia in the film Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), Kit De Luca in the film Pretty Woman (1990), Nadine Cross in The Stand (1994), and Maya Gallo on the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me! (1997–2003). A BAFTA and two-time Golden Globe Award nominee, she also played the regular role of Rhetta Rodriguez on the TNT drama Saving Grace (2007–2010), and the recurring role of Dr. Grace Confalone on the CBS drama NCIS (2016–19).

Early life and education[edit]

San Giacomo, an Italian American,[2] was born in West Orange, New Jersey, the daughter of MaryJo and John San Giacomo, a paper mill owner.[3] She grew up in Denville, New Jersey. San Giacomo discovered acting while attending Morris Knolls High School. In 1984, she received a fine arts degree, specializing in acting, from Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in Pittsburgh.


After graduating, she moved to New York. San Giacomo then went on to appear in several theater productions, including the Garry Marshall-Lowell Ganz production of Wrong Turn at Lungfish in Los Angeles, the Princeton/McCarter Theatre production of Three Sisters, and off-Broadway in Beirut. She also starred in Italian American Reconciliation, regional productions of Shakespeare's The Tempest, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet, as well as Crimes of the Heart. In a review of the Walnut Street Theatre 1986 presentation of As You Like It, San Giacomo received a special mention: "although doll-like Laura San Giacomo had only a minor role as a wilful shepherdess, she sank her fangs into it and received the only show-interrupting applause of the evening."[4]

Early career[edit]

San Giacomo's first television appearances were four episodes on three television series during 1987.[5] Two notable appearances were in Crime Story in 1988 for the episode "Protected Witness" (Season 2 / Episode 13) as Theresa Farantino, and in Miami Vice in 1989 for the episode, "Leap of Faith" (Season 5, Episode 19) as Tania Lewis. The Miami Vice episode also featured a guest appearance by her future husband, actor Cameron Dye, one year before their marriage. Prior to that, she was featured on the daytime soap opera All My Children as Louisa Sanchez, the Latina common-law wife of Mitch Beck (Brian Fitzpatrick) whose presence threatened to thwart his relationship with Hillary Martin (Carmen Thomas).

However, San Giacomo first drew international attention in Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989), which also marked her film debut as a credited actor (in the 1988 movie Miles from Home, her role as "Sandy" was not credited).[5] Her work in the film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and she received a Los Angeles Film Critics Association New Generation Award. The film was honored with the Cannes Film Festival's prestigious Grand Prize, the Palme d'Or.

In 1990, San Giacomo played a supporting role as Julia Roberts's character's wisecracking friend Kit De Luca in Pretty Woman. The blockbuster film ended up generating $178 million at the box office.[6]

San Giacomo has appeared in such films as Quigley Down Under (1990), Vital Signs (1990), Under Suspicion (1991), Once Around (1991), Where the Day Takes You (1992), Nina Takes a Lover (1994), and Suicide Kings (1997). She also appeared as Nadine Cross in the Stephen King TV miniseries The Stand opposite Rob Lowe, which landed them on the cover of the May 7–13, 1994, issue of TV Guide. She continued doing films, and as 1999 ended, she did the film Eat Your Heart Out. In 2001, San Giacomo landed the starring role in the Jenifer Estess bio-pic Jenifer, which aired on CBS in October of that year.

San Giacomo did voice work for the animated series Gargoyles (as the character of Fox). However, she went uncredited for the role because her agent believed it would damage her reputation to have worked on an animated series.

Just Shoot Me![edit]

Needing to work, but not wanting to be away from her newborn son for months at a time, San Giacomo shifted to television in the role of hot-tempered, sassy journalist Maya Gallo in the situation comedy Just Shoot Me! (1997–2003).[7] Her character was partially based on an unproduced idea that executive producer Steven Levitan once had in mind for actress Janeane Garofalo when he was a writer for The Larry Sanders Show. San Giacomo was originally cast in the starring role, since the series was meant to center on her character; however, the show soon adopted an ensemble style. Despite the shift in focus, San Giacomo remained an integral part of the show and with top billing. She and the four other main cast members appeared in all 148 episodes of the series, which lasted until 2003.

San Giacomo's work during Season 2 (1997–1998) earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination in 1998 for Best Actress in a Television Comedy or Musical; the award went to Ally McBeal's Calista Flockhart.

Post-Just Shoot Me! and appearances[edit]

After NBC cancelled Just Shoot Me! in 2003, San Giacomo appeared sporadically on television and in films. She made guest appearances on several television series, including the short-lived CBS crime drama The Handler in 2003 and HBO's Unscripted in 2005. She was the narrator for the true crime series Snapped: Killer Couples on Oxygen. San Giacomo also appeared in the 2005 films Checking Out and Havoc, as well as the 2006 film Conquistadora. San Giacomo was to have made her return to television on The WB's new drama Related in 2005, but the character was recast due to creative differences. Kiele Sanchez took her place as "Anne Sorelli" on the show. San Giacomo also made few public appearances; she made her first public appearance in nearly a year on 19 October 2005 at the 15th Annual Environmental Media Awards. She made two more public appearances at the Crystal and Lucy Awards on 6 June 2006 and at the 3rd Annual Alfred Mann Foundation Innovation and Inspiration Gala on 9 September 2006.

In 2006, San Giacomo returned to network television with three guest appearances on the third season of Veronica Mars. She reunited with her former love interest from Just Shoot Me!, Enrico Colantoni, playing Harmony Chase. Both Colantoni and San Giacomo enjoyed their reunion so much that they lobbied for their characters to appear together in further episodes.[8]

In September 2006, San Giacomo secured her first starring role on a television program after Just Shoot Me!, when she reunited with a former peer and co-starred opposite fellow Carnegie-Mellon alum Holly Hunter in TNT's drama series Saving Grace. San Giacomo played Grace's best friend Rhetta Rodriguez.

In June 2010, San Giacomo guest starred in the episode titled "Death Becomes Her" on the USA network's In Plain Sight. She played a woman from an organized crime family with a terminal illness. In December 2011, San Giacomo appeared on the episode titled "Beards" on Hot in Cleveland, as Caroline, Melanie's estranged sister.

Personal life[edit]

San Giacomo has been married twice, first to actor Cameron Dye (1990–1998), with whom she had a son, Mason Dye (b. November 19, 1995), who has cerebral palsy, and second to actor Matt Adler (m. 2000). San Giacomo is a cousin of Torry Castellano, former drummer of the rock group The Donnas.

She lives in the San Fernando Valley, California. Her hobbies include horseback riding, gymnastics, ice skating, ballet, tennis, golf and playing piano.

San Giacomo is a strong supporter of charitable causes, most prominently those related to disabilities. She has appeared at the Environmental Media Awards, the "Voices For Change" gala benefit and concert which benefits Children with Disabilities, and the "Friends Finding a Cure" gala benefiting Project ALS. She is also a founder of the CHIME Charter Elementary School, an elementary school in Woodland Hills, California. Chime is an inclusion school for all children of all abilities. The school opened its doors in 2001. As a charter school, CHIME provides free public education to students and admits them through a lottery system. The school serves approximately 200 children in kindergarten through fifth grade who live in communities around California's San Fernando Valley.[9] Today CHIME services grade kindergarten through eighth grade and has almost 700 students.


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Miles from Home Sandy uncredited
1989 Sex, Lies, and Videotape Cynthia Patrice Bishop Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Los Angeles Film Critics Association: New Generation Award
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated – New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
1990 Pretty Woman Kit De Luca
Vital Signs Lauren Rose
Quigley Down Under Crazy Cora
1991 Once Around Jan Bella
Under Suspicion Angeline
1992 Where the Day Takes You The Interviewer
1994 Nina Takes a Lover Nina
1995 Stuart Saves His Family Julia
1997 The Apocalypse Goad
Suicide Kings Lydia
1998 Gargoyles: Brothers Betrayed Fox voice
With Friends Like These.. Joanne Hersh
1999 Eat Your Heart Out Jacqueline Fosburg
2003 A House on a Hill Gaby
2005 Checking Out Flo Applebaum Palm Beach International Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Havoc Joanna Lang
2011 Few Options Bus Ticket Agent
2012 Least Among Saints Jolene
2015 The Meddler TV Mom
2019 Honey Boy Dr. Moreno
TBA Violet Janice Post-production
Year Title Role Notes
1987 Spenser: For Hire Sharon Episode: "On The Night He Was Betrayed"
1988 Crime Story Theresa Farantino Episode: "Protected Witness"
1989 The Equalizer Trudy Collins Episode: "The Caper"
Miami Vice Tania Louis Episode: "Leap of Faith"
1993 For Their Own Good Jo Mandell
1994 The Stand Nadine Cross TV miniseries
1995 Fallen Angels Peggy Episode: "Fly Paper"
1996 The Right to Remain Silent Nicole Savita
2001 Sister Mary Explains It All Angela DiMarco
Jenifer Jenifer Estess
2003 The Electric Piper Mrs. Robinson (voice)
1997–2003 Just Shoot Me! Maya Gallo Main cast; 149 episodes
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (1999)
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (2001)
2003 The Handler Karen Episode: "Homewrecker's Ball"
2006 Related Ann Sorelli Episode: "Pilot"
Veronica Mars Harmony Chase 3 episodes
2007–2010 Saving Grace Rhetta Rodriguez Main cast; 46 episodes
2010 In Plain Sight Mia Cusato Episode: "Death Becomes Her"
The Defenders Judge Anna Desanti Episode: "Nevada v. Sen. Harper"
Medium Susannah Collings Episode: "The People in Your Neighborhood"
2011 Hot in Cleveland Caroline Episode: "Beards"
2012 TalhotBlond Carol TV movie
2013 The Mentalist Miriam Gottlieb Episode: "Red John's Rules"
2016–present NCIS Dr. Grace Confalone 8 episodes
2017–present Animal Kingdom Morgan Wilson 8 episodes
2018 Grey's Anatomy Marjorie Kersey Episode: "Caught Somewhere in Time"


  1. ^ Worldcat. Some news items report November 14, 1961.
  2. ^ Stock, Ann Marie (1997). Framing Latin American Cinema: contemporary critical perspectives. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. XXVI. ISBN 0-8166-2972-2.
  3. ^ "Laura San Giacomo Biographyggg (1962?-)".
  4. ^ Bykofsky, Stuart D. (March 13, 1986). "As You Like It: Try It". Philadelphia Daily News. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Philadelphia News Network.
  5. ^ a b Laura San Giacomo on IMDb
  6. ^ Pretty Woman at Box Office Mojo
  7. ^ "Laura San Giacomo interview by Chet Cooper". Archived from the original on 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2012-06-06.
  8. ^ Former 'Just Shoot Me' Stars Enjoy Life on 'Mars' – Laura San Giacomo and Enrico Colantoni reunite on CW drama – Zap2it Archived 2012-09-26 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Archived: The Education Innovator-9 May 2005

External links[edit]