Laura San Giacomo (born November 14, 1962) is an American actress known for playing the role of Maya Gallo on the NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me! and Kit De Luca in the film Pretty Woman, as well as other work on television and in films. She most recently played the role of Holly Hunter's childhood best friend on the TNT crime drama series Saving Grace.
San Giacomo, an Italian American, was born in West Orange, New Jersey, the daughter of MaryJo and John San Giacomo, a paper mill owner. She grew up in Denville, New Jersey. San Giacomo discovered acting while attending Morris Knolls High School. Laura got a Fine Arts degree, specializing in acting, at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama (Pittsburgh). After graduating in 1984, she moved to New York. San Giacomo then went on to appear in several theater productions. San Giacomo has appeared on the Los Angeles stage in the Garry Marshall-Lowell Ganz production of Wrong Turn at Lungfish, the Princeton/McCarter Theatre production of Three Sisters and Off-Broadway in Beirut. She has 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.
San Giacomo's first television appearances were four episodes on three TV series during 1987. A first notable appearance was on Miami Vice in 1989 for the episode, "Leap Of Faith" as Tania Lewis. This 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). Her work in S, L & V was nominated for a Golden Globe, 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.
San Giacomo cemented her reputation as a bankable actress from her role as Julia Roberts' character's wisecracking friend Kit De Luca in Pretty Woman (1990). The blockbuster ended up generating $178 million at the box office. San Giacomo has appeared in such films as Miles from Home (1988), 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 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. Eat Your Heart Out (2000). 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), but her agent insisted that she not be credited, believing it could damage her career if her name appeared on an animated series. Greg Weisman, the show's producer, stated that "Laura was nothing but wonderful, working on the show. A real pleasure."
Just Shoot Me!
Arguably, San Giacomo's best known role is Maya Gallo in the sitcom Just Shoot Me! (1997–2003). 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 be centered around her character, but the show soon became an ensemble format. Despite the shift in focus, San Giacomo remained as an integral part of the show and with top billing. She and the four other main cast members appeared in all 148 episodes of Just Shoot Me!. Her move to television gave her a regular work schedule and allowed her to work close to her home, since the CBS Studio Center - the site of her new television project's tapings - was near her San Fernando Valley residence.
Post-Just Shoot Me! and appearances
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 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.
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.
San Giacomo is a strong supporter of charitable causes, mostly disability-related ones. 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, CA for children with special needs. 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.
- Stock, Ann Marie (1997). Framing Latin American Cinema: contemporary critical perspectives. Minnesota: University of Minnesota
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- Laura San Giacomo Biography (1962?-)
- http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000624 Internet Movie Database, Laura San Giacomo page, accessed 18 Sept. 2009
- Pretty Woman (1990)
- Search : Ask Greg : Gargoyles : Station Eight
- Former 'Just Shoot Me' Stars Enjoy Life on 'Mars' - Laura San Giacomo and Enrico Colantoni reunite on CW drama - Zap2it
- Archived: The Education Innovator-9 May 2005
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