Born in Messina, Italy, Maria Grazia Cucinotta moved
to Milan to study and took up modelling at the age of 16.
She soon tired of being used simply as an image, wanting
to be recognised for her mind as well as her face and, after
finishing her studies, moved to Rome. She got her big break
when Renzo Arbore signed her to appear in the TV show Behind
Cucinotta has continued her studies and taken diction lessons
to eliminate her Sicilian accent. In spite of her success
on television, she signed with a movie agent and, after
numerous failed screentests, was spotted by Massimo Troisi
and signed to play the beautiful Beatrice in Il Postino.
The huge success of the film meant that she began to be
recognised as an international movie star and the offers
flooded in. She made several more Italian films (including
I Laureati and Il Sindaco) before her Hollywood debut in
A Brooklyn State of Mind.
"I don't think it's absolutely
necessary for a romantic scene."
-Maria Grazia Cucinotta, about her refusal to do nude
Sharon Stone was originally targeted by MGM to play Elektra
King in "The World Is Not Enough", the same role
that Cucinotta originally screen tested for, and would co-star
a year later in "Picking Up the Pieces".
As her English was not up to the level required for the
part, Cucinotta was offered the role of the Cigar Girl,
but she still left a big impression with audiences despite
her smaller part.
In 2000 she was cast in the Timothy Hutton comedy "Just
One Night", and made a guest appearance in an episode
of "The Sopranos". Since 2001 she has appeared
in several TV shows an feature films in her home country
Italy, where she is extremely famous.
Maria has been married to businessman Giulio Violati since
October 1995. They live in Rome and she does everything
in her power to make sure tabloid reporters don't invade