Cara Buono Biography (1974-)

An intense, unaffected, sloe-eyed Italian American player of television, stage, and film, never lacked determination. The product of a working-class Bronx household, she was determined to become an actor during adolescence, then broke into show business at age 12 (ca. 1983) and used a succession of roles, including Broadway and small screen assignments, to generate a steady income, support herself, and ultimately put herself through Columbia University in an astonishing three years. Buono made an admirable (albeit low-profile) debut in Stephen Gyllenhaal’s ambitious and vastly underrated psychological drama Waterland (as a student in the early ’70s). Subsequent films varied enormously in quality, as did the scope of her roles; from a turn as an illegal immigrant daughter in the critically excoriated buddy comedy The Cowboy Way (1994), to a bit part in the critically worshipped Noah Baumbach seriocomedy Kicking and Screaming (1995). Subsequent highlights of Buono’s career included a key supporting role in Brad Anderson’s wry romantic comedy Next Stop Wonderland (1998) and a portrayal of Bruce Banner’s mother, Edith, in Ang Lee’s unevenly received superhero opus Hulk (2003). In the years to follow, Buono shifted her focus to television with a season-long role as Grace Foster on Third Watch and a portrayal of Anna Turner in Season Six of The Dead Zone. She also co-starred opposite Jason Cottle in the occult horror thriller Cthulhu, adapted from a story by H.P. Lovecraft.

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