Date of Birth: August 29, 1971
A native of Sarasota, Florida, Carla Gugino spent most of her youth being shuttled by her mother
to various locations in California. At age 15, she and her mom were living in San Diego when
Gugino was convinced to try a modeling career in New York City. She succeeded, but soon
found the fast pace of high fashion modeling too much for her and so moved to Los Angeles
where she took advice from her aunt and enrolled in acting classes to study under drama
coach Gene Bua. Gugino quickly found her calling as an actress and she threw herself into
her studies. Because she was so young, her mother insisted that Gugino study only six
months in Los Angeles and then return to San Diego.
She guested on such mid-'80s shows as Alf, Falcon Crest, Who's the Boss? and Webster before making her film debut as one of the more spoiled members of Troop Beverly Hills (1989). She played Winona Ryder as a teen in Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael (1990) before returning to TV work.
Gugino had small parts in made for TV movies before making her first big impression as
Nan St. George, one of the bumptious 19th century debutantes in The Buccaneers (PBS, 1995), based on the Edith Wharton novel. It was shortly after this that Gugino was cast as Michael J. Fox's live-in girlfriend, a sexy but serious City Hall reporter, in Spin City (ABC, 1996). Despite earning good notices, Gugino left the show after 12 episodes as the series format was changed slightly to emphasize the working life of Fox's character.
By this time, Gugino was slowly gaining experience in feature films. After a supporting
role in the well-received coming-of-age drama This Boy's Life (1993), she had her
first lead as Pauly Shore's farm-bred girlfriend, in the less felicitous Son-in-Law
(1993). More small roles followed, such as Sarah Jessica Parker's sister in the
comedy Miami Rhapsody (1995). In the animal tale Homeward Bound II: Lost in San
Francisco (1996), she and sitcom co-star Fox provided the voices for two dogs
engaged in a romance. In 1996, she also had small supporting roles in Emilio
Estevez's Vietnam-era drama The War at Home, the marital comedy Wedding Bell
Blues and Nora Ephron's angelic fantasy Michael. In 1998 she played opposite
Nicolas Cage in the conspiracy thriller, Snake Eyes, and then took on the role of
co-producer in Judas Kiss, which she also stars. She was a series regular on the critically acclaimed CBS medical drama, Chicago Hope from 1999 to 2000.
Since then, she has played a lead role in Wayne Wang's The Center of the World and joined Antonio Banderas in the highly popular Spy Kids trilogy. In 2003, she landed the title role in the new ABC TV drama Karen Sisco, but the show ran less than a season. After playing Rebecca in the blockbuster hit Night at the Museum (2006) opposite Ben Stiller, in 2007, she joined the cast of the successful HBO series Entourage for several episodes.
Other film work includes American Gangster (2007), Race to Witch Mountain (2009) and Sucker Punch (2011).