Maria Bello biography
The Late Bloomer
Date of Birth: April 18, 1967
Born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, Maria Bello is of Polish and Italian heritage. Hoping to become a lawyer, she studied Pre-Law/Political Science at Villanova University, but while there she fell in love with acting after choosing a drama class as an elective. Following graduation in 1989, Bello headed to New York City to pursue an acting career. She took on a variety of odd jobs to support herself, including walking dogs, cleaning houses, bartending and waiting tables. However, while working at Tartine, a French restaurant, she was named "the worst waitress in the city" in a review. She slowly began to land roles in commercials and plays, and made her film debut with a small role in an independent, low budget film called Maintenance (1992). In 1995, she began to make guest appearances on television shows such as The Commish, Misery Loves Company, Nowhere Man and Due South and in 1996, she won the role of Mrs. Smith in the CBS spy-adventure series Mr. and Mrs. Smith, co-starring Scott Bakula. She learned to kickbox for the show, but unfortunately, it was cancelled after only eight episodes aired.
However, a few months later, several guest appearances on the hit medical series ER led to Bello being asked to join the cast as Dr. Anna Del Amico for the fourth season. She stayed with the show for one year before leaving to concentrate on a film career, after landing a role in the Mel Gibson flick Payback (1999). She won a Blockbuster Entertainment award as Best Supporting Actress in Coyote Ugly (2000), then acted alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in Duets (2000) and landed the starring role in the IMAX film called China: The Panda Adventure (2000).
Other feature film credits include Sam the Man (2000), 100 Mile Rule (2002) and Auto Focus (2002). In 2003 Bello received a Golden Globe nomination for her supporting role in The Cooler (2003), starring William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin. She followed that up by playing Johnny Depp's ex-wife in Secret Window (2004). Subsequent screen roles include A History of Violence (2005),for which she received her second Golden Globe nomination; The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009); and the comedy Grown Ups (2010), playing Kevin James' wife. She appeared in Prisoners (2013)starring alongside Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis.
More recently, she starred in McFarland, USA (2015) alongside Kevin Costner, The 5th Wave (2016) starring Chloë Grace Moretz, the horror flick Lights Out (2016), the fantasy thriller Wait Till Helen Comes (2016), the sci-fi feature Max Steel (2016) and the fantasy romance, Every Day (2018).
Bello co-founded DreamYard Drama Project, a not-for-profit arts and education program for at-risk youth, and is affiliated with Save the Children—traveling to Kosovo in April 1999 to work with underprivileged children. On March 5, 2001, she and her boyfriend, TV executive Dan McDermott, welcomed their first son, Jackson Blue. They have since split. Maria lives in Los Angeles with her son. McDermott lives nearby.