Maria Elana Bello is an American actress known for her many projects, including “ER,” “Coyote Ugly,” “The Cooler,” and “A History of Violence,” among others.
Maria Bello grew up in a working-class Pennsylvania suburb. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a construction worker. She is a mix of Polish and Italian ancestry. In high school, she was a varsity cheerleader at Archbishop John Carroll High School.
Maria was raised Roman Catholic and attended Villanova university. She studied law and peace and justice education, with a focus on human rights. She was going to be a lawyer but a drama class in her senior changed her mind.
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In 1989, with just $300, she moved to New York City to pursue acting. She lived on a friend’s floor and was cast in a few commercials and off-Broadway plays.
Maria Bello landed her first TV gig in 1996 on the show “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” but made a name for herself on “ER.” She landed her "career-making" role in “The Cooler” when she was 36.
She said, “I don’t know how I became known as a dramatic actress. When people would ask what part I wanted to play next, they expected me to say something like Medea, but I would say, ‘I want to play Indiana Jones!’”
She said, “I’m not afraid to play my age. I never was. I’ve never been an ingénue. I like getting older.” As to on-screen nudity, she said, “I don’t have any issue with it at all if I think it’s important in terms of the story and if it shows a real vulnerability, and it’s there’s a reason for it.” She added, “Maybe as my ass gets bigger and less tight it will be.”
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In 2001, Maria Bello starred in the IMAX movie “China: The Panda Adventure” and lived in China, but found the experience “difficult due to a lack of toilets and constant food poisoning,” (askmen.com).
She said in an interview “I was always anti-marriage. I didn’t understand monogamy. I couldn’t figure out how that could last. And then I met Bryn and I started to understand the beauty of constancy and history and change and going on the roller coaster with someone – of having a partner in life.” In a previous interview she said, “I’ve never been a relationship person. I’ve spent most of my life alone, but not alone. I spend time with friends and family.”
Maria Bello also has a few senior citizens as friends. ‘I’m interested in people who have lived, who are searching and questioning.”
She has a child, Jackson Blue McDermott, from her ex-boyfriend, screenwriter Dan McDermott. Her son is named after her college mentor, an Augustinian priest and professor Ray Jackson.
Maria Bello resides in Venice, California.