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Maria Grazia Cucinotta

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The natural successor to Italian 60s screen sirens Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren, Maria Grazia Cucinotta has emerged as one of her country's most striking exports.

Model-turned-actress Cucinotta rose to international attention in 1994 with a role the Academy Award-winning film "Il Postino," in which she smoldered as the unlikely love interest of a dim-witted mail man.

Hollywood parts followed quickly for the Sicilian, including in a fleeting appearance as a Bond Girl opposite Pierce Brosnan in 1999's "The World is Not Enough."

Dreams of living the "Dolce Vita" portrayed by Italian director Federico Fellini saw Cucinotta head for fashion capital Milan at the age of 18 to launch a modeling career she became quickly disillusioned with.

A chance audition in Rome led her into television and advertising work, where she quickly capitalized on her unabashedly Italian looks and glamour.

Still one of Italy's most sought-after actors, Cucinotta recently produced and starred in "The Invisible Children," a series of vignettes highlighting the plight of disadvantaged youngsters around the world.

The film, a collaboration between directors including John Woo, Spike Lee and Ridley Scott, was showcased at the 2005 Venice film festival.

"It is so fantastic being an actress because you have the chance to be a thousand different people when you act," says Cucinotta.

"But you have to go back to your real life, and if you don't have the right people around you, you forget about that."

Filmography

2005 All the Invisible Children
2005 Miracolo a Palermo!
2004 Mariti in Affitto
2000 Just One Night
2000 Picking Up the Pieces
1999 The World is Not Enough
1998 La Seconda Moglie
1997 A Brooklyn State of Mind
1997 Camere Da Letto
1996 Il Sindaco
1996 Italiani
1995 I Laureati
1995 El Dia de la Bestia
1994 Il Postino
1994 Comincio Tutto Per Caso



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