Before deciding upon an acting career, Philadelphia-born Linda Fiorentino briefly flirted with the notion of becoming a lawyer. Fiorentino fans consider her first year of filmmaking her most rewarding, and her inaugural movie role as an erstwhile, love-struck artist in Vision Quest (1985) among her finest performances. After a conventional heroine stint in Gotcha! (1985), she raised eyebrows (and temperatures) as a mellow sculptress with a predilection for kinky sex games in the bizarre After Hours (1985). But Fiorentino was seldom well served in later pictures, hampered by too many nondescript performances in ensemble films. Then came her startling portrayal of the utterly amoral "black widow" Bridget in John Dahl's low-budget sleeper The Last Seduction (1994). In a less rule-bound world, the actress would have been nominated for an Oscar, but the film was, unfortunately, shown on cable TV before its theatrical release, thus rendering it ineligible for the Academy race. The success of The Last Seduction and Fiorentino's widely praised performance provided the resuscitation her career needed, but subsequent lead roles in a series of complete turkeys -- most notably the David Caruso thriller Jade (1995) and Dahl's Unforgettable (1996) -- quickly negated the film's positive effects. Fiorentino did enjoy a measure of acclaim for her role as Jesus Christ's only living descendent in Kevin Smith's Dogma (1999), and she continued to work steadily in all sorts of films, including Thaddeus O'Sullivan's Ordinary Decent Criminal, in which she played one of the loves of a charismatic Dublin criminal (Kevin Spacey).
Biography by Hal Erickson
- One of eight children in an Italian Catholic family.
- Graduated from college with plans to go to law school, but a political-science professor convinced her to go into acting.
- Her performance in The Last Seduction (1994) was widely praised by critics, who said she should have won an Oscar. The movie aired on HBO before its theatrical release, however, which made it ineligible for a nomination.
- Won the part of Dr. Laurel Weaver in Men in Black (1997) during a poker game with the movie director, Barry Sonnenfeld.
- Placed No. 66 on Empire magazine's list of 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History.