A budding TV star, Jennifer Esposito (born April 11th, 1973) opted to focus more exclusively on movies after landing one of the lead roles in Spike Lee's incendiary Summer of Sam (1999). A native New Yorker, Esposito trained at the Lee Strasberg Institute and worked on TV in the early 1990s, including a recurring role on New York Undercover. Following small roles in indie films Kiss Me, Guido (1997) and A Brother's Kiss (1997), Esposito gained prime time notice in 1997 as Michael J. Fox's sassy "Noo Yawk" secretary on ABC's hit sitcom Spin City. During her two seasons on the show, Esposito also appeared in Edward Burns' blue collar romance No Looking Back (1998), the teen slasher sequel I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998), and Spike Lee's basketball drama He Got Game (1998). After playing the more substantial dramatic part of Adrien Brody's punk singer girlfriend in Summer of Sam, however, Esposito left Spin City in 1999. Dividing critics and audiences over its dicey slice of New York City 1977 life and Lee's visual pyrotechnics, Summer of Sam failed at the box office. Esposito next appeared as one of Chris O'Donnell's ex-girlfriends in The Bachelor (1999). The millennial turnover found the beautiful rising starlet establishing herself as a versatile actress in such efforts as Dracula 2000 (2000) and Don't Say a Word (2001), and after appearing alongside Dana Carvey in the family comedy The Master of Disguise (2002), Esposito joined an impressive cast including Luis Guzman, William H. Macy and George Cloony for the caper comedy Welcome to Collinwood (also 2002). In 2004, Esposito took on a role as the long-suffering supervisor of a bumbling police officer in the less than successful comedy Taxi. The following year, however, her luck would change when she joined the cast of filmmaker Paul Haggis' Academy Award-winning drama Crash, in which she played the girlfriend and partner of an emotionally distant police officer. Afterwards, the actress joined several television shows including FX's drama Rescue Me, in which she worked alongside the show's star Denis Leary, and also appeared in ABC's comedy Samantha Who?, NBC's medical drama Mercy and CBS's cop procedural Blue Bloods.
Biography by Lucia Bozzola
- Worked as a waitress and as an exercise instructor while pursuing an acting career.
- Studied at the Actors Studio in New York.
- Appeared as a dancer on Club MTV.
- Says she turned down a recurring role on The Sopranos because it would have required her to appear in sex scenes.
- Was originally cast as the second-oldest sister in Related. After shooting the pilot, however, the show was reworked to make her character the oldest sibling.
- Revealed in 2011 that she had been diagnosed with celiac disease; she subsequently opened a gluten-free bakery in New York and released a book, Jennifer's Way, in 2014 about her struggles with the disease.