An intense, unaffected, sloe-eyed Italian American player of television, stage, and film, Cara Buono never lacked determination. The product of a working-class Bronx household, she was determined to become an actor during adolescence, then broke into show business at age 12 (ca. 1983) and used a succession of roles, including Broadway and small screen assignments, to generate a steady income, support herself, and ultimately put herself through Columbia University in an astonishing three years. Buono made an admirable (albeit low-profile) debut in director Stephen Gyllenhaal's ambitious and vastly underrated psychological drama Waterland (as a student in the early '70s). Subsequent films varied enormously in quality, as did the scope of her roles; from a turn as an illegal immigrant daughter in the critically excoriated buddy comedy The Cowboy Way (1994), to a bit part in the critically worshipped Noah Baumbach seriocomedy Kicking and Screaming (1995). Subsequent highlights of Buono's career included a key supporting role in director Brad Anderson's wry romantic comedy Next Stop Wonderland (1998) and a portrayal of Bruce Banner's mother, Edith, in director Ang Lee's unevenly received superhero opus Hulk (2003). In the years to follow, Buono shifted her focus to television with a season-long role as Grace Foster on Third Watch and a portrayal of Anna Turner in Season Six of The Dead Zone. She also co-starred opposite Jason Cottle in the occult horror thriller Cthulhu, adapted from a story by H.P. Lovecraft.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Made stage debut at age 12 as an understudy in Harvey Fierstein's 1984 Off-Broadway play Spook House; also appeared on stage in revivals of Paddy Chayefsky's The Tenth Man (1989) and Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tatttoo (1995).
- Was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Abby, My Love, a 1991 CBS Schoolbreak Special about a teen who's sexually abused by her father. (Buono later counseled rape victims at New York City's Roosevelt Hospital.)
- Wrote and directed the 1997 short film Baggage (starring Minnie Driver and Liev Schreiber).
- Film credits range from The Hulk and Artie Lange's Beer League to the 1999 indie romance Two Ninas (which she co-produced).
- Has run in three New York City Marathons.
- Is certified to teach yoga.