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Biography #2 (for The Cooler)

In a remarkably short time, Maria Bello established herself as a new leading actress with a formidable and beautiful presence. Bello segued effortlessly from the spy-adventure series, Mr. and Mrs. Smith into not only a leading role on NBC's award-winning drama ER but as a leading lady on the big screen.

Bello, best known for her Screen Actors Guild Award winning, leading role on ER as the passionate and headstrong pediatrician Dr. Anna Del Amico, has quickly emerged as one of Hollywood's up and coming film stars. She made her television debut as a series regular opposite Scott Bakula in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The spy-adventure series required Bello to do some of her own stunts and learn Moi Thai, A Taiwanese form of street fighting.

Bello co-starred in PERMANENT MIDNIGHT with Ben Stiller and Elizabeth Hurley, and she also co-starred with Mel Gibson in Paramount's PAYBACK. Shot simultaneously during production of ER, Bello played the female lead to Gibson's past and present encounters.

In 2000 Bello appeared in the film DUETS with Gwyneth Paltrow, Huey Lewis and Scott Speedman. She also starred in Jerry Bruckheimer's highly anticipated COYOTE UGLY, portraying Lil, a tough talking entrepreneur who owns a Western style bar in New York City called Coyote Ugly.

In the fall of 2000 Bello returned from China where she filmed a special project, that was presented on the spectacular giant IMAX screen called CHINA: THE PANDA ADVENTURE. It is the true story of one woman's incredible struggle to survive in the mysterious Chinese jungle, her determination to fulfill her late husband's destiny and her efforts to protect one of the world's rarest animals. Based upon Ruth Harkness' autobiography Lady and the Panda, CHINA: THE PANDA ADVENTURE combines spectacular images of a foreign land and breathtaking scenes with Giant Pandas, with this incredible true story of hope, courage and triumph of the human spirit. It was released on the giant IMAX screen in the spring of 2001.

Bello was recently seen in AUTO FOCUS, a movie based on the complex life of Bob Crane of television's Hogan's Hero's. Bello co-starred with Greg Kinnear as Crane's second wife. Prior to AUTO FOCUS, Bello filmed the dark comedy 100 MILE RULE, a story, that revolves around three salesmen from Detroit who come to Los Angeles for a seminar and become entrenched in far more than they ever imagined. 100 MILE RULE is set to hit theatres later this year.

Bello's extensive theatre credits include the world premiere of The Killer Inside Me, as well as Smart Town Gals at the Currican Theatre, Big Problems at the Theatre for New City, Urban Planning at the Theatre del Barrio, A Lie of the Mind at Columbia University, His Pillow and Out of Gas on Lover's Leap at T. Schreiber Studios, Big Talk at the Double Image Theatre, Talked Away at the West End Gate.

Bello also co-founded the Dream Yard Drama Project for Kids, a not-for-profit arts and education program for children in Harlem. Maria has toured Africa and Asia while continuing her studies in conjunction with her arts and education program for children.

Bio courtesy Lionsgate Films for "The Cooler" (30-Mar-2003)


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