Laura San Giacomo is an American actress best known for her role as Maya Gallo in the television sitcom Just Shoot Me! (1997-2003), and as Kit De Luca in the 1990 blockbuster film Pretty Woman.
San Giacomo, an Italian American, was born in West Orange, New Jersey, the daughter of MaryJo and John San Giacomo, a paper mill owner. She was raised Catholic and grew up in Denville, New Jersey.
San Giacomo discovered acting while attending Morris Knolls High School and subsequently earned a degree in fine arts at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. She also attended Washington College. She then went on to appear in several theatre productions.
San Giacomo has appeared on the Los Angeles stage in the Garry Marshall-Lowell Ganz production of Wrong Turn at Lungfish, the Princeton/McCarter Theatre production of Three Sisters and Off-Broadway in Beirut.
She has also starred in Italian-American Reconciliation, regional productions of Shakespeare's The Tempest, As You Like It and Romeo And Juliet, as well as Crimes of The Heart.
One of San Giacomo's first television appearances of merit was on Miami Vice in 1989 in the episode "Leap Of Faith", as Tania Lewis. This also featured a guest appearance by her future husband, actor Cameron Dye, one year before their marriage.
However, San Giacomo first drew international attention in Steven Soderbergh's film sex, lies, and videotape (1989), which also marked her film debut. Her work was nominated for a Golden Globe, and she also received a Los Angeles Film Critics' Association New Generation Award.
The film itself was honoured with the Cannes Film Festival's prestigious Grand Prize, the Palme d'Or.
San Giacomo cemented her reputation as a bankable actress with her role as Julia Roberts' character's wisecracking friend Kit De Luca in the film Pretty Woman (1990). The blockbuster movie ended up generating $178-million at the box office.
San Giacomo has appeared in such films as Miles from Home (1988), Quigley Down Under (1990), Vital Signs (1990), Under Suspicion (1991) and Nina Takes a Lover (1994).
She also appeared in the Stephen King TV mini-series The Stand (in the role of Nadine Cross) opposite Rob Lowe, which landed them on the cover of the May 7 – 13 1994 issue of TV Guide.
In 2001, San Giacomo landed the starring role of Jenifer in the Jenifer Estess bio-pic Jenifer, which aired on CBS in October of that year. The biopic was based on a woman who had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
San Giacomo did voice work for the animated series Gargoyles (as the character of Fox), but her representation insisted that her name not appear in the end credits because they believed that it could damage her career if her name appeared in the credits of an animated series.
Having a child influenced Laura to make the transition from films to television. San Giacomo still wanted to work, but she didn't want to be away from her newborn son for months at a time as movies would require.
She thus decided to shift gears and began working for a television series instead.
Her move to television gave her a regular work schedule, not to mention that she didn't have to travel as much because the CBS Studio Centre - the site of her new television project's tapings - was located within the vicinity of her San Fernando Valley residence.
This led to perhaps her best known role as the neo-feminist character Maya Gallo in the sitcom Just Shoot Me! (1997–2003). She played a smart (yet sometimes naïve), hot-tempered, sassy journalist who reluctantly took a job at the fictional glamour magazine Blush - which happened to be owned by her father Jack Gallo (George Segal).
The character was partially based on an unproduced idea Just Shoot Me! executive producer Steven Levitan once had in mind for actress Janeane Garofalo when he was a writer for The Larry Sanders Show.
San Giacomo was originally cast in the starring role of the program as Just Shoot Me! was meant to be centered around her character, but the plot began to revolve around David Spade's Dennis Finch character by Season 3 (1998-1999).
Despite the shift in focus, San Giacomo remained on as an integral part of the show and with top billing. She, along with the four other main cast members, appeared in all 148 episodes of Just Shoot Me!.
San Giacomo's work during Season 2 (1997-1998) earned her a Golden Globe nomination in 1998 for Best Actress in a Television Comedy or Musical, but she ended up losing the award to Ally McBeal's Calista Flockhart.
Also, in a February 2000 interview Maxim conducted with fellow castmate David Spade, the subject of San Giacomo's breasts was brought up when they jokingly asked him if they were some sort of "special effect" due to their size.
Spade noted that Just Shoot Me! headquarters would often receive letters from viewers regarding San Giacomo's chest. Furthermore, just like in the case of his television character Finch (who supposedly once secretly videotaped Maya changing in to a jogging bra and dubbed it "The Maya Thing"), Spade is an admitted fan of them as well.
So much so that he claimed that he was never not aroused by his buxom co-star while on the set of Just Shoot Me.
The show's writers had taken note of San Giacomo's ample bosom as well and they occasionally wrote dialogue for Maya's fellow peers — usually Finch or Nina Van Horn (Wendie Malick) — to poke fun at the enormity of her bust.
San Giacomo let the "boob independent jokes" slide (every four episodes according to Spade, though it actually varied) and it was a long running gag on the comedy sitcom.
After NBC cancelled Just Shoot Me! in 2003, San Giacomo appeared sporadically on television and in films. She made guest appearances on several television series, including the short-lived CBS crime drama The Handler in 2003 and HBO's Unscripted in 2005.
She was the narrator for the true-life crime series Snapped on Oxygen and appeared in the 2005 films Checking Out and Havoc, as well as the 2006 film Conquistadora.
San Giacomo was to have made her return to television on The WB's new drama Related in 2005, but the character was recast due to creative differences. Kiele Sanchez took her place as "Anne Sorelli" on the show.
San Giacomo's public appearances were also few and far between. She made her first public appearance in nearly a year on October 19, 2005 at the 15th Annual Environmental Media Awards.
She made two more public appearances at the Crystal and Lucy Awards on June 6, 2006 and at the 3rd Annual Alfred Mann Foundation Innovation and Inspiration Gala on September 9, 2006.
In 2006, San Giacomo made her return to network television by making three guest appearances during the third season of Veronica Mars. San Giacomo reunited with her former love interest from Just Shoot Me!, Enrico Colantoni, playing Harmony Chase.
Both Colantoni and San Giacomo enjoyed their "Veronica" reunion so much that they lobbied for more Keith-Harmony stories.
In September 2006, San Giacomo secured her first starring role on a television program since the cancellation of Just Shoot Me! when she co-starred opposite fellow Carnegie-Mellon alum Holly Hunter in TNT's drama pilot Saving Grace.
The series premiered in the US on 23 July, 2007.
San Giacomo has been married twice: to actor Cameron Dye (1990-1998), with whom she had a son, Mason (born in 1996), who has cerebral palsy, and since 2000 to actor Matt Adler. She is a cousin of Torry Castellano of the rock group The Donnas.
She lives in the San Fernando Valley in California. Her hobbies include horseback riding, gymnastics, ice skating, ballet, tennis, golf and playing piano.