Maria Bello is an American actress best known for her role as Dr. Anna Del Amico in the television medical drama series ER, appearing in 25 episodes from 1997-1998.
Bello was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania to an Italian American father and a Polish American mother. She grew up in a working-class Roman Catholic family and graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School (Radnor) in Radnor, PA.
Later she attended Villanova University, majoring in political science.
She had every intention of becoming a lawyer, but took an acting class during her senior year, just for fun. She was soon cast in small off-Broadway plays, such as The Killer Inside Me, Small Town Gals With Big Problems and Urban Planning.
She later guest-starred on episodes of The Commish (1991), Nowhere Man (1995), Misery Loves Company (1995) and Due South (1994).
Bello's breakthrough came when producers Kenny Lenhart and John J. Sakmar cast her as Mrs. Smith in the spy show Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1996); they remembered her from her performance in a failed pilot that was a remake of the classic TV series 77 Sunset Strip (1958).
The show was cancelled after just eight weeks on the air.
Then came a guest stint on ER as the feisty pediatrician Dr. Anna Del Amico, in which she guest-starred in the final three episodes of the third season. The show's producers were so impressed with her that they asked her back as a regular on the series.
Bello remained on the show for one season, departing after the medical drama's 4th season.
The actress turned to movies, landing a role in Coyote Ugly (2000).
Other films she has appeared in include Payback (1999), Auto Focus (2002), 100 Mile Rule (2002), The Cooler (2003), Secret Window (2004), Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), The Sisters (2005), A History of Violence (2005), Thank You for Smoking (2005), World Trade Center (2006), Flicka (2006), and Butterfly on a Wheel (2007).
She has been nominated for the Golden Globe award twice: for Best Supporting Actress in The Cooler and for Best Actress in A History of Violence.