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Cathy Moriarty

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Also Known As: Cathy Moriarty-Gentile Died:
Born: November 29, 1960 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: actor, restaurateur, receptionist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Overnight success can be either a blessing or a curse as actress Cathy Moriarty could easily attest. While still in her teens, she landed the star-making role of Vicki La Motta, wife of the prizefighting champ in Martin Scorsese's classic "Raging Bull" (1980). The tall, blonde, husky-voiced Bronx native earned a richly deserved Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination and seemed poised for a promising career. But a bad marriage and a car accident derailed her career almost immediately. Moriarty followed "Raging Bull" with a fine turn in the black comedy "Neighbors" (1981) but then was off-screen for nearly six years. Her unfortunate comeback vehicle was the dreadful thriller "White of the Eye" (1987) and it was almost four years before she finally had a good role as the ambitiously bitchy daytime actress Montana Morehead in "Soapdish" (1991). While that performance followed by her stellar work as Armand Assante's lover in "The Mambo Kings" (1992) revitalized her career, she was mostly relegated to supporting parts like the hooker Reba in "The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag" and John Goodman's actress girlfriend in "Matinee" (both 1992). The daughter of Irish immigrants, Moriarty was raised in Westchester...

Overnight success can be either a blessing or a curse as actress Cathy Moriarty could easily attest. While still in her teens, she landed the star-making role of Vicki La Motta, wife of the prizefighting champ in Martin Scorsese's classic "Raging Bull" (1980). The tall, blonde, husky-voiced Bronx native earned a richly deserved Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination and seemed poised for a promising career. But a bad marriage and a car accident derailed her career almost immediately. Moriarty followed "Raging Bull" with a fine turn in the black comedy "Neighbors" (1981) but then was off-screen for nearly six years. Her unfortunate comeback vehicle was the dreadful thriller "White of the Eye" (1987) and it was almost four years before she finally had a good role as the ambitiously bitchy daytime actress Montana Morehead in "Soapdish" (1991). While that performance followed by her stellar work as Armand Assante's lover in "The Mambo Kings" (1992) revitalized her career, she was mostly relegated to supporting parts like the hooker Reba in "The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag" and John Goodman's actress girlfriend in "Matinee" (both 1992).

The daughter of Irish immigrants, Moriarty was raised in Westchester County, New York and began acting in local dinner theaters while still in high school. She was only 17 years old when she first auditioned for the role of Vicki La Motta and after several attempts and a screen test which convinced director Scorsese and co-star Robert De Niro was hired for the part. Projecting a world-weariness that belied her youth, many thought her to be much older. Casting agents responded in kind by pigeonholing her as either maternal figures or generic "tough broads" by the 1990s (i.e., the missing witness in "Another Stakeout" 1993, the blowzy mom in "A Brother's Kiss" 1997). Even when she tried her hand at TV series, she was cast as a caustic but loving matriarch in the short-lived "Bless This House" (CBS, 1995).

Moriarty did excel at playing over-the-top comic villains as she demonstrated with her nasty heiress in "Casper" (1995) and her homophobic camp counselor attempting to rehabilitate gay and lesbian youth in "But I'm a Cheerleader" (2000). Occasionally, a director would break the mold, as James Mangold did in casting her as Harvey Keitel's wife in "Cop Land" (1997) but most of her roles were of the ilk of her madam in "Gloria" or her mobster's wife in "New Waterford Girl" (both 1999). She herself is cognizant of the fact that with her smoky voice and sexy allure she would hardly be cast as a wallflower, yet one cannot help but wonder what might happen should an imaginative casting agent or filmmaker offer her a part commensurate with her untapped talents. Moriarty continued to specialize in over-the-top villainesses but also appeared in the occasional serious supporting turn. She was reunited with her "Raging Bull" co-star De Niro in the comedy "Analyze That" (2002).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Rob the Mob (2014)
3.
 Double, The (2014)
5.
7.
 Analyze That (2002) Patty Lopresti
8.
 Red Team (2001)
9.
10.
 Prince Of Central Park (1999) Mrs Ardis
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in the Bronx, New York
:
Raised in Westchester County
1977:
Began acting in dinner theaters
1978:
Auditioned for Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro; eventually given screen test for role in "Raging Bull"
1980:
Film acting debut, played Vicki La Motta in "Raging Bull"; received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination
1981:
Last film for six years, "Neighbors"
1982:
Was in a car crash which required major back surgery
:
Briefly returned to New York state to live
1987:
Resumed film career in "White of an Eye"
:
Had back surgery to correct lingering complications from the car accident
1989:
TV debut in "The Reunion" episode of CBS' "Wiseguy"
:
Formed production company, Hey Pizza Lady Productions
1991:
Delivered deliciously comic turn as the scheming Montana Morehead in the comedy "Soapdish"
1992:
Portrayed Armand Assante's lover in "The Mambo Kings"
1993:
Played the missing witness sought by undervcover cops in "Another Stakeout"
1995:
Had villainous role in the hit film "Casper"
1995:
Cast as series regular on CBS sitcom, "Bless This House"
1996:
Had small role as the mother of the lead characters in "A Brother's Kiss"
1997:
Cast as Harvey Keitel's wife in "Cop Land"
1997:
Appeared as Alyssa Milano's mom in "Hugo Pool"; screened at Sundance Film Festival; aired on The Movie Channel
1998:
Played an aunt to the witch Wendy in the direct-to-video "Casper Meets Wendy"
1999:
Had small role as a madam in "Gloria", starring Gena Rowlands
1999:
Portrayed Melanie Griffith's sister-in-law in "Crazy in Alabama"
1999:
Co-starred as the homophobic director of a camp to rehabilitate gay and lesbian teens in "But I'm a Cheerleader"; premiered at Toronto Film Festival; released theatrically in 2000
2000:
Reunited with Keitel in "The Prince of Central Park"
2000:
Voiced Ruby in the direct-to-video animated feature "Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure"
2002:
Reunited with De Niro in "Analyze That"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Moriarty was originally cast opposite Jack Nicholson in "The Two Jakes" but the role went to Meg Tilly when the film was postponed; her part in Sean Penn's "The Indian Runner" (1991) was cut from the final release.

"I'm like the friggin' den mother of Beverly Hills. I'm the Old Lady Who Lives in a Beverly Hills Shoe. Parents in New York ship their wanna-be actor kids out to me to give them jobs. ... On Mother's Day, they gave me a cake and flowers. I'm only in my mid-30s and I play Harvey Keitel's girlfriend in "Cop Land", but I'm at that phase in my career now where I also play people's mothers and aunts. I'm cool with that. I love my mother. I love being an aunt. I mean, at 5-feet-10 with this voice, they're never gonna cast me as a virgin or a ballerina." --Cathy Moriarty to Daily News, June 15, 1997.

On working steadily: "What can I say? I'm like the queen of doing favors. Some people do it for the money, but I just believe in people, and I go out of my way to make time for my friends. I'm a sucker that way, I guess, and everybody in town knows it. If somebody really wants me to do their movie, hey, I can give them eight or 10 days of my time, you know?" --Moriarty to Gwinnett Loaf, July 26, 1997.

"I peaked too early. But what do you do? Say, 'No, I won't do this part'? It was hard for a while, but it's okay now." --Moriarty to USA Today, July 6, 1995.

On her "hiatus" early in her career, Moriarty told Movieline in 1990: "I made mistakes. I let other people influence me and make decisions, sometimes without my knowledge. I can't say I there were parts I was offered and turned down, but there were meetings for parts that I didn't go to, meetings I should have gone to, meetings I was advised against going to. I listened to that advice.

,,, So I messed up. I put time into something that didn't work out. Sometimes you gegt caught up living something that's not true. The people around you, the people you're involved with, are not the right people."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Carmine D'Anna. Talent manager. Met c. 1981; married c. 1984; Moriarty's former manager; she initiated divorce proceedings in 1991.
companion:
Richard Palmer. Financier. First met when Moriarty was 15 years old; co-owned the Mulberry Street Cafe with Moriarty; no longer together; subsequently married Raquel Welch.
husband:
Joseph Gentile. Financier. Married on August 28, 1999; father of Moriarty's three children; in 2002 she began using the name "Cathy Moriarty-Gentile" professionally.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John Moriarty. First generation Irish immigrant from Kerry.
mother:
Catherine Moriarty. Homemaker. First generation Irish immigrant from Cork.
brother:
Tommy Moriarty. Restaurant manager. Born, c. 1964; managed Mulberry Street Cafe for Moriarty.
sister:
Mary Moriarty. Restaurant manager. Worked at Chasen's in L.A.
daughter:
Catherine Patricia Gentile. Twin; born on September 11, 2000.
son:
Joseph John Gentile. Twin; born on September 11, 2000.
daughter:
Annabella Rose Gentile. Born on November 15, 2001.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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