Marisa Petroro is an American film and television actress from Elizabeth, New Jersey, who is of Italian and Argentine descent. She is recognized for developing a diverse range of on-screen personalities. It’s no wonder this Jersey girl has made a spot for herself in Hollywood.
At the tender age of four, Marisa started participating in East Coast beauty pageants. By eight, this young starlet was taking trips to New York City to study acting at the highly acclaimed HB Studio. After making the pageant circuit as a teenager, Marisa won the title of Miss Italia USA and then retired her pageant days after she went on to place top five in Miss Italia World in 1996.
Marisa then crafted a five-year road-map, packed her bags and convinced a good friend to join her on a 3,000 mile cross-country drive that ended in Los Angeles. Within the first few years, Marisa was landing principal roles in hit films such as MGM’s ‘Pumpkin’ and Columbia Pictures’ ‘Tomcats’. Also during this breakout period, she built notable television credits on NBC’s ‘The Pretender’, CBS’s ‘The Young and the Restless’, a national commercial directed by David Lynch and starred opposite Rick Schroder in the award-winning country music video, Whiskey Lullaby, sung by Allison Krause and Brad Paisley.
2007-2008 were banner years for this seasoned actor as she starred in Roadside Attraction’s feature film, ‘Everybody Wants to Be Italian’, the story of the struggle of two Italians and their quest to win each other’s hearts in Boston’s famed North End. She had also returned for her fourth season as one of the most recognized briefcase models (#18) on NBC’s top game show ‘Deal or No Deal’, as well as landed roles on CBS’s popular sitcom ‘Rules of Engagement’, acting alongside David Spade and ABC’s award winning comedy drama series ‘Desperate Housewives’, acting alongside Eva Longoria Parker.
2011-2012 were also banner years with guest star roles on TNT’s ‘Franklin & Bash’, Fox’s ‘Touch’, Lifetime’s ‘Drop Dead Diva’ and a co-star on Disney’s ‘Kickin’ It’.
Over the past decade, Marisa has had a wonderful path working on films opposite Dominic Monaghan in ‘The Millionaire Tour,’ Richard Tyson in ‘Booneville Redemption’, French Stewart in ‘Hopeless, Romantic’ and most recently in ‘Ford v. Ferrari’ as Mrs. Henry Ford opposite Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas and Jon Bernthal, which won 2 Academy Awards in 2020.
Outside of acting, Marisa holds philanthropy close to her heart. She was the national spokesperson for the Sarcoma Foundation of America (SFA), an organization dedicated to increasing sarcoma related research from 2007-2010. In fact, Marisa, a cancer survivor of Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer, that affects the muscles, has said that taking on this responsibility allowed her to achieve one of her lifetime goals. She continues to volunteer her time to helping individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy.
Marisa is always involved with charity organizations including the Tomorrow’s Children Fund, The Young Storytellers Foundation and Project Angel Food.
In 2007, Marisa was asked to be Commencement Speaker at her alma mater, Kean University in New Jersey and was honored as “Woman of the Year” by The Center for Italian and Italian-American Culture in her home state of New Jersey. She also contributed to the book The Vision Board: The Secret to An Extraordinary Life by Joyce Schwarz.
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