Carla Gugino

Carla Gugino is one of the actresses in the Spy Kids series. She is known for playing the character, Ingrid Cortez.

Early life

Carla Gugino was born in Sarasota, Florida, to Carl Gugino, an orthodontist of Italian descent,[1] and a mother of English-Irish descent[2] described as "Bohemian".[3] Her parents separated when she was two,[4] after which she would travel between her father and half-brother Carl Jr.'s home in Sarasota, and her Paradise, California home, to which her mother moved her when she was four. She has described her bicoastal childhood, saying, "I lived in a tepee in Northern California and a van in Big Sur. With my dad, I lived in a beautiful house with a swimming pool and a tennis court and went to Europe for the summers. So I feel like I lived two childhoods." She worked as a teenage fashion model, and took acting classes at the suggestion of her aunt, former Let's Make a Deal spokesmodel Carol Merrill.[3] She eventually came to support herself, and with her parents' support, was legally emancipated by the time she was 16.[1]


Gugino's television work during the late 1980s and early 1990s includes appearances on Saved by the Bell, Who's the Boss?, ALF, Doogie Howser, M.D. and The Wonder Years.

Gugino co-starred with Pauly Shore in the 1993 romantic comedy film Son in Law. She subsequently appeared in the video to Bon Jovi's 1994 song "Always".

After playing Michael J. Fox's love interest, Ashley Schaeffer, during the first season of the sitcom Spin City in 1996, Gugino appeared in the 1997 art-house film Lovelife. Her 1998 film work includes co-starring with Nicolas Cage in Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes, and appearing in Judas Kiss, which she also co-produced. She appeared as Dr. Gina Simon during the 1999–2000 final season of Chicago Hope.

In 2001, she appeared as family matriarch Ingrid Cortez in the first Spy Kids film by director Robert Rodriguez (as well as that film's two sequels in 2002 and 2003). That same year she appeared as Jet Li's love interest in the martial arts action thriller The One.

She starred in two short-lived TV series, the ABC crime drama Karen Sisco in 2003, and the CBS science fiction series Threshold in 2005 on CBS. That same year, Gugino appeared as Lucille in the feature film adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel, Sin City. The following year, she appeared in Night at the Museum.

Gugino appeared in the Roundabout Theatre Company play After the Fall opposite Six Feet Under's Peter Krause. In late 2006, she appeared in an Off-Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer opposite Blythe Danner.

Gugino appeared as Amanda, Vincent Chase's agent, in a dozen episodes of the cable television series Entourage. Gugino appeared nude in the May 2007 issue of Allure.[5] That same year she appeared in the feature film American Gangster. The following year, she played the female lead in the thriller Righteous Kill, opposite Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.

Gugino starred in Chicago's Goodman Theater production of Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms from January 17 to February 17, 2009, in the role of Abby. Charles Isherood of The New York Times praised Gugino's performance, saying, "Ms. Gugino displays a depth and range of expression that I cannot imagine any other actress achieving with such blazing honesty and wrenching truth. She is simply magnificent."[6] During the first three months of 2009, three feature films premiered featuring Gugino: the thriller The Unborn, the feature film adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel Watchmen, in which she played Sally Jupiter,[7] and the adventure remake Race to Witch Mountain, in which she starred opposite Dwayne Johnson. That April, she received an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination[8] for Outstanding Actress In a Play for her performance in Desire Under the Elms. Later in November of that year, she appeared as pornographic actress Elektra Luxx in the comedy film Women in Trouble.

In 2011 Gugino appeared as Madame Vera Gorsky in Zack Snyder's action-fantasy film Sucker Punch alongside Abbie Cornish and Emily Browning. Gugino sang a duet with co-star Oscar Isaac, which appeared in the end credits and in the film's soundtrack.


Year Film Role Other notes
1989 Troop Beverly Hills Chica Barnfell
1990 Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael Young Roxy
1993 This Boy's Life Norma Hansen
Red Hot Valentina
Son in Law Rebecca ' Becca' Warner
1995 Miami Rhapsody Leslie Marcus
1996 Jaded Megan 'Meg' Harris
Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco Delilah Voice Role
The War at Home Melissa
Wedding Bell Blues Violet
Michael Bride
1997 Lovelife Amy
1998 Snake Eyes Julia Costello
Judas Kiss Coco Chavez
2001 Spy Kids Ingrid Cortez
The Center of the World Jerri
The Jimmy Show Annie
The One T. K. Law/Massie Walsh
2002 Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Ingrid Cortez
2003 The Singing Detective Betty Dark/Hooker
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Ingrid Cortez
2005 The Life Coach Carla
Sin City Lucille
2006 Even Money Veronica
Night at the Museum Rebecca Hutman
2007 The Lookout Janet
Rise: Blood Hunter Eve
American Gangster Laurie Roberts
2008 Righteous Kill Det. Karen Corelli
2009 The Unborn Janet Beldon
Sparks Robin Short film
Watchmen Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre
Race to Witch Mountain Dr. Alex Friedman
Women in Trouble Elektra Luxx
Under the Hood Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre Direct-to-Video Release
Every Day Robin post-production
2010 The Mighty Macs Cathy Rush
Elektra Luxx Elektra Luxx
Every Day Robin
Faster Cicero
2011 I Melt With You Laura post-production
Girl Walks Into a Bar Francine Driver
Sucker Punch Dr. Vera Gorski
Mr. Popper's Penguins Amanda
New Year's Eve Unknown
Year Title Role Notes
1988 Who's the Boss? Jane Episode: "Prom Night II"
Good Morning, Miss Bliss Karen Episode: "Summer Love"
1989 ALF Laura Episode: "Standing in the Shadows of Love"
1989–1990 Falcon Crest Sydney St. James 11 episodes
1990 Ferris Bueller Ann Peyson Episode: "Stand-In Deliver"
1991 Doogie Howser, M.D. Sara Newman Episode: "Dueling Divas"
The Wonder Years Sandy Tyler Episode: "Triangle"
1992 Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story Allison Connors TV-Movie
Alternative title: Best Intentions
Quantum Leap Michelle Temple Cutter Episode: "Ghost Ship"
Davis Rules Kathi Episode: "A Father Makes All the Difference"
Episode: "Someone to Watch Over Them"
A Private Matter Mary Beth TV-Movie
Alternative title: Miss Sherri
1994 Motorcycle Gang Leann TV-Movie
1995 The Buccaneers Nan St. George Miniseries
1996, 1998 Spin City Ashley Schaeffer 12 episodes
1998 Alexandria Hotel
1999 A Season for Miracles Emilie Thompson Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie
199- (unknown) Saved by the Bell Karen Season 1 Episode 1 (Pilot)
1999–2000 Chicago Hope Dr. Gina Simon 23 episodes
2001 Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature Lily TV-Movie
Alternative title: She Creature
2003–2004 Karen Sisco Karen Sisco 10 episodes
2005–2006 Threshold Dr. Molly Anne Caffrey 13 episodes
2007–2010 Entourage Amanda Daniels 10 episodes
2010 Californication Abby Season 4 Episodes 1 – 12

Awards and nominations

In 2009, Gugino was honored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). During the Foundation's 34th Anniversary Gala in Washington, D.C., she received NIAF's Special Achievement Award for Entertainment, presented by her close friend, actress Connie Britton.

Blockbuster Entertainment Award

  • 1999: Nominated, "Favorite Supporting Actress in a Suspense" – Snake Eyes

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • 2008: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture" – American Gangster


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Star of the Day – Carla Gugino" The Internet Movie Database; Accessed October 12, 2010
  2. Webb Mitovich, Matt. "Threshold Plan Is a Success for Gugino"; October 21, 2005
  3. 3.0 3.1 Deggans, Eric. "Floridian: Take 2, 'Karen Sisco'" Saint Petersburg Times; September 22, 2003
  4. Landua, Peter. "A Woman We Love: Carla Gugino" Esquire; December 31, 2003
  5. "Stars line up for naked spread"; April 24, 2007
  6. Isherwood, Charles. "A New Look at an Old Farm Threatened by Heat" The New York Times; February 4, 2009
  7. Kit, Borys. "'Watchmen' adds Gugino as do-gooder" The Hollywood Reporter; August 9, 2007,