Greta Scacchi is an actress of Italian and Australian heritage. She was born Greta Gracco on February 18, 1960 in Milan, Italy to Luca, an Italian painter, and Pamela, an English dancer. Scacchi is her father's middle name. At age 4, after her parent's divorce, Greta, her mother…more
Her many nude roles in the 1980s led to the tabloid press nicknaming her "scorchy Scacchi".
While preparing for her role as Isabel in Fires Within, she spent a long time studying Cuban culture. While doing this, she discovered that all Cuban girls have their ears pierced when they are very young, and the great majority of women like Isabel tend to wear large hoop earrings much of the time. Wanting to make her performance as authentic as possible, she decided that she should also wear similar large hoop earrings. However, as she had never had her own ears pierced, she had to have them pierced especially so that she could wear the earrings. She later commented that she was glad to have done so, as wearing the earrings had definitely helped her get into character.
In 1989, while filming the movie Fires Within, she met and fell in love with fellow actor Vincent D'Onofrio. They married later the same year, and Greta gave birth to a daughter, Leila, in March 1992.
Following her appearance in White Mischief, she received many offers from top fashion designers to wear their clothes. Although she had worked for a while as a model in Italy, she decided to turn down all of the offers as she doesn't like wearing designer clothes.
The role that really first brought her to public attention was that of Diana, Lady Broughton, in the 1987 movie White Mischief.
In 1983, she began dating New Zealand singer Tim Finn after they met while making The Coca-Cola Kid. They dated for five years and broke up in 1988.
In 1988, she appeared on stage at the Vaudeville Theatre in London, England, in Michael Frayn's translation of the Anton Chekhov play Uncle Vanya, directed by Michael Blakemore.
Her performance as Olivia in the 1983 movie Heat and Dust won her a BAFTA nomination in the category of Best Newcomer to Film
She often spends a long time preparing for her various different movie roles in order to make them as authentic as possible, which has led to her getting a reputation as something of a perfectionist. While preparing for her appearance in Das Zweite Gesicht (The Second Face), she actually learned German especially for the role.
She is friends with fellow actress Valeria Golino, and the two shared an apartment in Los Angeles in 1988.
Her film debut was in the 1982 German movie Das Zweite Gesicht (The Second Face), playing the character of Anne.
She made her TV debut in 1981 in the BBC TV series Bergerac, playing the character of Annie in the episode The Hood and the Harlequin.
Being born in Italy, she originally had Italian citizenship through her father. When she turned 18, she applied for British citizenship, but her application was rejected on the grounds that her father was not British. She appealed the decision, but this was also rejected, so she decided not to re-apply and instead retained her Italian citizenship.
Having returned to England in 1977, she studied acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Also studying there at the same time were fellow actresses Miranda Richardson and Amanda Redman.
Made her theatrical debut while a student at the University of Western Australia when she appeared in a performance of the Edward Bond play Early Morning at the UWA's New Dolphin Theatre.
Following her family's move to Australia, she attended Hollywood Senior High School, followed by the University of Western Australia.
In 1996, Greta won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special playing Tsarina Alexandra in Rasputin. The same role gained her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film, and also a Satellite Award nomination in the same category.
Her parents divorced when she was four, and her mother returned to England. In 1975, after her mother married Giovanni Carsaniga, the family moved to Perth, Western Australia.
She has two older twin brothers, Tom and Paul. Both work as craftsmen restoring historic buildings and furniture.
Her father is Luca Scacchi Gracco, an Italian art dealer and painter. Her mother is Pamela Carsaniga, an English dancer and antiques dealer. Besides being a a former Bluebell Girl, Pamela was also the model for the statue on the fountain in the centre of London's Sloane Square.
Greta: (On having her ears pierced especially for her role as Isabel in Fires Within) It felt very strange to have pierced ears and to feel those big earrings tugging at my earlobes and banging against my neck every time I moved. But when I was doing my initial research into the role after I decided to take it, I found out that all Cuban women have their ears pierced when they're little girls, and most of them wear big hoop earrings a lot of the time, so it would look a little odd if I didn't do the same. And it actually did help me get into character as Isabel, so it was definitely worth the slight pain of having them pierced in the first place.
Greta: (On turning down the role of Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct) They offered a ridiculous amount of money and then doubled it. My agent even told me Michael Douglas wanted me so much that he would come to Italy to try to persuade me. But I was with my dad at the time and Vincent was coming to woo me after a fall-out. I didn't want Douglas spoiling things.
Greta: (On the start of her relationship with Vincent D'Onofrio while filming the movie Fires Within) He was my first big love and it was a truly traumatic time. We filmed for ten weeks during which I fell completely. It was my first head-over-heels, stupid love where I handed over the key to my heart. I have never been so lost before. I was overwhelmed by him. There were plenty of signs that it wasn't going to work or last. But I didn't want to see them. We were constantly rowing and breaking up.
Greta: I knew from the beginning that I wanted a career of quality. I didn't want to be treated like a commodity. I was always disparaging about the fact that people were so hung up on my looks. I fought against the artifice of Hollywood, like Bette Davis, and would tell every aspiring actress to study Bette. Her views are valuable for anyone starting out.
Greta: (On her relationship with her father) He was rather feckless and kept breaking all his promises to us. I remember him saying he would be there for my eighth birthday and I would rush to the window every time a car drove up the gravel path. But it was either my friends being dropped off or being collected. He never came.
Greta: It is very annoying for an actor to be pigeon-holed. It cramps your style and the difficulty is how to defeat the machine that's so well-oiled and so much more powerful than you. I got pigeon-holed for taking my clothes off when it was a token thing that producers wanted in any film in the Eighties. I don't think I was doing it more than others... maybe I was just more memorable.
Greta: I came across a strange nut-fruit thing in India and it looked so beautiful that I wanted to bring it home. It was in my hand luggage in the overhead locker and at some point I noticed little black creatures dropping onto the head of the person in front of me. We had to get it out and it was confiscated. I can see now what an anti-social and criminal thing it was to do.