- 10:05 AM, Aug 22
Blessed with a remarkably natural talent in the art of performing character, Maria Elaina Bello has perfectly combined her flair and beauty to shine brilliantly in the competitive world of Hollywood film industry. A native of Norristown, Pennsylvania, this actress was born on April 18, 1967 into a working-class Roman Catholic family of a constructive worker and a school-nurse-turned-teacher. She spent her early years just like most girls of her age did, taking formal education at Archbishop Carroll High School then continued her study at the state's Villanova University with the intention of becoming a lawyer. However, everything began to change when she took a drama class as an elective upon her friend's suggestion and unexpectedly found herself heavily drawn into the magnetic charm of acting.
Already fixed her mind to pursue a career in show business by the time she earned her degree in political science in 1989, Maria optimistically went to New York with an intention of establishing a fine acting career. Nevertheless, the road to fame was indeed hard to reach as she only managed to secure some commercial stints while earned few parts in off-Broadway productions, like "The Killer Inside Me", "Small Town Gals with Big Problems" and "Urban Planning." It was not until 1995 that she eventually could make her screen debut through a guest-starring role in Fox's TV series, "Misery Loves Company" (1995), which quickly followed by others in "Nowhere Man" (1995-1996), "The Commish" (1991-1995), and "Due South" (1994-1996).
Not long after those appearances, a seemingly propitious chance approached her when she was included in the cast of a remake of TV series "77 Sunset Strip" (1958) yet her hope immediately turned to disappointment since the show was never aired. Fortunately, her performance there was noticed by producers Kenny Lenhart and John J. Sakmar who eagerly gave this striking thespian the female lead role in CBS' TV series of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (1996). Though the program only saw its airing for 13 episodes before got cancelled, it had provided her enough attention to be offered a recurring role in NBC's acclaimed medical drama, "ER" (1994), for three episodes by May 1997. Managed to impress its producers with her excellent enactment as sassy pediatrician Dr. Anna Del Amico, she subsequently was invited to join the regular cast for the show's fourth season.
Boosted by the popularity of that series, Maria immediately gained widespread recognition