Deal or No Deal
Actress Marisa Petroro, also known as Marisa Parker, has accumulated numerous credits since launching her career in Hollywood in 1997. One of the top five finalist in the “1996 Miss Italia World” pageant who gained her first break in a nationally aired commercial directed by David Lynch, is perhaps best recognized by moviegoers for playing the beautiful girlfriend of Ethan (played by Paul Rudd) in the Comedy Central “Reno 911!: Miami” (2007) and having small roles in the movies “Tomcats” (2001) and “Pumpkin” (2002). On the small screen, Petroro has guest starred in such series as “The Pretender,” “According to Jim,” “Las Vegas” and “Scrubs.” She also played Carrie Parker on the CBS daytime soap opera “The Young and the Restless” during the 2002 season and was one of the most acknowledged models in the NBC top rated game show “Deal or No Deal” from 2005 to 2007. Petroro has also appeared in the TV movie “Held Up” (2008) and will appear in the upcoming “Angels There Attend” and “Franko.”
Petroro was voted one of Stuff Magazine's “Most Amazing Newcomers” in 2003 and ranked No. 103 on the Stuff Magazine lists of “103 Sexiest Women In The World” that same year. In 2006, she was named one of People Magazine's “100 Most Beautiful People.”
Marisa is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, an uncommon childhood cancer that impacts the muscles, when she was 19. Since then, she has made time for cancer patients and as a result of her outspoken battle against Rhabdomyosarcoma, a contestant on “Deal or No Deal” was inspired to donate 10% of his winnings to The Tomorrow’s Children Fund. Petroro has also worked with the Sarcoma Foundation of America since 2007 and was appointed a spokesperson of the foundation in 2008.
Childhood and Family:
Marisa Petroro was born on February 11, 1972, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. She graduated from Roselle Catholic High School, where she was named “Most Likely to be Remembered.” She went on to study at Rutgers' University, but transferred to Kean University in New Jersey after a year. She graduated with a degree in marketing and while at college, was a member of Mu Kappa Tau (National Marketing Honor Society) and inducted into Lambda Alpha Sigma, a liberal arts and science honor society.
A performer since she was a little girl, Marisa began participating in beauty pageants when she was four years old and by age 5 had been crowned her first title, “Miss PeeWee New Jersey.” At age 8, Marisa began taking trips to New York to study acting at the prestigious HB Studio. She then moved to Los Angeles at age 25 to give her acting career a shot.
I Love You Daddy
First appearing in beauty pageants, Marisa Petroro later made her way to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. A few weeks after her arrival, Petroro gained national exposure when she was hired by director David Lynch to appear in a television commercial for Clear Blue Easy pregnancy test. This led to a guest role in the comedy series “Ned and Stacey” and small parts in the movies “Rose by Any Other Name...” and “Contact,” which was directed by Robert Zemeckis and starred Jena Malone, David Morse and Jodie Foster (all 1997).
Billed as Marisa Parker, Petroro was next cast in the short film “April Fool” (1998), opposite Benjamin Shelfer, supported Cuba Gooding Jr., Tom Berenger, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Eric Stoltz in the direct-to-video thriller “A Murder of Crows” (1999) and made her TV movie debut portraying Sharee Landon in “Michael Landon, the Father I Knew” (1999), a biopic about television star Michael Landon (played by John Schneider). She also appeared in the independent film “The Right Hook” (2000) and dotted her TV resume with appearances in episodes of “Brimstone,” “Rescue 77” and “The Strip.” During 1997 to 2000, Petroro played Emily in three episodes of the Fox series “The Pretender.”
Petroro had her first taste of box office hits when she landed a small role in the Columbia Pictures comedy “Tomcats” (2001), a movie written and directed by Gregory Poirier. After working in Eric Schwab's “The Learning Curve” and the Dennis Hopper short-lived series “Flatland” (2002), she received the supporting role of Courtney Burke in the Christina Ricci movie “Pumpkin” (2002), appeared with Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti, Amanda Bynes and Amanda Detmer in the Shawn Levy directed “Big Fat Liar” (2002), and costarred with Julien Hernandez in “Sex, Politics & Cocktails” (2002) before joining the cast of the CBS daytime soap opera “The Young and the Restless” (2002), where she played Carrie Parker
The following years saw Petroro in 2003's “White Blossom,” a short starring the actress as a young Italian woman named Angelina, the award winning drama “Wait Means Never” (2004), in which she costarred with David Jones and Rebecca Lowman, the thriller “No Witness” (2004), opposite Steve Barnes and Corey Feldman, and the comedy “The Rouge Shoes” (2004), where she played the lead role of Didi. She maintained her presence on the small screen by having episode roles in such shows as “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” “According to Jim,” “Freddie,” “Las Vegas” (all 2005) and “Scrubs” (2006). In December 2005, Petroro began her stint as a model on the NBC series “Deal or No Deal.” She stayed on the game show until May 2007.
Back to films, Petroro costarred with Mark Feuerstein and Jeff Kober in the drama “Lucid” (2006), which won director/writer Sam Friedlander a Beverly Hills Film Festival for Best Screenplay. Also that year, she starred in the critically acclaimed short “A Little Light,” teamed up with Corri English and Scot Davis for the horror film “Unrest” and acted in the short “The Run.”
Petroro, however, did not receive her next mainstream exposure until she was cast as the girlfriend of Ethan on the Robert Ben Garant directed “Reno 911!: Miami” (1997). Later that same year, she portrayed Tatiana in “One Day Like Rain,” which was written and directed by Paul Todisco, Isabella in Jason Todd Ipson's “Everybody Wants to Be Italian,” and Heidi in an episode of the comedy series “Reno 911!.”
After appearing in an episode of the series “Rules of Engagement” and “Simian Undercover Detective Squad” (2008) and in the short “Good God Bad Dog” (2009), opposite Tom Sizemore and James Russo, Marisa acted in the cable series “Dexter” (2009) and will costar in Yan Cui’s upcoming movie “I Love You Daddy.” She will also appear in “Franko” and “Angels There Attend.”
The Center of Italian and Italian-American Culture: Woman of the Year Award, 2007