CSI: New York
“I don't see myself as famous.” Vanessa Ferlito
American actress Vanessa Ferlito is recognized by television audiences for playing Detective Aiden Burn on CBS' “CSI: New York” (2004-2006) and Claudia on Fox's “24” (2003-2004). She was nominated for an Image Award for her portrayal of Lizette Sanchez on the HBO television film “Undefeated” (2003), opposite John Leguizamom and has guest starred in the television series “The Sopranos,” “Law & Order” and “Third Watch.” The New York native has been in feature films since 2002 and her movie credits include Spike Lee's “25th Hour” (2002), Sam Raimi's “Spider-Man 2” (2004), Debra Kirschner's “The Tollbooth” (2004), Stephen Herek's “Man of the House” (2005), Lee Daniels' “Shadowboxer” (2005), Quentin Tarantino's “Death Proof” (2007), Alfredo De Villa's “Nothing Like the Holidays” (2008), Tyler Perry's “Madea Goes to Jail” (2009), Nora Ephron's “Julie & Julia” (2009) and Oliver Stone's “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” (2010). Although she is of Italian heritage, Ferlito frequently portrays Latin roles.
Ferlito is a vegetarian. She is a supporter of animal rights and an active member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Mother of 1
Childhood and Family:
An only child, Vanessa Ferlito was born on December 28, 1980, in Brooklyn, New York. Her father passed away when she was three years old. Her mother and stepfather have a hair salon in Brooklyn. Vanessa is of Italian lineage. On September 21, 2007, she gave birth to her first child, a son. She now lives in New York and Los Angeles.
Vanessa Ferlito became interested in acting as a young child, but did not pursue it as a career until in her twenties. She made her television debut with a one episodic role in the HBO series “The Sopranos,” which starred James Gandolfini as the New Jersey based mobster Tony Soprano. For the series, she appeared as Tina Francesco in a 2001 episode called “Another Toothpick” and later reprised the role for a 2004 episode called “Rat Pack.”
In 2002, Ferlito landed the role of Jordan Nash in her first feature film, “On Line,” a drama directed and co-written by Jed Weintrob. The film, also starring Josh Hamilton and Harold Perrineau, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She followed it up with a small role in the Spike Lee film “25th Hour” (also 2002), which was adapted by David Benioff from his debut novel “The 25th Hour” (2001). The film, starring Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Anna Paquin and Brian Cox, earned positive reviews from critics and grossed nearly $24 million against a budget of $5 million. Still in 2002, the actress also appeared as Val in an episode of the NBC series “Third Watch” called “Blackout.”
The next year, Ferlito received notice for her portrayal of Lizette Sanchez on the made for television film “Undefeated,” which was directed, co-written by and starred John Leguizamo. She was nominated for a 2004 Image in the category of Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special for her performance. Also in 2003, she made a guest appearance in “Law & Order,” but it was her recurring role on the third season of Kiefer Sutherland's crime series “24” that brought the actress additional recognition. As Claudia, the wife of a crime lord, she appeared in eleven episodes from October 2003 to January 2004.
Ferlito's breakthrough arrived when she was cast as Detective Aiden Burn on the CBS drama “CSI: New York,” a spin-off of the series “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” She was on the show from September 2004 to May 2006 when she decided to leave the series to concentrate on movies and theatre.
On the big screen, Ferlito appeared as Louise on the second film in the Spider-Man movie franchise, “Spider-Man 2,” which was directed by Sam Raimi and starred Tobey Maguire. Released on June 30, 2004, the film received critical acclaim and won an Oscar for Visual Effect. A huge success at the box office, “Spider-Man 2” grossed over $783 million worldwide, making it the third highest grossing film of 2004. Still in 2004, she portrayed Gina in the coming of age film “The Tollbooth,” which starred Marla Sokoloff and was directed and written by Debra Kirschner. The film premiered at the Hamptons International Film Festival on October 22, 2004.
Next up for Ferlito, she was cast as Heather in the movie “Man of the House” (2005), by director Stephen Herek. The film also starred Tommy Lee Jones, Liz Vassey, R. Lee Ermey, Anne Archer, Brian Van Holt, Christina Milian, Paula Garcés, Monica Keena and Kelli Garner. In the Lee Daniels helmed thriller “Shadowboxer,” she played Vicki, the wife of mafia kingpin Clayton (played by Stephen Dorff), opposite Academy Award winners Cuba Gooding, Jr., Helen Mirren and Mo'Nique. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 9, 2005, and was also shown at the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival on September 27, 2005. It received a limited release in the U.S.
After appearing in an unsold TV series pilot titled “Drift” (2006), alongside Jason O'Mara, Ferlito appeared in the segment “Death Proof” of “Grindhouse” (2007), a film comprising of two feature length parts, “Planet Terror” and “Death Proof.” She also received a featured role in “Descent” (2007), a thriller directed by Talia Lugacy that stared Rosario Dawson and Chad Faust, and was cast as Roxanna, the sister of John Leguizamo and Freddy Rodriguez, in the family drama “Nothing Like the Holidays” (2008), for director Alfredo De Villa. She then worked with Tyler Perry, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Derek Luke, Robin Coleman, Jackson Walker, Viola Davis, David Mann, Tamela J. Mann and Sofia Vergara on the based on play “Madea Goes to Jail” (2009), which was directed, produced and written by Perry, and with Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Stanley Tucci, Chris Messina, Linda Emond and Jane Lynch in Nora Ephron's “Julie & Julia” (as Julie's friend Cassie).
Recently, in 2010, Ferlito portrayed Audrey in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” a sequel to the 1987 film “Wall Street.” Directed by Oliver Stone and starring Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Josh Brolin and Carey Mulligan, the film received mixed reviews from critics.
“I'm so interested in seeing what my upcoming movies are going to be like. I love doing all of them. I've played a bunch of different roles, Latin, Italian, all-American, Southern, and been doing a bunch of different accents so far.” Vanessa Ferlito