She is well known for her roles as Ingrid Cortez in the Spy Kids film trilogy, Dr. Vera Gorski in Sucker Punch, Lucille in Sin City, Amanda Daniels in seasons 3, 5 and 7 of Entourage, Sally Jupiter in Watchmen and as the lead characters of the television series Karen Sisco and Threshold. Her feature film work includes starring roles in Son in Law, Night at the Museum, Race to Witch Mountain, American Gangster and Mr. Popper's Penguins. Gugino has a lead role in the 2012 mini-series, Political Animals.
Gugino was born in Sarasota, Florida, to Carl Gugino, an orthodontist of Italian descent, and a mother of English-Irish descent described as "Bohemian". Her parents separated when she was two, after which she traveled 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. She eventually came to support herself, and with her parents' support, was legally emancipated by the time she was 16.Gugino at the 2007Tribeca Film Festival
Gugino's television work during the late 1980s and early 1990s included appearances on Saved by the Bell, Who's the Boss?, ALF,Doogie Howser, M.D., The Wonder Years and a recurring role on Falcon Crest.
In film, Gugino appeared in the Shelley Long film, Troop Beverly Hills and co-starred with Pauly Shore in the 1993 romantic comedySon in Law. She later appeared in the video to Bon Jovi's 1994 song "Always".
In 1995, Gugino appeared as Nan St. George (later the Duchess of Trevenick) in the BBC miniseries The Buccaneers and adaptation of Edith Wharton's last novel.
After playing Michael J. Fox's love interest, Ashley Schaeffer, during the first season of the sitcom Spin City in 1996, Gugino starred withNicolas Cage in Brian De Palma's Snake Eyes, and 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 (as well as the 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: ABC's Elmore Leonard crime drama Karen Sisco in 2003, and CBS's science fiction seriesThreshold in 2005. 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 the movie 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-Broadwayproduction 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 ofAllure. That same year she appeared in the action-horror film Rise: Blood Hunter and 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 Isherwood 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." During the first three months of 2009, three feature films premiered featuring Gugino: the thriller The Unborn, the film Watchmen, in which she played Sally Jupiter, 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 for Outstanding Actress In a Play for her performance in Desire Under the Elms. Later in November of that year, she appeared as a pornographic actress in the comedy film Women in Trouble, which spawned a sequel in 2010,Elektra Luxx, titled after her character.
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. She also guest starred on the fourth season of Californication as Abby Rhodes, Hank Moody's attorney and love interest.
As of 2005, Gugino was dating her collaborator, writer/producer/director Sebastian Gutierrez. She stated in 2009 that they had no plans to marry, commenting, "[Marriage] isn't important for us. We like being boyfriend and girlfriend; there's something sexy and fun about that. We're very much about, 'There’s nothing holding us here other than our desire to be together.'"
|1989||Troop Beverly Hills||Chica Barnfell|
|1990||Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael||Young Roxy|
|1993||This Boy's Life||Norma Hansen|
|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|
|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|
|Night at the Museum||Rebecca Hutman|
|Rise: Blood Hunter||Eve|
|American Gangster||Laurie Roberts|
|2008||Righteous Kill||Det. Karen Corelli|
|2009||The Unborn||Janet Beldon|
|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|
|2010||The Mighty Macs||Cathy Rush|
|Elektra Luxx||Elektra Luxx|
|2011||I Melt With You||Laura|
|Girl Walks Into a Bar||Francine Driver|
|Sucker Punch||Dr. Vera Gorski|
|Mr. Popper's Penguins||Amanda|
|New Year's Eve||Dr. Morriset|
|2012||Hotel Noir||Hanna Click|
|2013||By Virtue Fall||Actress|
|Man of Steel||Kelor/Fortress of Solitude (uncredited) (voice)|
|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"|
|Saved by the Bell||Karen||Episode: 1.1 Pilot|
|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: "Planet of the Dateless"|
|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"
|1995||The Buccaneers||Nan St. George||Miniseries|
|1996, 1998||Spin City||Ashley Schaeffer||12 episodes|
|1999||A Season for Miracles||Emilie Thompson||Hallmark Hall of Fame TV movie|
|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||12 episodes|
|2010||Californication||Abby||Season 4 Episodes 1–12|
|2012||Justified||Karen Goodall||Season 3 Episode 2|
|Political Animals||Susan Berg||6 episodes|
|New Girl||Emma||3 episodes|
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.
|1999||Blockbuster Entertainment Award||Favorite Supporting Actress in a Suspense||Snake Eyes||Nominated|
|2008||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||American Gangster||Nominated|