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This darkly pretty, intelligent performer was born on August 29, 1971, in Sarasota, Florida. When she was just five years old she moved with her mother to Paradise, California. During her childhood, they moved many times within the state. But Carla remained a straight-A student throughout high school and even graduated as valedictorian.

A major modeling agency discovered Carla in San Diego, and sent her to New York to begin her career when she was just 15. New York though, was more than she could handle at such a young age. She returned to Los Angeles in the summer, modeling and enrolling in an acting class at the suggestion of her spokesmodel aunt, "The Lovely Carol Merrill" of "Let's Make a Deal" fame. She guested on such mid-80s shows as "Alf", "Falcon Crest", "Who's the Boss?" and "Webster" before making her film debut as one of the more spoiled members of "Troop Beverly Hills" (1989).

She played Winona Ryder as a teen in "Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael" (1990) before concentrating on TV work. Gugino had small parts in the racial drama "Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story" (NBC) and the HBO abortion drama "A Private Matter" (both 1992), and played a teen kidnapped by a "Motorcycle Gang" (Showtime, 1994) before making her first big impression as Nan St. George, one of the bumptious 19th century debutantes in "The Buccaneers" (PBS, 1995), based on the Edith Wharton novel. It was shortly after this that Gugino was cast as Michael J. Fox's live-in girlfriend, a sexy but serious City Hall reporter, in Fox's much-ballyhooed return to sitcoms, "Spin City" (ABC, 1996). Despite earning good notices, Gugino left the show after twelve episodes as the series format was changed slightly to emphasize the working life of Fox's character.

Gugino was slowly gaining experience in feature films, as well. After a supporting role in the well-received coming-of-age drama "This Boy's Life" (1993), she had her first lead, as Pauly Shore's farm-bred girlfriend, in the less felicitous "Son-in-Law" (1993). More small roles followed, including Sarah Jessica Parker's sister in the comedy "Miami Rhapsody" (1995). In the animal tale "Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco" (1996), she and sitcom co-star Fox provided the voices for two dogs engaged in a romance. In 1996, she also had small supporting roles in Emilio Estevez's Vietnam-era drama "The War at Home", the marital comedy "Wedding Bell Blues" and Nora Ephron's angelic fantasy "Michael". In 1998 she played opposite Nicolas Cage in the conspiracy thriller, "Snake Eyes", and then took on the role of co-producer in "Judas Kiss", which she also stars.

Recently Carla became a spokeswoman for L'Oreal, and is currently a series regular on the critically acclaimed CBS medical drama, Chicago Hope. During her free time, Carla enjoys yoga, traveling and spending time with her friends in Los Angeles