Joanna Pacuła

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Joanna Pacuła
Joanna Pacuła.JPG
Born (1957-01-02) 2 January 1957 (age 62)
ResidenceCalifornia, U.S.
OccupationActress, model
Years active1977–2014
Height175 cm (5 ft 9 in)

Joanna Pacuła (Polish: [jɔˈanːa paˈt͡suwa]; born 2 January 1957)[1] is a Polish-American actress and model. Born in Tomaszów Lubelski and emigrating to the United States in the early 1980s, she first gained prominence through her modeling work for Vogue. Her breakthrough performance in the 1983 film adaptation of Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park earned her a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year – Actress. In the years since, she established herself as a prolific character actress, appearing in numerous high-profile films and television series.

Life and career[edit]

Pacuła was born in Tomaszów Lubelski, Poland, to a pharmacist mother and an engineer father.[2] She has a sister, Ewa Pacuła, a model and TV personality who has also worked in the United States.

In 1979, Pacuła graduated from the Aleksander Zelwerowicz State Theatre Academy. After graduation, she joined the Warsaw Dramatic Theatre, where she acted until 1981. She began her career playing in productions of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and As You Like It. She also found work in a few films, including Krzysztof Zanussi's Camouflage (Barwy ochronne, (1977) and Sergiu Nicolaescu's Last Night of Love (Ultima noapte de dragoste, 1980) in Romania.[3]

In 1981, Pacuła was in Paris when the communist authorities in Poland declared martial law.[1] She did not return to her homeland, and in 1982 emigrated to the United States, where she specialized in playing European temptresses, since her feature debut opposite William Hurt in Gorky Park (1983). She was praised by Roman Polanski for that role.[1][2] She played in numerous American TV series and movies, including the Holocaust drama Escape From Sobibor (CBS, 1987),[4] The Kiss (1988),[5] E.A.R.T.H. Force (CBS, 1990), and the TV series, The Colony (ABC, 1996). She also starred in Lewis Gilbert's Not Quite Jerusalem released in 1984.[1]

She was featured in Marked for Death (1990) as an expert on Jamaican voodoo and gangs;[6] in the Italian erotic thriller Husband and Lovers (1992) as a free-spirited adultress; Tombstone (1993) as Doc Holliday's lover, Kate (also known as Big Nose Kate and Mary Catherine Horoney, born 7 November 1850); in The Haunted Sea (1997); and in the film Virus (1999), playing a Russian scientist.[7] She currently resides in Southern California.


  • Pacula was chosen by People as one of its 50 Most Beautiful People in the world (1990).
  • She was listed as one of 12 "Promising New Actors of 1984" in John Willis' Screen World, volume 36.




  • Deep Red (1994, television film) - Monica Quik
  • Business for Pleasure (1997, television film) - Anna
  • Sweet Deception (1998, television film) - Risa Gallagher
  • Dead Man's Gun (1999, 1 episode) - Yvotte Ballinger
  • Brutally Normal (2000, 7 episodes) - Gogi
  • Night Visions (2001, 1 episode) - Head Immigrant
  • Robbery Homicide Division (2002, 1 episode) - Trisha Sandifer
  • Lightning Bolts of Destruction (2003, television film) - Dr. Valery Landis
  • Dinocroc (2004, television film)
  • Jake in Progress (2005, 1 episode) - Elsa Winters
  • Monk (2008, 1 episode) - Leyla Zlatavich
  • Stolen Child (2012, television film) - Tatiana
  • Bones (2014, 1 episode) - Drina Mirga


  1. ^ a b c d Shefy Gefen, Pearl (1984) "This Polish Actress turns Holiday into a Movie Career in the West", Montreal Gazette, 4 December 1984, p. E1
  2. ^ a b "Joanna Pacuła zrobiła zbyt małą karierę, by zasłużyć na honorowe obywatelstwo Tomaszowa Lubelskiego?",, 11 October 2010, retrieved 2011-07-30
  3. ^ "Ultima noapte de dragoste (1979)". IMDb. 13 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  4. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1987) "In the Spotlight", Los Angeles Times, 12 April 1987, p. 3 (TV section)
  5. ^ Wuntch, Philip (1988) "Horror Role is a First for Polish Acretss Pacula", Dallas Morning News, 14 October 1988
  6. ^ Harris, Mark (1990) "Marked For Death starring Steven Seagal And Joanna Pacula",, 18 October 1990, retrieved 2011-07-30
  7. ^ "'Virus' is piece of garbage – even its big names stink", Deseret News, 17 January 1999

External links[edit]