Italian actress Nicoletta Braschi is best known to international audiences for her collaborations with her husband, actor and director Roberto Benigni, and with American director Jim Jarmusch. A fine-boned beauty with a particular talent for portraying long-suffering women, Braschi first worked with Benigni on his 1983 comedy Tu Mi Turbi. Three years later, she collaborated with both Benigni and Jarmusch on the latter's Down by Law, playing a woman who falls in love with an escaped con (Benigni). Braschi also starred in Jarmusch's Mystery Train (1989), in which she played an Italian woman trying to get the ashes of her dead husband back to Rome.
Braschi's two most successful collaborations with her husband have been Johnny Stecchino (1992) and La Vita è Bella (1997). The first, an Italian comedy that cast the actress as the girlfriend of a mobster (Benigni), was a huge hit in Italy, while the second, in which Braschi played the wife of an Italian Jew (Benigni) imprisoned in a concentration camp, was a lavishly praised success on both sides of the Atlantic that launched both Braschi and her husband into the international spotlight.