A sexy blonde, Maria Pitillo has made steady progress in show business since cashing her first professional paycheck for a Pepto-Bismol commercial. She attracted attention as a Southern troublemaker on ABC's daytime drama "Ryan's Hope" in the mid-1980s and made her feature debut as a masseuse in Brian De Palma's "Wise Guys" (1986). Pitillo landed her first significant screen role in "What If I'm Gay?" (1987), a "CBS Schoolbreak Special," then played prominent roles in "Spike of Bensonhurst" (1988, as Spike's girlfriend) and "She-Devil" (1989). She delivered an incisive cameo as Mary Pickford in "Chaplin" (1992) and garnered good notices as Matthew Modine's girlfriend in "Bye Bye, Love" (1995). Some of Pitillo's best work in the 90s was on the small screen in the TNT productions "The Last Capone" (1990, as the gangster's mistress) and "Cooperstown" (1993, as Alan Arkin's daughter) and in the title role as a victim of spousal abuse in the 1995 NBC movie "Escape From Terror: The Teresa Stamper Story." Displaying her comedic abilities, Pitillo co-starred as the fiancee of an architect (Tate Donovan) whose presence threatened his best friend (Jon Cryer) in the short-lived Fox sitcom "Partners" (1995-96). Adopting a brunette look, the actress acquitted herself as Gloria McKinney, the coffee-shop proprietor who falls for Greg Kinnear, in "Dear God" (1996). Pitillo then landed the coveted female lead as an aspiring reporter in Roland Emmerich's anticipated remake of "Godzilla" (1998).