Cara Buono is a popular American actress, who is mostly known for her appearances in such series as “Stranger Things”, “Mad Men” and “Supergirl”.

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Early life and family

Cara Buono was born on 1 March 1974, in The Bronx, New York City USA, so her zodiac sign is Pisces and she holds American nationality. Cara’s father is Anthony Buono, and her mother Rosemary Buono, both of Italian descent. Cara shared in one of her interviews that both her father and her mother like cooking, and they often spent time in the kitchen, when the whole family was making a dinner, with every person having a role in this process. Cara has two brothers and one younger sister; all of them enjoyed the pies their father baked.

Posted by Cara Buono on Saturday, October 8, 2011

Little is known about her parent’s professions, except that they were a working-class family, and Cara’s father worked as a truck mechanic.

Educational background

Cara matriculated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in 1992, and then entered Columbia University. Surprisingly even for the members of her family, Cara graduated in only three years instead of standard four years, double majoring in Political Science and English.


First steps

Cara remembers that she has always worked, as her parents instilled the love for working in her. She got her first job when she was not even 11 years old, working at a video store, using her paper route to do everything right.

A bit later, when she was in high school, she also worked at FAO Schwartz as a toy doll. She recalls it helped her a lot in her future profession: ‘I think that it’s made me really disciplined when it came to pursuing acting, because I had no clue how to go about it’, Cara reflects on her first acting experience. However, her first real role on stage happened in 1986, when she appeared in Harvey Fierstein’s production of “Spook House”. Cara was only 12 years old, but she was very motivated to act. She later shared that she was strongly inspired by John Malkovich’s playing in the “Burn This” movie, as he portrayed a person who was completely different from John’s real character, which Cara saw during his interview. She understood that acting like that was true magic, and did her best to become a good actress.

Cara Buono

Further success

Cara appeared in other off-Broadway and Broadway productions when a teenager, and her TV debut happened in 1989, when she was a high school student, landing the role of Joann, in a couple of episodes of the “Dream Street” series. She also played Abby Morris in one of the films of the high school series “CBS Schoolbreak Special” in 1991. In 1992 Cara was cast in the role of Dawn in Rowdy Herrington’s “Gladiator”, starring James Marshall and Cuba Gooding Jr. She also could be seen in such films as “Waterland” (1992), “In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco” and “Victim of Love: The Shannon Mohr Story” both in 1993.

From 1994 to 1998 she appeared in such series as “The Single Guy” and “New York Undercover”, also landing roles in such movies as “The Cowboy Way” (1994), in which she played Teresa Salazar, “Killer: A Journal of Murder” (1995), portraying Esther Lesser, and “Kicking and Screaming”, a romantic comedy in which Cara had the role of Kate. After playing episodic roles in such series as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “Queens Supreme”, Cara got her first voice-over role of Sarah Angelo in the popular video game “Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven”. From 2004 to 2005 she could be seen in the recurring cast of “Third Watch” as Grace Foster., and during this period also appeared in numerous indie movies.

Kelli Moltisanti in “The Sopranos”

Cara remembers her audition for the role of Kelli Moltisanti to be very promising, as she felt she was going to get it. She had a hard period of time in her private life, and at least hoped for  the best at work, if her personal life was not what she wanted it to be: ‘I had a long-term relationship end. I was coming home from the audition on the train, and a bunch of kids came by and stepped on these ketchup packets on the platform, and they squirted all over me. I said, ‘Something’s got to give.’, she recalls in her interview with The New York Times. Eventually, Cara appeared in seven episodes of the show, with her acting was praised by the critics. However, HBO closed the crime drama series in that very year of 2007, after six seasons were aired.

Karen Wheeler in “Stranger Things”

After numerous roles in such series as “Brothers & Sisters”, “Mad Men” and “Person of Interest”, Cara landed the role of Karen Wheeler in the new Netflix series “Stranger Things”. The character of Karen depicts a mother of the ‘80s, who cares little about her family, even though she makes daily dinners for her husband and children; yet she also has a secret passion outside of her marriage, as she seeks the attention of Billy Hargrove, the elder brother of her son’s classmate, Max. In 2016 the series won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, and the team was also nominated for the award the next year, but lost it to the team of the series “This Is Us”, starring Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown and Mandy Moore.

Cara is very excited about the fourth season of the series coming up soon, as she likes the script and her role from the first sight: ‘When I first read the script, I knew I wanted to be part of the show. I thought we’ll at least get two seasons out of it. No one could have predicted the phenomenon it’s become’, she shared in her interview with Wtop Magazine. It is worth saying that it was Cara who suggested Karen should have appeared with a glass of wine most of the time, as it could make her character even more oblivious to her kids, even though she behaved as though she cared about them.

Personal life, husband Peter Thum

In 2007 Cara met her future husband, after a long-term relationship which ended at the beginning of the same year.

Peter Thum and Cara were travelling from Los Angeles to New York, when they suddenly found themselves talking about everything which came to their mind, instantly understanding they had so much in common. The couple married in less than a year. As of 2020, they live in Greenwich Village, New York, and bring up their daughter named Esme.

Who is Cara’s husband, Peter Thum?

Cara’s husband, Peter Thum, is an American businessman and entrepreneur, who has founded several companies and runs numerous successful businesses. The list of his projects includes Fonderie 47 (the brand which turns assault rifles into jewelry, watches and other small things), Liberty United company and Ethos Water. He also co-founded the non-profit organization Giving Water in 2008.

Peter is a graduate of Claremont McKenna College (class of 1990), and also has an MBA after graduating from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts

Cara has always been interested in sports; she is a certified yoga trainer, and also enjoys cycling and swimming. Cara has participated in three marathons, explaining it in a very interesting way: ‘I like crowds, so that is why I like the big marathons’. She also inherited the love of cooking from her parents, so she enjoys the process of creating dishes herself: ‘I find it very relaxing, and I love socializing around a dinner table.’ In her interview with The New York Times, she shared that she makes the best eggplant parmigiana, but keeps the recipe a secret, just as her mother.

She also admits she likes even just reading recipes, as it already makes her feel better.


Cara has middle length light brown hair and brown eyes. She is 5ft 4ins (1.65 m) tall and weighs around 115lbs (52kgs); her vital statistics are not available at the moment.

Net worth and salary

As of 2020, Cara’s net worth is estimated to be around $10 million, while her salary is reported to be around $400,000. Her husband, the successful businessman and entrepreneur Peter Thum, has a reputed fortune of $10 million. It is worth saying that Cara is very popular on Instagram, as her account has recently reached the milestone of one million subscribers, so she can earn up to $3,400 per sponsored post on her social media profile.

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