Actress Amy Aquino stands on the front porch of her Craftsman bungalow on a rare rainy afternoon in Southern California. Perched above Sunset Boulevard, her home is a stone’s throw from the real-life Hollywood police precinct that serves as headquarters for Lieutenant Grace Billets, the character she portrays on the television series Bosch.
“If I pick up the phone and call 911, they’re going to dispatch somebody from Grace Billets’ precinct,” says the Teaneck native. “I know these folks. It’s my precinct!”
In April, Amazon Prime’s gritty crime drama about a group of homicide detectives returns for a fourth season. When shooting wrapped, Aquino and a couple of castmates surprised the police station with a food truck serving gourmet coffee.
“Anyone with a badge—a Bosch badge or an LAPD badge—could get coffee,” she says.
At this moment, Aquino, 61, is acting as her own barista, making “lumpy lattes” as an antidote to the downpour outside.
“Alexa, what’s the weather?” she calls out to the device on her kitchen counter.
“The current weather is 57 degrees with rain,” the robotic voice replies.
Aquino’s Australian espresso machine, a birthday gift from Drew McCoy, her husband of 23 years, gurgles happily near the sink.
Aquino majored in biology at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but by her junior year, she knew her heart was in acting. As a graduate student at Yale School of Drama, she also discovered a parallel passion for activism when she established a tenants’ association to push back against what she believed were inadequacies in Yale-owned housing. A few classmates expressed concern.
“Courtney Vance was horrified,” she recalls, referring to her fellow actor. “He said, ‘You’re here to learn! Focus on your work. Don’t get distracted by this.’ I said, ‘Courtney, we don’t live in a vacuum!’”
After cutting her teeth on the New York stage, Aquino turned to film, gaining notice as Cher’s hairdresser in Moonstruck and Melanie Griffith’s secretary in Working Girl. A long list of television credits followed, including Picket Fences (where she earned a SAG nomination), ER and Everybody Loves Raymond.
“Alexa, who is Amy Aquino?” asks a visitor.
“Amy Aquino is an American television, film and stage actress,” says Alexa.
But her proudest achievement in Hollywood may just be her work in merging the two actors’ unions, SAG and AFTRA, in 2012, resulting in increased bargaining power for performers.
“It really did start at that table,” she says, gesturing to her dining room. “Twelve of us working during the writers’ strike….I’m extremely happy about that.”
Aquino believes her advocacy has only cost her one job—after a producer asked her to influence the union on his behalf.
“I made a joke out of it, and my character died,” she says matter-of-factly.
With a new season of Bosch hitting small screens, this actress and activist has job security—at least for another year.
“Alexa, who’s in the cast of Amazon’s Bosch?” she queries.
“I’d rather not answer that,” Alexa replies. Aquino bursts into laughter.Click here to leave a comment