After graduating from Bishop Kearney in 1976, Deborah attended NYU's Tish School of the Arts and The Stella Adler Conservatory; Deborah Aquila worked on the first two seasons of "Miami Vice" and several feature films including Michael Mann's "Man Hunter" and "The Pope Of Greenwich Village,” as an associate. Her independent casting director career began with Steven Soderbergh's "Sex, Lies And Videotape" and Uli Edel's "The Last Exit To Brooklyn." Before moving to Los Angeles in 1993 to cast Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption," Deborah had completed over 18 independent films in New York.
In 1993, she was named Senior Vice-President of Features Casting for Paramount Pictures. The more notable films Deborah cast at Paramount were: "Primal Fear," "Mission Impossible Ii," "Double Jeopardy," "Varsity Blues," "The Brady Bunch," "Kiss The Girls," "Mother" and "What Women Want."
After departing Paramount Pictures in 1999, Deborah returned to the independent casting world with Sam Raimi's "The Gift." Her most recent film credits include "La La Land,” “Now You See Me, Two,” “Stronger,” “Deep Water Horizon,” “Woman In Gold,” “Age Of Adaline,” and “American Pastoral.” Deborah’s most notable television credits include the critically acclaimed Showtime Series “Dexter,” FX’s ”The Shield,” and Tnt’s “Mob City.”
Deborah has been nominated fifteen times by the Casting Society of America, for their Artios Award. In 2011, she won the Artios Award for Outstanding Casting for the comedy feature, “Red” and in 2012 won that same award for the feature, “My Week With Marilyn,” which honored Michelle Williams with an Oscar Nomination and in 2017, she won the Artios Award for “La La Land.” In 2003, Deborah was recognized by the Hollywood community with the Hollywood Film Festival Career Achievement Award.
Deborah has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1994.