Antonia Eugenia "Nia" Vardalos in 2011
|Born||Antonia Eugenia Vardalos
September 24, 1962
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Occupation||Actress, director, producer, screenwriter, singer|
|Spouse(s)||Ian Gomez (1993–present)|
Antonia Eugenia "Nia" Vardalos (born September 24, 1962), whose name transliterates into the Greek as Αντωνία Ευγενία "Νία" Βαρντάλος, is a Canadian-born actress, screenwriter, director, singer and producer. Her most notable work is the 2002 Academy Award–nominated film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was based on a one-woman stage play she dramatized and in which she starred.
Early and personal life
Vardalos was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on September 24, 1962. She is the daughter of Greek Canadian parents Doreen, a bookkeeper and homemaker, and Constantine "Gus" Vardalos, a land developer. She attended Shaftesbury High School and Ryerson University. Vardalos married actor Ian Gomez on September 5, 1993. (Her husband had converted to Greek Orthodox prior to marrying her.) In 2008, they adopted a daughter named Ilaria, and she wrote a post with advice about the adoption process at The Huffington Post. She became a U.S. citizen in 1999.
An alumna of the Chicago-based Second City comedy repertory company, Vardalos had many small roles in television, most notably on The Drew Carey Show and Two Guys and a Girl; in addition, she provided voices for the 1996 radio adaptation of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi which Brian Daley had written for National Public Radio. She gained overnight success with her movie about a woman's struggle to find love in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was based on a one-woman show which Vardalos had previously written for the theater and starred in onstage. The film was a huge critical and commercial success. The film earned Vardalos an Academy Award Nomination for Best Writing, a Golden Globe Nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and a Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination. The sleeper hit, which quickly became one of the highest-grossing independent films of all time, led to the unsuccessful CBS spin-off series, My Big Fat Greek Life. The show was cancelled after seven episodes and featured the entire cast from the film, excluding John Corbett, who was then working on his own show, Lucky.
Vardalos made her directing debut in 2009 with the independent feature I Hate Valentine's Day. The film, about a florist finding romance, received only a limited release and grossed $1,985,260 at the international box-office. This was followed by My Life in Ruins, about a misguided tour-guide travelling around Greece and featuring Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss. The film was the first American production given permission to film at the Acropolis; Vardalos sought the approval from the Greek Government. The film was a moderate success at both the international box-office and DVD sales.
In 2011, Vardalos collaborated with Tom Hanks to write the romantic comedy film Larry Crowne for the screen. The film received moderate reviews and was a commercial success, grossing $59.8 million; Vardalos also voiced the character Map Genie in the film.
As of 2013, Vardalos was slated to star in the upcoming films Talk of the Town (2012) and A Wilderness of Monkeys (2013).
Vardalos is among many celebrities helping to produce The 1 Second Film art project. Vardalos was featured in The Dialogue interview series. In this 90 minute interview with producer Mike DeLuca, Vardalos talks about how her experiences in The Second City comedy troupe helped her as an actress and a screenwriter, and how the unofficial "tell-the-Greek" word-of-mouth program had a hand in catapulting her movie to such great heights. She performed The Beatles song "Golden Slumbers" on the 2006 charity album Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars.
|1996||High Incident||Uncredited||Episode: "Father Knows Best"|
|1996||Common Law||uncredited||Episode: "In the Matter of, Acceptance"|
|1997||Men Seeking Women||Iris|
|1997||Drew Carey Show, TheThe Drew Carey Show||Grace Almada||Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"|
|1997–98||Team Knight Rider||Domino (voice)||22 episodes|
|1998–99||Boy Meets World||Uncredited||2 episodes|
|1999||It's Like, You Know...||Mindy||Episode: "Memories of Me"|
|1999||Two Guys and a Girl||Evelyn||Episode: "Career Day"|
|2000||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Larry's Lawyer||Episode: "Interior Decorator"|
|2002||Saturday Night Live||Host|
|2003||My Big Fat Greek Life||Toula Portokalos||Writer and executive producer; 7 episodes|
|2008||My Boys||Jo||3 episodes|
|2009||Drop Dead Diva||Lisa Shane||1 episode|
|2010||Good Guys, TheThe Good Guys||Eileen||Pilot episode|
|2011||Cougar Town||Andy's sister in law||Episode: "Damaged by Love"|
|2012||Grey's Anatomy||Karen||1 episode|
|2013-2014||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Attorney Minonna Efron||3 episodes|
- "Greek goddess: but it wasn't always that way. Once told she was too frumpy to be a star, Nia Vardalos proves them wrong.(Interview)(Cover Story)". Redbook. April 1, 2003.[dead link]
- "Sending up the Greek in spirit". The Age (Melbourne). October 6, 2002.
- Nia Vardalos Biography (1962–)
- Seiler, Andy (August 28, 2002). "'Greek Wedding' marches on, much to Hollywood's surprise". USA Today. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- Nia Vardalos Biography – Yahoo! Movies
- Nia Vardalos. "The List". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
- "Nia Vardalos | Movies and Biography". Movies. Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- Nia Vardalos To Reunite With John Corbett In Another Romantic Comedy | AHN | August 9, 2008
- Nia Vardalos at the Internet Movie Database
- Nia Vardalos's Executive Producer Profile on The 1 Second Film website
- Works by or about Nia Vardalos in libraries (WorldCat catalog)