Alia Shawkat

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Alia Shawkat
Shawkat in 2016
Alia Martine Shawkat

(1989-04-18) April 18, 1989 (age 35)
  • Actress
  • singer
  • painter
Years active1999–present
RelativesPaul Burke (maternal grandfather)

Alia Martine Shawkat (/ˈæliə ˈʃɔːkæt/ AL-ee-ə SHAW-kat;[1][2] Arabic: عليا مارتين شوكت; born April 18, 1989[3]) is an American actress. She is known for her performances as Maeby Fünke in the Fox/Netflix television sitcom Arrested Development (2003–2006; 2013–2019), Dory Sief in the TBS and HBO Max dark comedy series Search Party (2016–2022), and Gertie Michaels in the 2015 horror-comedy film The Final Girls, as well as her roles in State of Grace and The Old Man. She has also guest starred as historical figures Frances Cleveland, Virginia Hall, and Alexander Hamilton on Comedy Central's Drunk History.

Early life[edit]

Shawkat was born in Riverside, California, to Dina Shawkat (née Burke) and strip club owner Tony Shawkat.[4] She grew up in Palm Springs.[5] She has two brothers.[6] Her father is from Baghdad, Iraq,[7] and her mother is American.[8] Her maternal grandfather was actor Paul Burke.[9]


From 2001 to 2004, Shawkat played Hannah in State of Grace. As Maeby Fünke, Shawkat was a regular cast member of Arrested Development for the entire run of the show from 2003 to 2019. The series received nearly universally positive reviews, with Shawkat's performance occasionally singled out for praise. Pop-culture commentator Brian M. Palmer remarked that she was "one of the brightest lights on a show populated solely by bright lights",[10] and Scott Weinberg of eFilmCritic described her as "one funny young lady."[11] In an interview with The A.V. Club in 2010, Shawkat remarked that many of her "formative moments" as an actress took place on the Arrested Development set: "[Show creator] Mitch Hurwitz was like a father figure to me. In a way, it was great to be around [the cast], because I feel that my understanding of comedy was able to grow really well during that time."[12]

In 2009, Shawkat appeared in Whip It co-star Har Mar Superstar's music video for "Tall Boy", which also featured Eva Mendes and Eric Wareheim. In October 2009, it was announced that Shawkat, Har Mar, and Whip It co-star Elliot Page would produce and write a show for HBO called Stitch N' Bitch.[12] According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show "follows two painfully cool hipsters as they relocate from Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood to Los Angeles' Silver Lake enclave in hopes of becoming artists—of any kind."[13]

Shawkat, along with Arrested Development co-star and close friend Mae Whitman, sang guest vocals on a number of tracks from indie-punk band Fake Problems' 2010 album Real Ghosts Caught on Tape.[14]

Shawkat at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival premiere of Green Room

Six years after the series was canceled by Fox, filming for a revived fourth season of Arrested Development began on August 7, 2012 and Shawkat reprised her role as Maeby Fünke. The season consists of 15 new episodes which debuted at the same time on Netflix on May 26, 2013.[15] Each episode focuses on one particular character, with Shawkat's Maeby, now a high school senior, featured in episode 12, "Señoritis," and appearing in several other episodes of the season.

Shawkat appears briefly in Ryan Trecartin's 2013 art film, Center Jenny.[16]

In 2015, Shawkat guest-starred on Broad City, portraying the romantic interest and look-alike of Ilana Glazer's character for one episode; the two were attracted to one another due only to their similar appearances. Leading up to the episode, many had remarked on the physical similarities Shawkat and Glazer bear to one another.[17]

Shawkat starred in the lead role of Dory Sief on the TBS comedy Search Party, which premiered on November 21, 2016[18] and moved to HBO Max in 2019 before concluding with its fifth and final season in January 2022.[19] Alongside her acting role on this project, Shawkat produced 30 episodes and directed 1 from 2016 to 2021.[20]

In 2019, Shawkat starred in the film Animals (directed by Australian director Sophie Hyde) as Tyler, a high-living American partier in Dublin. It is a film about a friendship which changes after Laura (played by Holliday Grainger) gets engaged to her teetotalling boyfriend.[21][22] Shawkat said that she had never played a character like Tyler before, and comparatively found her previous characters more relatable. She was "excited to play someone who was so fun, but so damaged".[23]

Personal life[edit]

When not acting, Shawkat enjoys singing, drawing and painting.[24] She occasionally sings in jazz bars, though she only sings jazz standards; her grandfather taught her many of the songs she knows. At one point, Shawkat attempted to learn welding, hoping to make metal sculptures. She considers it essential for her to pursue different forms of art, stating, "They feed each other. If I didn't have the other ones, I don't think I could just act."[25] Shawkat is bisexual.[26]



Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Three Kings Amir's Daughter
2005 Rebound Amy
Queen of Cactus Cove Billie Short film
2006 Deck the Halls Madison Finch
2008 Bart Got a Room Camille
Prom Wars Diana Riggs
2009 Amreeka Salma Halaby
Whip It Pash Amini
2010 The Runaways Robin Robbins
2011 The Lie Seven
Cedar Rapids Bree
The Oranges Vanessa Walling
Our Deal Night Creeper Short film
2012 Damsels in Distress Mad Madge
That's What She Said Clementine
Ruby Sparks Mabel
The Brass Teapot Louise
The Golden Age Janice Short film
2013 May in the Summer Dalia
The End of Love Alia Shawkat Cameo
Setup, Punch Dottie Kaufman Short film
The To Do List Fiona Forster
Bunion Rachel Short film
Night Moves Surprise
The Moment Jessie Jamil
2014 Life After Beth Roz
Wild Canaries Jean
2015 The Final Girls Gertie Michaels
The Driftless Area Carrie
Nasty Baby Wendy Also co-producer
Adam Green's Aladdin Emily
Green Room Sam
Me Him Her Laura
2016 The Intervention Lola
Pee-wee's Big Holiday Bella
Paint It Black Josie
20th Century Women Trish
2017 Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town Agatha Benson
2018 Blaze Sybil Rosen
Duck Butter Naima Also writer and executive producer
2019 Animals Tyler
First Cow Woman with Dog
I Lost My Body Gabrielle (voice) English dub
Alina Alina Short film
2020 The Letter Room Rosita Short film
2021 Love Spreads Kelly
Being the Ricardos Madelyn Pugh
2022 Jackass Forever Herself Cameo
The Listener (voice)
2023 Drift Callie
2024 Blink Twice TBA Post-production
TBA Atropia Post-production[27]


Year Title Role Notes
1999 JAG Young Sarah MacKenzie Episode: "Second Sight"
2000 The Trial of Old Drum Dee TV film
2002 State of Grace Young Hannah Rayburn Main cast; 40 episodes
Presidio Med Tara Wegman Episode: "Good Question"
2003 Without a Trace Siobhan Arintero Episode: "Maple Street"
Boomtown Denise Stein Episode: "Home Invasion"
2003–06; 2013;
Arrested Development Mae "Maeby" Fünke Main cast; 79 episodes
2006 Veronica Mars Stacy Wells Episode: "The Rapes of Graff"
Not Like Everyone Else Brandi Blackbear TV film
2007 The Business Screenwriting Manicurist 2 episodes
2008 The Bad Mother's Handbook Charlotte TV film
The Starter Wife Robin 3 episodes
2010 The League April Episode: "The Expert Witness"
2013 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Gail Episode: "Burn After Killing"
2014 Drunk History Frances Cleveland Episode: "First Ladies"
Robot Chicken Minerva McGonagall (voice) Episode: "G.I. Jogurt"
Getting On Colleen Hoover 4 episodes
2015 Adventure Time Betsy Poundcake (voice) Episode: "The Diary"
Broad City Adele Episode: "Coat Check"
Drunk History Virginia Hall Episode: "Spies"
2016 Portlandia Mayor's Kid Episode: "Shville"
Animals. Sharon (voice) Episode: "Rats."
2016–17 Adventure Time Charlie (voice) 2 episodes
2016–22 Search Party Dory Sief Main cast; 50 episodes
Also producer
director "The Imposter"
2016 Drunk History Alexander Hamilton Episode: "Hamilton"
2017–19 Transparent Lila 8 episodes
2017–20 Big Mouth Roland (voice) 3 episodes
2018–21 Summer Camp Island Blanche/Cinnamon Raisin Toast/Butter Goth (voice) 12 episodes
2019 Living with Yourself Maia 2 episodes
2020 The Shivering Truth (voice) Episode: "Nesslessness"
Moonbase 8 Alix Episode: "Visitors"
2021 Pride Madeleine Tress Episode: "1950s: People Had Parties"
Ultra City Smiths Little Grace / Woman's Voice (voice) 5 episodes
2022 The Old Man Angela Adams Main cast
2023 Rugrats Trish (voice) Episode: "Reptar Day!/Mission to the Little"
Scavengers Reign Levi (voice)
TBA Severance TBA Season 2


Year Title Role Notes
2018 Sandra Helen Perera (voice) Main role, 7 episodes

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist
2017 "Don't Take the Money" Bleachers

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2002 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series – Leading Young Actress State of Grace Nominated
2004 TV Land Award Future Classic Arrested Development Won
2005 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) – Supporting Young Actress Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2006 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2014 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
2017 Gracie Award Actress in a Breakthrough Role[28] Search Party Won


  1. ^ "Alia's Alphabet". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  2. ^ Alia Shawkat on Getting Shaved by a Stranger - PARTY LEGENDS. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved February 15, 2021 – via YouTube.
  3. ^ "Did Alia Shawkat Celebrate Her Birthday With Brad Pitt?". April 20, 2020.
  4. ^ Shawkat, Alia (April 28, 2014). "Show Girl Sexuality: Alia Shawkat | In Short" (video). AOL.
  5. ^ "Alia Shawkat – DVD – Interview". February 24, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  6. ^ "Alia Shawkat - Biography". IMDb. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  7. ^ Alia Shawkat (May 28, 2013). The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. CBS. Event occurs at 34:52. (Shawkat) "I'm half Iraqi, my dad's from Baghdad"
  8. ^ "Alia Shawkat lands new Comedy Central project". June 12, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  9. ^ Fox, Margalit (September 16, 2009). "Paul Burke, 'Naked City' Star, Dies at 83". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 18, 2023.
  10. ^ "Interview with Brian M. Palmer". Archived from the original on October 15, 2014. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  11. ^ "eFilmCritic – DVD Review: Arrested Development Season 1". Archived from the original on September 19, 2015. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  13. ^ "Ellen Page, Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat, and Har Mar Superstar (!) working on HBO show". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  14. ^ "Fake Problems - 'Real Ghosts Caught On Tape' + tour with The Gaslight Anthem". Archived from the original on August 21, 2013.
  15. ^ Savage, Lesley (April 4, 2013). "Fourth season of "Arrested Development" gets release date - CBS News". Retrieved February 4, 2024.
  16. ^ "Center Jenny, 2013 Ryan Trecartin". Youtube. Archived from the original on December 11, 2021. Retrieved July 7, 2020.
  17. ^ Silman, Anna (March 12, 2015). "Alia Shawkat on her hot "Broad City" doppelgänger romance: "It was one of the best makeout scenes that I've had"". Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 31, 2016). "TBS to Strip New Comedy 'Search Party' Thanksgiving Week, Sets 'People of Earth' Premiere – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  19. ^ Webb Mitovich, Matt (October 7, 2019). "Search Party Moves to HBO Max From TBS — And Gets Season 4 Renewal". Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  20. ^ Filippazzo, Estefania (September 3, 2022). "Inside Alia Shawkat's Career And Personal Life". TheThings. Retrieved February 4, 2024.
  21. ^ Frangos, Daniela (April 1, 2019). "Alia Shawkat, Animals and Reaching Adulthood". Broadsheet. Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  22. ^ Animals: Alia Shawkat, Holliday Grainger, Sophie Hyde, Emma Jane Unsworth on YouTube
  23. ^ Marsh, Walter (April 3, 2019). "Animals star Alia Shawkat is not your ingenue". The Adelaide Review. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  24. ^ Lafuente, Cat (March 18, 2020). "The Untold Truth Of Alia Shawkat". The List. Retrieved February 4, 2024.
  25. ^ Sextro, Charlie (February 1, 2022). "On expressing yourself as honestly as possible". The Creative Independent.
  26. ^ Osenlund, R. Kurt (May 11, 2017). "Actress Alia Shawkat on Bold Projects, Broad City & Being Queer in America". Out. Retrieved May 14, 2017. I was a tomboy growing up, and I remember my mom asking me when I was 10, 'are you attracted to boys or girls?' I said I don't know. Now I consider myself bisexual[.]
  27. ^ Yossman, K.J. (February 1, 2024). "Callum Turner Joins Alia Shawkat in Luca Guadagnino-Produced 'Atropia' From First-Time Director Hailey Gates (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 5, 2024.
  28. ^ "Alliance For Women In Media Foundation Announce The 2017 Gracie Awards Winners". Archived from the original on April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 12, 2017.

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