Antonia Eugenia Vardalos
September 24, 1962
(m. 1994; div. 2018)
Antonia Eugenia "Nia" Vardalos (Greek: Αντωνία Ευγενία "Νία" Βαρδάλου; born September 24, 1962) is a Canadian actress, director, producer and screenwriter. She is best known for starring in and writing the romantic comedy film My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), which garnered her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.
Early and personal life
Vardalos was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on September 24, 1962. She is the daughter of Greek Canadian parents Doreen Christakos, a bookkeeper and homemaker, and Constantine "Gus" Vardalos, a land developer who was born in Kalavryta, Greece. She attended St. George School and Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg and Toronto Metropolitan University in Toronto.
In September 1993 she married American actor Ian Gomez. After trying for nine years to conceive through IVF and surrogacy Vardalos and Gomez adopted their daughter, Ilaria, in 2008. At the time Ilaria was three years old and part of the foster care system. In 2013, Vardalos wrote a book about the experience, a New York Times bestseller she titled Instant Mom, and she still donates all proceeds from its royalties to adoption groups. Vardalos also posted an advice column about the adoption process in The Huffington Post.
It was announced on July 3, 2018 that Vardalos had filed for divorce from Gomez after 23 years of marriage, and that they had already been separated since June of 2017. Their divorce was finalized two months later.
An alumna of the Chicago-based Second City comedy repertory company, Vardalos wrote and performed in over ten revues of sketch comedy and won Chicago's Joseph Jefferson award for Best Actress. Vardalos had many small roles in television shows such as 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 fame with her movie about a woman's struggle to find love in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The film was a 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 quickly became one of the highest-grossing independent films of all time, and the number one romantic comedy of all time. Vardalos hosted Saturday Night Live in the fall of 2002.
The next film she starred in, which she also wrote, and in which she also sang and danced, was Connie and Carla, released in 2004; this became a cult-hit musical, and is about two women pretending to be drag queens. (The plot has been compared to that of Some Like It Hot, the 1959 American romantic comedy film which Billy Wilder directed, produced, and co-wrote, which had starred Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, in that as with the two male leads of Some Like It Hot, the female leads of Connie And Carla did what they did to hide from criminals whose crimes they had witnessed and who could still kill both of them had they been found.)
Vardalos made her directorial debut in 2009 with the independent feature I Hate Valentine's Day. The film, about a florist finding romance, was made for less than $400,000 and on only a limited release grossed $1,985,260 at the international box-office. This was followed by My Life in Ruins, about a misguided tour-guide traveling around Greece and featuring Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss. The film was the first American production given permission to film at the Acropolis; Vardalos personally sought the approval from the Greek government and credits her years of Greek School for helping her be fluent in the language.
In 2011, Vardalos collaborated with Tom Hanks to write the romantic comedy film Larry Crowne for the screen. The film was a commercial success, grossing $59.8 million; Vardalos also voiced the character Map Genie in the film.
In 2016, Vardalos adapted Cheryl Strayed's beloved book, Tiny Beautiful Things, and starred in the sold out run of the play at The Public Theater in New York, directed by Thomas Kail. The play received outstanding reviews and is the New York Times Critic's Pick. Vardalos reprised her role in 2017 in another sold-out run at The Public, and again at the Pasadena Playhouse in California. Published by Samuel French, the play was quickly licensed by many theaters and is on the list of Top Ten Most Produced Plays.
Vardalos joined many celebrities helping to produce The 1 Second Film art project; she herself was featured in The Dialogue, an interview series. In this 90 minute interview with producer Mike DeLuca, Vardalos talked 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 sang The Beatles song "Golden Slumbers" on the 2006 charity album Unexpected Dreams – Songs from the Stars. Vardalos's struggle to become a mother, made its way into a book she wrote, Instant Mom, which was published in 2013 and is a New York Times bestseller, as stated above. She continues to donate all proceeds from its royalties to adoption groups.
Vardalos starred in and wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which was released in March 2016. It earned over $60 million domestically from an $18 million budget and much more internationally and in home box office sales.
In 2019, Vardalos played Faye Anderson in the ABC television holiday film Same Time, Next Christmas. In 2020, in what was, for her, a rare turn to both serious, non-comedy acting and impostures of real people, she impersonated convicted poisoner Stacey Castor in the made-for-television movie Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story, which Lifetime Television transmitted.
|1996||High Incident||Uncredited||Episode: "Father Knows Best"|
|1996||Common Law||Uncredited||Episode: "In the Matter of, Acceptance"|
|1997||The Drew Carey Show||Grace Almada||Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"|
|1997–98||Team Knight Rider||Domino (voice)||22 episodes|
|1998–99||Boy Meets World||Miss Gallagher (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||Episode: "Nia Vardalos/Eve"|
|2003||My Big Fat Greek Life||Fotoula "Toula" Portokalos||Writer and executive producer; 7 episodes|
|2008||My Boys||Jo||3 episodes|
|2009||Drop Dead Diva||Lisa Shane||Episode: "What If?"|
|2010||The Good Guys||Eileen||Pilot episode|
|2011||Cougar Town||Angela Torres||Episode: "Damaged by Love"|
|2012||Grey's Anatomy||Karen||Episode: "Hope for the Hopeless"|
|2013–14||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Attorney Minonna Efron||3 episodes|
|2015||Marry Me||Pam||Episode: "Mom Me"|
|2015–2019||Star vs. the Forces of Evil||Angie Diaz||Voice role; 10 episodes|
|2015||Jane the Virgin||Barbara Stanbrook||Episode: "Chapter Nineteen"|
|2015||The Great Holiday Baking Show||Co-presenter||Baking competition|
|2016||The Catch||Leah Wells||3 episodes|
|2016||Graves||Annie Spiro||7 episodes|
|2016||The Great American Baking Show||Co-presenter (with then-husband Ian Gomez)||Baking competition|
|2017||Dr. Ken||Tiffany||Episode: "Ken's Big Audition"|
|2018||DuckTales||Selene||Voice role; 4 episodes|
|2018||Crazy Ex-Girlfriend||Wendy Legrand||Episode: "I'm On My Own Path"|
|2019||Same Time, Next Christmas||Faye Anderson||Television Film|
|2020||Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story||Stacey Castor||Television Film|
|2021||Station 19||Patricia||Episode: "100% or Nothing"|
- "Sending up the Greek in spirit". The Age. Melbourne. October 6, 2002.
- Nia Vardalos profile, filmreference.com; accessed July 2, 2015.
- Seiler, Andy (August 28, 2002). "'Greek Wedding' marches on, much to Hollywood's surprise". USA Today. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- Nia Vardalos profile, Yahoo! Movies; accessed July 2, 2015.
- Fernandez, Alexia (September 7, 2018). "My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos Settles Divorce 2 Months After Initial Filing". People. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Nia Vardalos on Her Emotional Journey to Adopt Her Daughter – and Why It Delayed My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2". People Magazine. December 2, 2020. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
- Nia Vardalos. "The List". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
- Mike Vulpo (2018-07-03). "Nia Vardalos Files for Divorce From Ian Gomez After 23 Years of Marriage". eonline.com. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
- "My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos Settles Divorce 2 Months After Initial Filing". People. September 7, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
- "Nia Vardalos". Movies. Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
- The Great American Baking Show (ABC); accessed December 9, 2016.
- Highfill, Samantha (September 2, 2018). "Get the first details on Nia Vardalos' character in Crazy-Ex Girlfriend". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
- Same Time, Next Christmas (TV Movie 2019) - IMDb, retrieved 2019-11-29
- "Nia Vardalos Stars as a Wife Who Kills in Lifetime's Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story". PEOPLE.com.
- "Nia Vardalos to Reunite with John Corbett in Another Romantic Comedy". AHN, allheadlinenews.com. August 9, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-05-16.