Nia Vardalos

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Nia Vardalos
Nia Vardalos in 2011 cropped retouched.jpg
Vardalos in 2011
Antonia Eugenia Vardalos

(1962-09-24) September 24, 1962 (age 59)
  • Actress
  • director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
Years active1996–present
(m. 1994; div. 2018)

Antonia Eugenia "Nia" Vardalos (Greek: Αντωνία Ευγενία "Νία" Βαρντάλου; 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[edit]

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.[1][2][3] She attended St. George School and Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg and Ryerson University[4] in Toronto.

She married the American actor Ian Gomez in September 1993.[5] They adopted a daughter in 2009. In 2013, Vardalos wrote a book about the experience, New York Times bestseller INSTANT MOM, and donates all proceeds to adoption groups. Vardalos also posted an advice column about the adoption process in The Huffington Post.[6] 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 2017.[7][5] Their divorce was finalized two months later.[8]


Vardalos at the Connie and Carla premiere on the Universal City Walk, Los Angeles, April 2004

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.[citation needed]

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.

Her next film she wrote, starred in and sang and danced in, released in 2004, was Connie and Carla, is a cult-hit musical about two women pretending to be drag queens.[9]

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. She continues to donate all proceeds 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.

From 2015 to 2017, Vardalos and Gomez co-presented the first two seasons of The Great American Baking Show, formerly known as The Great Holiday Baking Show, for ABC-TV.[10]

In 2018, Vardalos guest-starred in an episode of The CW series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.[11]

In 2019, Vardalos played Faye Anderson in the ABC television holiday film Same Time, Next Christmas.[12] In 2020 she played the role of poisoner Stacey Castor in the tv movie Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story.[13]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 No Experience Necessary Sheila
1997 Men Seeking Women Iris
1999 Meet Prince Charming Jennifer
2002 My Big Fat Greek Wedding Toula Portokalos As Writer
American Screenwriters Association Award – Discover Screenwriting Award
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Writer
Nominated — London Film Critics' Circle Award for Screenwriter of the Year
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Original Screenplay
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominated — Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
As Actress
Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Newcomer
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
Nominated — Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Female Breakthrough Performance
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2004 Connie and Carla Connie also writer
2006 Greece: Secrets of the Past Narrator
2009 My Life in Ruins Georgia Yanokoupolis
2009 I Hate Valentine's Day[14] Genevieve also writer and director
2011 Larry Crowne Map Genie (voice) also joint screenwriter with Tom Hanks
2012 For a Good Time, Call... Rachel Rodman
2012 An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars Mrs. Brooks
2013 Dealin' with Idiots Ava Morris
2014 Helicopter Mom Maggie
2015 Car Dogs Sharon
2016 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Toula Portokalos also writer
2018 Charming Nemeny Neverwish (voice)
2019 Wonder Woman: Bloodlines Julia Kapatelis (voice)
TBA My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 Toula Portokalos also writer


Year Title Role Notes
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


  1. ^ "Sending up the Greek in spirit". The Age. Melbourne. October 6, 2002.
  2. ^ Nia Vardalos profile,; accessed July 2, 2015.
  3. ^ Seiler, Andy (August 28, 2002). "'Greek Wedding' marches on, much to Hollywood's surprise". USA Today. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  4. ^ Nia Vardalos profile, Yahoo! Movies; accessed July 2, 2015.
  5. ^ a b 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.
  6. ^ Nia Vardalos. "The List". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  7. ^ Mike Vulpo (2018-07-03). "Nia Vardalos Files for Divorce From Ian Gomez After 23 Years of Marriage". Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  8. ^ "My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos Settles Divorce 2 Months After Initial Filing". People. September 7, 2018. Retrieved October 7, 2021.
  9. ^ "Nia Vardalos". Movies. Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2012-03-13.
  10. ^ The Great American Baking Show (ABC); accessed December 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Highfill, Samantha (September 2, 2018). "Get the first details on Nia Vardalos' character in Crazy-Ex Girlfriend". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  12. ^ Same Time, Next Christmas (TV Movie 2019) - IMDb, retrieved 2019-11-29
  13. ^ "Nia Vardalos Stars as a Wife Who Kills in Lifetime's Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story".
  14. ^ "Nia Vardalos to Reunite with John Corbett in Another Romantic Comedy". AHN, August 9, 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2008-05-16.

External links[edit]