Rita Wilson

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Rita Wilson
RitaWilsonHWOFSept2012.jpg
Wilson in October 2012
Born Margarita Ibrahimoff
(1956-10-26) October 26, 1956 (age 60)
Los Angeles, California,
United States
Occupation Actress, producer, singer
Years active 1972–present
Religion Greek Orthodox
Spouse(s) Tom Hanks (m. 1988)
Children 2
Parent(s) Hassan Ibrahimoff
Relatives Colin Hanks (step-son)

Rita Wilson (born Margarita Ibrahimoff; October 26, 1956)[1] is an American actress, singer, activist, and producer. She appeared in films Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Now and Then (1995), Jingle All the Way (1996), The Story of Us (1999) and Runaway Bride (1999). Wilson has also performed on Broadway and on television, and she has produced several films, including My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002).

Early life[edit]

Rita Wilson was born as Margarita Ibrahimoff[1] (Bulgarian: Маргарита Ибрахимова) in Los Angeles, California. Her mother was Greek, born and raised in Sotire near Dropull i Sipërm (Greek: Άνω Δρόπολις, Ano Dropolis) in Albania, near the border of Greece.[2] Her father, Hassan Halilov Ibrahimoff (March 21, 1920 – March 6, 2009), was a Pomak (Bulgarian Muslim), born in Breshtene in the province of Western Thrace, Greece. Her father's half-brother Ferhat lives in Bulgaria.[fn 1][3][4][5] Wilson's father moved to the United States on May 4, 1949.[4] He converted from Islam to Orthodox Christianity upon his marriage and changed his name from Hassan Ibrahimoff to Allan Wilson in 1960,[4] choosing his name after a local street. Rita was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith.[6] Her father in addition to his Bulgarian could speak "Russian, Turkish, Polish, Greek, a little bit of Italian, a little bit of French" according to Rita's husband Tom Hanks, who said he modeled his portrayal of the character Viktor Navorski in the film The Terminal on his father-in-law.[7]

Career[edit]

HBO Post-Emmys Party, Pacific Design Center, Sept. 21, 2008

Wilson's career began with a guest appearance on The Brady Bunch in the 1972 episode "Greg's Triangle," where she played one of the candidates running against Marcia for head cheerleader. She also twice appeared on M*A*S*H in 1982 as Nurse Lacey as well as the sitcoms Three's Company and Bosom Buddies starring her future husband Tom Hanks and as Hester Rose Crane, the deceased mother of Frasier Crane on Frasier. She has appeared in numerous movies, including Volunteers, Teen Witch, Barbarians at the Gate, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Mixed Nuts, Sleepless in Seattle, Now and Then, That Thing You Do!, Jingle All the Way, Runaway Bride, Invisible Child, The Story of Us, Raise Your Voice, It's Complicated, "cheech and chong's next movie" and Larry Crowne.

She played Susan Borman, wife of astronaut Frank Borman, in the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. On television, she guest starred in many television series, including Frasier, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Good Wife, Body of Proof, and Girls.

Wilson performed on Broadway, where she performed the role of Roxie Hart from June to August 2006 in the revival of Chicago.

She is often credited with being the driving force behind actress-playwright Nia Vardalos's movie deal for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which became the highest-grossing independent film of all time, and for which she served as a producer.[8] Since Wilson is a Greek-American and her husband, Tom Hanks, is not (he is of English, German, and Portuguese ancestry), Wilson was convinced that she could relate to the situation in which the film's main character, Toula, found herself. Her confidence in Vardalos paid off tremendously. A sequel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which Wilson co-produced and in which she had a supporting role, was released in 2016.

Wilson's long-standing interest in singing led her to record a debut solo album, AM/FM, which she released May 8, 2012, on the Decca Records label. The album featured classics from the 1960s/70s, including a cover of "Wichita Lineman" that she performed with the song's writer-composer, Jimmy Webb.[9][10]

Personal life[edit]

Wilson and Tom Hanks

Wilson married actor Tom Hanks in 1988, and they have two sons, Chester and Truman.[11] Wilson has two stepchildren, Colin and Elizabeth Hanks.

She contributed to the Moffitt Cancer Center by donating "True Hearts" jewelry made of sterling silver and 14k gold. The proceeds will[when?] benefit several charities. Wilson has credited Rosie O'Donnell as inspiration for her charitable work, particularly with cancer and children's charities.[12]

She is a devout member of the Greek Orthodox Church.[13]

In April 2015, Wilson announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.[14] After a one-month hiatus, she returned to Larry David's "Fish in the Dark" Broadway show.[15]

Activism[edit]

In 2015 Wilson signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.[16]

Filmography[edit]

Roles as an actress
Year Title Role Notes
1966 Spinout Bit Girl (uncredited)[citation needed]
1972 The Brady Bunch Pat Conway Television program
Episode: "Greg's Triangle"
1979 The Day It Came to Earth[17] Debbie
1980 Cheech & Chong's Next Movie Actress
1981 Bosom Buddies Cindy Television program
Episode: "All You Need is Love"
1982 M*A*S*H Nurse Lacey Television program
Episodes: "Blood and Guts"
"Hey, Look Me Over"
1983 Three's Company Agnes Platt Television program
Episode: "Alias Jack Tripper"
1985 Volunteers Beth Wexler
1986 227 Dr. Peterson Television program
Episode: "Mary Nightingale"
1989 Teen Witch Dancer
Midnight Caller Connie Zymak Television program
Episodes: "Mercy Me"
"Based on a True Story"
"The Reverend Soundbite"
1990 Sinners[citation needed] Margaret
Bonfire of the Vanities, TheThe Bonfire of the Vanities P.R. Woman
1991 Tales from the Crypt Jess Gilcrist Television program
Episode: Mournin' Mess
1993 Sleepless in Seattle Suzy
1994 Mixed Nuts Catherine O'Shaughnessy
1995 Now and Then Chrissy DeWitt Williams
1996 No Dogs Allowed[citation needed]
That Thing You Do! Marguerite
Jingle All the Way Liz Langston
1998 Psycho Caroline
1999 Invisible Child Annie Beeman
Runaway Bride Ellie Graham
Story of Us, TheThe Story of Us Rachel
2001 Perfume Roberta aka Dress to Kill
Glass House, TheThe Glass House Grace Avery-Baker (uncredited)[citation needed]
2002 Auto Focus Anne Crane
2003 My Big Fat Greek Life Cousin Ariana Television program
Episode: "Ariana"
2004 Raise Your Voice Francis Fletcher
2005 Chumscrubber, TheThe Chumscrubber Terri Bratley
Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D Beta Station Commander Voice only
2006 Beautiful Ohio Judith Messerman
2009 My Life in Ruins Elinor
Old Dogs Jenna
It's Complicated Trisha
2011 Art of Getting By, TheThe Art of Getting By Vivian Sargent
Larry Crowne Wilma Gammelgaard
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Bree Mazalon Television program
Episode: "Delinquent"
The Good Wife Viola Walsh Television program
Episodes: "Net Worth"
"Great Firewall"
"Live from Damascus"
"Two Girls, One Code"
"Outside the Bubble"
2012 Jewtopia Arlene Lipschitz
Who Do You Think You Are? Herself Television program
Episode: "Rita Wilson"
2013 The Tutor[citation needed] Tina Short film
Girls Evie Michaels Television program
Episodes: "It's About Time"
"Females Only"
"Truth or Dare"
"Iowa"
"Wedding Day"
2014 Dawn Patrol Shelia
2016 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Anna
Brother Nature Cathy Turley

As a producer[edit]

Production roles
Year Title Role Notes
2002 My Big Fat Greek Wedding Producer Producers Guild of America Visionary Award
Nominated — Producers Guild of America Award for Motion Picture Producer of the Year
Starring and written by Nia Vardalos
2003 My Big Fat Greek Life Executive producer Television program
Starring and co-produced by Nia Vardalos
2004 Connie and Carla Executive producer Feature film (comedy)
Starring and written by Nia Vardalos
2008 Mamma Mia! Executive producer
2009 My Life in Ruins Executive producer Feature film (romantic comedy)
Starring and written by Nia Vardalos
2016 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Executive producer Sequel to My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Starring and written by Nia Vardalos

Discography[edit]

  • AM/FM (May 8, 2012)[18]
  • Rita Wilson (March 11, 2016)[19]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ferhat is an Arabic and Turkish name, and was misspelled "Fairhat" in the reference given.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Birth date confirmed at the State of California, California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Date of birth for Margarit Ibrahimoff in Los Angeles, California is October 26, 1956.[1]
  2. ^ Welkos, Robert (2002-10-06). "Sending up the Greek in spirit". The Age. Retrieved 2008-10-10. ...my father is Bulgarian. 
  3. ^ a b "Rita Wilson, Who Do You Think You Are?", tracing-the-tree, March 31, 2012; retrieved April 3, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?, March 30, 2012.
  5. ^ Tom Hanks' wife Rita Wilson breaks down after discovering she had a brother who died as a baby on Who Do You Think You Are. Mail Online, 31 March 2012; retrieved December 3, 2012.
  6. ^ "My Big, Fat, Greek Mystery", tmatt.net; September 18, 2002; accessed April 15, 2015.
  7. ^ "Season 12 Episode 9." Inside the Actors Studio. Bravo. 14 May 2016. Television.
  8. ^ "TV Review - My Big Fat Greek Life". Entertainment Weekly. 2003-04-07. Retrieved 2008-09-28. 
  9. ^ Antoinette Bueno.Rita Wilson to Debut Solo Album, E! Online, February 9, 2012.
  10. ^ "Rita Wilson to Debut Solo Album AM/FM", PRNewswire.com, February 9, 2012; retrieved February 11, 2012.
  11. ^ "Tom Hanks Biography". Biography.com (FYI/A&E Networks). Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  12. ^ H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute; accessed April 15, 2015.
  13. ^ "Спектар: Живот и стил: Православни Холивуд : ПОЛИТИКА". Politika.rs. 2010-02-28. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  14. ^ "Rita Wilson Has Breast Cancer, Undergoes Double Mastectomy and Reconstructive Surgery". People.com. April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  15. ^ http://www.vulture.com/2015/01/larry-david-fish-in-the-dark.html#
  16. ^ McVeigh, Tracy. "Poverty is sexist: leading women sign up for global equality | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  17. ^ Deming, Mark. "Rita Wilson" (biography). Billboard. Retrieved January 21, 2016. 
  18. ^ Rita Wilson: "AM/FM". Artist notes and product description (Amazon.com). Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Rita Wilson - Rita Wilson". Amazon. Amazon.com, Inc. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 

External links[edit]