Antonia Eugenia "Nia" Vardalos (born September 24, 1962) is a Canadian-American actress, screenwriter, director, singer and producer. Her most notable work is the 2002 Academy Award–nominated film My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Vardalos was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 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 converted to her Greek Orthodox religion prior to marrying her). In 2008, they adopted a daughter, and she wrote a post with advice about the adoption process at The Huffington Post. She became a citizen of the U.S. in 1999.
Vardalos had many small roles in television, most notably on The Drew Carey Show and Two Guys and a Girl. 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 Vardalos had previously written and starred in. This 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 working on his own show, Lucky.
Her next film, released in 2004, was Connie and Carla, a musical about two women pretending to be drag queens. It also featured Toni Collette, David Duchovny and Debbie Reynolds.
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 was a massive box-office failure. This was followed by the critically panned work, 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.
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.
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 also writer
American Screenwriters Award – Discover Screenwriting award
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2004 Connie and Carla Connie also writer
2009 My Life in Ruins Georgia
2009 I Hate Valentine's Day Genevieve also writer and director
2010 A Wilderness of Monkeys
2011 Larry Crowne Map Genie (voice) also writer
2012 Talk of the Town
Year Title Role Notes
1996 High Incident uncredited Episode: "Father Knows Best"
1996 Common Law uncredited Episode: "In the Matter of, Acceptance"
1997 Men Seeking Women Iris
1997 The Drew Carey Show Grace Almada Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"
1997–98 Team Knight Rider Domino (voice) 22 episodes
1998–99 Boy Meets World uncredited Episodes: "You're Married, You're Dead" (1998) and "Can I Help to Cheer You" (1999)
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 Nia Portokalos Writer and executive producer; 7 episodes
2008 My Boys Jo Episodes: "Spit Take," "Take My Work Wife...Please," and "Dudes Being Dudes"
2009 Drop Dead Diva Lisa Shane One episode
2010 The Good Guys Eileen Pilot episode
2011 Cougar Town Andy's sister in law One episode
^ Greek: Αντωνία Ευγενία "Νία" Βαρντάλος
^ "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.
^ "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 To Reunite With John Corbett In Another Romantic Comedy | AHN | August 9, 2008
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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