Birthplace: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Antonia Eugenia "Nia" Vardalos (born September 24, 1962) is a Canadian-American actress, screenwriter, director, and producer of Greek descent. Her most notable work is the 2002 Academy Award-nominated film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which was based on a one-woman stage play she dramatized and in which she starred.
Vardalos was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on September 24, 1962. She is the daughter of Greek Canadian parents Doreen Christakis, a bookkeeper and homemaker, and Constantine "Gus" Vardalos, a land developer. She attended St. George School and Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg and Ryerson University in Toronto. She married American actor Ian Gomez on September 5, 1993. Gomez converted to Greek Orthodoxy prior to marrying her. In 2008, they adopted a daughter named Ilaria. She posted an advice column about the adoption process at The Huffington Post. She became a U.S. citizen in 1999.
An alumna of the Chicago-based Second City comedy repertory company, 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, which was based on a one-woman show which Vardalos had previously written for the theater and starred in onstage. The film was a huge 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, 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, aside from John Corbett.
Her next film, released in 2004, was Connie and Carla, a musical about two women pretending to be drag queens.
Vardalos made her directorial 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 grossed $1,985,260 at the international box-office. This was followed by 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. The film was a moderate success at both the international box-office and DVD sales.
In 2011, Vardalos collaborated with Tom Hanks to write the romantic comedy film Larry Crowne for the screen. The film received moderate reviews and was a commercial success, grossing $59.8 million; Vardalos also voiced the character Map Genie in the film. As of 2013, Vardalos was slated to star in the upcoming films Talk of the Town (2012) and A Wilderness of Monkeys (2013).
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 performed The Beatles song "Golden Slumbers" on the 2006 charity album Unexpected Dreams - Songs from the Stars.
Vardalos's struggle to become a mother, which ultimately led her and husband Ian Gomez to adopt after thirteen distinct in vitro fertilization attempts had failed, made its way into a book she wrote, Instant Mom, which was published in 2014.
Vardalos starred in and co-wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which was released in March 2016. It was less successful than the original had been.
Since 2015, Vardalos and her husband Ian Gomez have co-presented The Great American Baking Show, formerly known as The Great Holiday Baking Show.
|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
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||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|
|2015||Dogs, CarCar Dogs||Sharon|
|2015||Me Not, ForgetForget Me Not||Catherine|
|2016||My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2||Toula Portokalos||also writer|
|1996||High Incident||Uncredited||Episode: "Father Knows Best"|
|1996||Common Law||uncredited||Episode: "In the Matter of, Acceptance"|
|1997||Men Seeking Women||Iris|
|1997||Drew Carey Show, TheThe Drew Carey Show||Grace Almada||Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"|
|1997-98||Team Knight Rider||Domino (voice)||22 episodes|
|1998-99||Boy Meets World||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|
|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||1 episode|
|2010||Good Guys, TheThe Good Guys||Eileen||Pilot episode|
|2011||Cougar Town||Andy's sister in law||Episode: "Damaged by Love"|
|2012||Grey's Anatomy||Karen||1 episode|
|2013-14||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Attorney Minonna Efron||3 episodes|
|2015||Marry Me||Pam||Episode: "Mom Me"|
|2015||Star vs. the Forces of Evil||Angie Diaz||Voice role|
|2015||Jane the Virgin||Barbara Stanbrook||Episode: "Chapter Nineteen"|
|2015||The Great Holiday Baking Show||Presenter||Baking competition|
|2016||The Catch||Leah Wells||3 episodes|
|2016||Graves||Annie Spiro||2 episodes|
|2016||The Great American Baking Show||Co-Presenter (with husband Ian Gomez)||Baking competition|
|2017||Dr. Ken||Tiffany||Episode: "Ken's Big Audition"|
Nia Vardalos supports the following charitable causes: Breast Cancer, Cancer.