Antonia Eugenia "Nia" Vardalos (Greek: Αντωνία Ευγενία "Νία" Βαρντάλος) (born September 24, 1962) is a Greek Canadian 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 on September 24, 1962. 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 Greek Orthodox prior to marrying her). In 2008, they adopted a daughter named Ilaria, and she wrote a post with advice about the adoption process at The Huffington Post. She became a U.S. citizen in 1999.Vardalos at the Connie and Carlapremiere on the Universal City Walk, Los Angeles, April 2004
Vardalos had many small roles in television, most notably on 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. 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. 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, excluding John Corbett who was working on his own show, Lucky.
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 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 along with Tom Hanks wrote the romantic comedy film Larry Crowne. The film received moderate reviews. The film was a commercial success grossing $59.8 million. Vardalos also voiced the character Map Genie in the film. Vardalos is set to star in the upcoming films Talk of the Town (2012) and A Wilderness of Monkeys (2013).
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.
|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||Toula 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||Episode: "Damaged by Love"|
|2012||Grey's Anatomy||Karen||One episode|
|2013||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Attorney Minonna Efron||Episode: "Criminal Hatred"|