Nia Vardalos is the actress and writer of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the number one romantic comedy and one of the highest-grossing independent feature films in history.
Discovered by Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, who produced the film from her screenplay, Vardalos played the lead role of Toula the bride. She received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Original Screenplay,” a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actress ” a Writers Guild Award nomination for “Best Original Screenplay,” a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for “Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture,” and numerous others. She was awarded the Independent Spirit Award for “Best Debut Performance,” The Peoples’ Choice Award for “Favorite Comedy Motion Picture,” and numerous other awards from VH1 to the Aspen ComedyArts Award.
Vardalos wrote, starred in and produced the film, Connie and Carla, (Universal/Spyglass.) She has written many other screenplays including Harry Brown, for Tom Hanks and Universal Studios, Her next film in which she stars is My Life In Ruins, produced again by Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks, co-starring Richard Dreyfuss, directed by Donald Petrie, and releasing in spring 2009 (FOX Searchlight.) She also directed her original screenplay I Hate Valentine’s Day in which she co-stars with John Corbett, releasing in 2010.
Vardalos has guest starred on television shows, including My Boys, Curb Your Enthusiasm and has hosted Saturday Night Live. As a singer, she has recorded the Broadway musical Georgy and a lullaby for the album Unexpected Dreams. She is the executive producer of the documentary A Taxi Odyssey and the narrator of the IMAX film Greece: Secrets of the Past. She has been a Guest Lecturer on screenwriting at USC and the WGA and runs a writing course for underprivileged girls. She works with charities benefiting children, LAM and AIDS research.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, Vardalos attended Ryerson Theater School in Toronto. Later, she took a job in the box office of The Second City, so she could watch the show every night. When an actress fell ill fifteen minutes before curtain. Vardalos convinced the producers she knew the show and to let her on. They did, she was hired the next day. Vardalos was a performer/writer in twelve revues for The Second City in Toronto and Chicago, and won Chicago’s Jeff Award for Best Actress.
Vardalos lives in Los Angeles with her husband, actor Ian Gomez, and their daughter.