Mili Avital (Hebrew: מילי אביטל; born 30 March 1972) is an Israeli actress, writer and director. Avital built an international career, starting in her native Israel, starring on stage, film and television. She won the Israeli Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1991, moved to New York in 1993 to study theater in English, was discovered by an agent while working in a restaurant, and started acting in Hollywood almost immediately. She has maintained her career in both countries since.
Avital was born in Jerusalem, Israel, the daughter of graphic designers Noni and Iko Avital. Both her parents are Sephardic Jews; Avital's father was born in Morocco, whereas her mother is Israeli-born and of Turkish-Jewish descent. She was raised in Tel Aviv and Ra'anana. She attended the Thelma Yellin High School of Arts in Givatayim.
In 1993 she arrived in New York City to study acting at the Circle in the Square Theatre School. The following year, discovered by an agent while working as a waitress, she was cast as the female lead in the 1994 science fiction film Stargate, for which she received a Sci-fi Universe award. She has appeared in films such as Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man opposite Johnny Depp, Doug Ellin's Kissing a Fool opposite David Schwimmer, Polish Wedding opposite Claire Danes, and Robert Benton's The Human Stain opposite Anthony Hopkins. In 1999, she portrayed a Bosnian rape victim in the pilot episode of the long-running NBC legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Avital appeared in three other episodes of the series: "Parasites", "Manhattan Vigil", and "Depravity Standard". She also appeared in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Palimpsest". Her television work includes Scheherazade in the Emmy-nominated ABC miniseries Arabian Nights to rave reviews, Jon Avnet's Uprising, and After the Storm . In 2009–2010 Avital appeared in the FX TV show Damages, in a recurring role as the mistress to the husband of Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). She recently appeared in the 2012 ABC television series 666 Park Avenue.
Her directorial debut, the short documentary I Think Myself I am All the Time Younger, received its world premiere at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival in New York.
She was first introduced to Israeli audiences in the title role of Yael's Friends, a television film. She won the 1992 Israeli Film Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her first feature film role, in Me'ever Layam. Her work in Israel includes the cult comedy Ahava Colombianit (Colombian Love), as well as Noodle, for which she received the 2007 Israel's Critics' Circle Award for Best Actress, the Israeli Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, and Israel's Person of the Year nomination for 2006. Avital stars in Prisoners of War, a Keshet prime-time Israeli TV series, on which the American television series Homeland is based. Avital was nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Series (first season) for her work. The show won Best Drama Series in the Israeli TV Awards.
Avital took part in a comedy series, Landing on Their Feet, for Keshet, alongside Shani Cohen (Eretz Nehederet).
Avital served as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Haifa from 2009 to 2013.
|1991||Me'ever Layam||Miri Goldfarb|
|1995||Dead Man||Thel Russell|
|1996||Invasion of Privacy||Theresa Barnes|
|1997||The End of Violence||Featured Performer|
|1998||Animals with the Tollkeeper||Fatima|
|1998||Kissing a Fool||Samantha Andrews|
|1999||The Young Girl and the Monsoon||Erin|
|2000||Bad Seed||Emily Tylk|
|2003||The Human Stain||Young Iris|
|2004||Ahava Colombianit||Tali Shalev|
|2005||When Do We Eat?||Vanessa|
|1999||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Marta Stevens||Episode: "Payback"|
|2000||Arabian Nights||Scheherezade||TV miniseries|
|2001||After the Storm||Coquina||TV film|
|2001||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Ava Parulis / Irina Parulis||Episode: "Parasites"|
|2001||Uprising||Deworah Baron||TV film|
|2002||Shabatot VeHagim||Noa||Episodes: "El Ha-Ma'ayan", "Air Guitar"|
|2009||Damages||Anna Mercado||Episodes: "I Agree, It Wasn't Funny", "London. Of Course"|
|2009-2012||Prisoners of War||Nurit Halevi-Zach||Recurring role (11 episodes)|
|2010||Damages||Anna Mercado||Episode: "The Dog Is Happier Without Her"|
|2010||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Lenore Abrigaille||Episode: "Palimpsest"|
|2012||666 Park Avenue||Danielle Tyler||Episode: "Murmurations"|
|2012||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Laurie Colfax||Episode: "Manhattan Vigil"|
|2015||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Laurie Colfax||Episode: "Depravity Standard"|
|2017||Landing on Their Feet||Dana Berger Fine||Leading role|
- "Israeli actress Mili Avital is back on Hollywood's radar".
- "Noodle: Mili Avital interview: A strong connection". SBS Movies. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
- Kaplan, Don (25 April 2000). "SCHWIMMER'S ALI BABE; HER STARRING ROLE IN 'ARABIAN NIGHTS' WILL TEST THE FRIENDSHIP". New York Post. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
- "Hollywood Now: Oscar Winners & New Show Bride and Prejudice". 18Doors. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
- Keck, William (8 August 2012). "Keck's Exclusives: New Bodies Check in to ABC's 666 Park Avenue". TV Guide. Retrieved 13 August 2012.