Antonia Eugenia Vardalos[1] (Greek: Αντωνία Ευγενία Βαρντάλος, romanizedAntonía Evyenía Vardálos; born September 24, 1962) is a Canadian actress and screenwriter. She starred in and wrote the romantic comedy film My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), which garnered her nominations for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, which went on to spawn a media franchise.

Nia Vardalos
Vardalos in 2011
Antonia Eugenia Vardalos

(1962-09-24) September 24, 1962 (age 61)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Alma materToronto Metropolitan University (BFA)
  • Actress
  • screenwriter
  • director
  • producer
Years active1996–present
(m. 1993; div. 2018)

Early life


Vardalos was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on September 24, 1962.[1] She is the daughter of Greek-Canadian parents Doreen Christakos, a bookkeeper and homemaker, and Constantine "Gus" Vardalos, a land developer who was born in Kalavryta.[2][3] She attended St. George School and Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg and Toronto Metropolitan University[4] in Toronto.


Vardalos at the Connie and Carla premiere on the Universal City Walk, Los Angeles, April 2004

An alumna of the Chicago-based Second City comedy repertory company, Vardalos wrote and performed in over ten revues of sketch comedy and won Chicago's Joseph Jefferson award for Best Actress. 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. The film was a 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.[citation needed]

The sleeper hit quickly became one of the highest-grossing independent films of all time, and the number one romantic comedy of all time. Vardalos hosted Saturday Night Live in the fall of 2002.

The next film she starred in, which she also wrote, and in which she also sang and danced, was Connie and Carla, released in 2004; this became a cult-hit musical[citation needed] , and is about two women pretending to be drag queens.[5] (The plot has been compared to that of Some Like It Hot, the 1959 American romantic comedy film by Billy Wilder, in that the female leads of Connie And Carla were hiding from criminals whose crimes they had witnessed and who could still kill both of them had they been found.)

Vardalos made her directorial debut in 2009 with the independent feature I Hate Valentine's Day. The film, about a florist finding romance, was made for less than $400,000 and grossed $1,985,260 on a limited release at the international box-office. This was followed by My Life in Ruins, about a misguided tour-guide traveling around Greece and featuring Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss. The film was the first American production given permission to film at the Acropolis of Athens; Vardalos personally sought the approval from the Greek government and credits her years of Greek School for helping her be fluent in the language.

In 2011, Vardalos collaborated with Tom Hanks to write the romantic comedy film Larry Crowne for the screen, which grossed $59.8 million; Vardalos also voiced the character Map Genie in the film.

In 2016, Vardalos adapted Cheryl Strayed's beloved book, Tiny Beautiful Things, and starred in the sold out run of the play at The Public Theater in New York, directed by Thomas Kail. Vardalos reprised her role in 2017 at The Public, and again at the Pasadena Playhouse in California.

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 sang The Beatles song "Golden Slumbers" on the 2006 charity album Unexpected Dreams – Songs from the Stars.

Vardalos starred in and wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which was released in March 2016. It earned over $60 million domestically from an $18 million budget.

From 2015 to 2017, Vardalos and Gomez co-presented the first two seasons of The Great American Baking Show, formerly known as The Great Holiday Baking Show, for ABC-TV.[6]

In 2018, Vardalos guest-starred in an episode of The CW series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.[7]

In 2019, Vardalos played Faye Anderson in the ABC television holiday film Same Time, Next Christmas.[8] In 2020, in what was, for her, a rare turn to both serious, non-comedy acting and impostures of real people, she impersonated convicted poisoner Stacey Castor in the made-for-television movie Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story,[9] which Lifetime Television transmitted.

In September 2022, Vardalos, along with comedian Rob Riggle, created, wrote, and starred in the 10 episode comedy podcast Motivated! for Audible Original and Broadway Video.[10]

In 2023, Vardalos reprised her role as Toula Portakalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 in which she served as director and screenwriter.[11][12] That same year, she guest starred in the midseason finale of the first part of season three of the television series Chucky as Evelyn Elliot, a fellow death row inmate in Texas.[13]

Personal life


In September 1993, Vardalos married American actor Ian Gomez.[14] After trying for nine years to conceive through IVF and surrogacy, Vardalos and Gomez adopted their daughter in 2008. At the time she was three years old and part of the foster care system.[15] In 2013, Vardalos wrote a book about the experience, a New York Times bestseller she titled Instant Mom, and she donates all the proceeds from its royalties to adoption groups. Vardalos also posted an advice column about the adoption process in The Huffington Post.[16]

On July 3, 2018, it was announced that Vardalos had filed for divorce from Gomez after 25 years of marriage, and that they had already been separated since June 2017.[14][17] The divorce was finalized two months later.[14]




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 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
As Actress
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[18] 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
An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars Mrs. Brooks
2013 Dealin' with Idiots Ava Morris
2014 Helicopter Mom Maggie
2015 Car Dogs Sharon
2016 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 Toula Portokalos also writer
2018 Charming Nemeny Neverwish (voice)
2019 Wonder Woman: Bloodlines Julia Kapatelis (voice)
2022 The Curse of Bridge Hollow Madam Hawthorne
2023 My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 Toula Portokalos also writer & director


Year Title Role Notes
1996 High Incident Uncredited Episode: "Father Knows Best"
Common Law Episode: "In the Matter of, Acceptance"
1997 The Drew Carey Show Grace Almada Episode: "Strange Bedfellows"
1997–1998 Team Knight Rider Domino (voice) 22 episodes
1998–1999 Boy Meets World Miss Gallagher (uncredited) 2 episodes
1999 It's Like, You Know... Mindy Episode: "Memories of Me"
Two Guys and a Girl Evelyn Episode: "Career Day"
2000 Curb Your Enthusiasm Larry's Lawyer Episode: "Interior Decorator"
2002 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Nia Vardalos/Eve"
2003 My Big Fat Greek Life Nia Portokalos Writer and executive producer; 7 episodes
2008 My Boys Jo 3 episodes
2009 Drop Dead Diva Lisa Shane Episode: "What If?"
2010 The Good Guys Eileen Pilot episode
2011 Cougar Town Angela Torres Episode: "Damaged by Love"
2012 Grey's Anatomy Karen Episode: "Hope for the Hopeless"
2013–2023 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Attorney Minonna Efron 4 episodes
2015–2019 Star vs. the Forces of Evil Angie Diaz Voice role; 10 episodes
2015 Marry Me Pam Episode: "Mom Me"
Jane the Virgin Barbara Stanbrook Episode: "Chapter Nineteen"
The Great Holiday Baking Show Co-presenter
2016 The Catch Leah Wells 3 episodes
Graves Annie Spiro 7 episodes
The Great American Baking Show Co-presenter (with Ian Gomez) Baking competition
2017 Dr. Ken Tiffany Episode: "Ken's Big Audition"
2018 DuckTales Selene Voice role; 4 episodes
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Wendy Legrand Episode: "I'm On My Own Path"
2019 Same Time, Next Christmas Faye Anderson TV Film
2020 Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story Stacey Castor
2021 Station 19 Patricia Episode: "100% or Nothing"
2022 Love, Victor Theresa Episode: "Fast Times At Creekwood High"
Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities Madame Levine Episode: "Dreams in the Witch House"
2023 Chucky Evelyn Elliot Episode: "Dressed to Kill"


  1. ^ a b "Vardalos, Nia 1962–". Cengage. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  2. ^ "Sending up the Greek in spirit". The Age. Melbourne. October 6, 2002. Archived from the original on April 10, 2021.
  3. ^ Seiler, Andy (August 28, 2002). "'Greek Wedding' marches on, much to Hollywood's surprise". USA Today. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  4. ^ "Nia Vardalos profile". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on December 7, 2005. Retrieved July 2, 2015.
  5. ^ "Nia Vardalos". Movies. Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on May 14, 2006. Retrieved March 13, 2012.
  6. ^ "The Great American Baking Show". ABC. Archived from the original on November 1, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2016.
  7. ^ Highfill, Samantha (September 2, 2018). "Get the first details on Nia Vardalos' character in Crazy-Ex Girlfriend". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  8. ^ "Same Time, Next Christmas (TV Movie 2019)", IMDb, retrieved November 29, 2019
  9. ^ Guglielmi, Jodi (January 31, 2020). "Nia Vardalos Stars as a Wife Who Kills in Lifetime's Poisoned Love: The Stacey Castor Story".
  10. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 9, 2022). "Audible Sets Four New Comedy Podcasts From Broadway Video, Renews 'Hot White Heist' Starring Bowen Yang for Season 2 (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 29, 2022.
  11. ^ Guerrero, Bethany (April 8, 2021). "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 Is Officially In The Works". Screen Rant. Retrieved September 29, 2022.
  12. ^ Mendelsohn, Jon (June 22, 2022). "Let the Fun Begin! 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3' Begins Filming in Greece". Collider. Retrieved September 29, 2022.
  13. ^ Ingram, Hunter (October 25, 2023). "'Chucky' Creator Don Mancini on Why That Finale Death Was One of His Favorites and the Possibility of a Faceoff With M3GAN". Variety. Retrieved January 24, 2024.
  14. ^ a b c Fernandez, Alexa (September 7, 2018). "My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos Settles Divorce 2 Months After Initial Filing". People. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  15. ^ "Nia Vardalos on Her Emotional Journey to Adopt Her Daughter - and Why It Delayed My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2". People. December 2, 2020. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  16. ^ Vardalos, Nia (February 27, 2009). "The List". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
  17. ^ Vulpo, Mike (July 3, 2018). "Nia Vardalos Files for Divorce From Ian Gomez After 25 Years of Marriage". E! News. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  18. ^ "Nia Vardalos to Reunite with John Corbett in Another Romantic Comedy". AHN, May 14, 2008. Archived from the original on July 4, 2008. Retrieved May 16, 2008.