1. Antonia Eugenia “Nia” Vardalos was born on September 24, 1962.
2. She is a Canadian actress, screenwriter, director, and producer of Greek descent.
3. 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.
4. Vardalos was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba on September 24, 1962.
5. She is the daughter of Greek Canadian parents Doreen, a bookkeeper and homemaker, and Constantine “Gus” Vardalos, a land developer.
6. She attended Shaftesbury High School and Ryerson University in Toronto.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. She 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.
11. 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.
12. She married American actor Ian Gomez on September 5, 1993.
13. Gomez converted to Greek Orthodoxy prior to marrying her.
14. In 2008, they adopted a daughter named Ilaria.
15. She posted an advice column about the adoption process at The Huffington Post.
16. She became a U.S. citizen in 1999.
17. In 2011, Vardalos collaborated with Tom Hanks to write the romantic comedy film Larry Crowne for the screen.
18. 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).
19. 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. In May 2015, she commenced filming My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 in Canada.
20. Married NY-born TV actor Ian Gomez in Winnipeg’s St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church.
21. Named after her grandmothers Eugenia and Antonia.
22. Was a vegetarian for eleven years before her family wore her down.
23. Is an alumna of The Second City.
24. Became a naturalized U.S. citizen on April 20, 1999.
25. She was nominated for a 1994 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actress in a Revue for “Whitewater for Chocolate”, at the Second City Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
26. Once worked the box office at Toronto’s Second City.
27. She is 5′ 6″ (1,68 m) tall.