'My Big Fat Greek Wedding' writer and star, Nia Vardalos is doing her part to give back amid the coronavirus pandemic in honour of her late father, Constantine 'Gus' Vardalos. He was 87.
Following her father’s death on March 12, the actress was unable to fly home and attend his funeral in Canada, amid the coronavirus travel restrictions between the United States and Canada.
Vardalos who wrote the rom-com that was one of the biggest box office draws of the late 1990s, found inspiration from her dad for her character’s father in 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'.
In honor of my dad Constantine who we buried today, pictured with Michael who played him in #mybigfatgreekwedding, please tag your favorite film person, politely ask them to make a #bigfatdonation to get #masks #gloves #food #shelter to medical workers, those in need. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/SaQTI2KBFE
— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) March 19, 2020
“They held up the phone to him and I got to thank him for an incredible life and tell him he was a gentleman and he was a great dad,” she told Variety. “My mom held his hand and said, ‘It’s okay for you to go.’”
Gus started showing signs of declining health during the Christmas holiday season, which is the last time Nia saw her dad in person.
“If he had gone 14 days ago when they weren’t acknowledging the [coronavirus] global threat, we all would have gathered and it could have brought down the city,” the actress said, adding that she took her father’s death as a sign of his “impeccable timing.”
“He waited until the church said they couldn’t have any more large gatherings. I think my father knew he was keeping people safe,” she added.
Despite not being able to attend the funeral, Vardalos shared on social media that "giving back and connectivity is the way forward" for her.
“I am grateful for my life, this last week of mourning made me even more sure that giving back and connectivity is the way forward.If you have a little money to spare, donate a little. If you have a lot, please consider helping the many who need food, masks, gloves. Open your big fat wallets and donate. Let’s do something good. 🍎🍊 #bigfatdonation," she posted.
Since announcing the fundraiser, she has been tracking donations on her Twitter page and retweeting other celebrities who have used #bigfatdonation to give to charities of their choice.
So far, Rihanna, Cher, Gilmore Girls alum Lauren Graham, and Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet have donated to the cause.