Xronia Polla to Nia Vardalos who turns 58 years old today!
The actress was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on September 24, 1962. 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, Greece.
In 1993, she married American actor Ian Gomez. Sixteen years later, they adopted a daughter.
In 2013, Vardalos wrote a book about the experience, New York Times bestseller INSTANT MOM, and donated all proceeds to adoption groups. To date, social workers estimate the information from the book has placed 1700 children in permanent homes.
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.
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 on only a limited release grossed $1,985,260 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; Vardalos personally sought the approval from the Greek government and credits her years of Greek School for helping her be fluent in the language.
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 and much more internationally and in home box office sales.
In 2018, Vardalos announced that she had filed for divorce from Gomez after 23 years of marriage.
Xronia Polla Nia, Happy 58th Birthday!