Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Nia Vardalos was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, and is classically trained. After graduating from Toronto's Ryerson Theater School, she performed in Shakespeare and many musicals, later taking a job in the box office of The Second City so she could watch the shows for free. One fateful night, the lead actress fell ill and Vardalos convinced producers that she had memorized the show and to let her fill in. The next day she was hired, going on to write/perform in twelve Second City revues and winning Chicago's Jeff Award for Best Actress.
After a few years living in Los Angeles, unable to get a film job, she wrote, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. It continues to hold the title of #1 Romantic Comedy of all time. She received an Academy Award nom for best Screenplay, Golden Globe nom for Best Actress, and won the Independent Spirit Award and People’s Choice award.
She is the screenwriter/actor/producer of "Connie and Carla", “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”, lead actor in "My Life in Ruins", and "For a Good Time Call", with Tom Hanks is the co-writer of "Larry Crowne", plus is the actor/writer/director of "I Hate Valentine's Day."
Vardalos is the author of INSTANT MOM, a New York Times bestseller, the true story of adopting her daughter as a toddler from American Foster Care. Social workers confirm that, to date, the information from her book has placed over 1300 children in permanent homes. Vardalos also donates all proceeds to adoption charities.
She is currently writing a series for BRAVO about a woman who accidentally gets famous when she makes a viral video, plus is in pre-production on an indie film she wrote and will direct.
Some of her television credits include co-hosting ABC’s “The Great American Baking Show”, and guesting on, “Dr. Ken”, “The Catch”, “Graves”, “Law & Order: SVU”, "Grey's Anatomy", "Curb Your Enthusiasm”, “Jane The Virgin”, hosting "Saturday Night Live”, and voicing Angie Diaz in Disney’s animated series "Star Vs. the Forces of Evil."
Besides her years with The Second City, stage credits include “Jennie” in Theate20’s COMPANY directed by Gary Griffin. (winner Best Actress Broadway Theater Award).
Directed by Thomas Kail (HAMILTON), and performed for two consecutive seasons at THE PUBLIC, Vardalos plays SUGAR in TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, her adaptation based on the bestselling book by Cheryl Strayed. Vardalos wrote the play over the course of three years.
Nia Vardalos currently volunteers with adoption charities, including matching prospective parents with children living in foster care. She volunteers at her twelve year old daughter’s school, mentors five writers per year, and currently lives in Los Angeles. Vardalos calls herself a Fearless Idiot because she believes it’s best to leap without asking questions.
Little Known Fact: She was running the box office for Second City, when one night an actress got sick. She knew the show, went on, and the next day she was hired.