Nia Vardalos

Actress-writer-producer-director Nia Vardalos' ticket to success was creating films inspired by her own Greek heritage, her lively extended family, and her appealing "everywoman" quality. As the screenwriter and star of the autobiographical comedy "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2002), Vardalos took the entertainment industry by storm when the film came virtually out of nowhere to become a top-grossing summer hit. Vardalos' sharp observational eye for such universal experiences as looking for love and dealing with relatives struck a note with audiences, in both "Greek Wedding" and the romantic comedy "My Life in Ruins" (2009). Vardalos also wrote and starred in the female buddy comedy "Connie and Carla" (2004), but her directorial debut "I Hate Valentine's Day" (2009) and sequel "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" (2016) proved that her strength for comedy lay not in slapstick and big premises but rather in her appealing perspective on love and the modern woman.