There’s an old saying that goes: “Whatever stone you lift, you will find a Greek”. This, of course, applies to the international entertainment industry as well, where many celebrities of Greek descent excel. This fact is not surprising considering that the arts have been imprinted in the Greek DNA since the ancient times and that theater is an art born in Greece!
Those celebrities are serving the Greek Community all around the world by filling us with pride and by promoting this wonderful country in the best possible way.
Let’s see below a list of 6 famous, internationally recognized people of Greek descent!
- Zach Galifianakis
Zach Galifianakis is one of the best comedians of our time and definitely one of the most beloved ones… He was born in North Carolina and, while his mother is of mostly English and Scottish descent, his father is of Greek descent, most specifically from Crete. He has starred in many big productions such as the block buster “The Hangover” or the kid’s movie “G-Force”, while he has also voiced quite a few favorite animated characters. The audience loves him and he loves Greek food as he’s stated in the past.
- Rita Wilson
Rita Wilson is a very successful actress, singer, songwriter, and producer. Her name is actually Margarita and her mother Dorothea Tzigkou is Greek. Even though Rita was born and raised in Hollywood, she never misses a chance to declare how much she loves her country, while her husband, Tom Hanks, came to love Greece so much that he was given honorary naturalization in order to be officially considered Greek! The two of them spend their summers at their house in the island of Antiparos, while their activism has served the Greek community in a truly meaningful way.
- Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Joanna Aniston was born in Los Angeles and is undoubtedly one of the most famous and beloved actresses in Hollywood! She is, of course, best known for her role in the TV series “Friends” as Rachel – a character people loved so much that now there is even a special hairstyle called “The Rachel Haircut” in her honor – as well as for tons of other successful films. Her father is the Greek-born actor Yannis Anastasakis from the island of Crete, while she herself has lived in Greece for one year when she was just 5 years old. She has stated in the past: “There’s a warmth to my family and to Greeks in general”.
- Nia Vardalos
Antonia Eugenia “Nia” Vardalos is a successful Greek-Canadian actress, screenwriter, director and producer. Her father is Constantine Vardalos who was born in Kalavryta, Greece and her mother is Doreen Christakos. Nia gained worldwide fame when she starred in the 2002 comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” which, other than hilarious, was a satire of Greek-American families! The movie was so successful that in 2016 it got its first sequel, while the third highly anticipated sequel is to be filmed in Greece! We cannot wait!
- Olympia Doukakis
Olympia Doukakis is an actress, director, producer, teacher, and activist. She has acted in countless stage productions, films, and television series, while she has also won an Academy award and a Golden Globe. She is the daughter of Greek immigrants Alexandra from Peloponnese and Constantine Doukakis from Anatolia. After teaching at the NYUʼs Tisch School of the Arts there is now a scholarship with her name which is given to a student every year in her honor. Doukakis is also a strong advocate for Women’s and LGBTQ Rights. She is a strong, aspiring woman who makes us all proud.
- Maria Callas
This list couldn’t be complete without the absolute Diva of the Opera, Maria Anna Cecilia Kalogeropoulos. To this day, Callas remains one of the most renowned, praised and influential opera singers in the world. She was born in Manhattan, New York in 1923 after her Greek parents, George Kalogeropoulos and Elmina Evangelia “Litsa” Dimitriadou immigrated in the USA. The story of her life was, unfortunately, as tragic as it was full of success. However, her divine talent is timeless and she will forever be hailed as “La Divina”.
These are just a few of the many successful people of Greek descent who are making us proud every single day and who are serving the Greek community as the best examples, providing inspiration for young Greek people everywhere!