Actress and producer Rita Wilson, born on October 26, 1956 in Los Angeles, made her TV debut on an episode of The Brady Bunch. She went on to appear in such shows as Hawaii Five-O, M*A*S*H, Happy Days and Who's the Boss? In the 1985 comedy film Volunteers, Wilson starred opposite her future husband Tom Hanks, with the pair marrying later in the decade. Wilson has appeared in numerous other films and TV shows as well, including Sleepless in Seattle (1993), The Good Wife and Girls, and she also produced the 2003 hit comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding, starring Nia Vardalos. In April of 2015, she revealed she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, having undergone a double mastectomy and reporting that she's expected to fully recover.
Early Life and Career
Born Margarit Ibrahimoff on October 26, 1956, in Los Angeles, California, actress and producer Rita Wilson is known for such projects as Sleepless in Seattle and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. With her father changing the family surname to "Wilson" during her childhood, the future TV and film star attended Hollywood High School. During this time she worked at the high-end clothing store Fred Segal, but Wilson didn't last there for long. As she told Harper's Bazaar, "I got fired because I talked too much."
Wilson had better luck with her acting career. Beginning in the 1970s, she made guest appearances on TV shows like The Brady Bunch, Lou Grant and Flying High. In the '80s, Wilson got a role on Bosom Buddies, starring future husband Tom Hanks, but the pair didn't begin their romance until years later.
TV and Film Work
Having traveled to England to study her craft at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art,Wilson eventually landed a leading film role opposite Hanks in the 1985 comedy Volunteers, with John Candy. While the movie proved to be a commercial and critical disappointment, Hanks and Wilson would become one of Hollywood's greatest romances. Though at the time of filming Volunteers she was engaged and Hanks was married, the pair eventually found their way to each other and wed in 1988. They have two children together, sons Chester and Truman.
More TV and movie roles soon followed for the actress. On the big screen, notable performances included work in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Mixed Nuts (1994) and Psycho (1998), and Wilson also made appearances on series like Mad About You, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Frasier.
'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'
One of Wilson's biggest successes, however, came as a producer: She was instrumental in bringing Nia Vardalos's play My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2003) to the screen and fighting to keep Vardalos as the project's star. Of Greek heritage herself, Wilson felt close to the subject matter.
Wilson continued to tackle a range of interesting projects. A talented singer, she made her Broadway debut in 2006 in the musical Chicago as Roxie Hart. She explained to People magazine that the part was "one of the top three jobs I've ever had." Around this time, Wilson also became a contributing editor to Harper's Bazaar magazine and went on to explore her love of music, releasing her debut album AM/FM in 2012.
Wilson continues to be a creative force in the world of entertainment. She has enjoyed recurring roles on hit shows like The Good Wife and Girls and is also working on a screenplay entitled Terms of Embarrassment.
In 2015, Wilson returned to Broadway to appear in Larry David's popular play Fish in the Dark, co-starring Rosie Perez. Wilson's health, however, forced her to take a leave of absence from the project. That April, Wilson announced that she had a double mastectomy after discovering she had breast cancer. She gave a statement about her condition, saying that she is "expected to make a full recovery." Wilson credits this positive outcome to early detection of her cancer, "excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion."
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