Olympia Dukakis Biography

Birthday: 1931-06-20
Place of Birth: Lowell, Massachusetts
Height: 5' 3" (1.60 m) Mini Biography Olym
Wiki Biography: Olympia Dukakis went to Arlington High Schoolin Arlington, Massachusetts, which is six miles northwest of Boston. She is a member of the Arlington High School Hall of Fame, which includes Alan Wilson (aka "Blind Owl"), guitarist/songwriter for Canned Heat, and two navigators for the famous Dolittle Raids on Tokyo during WWII. IMDb Mini Biography By: Ben Craig Mini Biography Long a vital, respected lady of the classic and contemporary stage and the epitome of Mediterranean-styled weariness, this grand lady with the perpetually forlorn look and worldly wise demeanor did not become a household name and sought-after film actress until age 56 when she turned in a glorious, Oscar-winning perf as Cher's sardonic mother in the romantic comedy Moonstruck (1987). Since then movie (and TV) fans have discovered what the East coast theater-going audiences had uncovered decades before -- an acting treasure. Her adaptability to various ethnicities (Greek, Italian, Jewish, Eastern European, etc.), as well her chameleon-like versatility in everything from cutting edge comedy to stark tragedy, has kept her in high demand for the past 30 years as of one of Hollywood's topnotch character players. Olympia Dukakis was born on June 20, 1931, in Lowell, Massachusetts), the daughter of Greek immigrants (Constantine and Alexandra (nee Christos) Dukakis). Her father in particular sparked an early passion in acting by having her perform with his amateur theater troupe as a teen. She majored, however, in physical therapy for a time at Boston University, where she graduated with a BA. This came in quite handy later during her fledgling acting days where she was able to support herself as a physical therapist in between acting lessons and jobs. She later returned to her alma mater and entered the graduate program in performing arts and attained an MFA. Olympia took the long road to success by distinguishing herself first on stage performing in summer stock and with several repertory and Shakespearean companies throughout the county. She made her Broadway debut as an understudy in "The Aspern Papers" at age 30, but did not make the grade there with very short runs in the plays "Abraham Cochrane" (1964) and "Who's Who in Hell" (1974) following. Olympia married Yugoslav-American actor Louis Zorich in 1962. The New York-based couple went on to co-found The Whole Theatre Company in Montclair, New Jersey, and ran the company for 15 years (1973-1988). As actress, director, producer and teacher, she still found the time to raise their three young children. She also became a master instructor at New York University for lengthy periods during the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Preferring the smaller, more intimate stage, she scored theater triumphs in "A Man's a Man," for which she won an Off-Broadway Obie Award in 1962; several productions of "The Cherry Orchard" and "Mother Courage"; "Six Characters in Search of an Author"; "The Rose Tattoo"; "The Seagull"; "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" (another Obie Award); and, more notably, her many performances as the title role in "Hecuba." A good portion of her successes was launched within the walls of her own theater company, which encouraged the birth of new and untried plays. Her prolific directing credits include many of the classics: "Orpheus Descending," "The House of Bernarda Alba," "Uncle Vanya" and "A Touch of the Poet," as well as the more contemporary ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Kennedy's Children"). She also adapted such plays as "Mother Courage" and "The Trojan Women" for the theater company. Over the duration of their marriage, she and husband Zorich have experienced shared successes, appearing together in "Long Day's Journey Into Night," "Camino Real," The Three Sisters" and "The Seagull," among many others. Both are master interpreters of Chekhovian plays -- one of their more recent acting collaborations was in "The Chekhov Cycle" in 2003. Making an inauspicious debut in a bit role as a mental patient in Lilith (1964), she tended to gravitate toward off-the-wall films with various offshoots of the ethnic mother. She played mom to such leads as Dustin Hoffman in John and Mary (1969), Joseph Bologna in the cult comedy Made for Each Other (1971) and Ray Sharkey in The Idolmaker (1980). Interestingly, it was her scene-stealing work on Broadway in the comedy "Social Security" (1986) that caught director Norman Jewison's eye and earned her the Moonstruck (1987) movie role. The Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actress was the last of a stream of awards she earned for that part, including the New York Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics, British Film and Golden Globe awards. From then on, silver-haired Olympia was first in line for a number of cream-of-the-crop matron roles: Steel Magnolias (1989), Dad (1989), Look Who's Talking (1989), The Cemetery Club (1993), Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) and Mother (1995) (V). On TV, she received kudos of the highest order, especially for her sympathetic transgendered landlady in the acclaimed epic miniseries "Tales of the City" (1993) and its sequel (the latter earning her an Emmy nomination). An ardent liberal and Democrat, she is the cousin of one-time presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. Moreover, she is a strong advocate of women's rights and environmental causes. Olympia finally published her best-selling warts-and-all autobiography "Ask Me Again Tomorrow: A Life in Progress" in 2003, a searing, introspective chronicle chocked full of her trademark candor and wry humor. These days, she is also a well-oiled figure on the lecture circuit covering topics as widespread as life in the theater to feminism and osteoporosis. A hardcore New Yorker, she still resides there with her husband. In 2007, she revived her solo turn in the play "Rose" (2000), which initially earned her an Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award nomination.

Olympia DukakisPhotos & Pictures

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Filmography

TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
Working Girl Personnel Director 1988 Comedy
More Tales of the City Mrs. Anna Madrigal 1998 Drama
Center of the Universe 2004 Comedy
The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines Margie Carsen 2006 Action
Huntik Secrets And Seekers Charlotte Kiszko 2009 Animation
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
Cloudburst 1951
The Idolmaker 1980 Drama, Music
Walls of Glass Mary Flanagan 1985 Comedy, Drama, Romance
Moonstruck Rose Castorini 1987 0, 0
Working Girl Personnel Director 1988 Comedy, Romance, Drama
Working Girls Personnel Director 1988 Comedy, Romance, Drama
Look Who's Talking Rosie 1989 0
Look Who's Talking Now Rosie 1990
Look Who's Talking Too Rosie 1990 Biography, 0
In the Spirit Sue 1990 Comedy
Over the Hill Alma Harris 1992 Drama, Romance
The Cemetery Club Doris Silverman 1993 Comedy
I Love Trouble 1994 0, 0
Dead Badge Dr. Doris Rice 1994 Action, Drama, Thriller
Tales of the City Anna Madrigal 1994 Drama, Mystery, Romance
Digger Bea 1994 Family, Comedy, Drama
Mr. Holland's Opus Principal Jacobs 1995 0, 0
Mighty Aphrodite Jocasta 1996 Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
Never Too Late Rose 1996 Drama, Comedy
Balkan Island: The Last Story of the Century Mother 1997 Action, History, Romance
Jerusalem Mother 1997 Drama
Picture Perfect Rita Mosley 1997 Comedy, Drama, Romance
The Pentagon Wars 1998 Comedy
Jane Austen's Mafia! Sophia 1998 Comedy, Crime
Better Living Nora 1998 Comedy
The Last of the Blonde Bombshells 2000 Comedy, Drama, Music
Charlie's War Charlie 2003 Drama, Family, Mystery
The Intended Erina 2003 Drama, Thriller
The Event Lila 2004 Drama
The Librarian: Quest for the Spear Margie Carsen 2004 Action, Adventure, Comedy
Whiskey School Ellen Haywood 2005 Drama
Day on Fire 2006
Away from Her Marian 2006
Jesus, Mary and Joey Sophia Vitello 2006 Comedy, Romance
The Great New Wonderful 2006
The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines 2006
The Thing About My Folks 2006 Comedy, Drama
In the Land of Women Phyllis 2007 Biography, 0
Steel Magnolias Clairee Belcher 2012 Biography
Misadventures of the Dunderheads Ira 2012 Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Mis-Adventures of the Dunderheads Ira 2012
The Last Keepers Rosmarie Carver 2013 0
Montana Amazon Ira 2013 0, 0
A Little Game YaYa 2014 Adventure, Family
To the Flame Classics Professor 2015 Thriller
7 Chinese Brothers Grandma 2015
Outliving Emily Emily 2015 Drama
Dad Bette Tremont 2018