"Though I've turned 21, I don't drink. I'm an old hag now. I'm just an old fart." Mena Suvari
Of Estonian and Greek descent, model and actress Mena Suvari received rave reviews while playing seductive cheerleader Angela Hayes in Sam Mendes' Oscar award-winning film American Beauty (1999). Also best known for portraying virginal choirgirl Heather in the teen comedy American Pie (1999 and 2001), Suvari later appeared in more films, including The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), American Virgin (2000), Loser (2000), The Musketeer (2001) and Spun (2002).
More recent, 5' 4" inches tall Suvari could be seen acting in the films Trauma (2004) and Beauty Shop (2005). She is also scheduled to play roles in the upcoming films Domino, Nailed Right In, Edmond, Rumor Has It and Dangerous Parking.
Childhood and Family:
The youngest child of an Estonian retired psychiatrist (Ando Suvari, born in 1923) and Greek nurse (Candice Suvari, born in 1947), Mena Adrienne Suvari was born on February 9, 1979, in Newport, Rhode Island. She has three older brothers: AJ (ex Intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, now a real estate agent in Virginia Beach, Virginia), Sulev (also enlisted in the U.S. Army) and Yuri (attends school in Florida). Mena lived with her family in an old Rhode Island mansion (built in 1870) until she reached 9 years old.
Mena then followed her family when they moved to the US Virgin Islands then later they settled in Charleston, South Carolina where she attended middle school at the Ashley Hall all-girls school. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Mena started her career as a model by signing up with the Wilhelmina modeling agency. Noticing her promising modeling career, her parents brought her to California where she also graduated from Providence High School in Burbank. There she received the nickname Bean.
On March 18, 2000, Mena Suvari wed cinematographer Robert Brinkmann (born on November 20, 1961), but the couple separated five years later on April 24, 2005. Citing irreconcilable differences, the couple then filed for divorce on May 10, 2005.
Mena is a vegetarian who loves to eat, and an Episcopalian. While not busy filming, she enjoys making jewelry, photography, and outdoor sports like mountain biking and hiking.
"It's nice when people want your autograph, but it's a little strange because I never expected it. I still kind of think, 'Oh, who am I?' " Mena Suvari
Commencing her show biz career as a model at age 12, Mena Suvari joined with Wilhelmina Modeling Agency for five years and modeled for Oscar de la Renta printed ads. Considering her potential career as a model, her parents took her to California where she landed on television appearing on a Rice-A-Roni TV commercial. More TV work knocked and she was seen as a guest on ABC's Boy Meets World and UPN's Minor Adjustments (1996-1997). She also played the reoccurring role of brash Sergeant Jim Marsh's daughter on ABC's High Incident and was spotted on two medical drama series: NBC's ER and CBS' Chicago Hope (1997).
Gregg Araki's teen drama Nowhere (1997, starring James Duval) was Suvari's debut movie work. She followed it up with Philippe Mora's creative approach on the rise of Hitler in Snide and Prejudice (alongside Angus MacFadyen and Rene Auberjonois) and Gary Fleder's adaptation of James Patterson's thriller novel, Kiss the Girls (with Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd).
In the next years, Suvari appeared with Natasha Lyonne in Tamara Jenkins' drama comedy The Slums of Beverly Hills (1998) and portrayed Emily Bergl's misfit in Katt Shea's teen horror The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999). She also returned to television, playing Rob Lowe's disobedient daughter in the NBC's disappointing miniseries Atomic Train (also in 1999).
After costarring in the poorly received TV movie, Suvari rebounded with the role of virginal choirgirl Heather in the Weitz brothers' coming-of-age comedy American Pie (1999, alongside Jason Biggs and Chris Klein), a role that she reprised in its 2001 sequel. Moreover, she broke into the Hollywood movie "noticed" scene with her portrayal of Kevin Spacey's fantasy object, seductive cheerleader Angela, in Sam Mendes' drama comedy American Beauty (also in 1999). The film was highly praised at the Academy Awards and Suvari's role received applause, nabbing her a Young Hollywood and Screen Actors Guild award. Soon, she found herself on the cover of such magazines as Cosmopolitan and Vanity Fair.
After her victory in American Beauty, Suvari netted more distinguished roles. She became Robert Loggia's virginal daughter Katrina in Jean-Pierre Marois' comedy American Virgin (2000) and Greg Kinnear's poor girlfriend Dora in Amy Heckerling's college comedy Loser (2000, opposite Jason Biggs). She also costarred with Marley Shelton in Francine McDougall's crime comedy Sugar & Spice and with Justin Chambers and Catherine Deneuve in Peter Hyams' classic adventure tale, based on Alexandre Dumas Père's novels, The Musketeer (both in 2001). On the small screen, she hosted the Saturday Night Live show in January of 2001.
Nicolas Cage's crime drama Sonny (starring James Franco) and Jonas Akerlund's crime comedy Spun (with Jason Schwartzman and Mickey Rourke) were Suvari's film works in 2002. She added to her acting resume such recent films as Matthew Cole Weiss' Standing Still (with Jon Abrahams and Ethan Embry), Marc Evans' thriller Trauma (as Charlotte, Colin Firth's love obsession) and Bille Woodruff's comedy Beauty Shop (played one of Queen Latifah's clients). She also played the reoccurring role of Claire Fisher's fellow art student, Edie, in the HBO hit series Six Feet Under.
As for her forthcoming film projects, Suvari is now busy filming Michael Corrente's drama Nailed Right In (with Ursula Abbott and Alec Baldwin), Stuart Gordon's version of David Mamet's play Edmond (starring William H. Macy) and Peter Howitt's adaptation of Stuart Browne's novel, Dangerous Parking (starring Guy Pearce). She will soon be seen in the approaching thriller action Domino, (with Keira Knightley) and Rob Reiner's drama comedy Rumor Has It (alongside Jennifer Aniston, Shirley MacLaine and Kevin Costner).
- Young Hollywood: Breakthrough Performance - Female, American Beauty, 2000
- Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture, American Beauty, 2000