From the Earth to the Moon
Actress Rita Wilson, born Margarita Ibrahimoff, is better known as the wife of famous actor Tom Hanks. However, she also gained critical notice after portraying an astronaut’s wife named Susan Borman in the miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon” (1998), where her impressive turn won a Golden Satellite Award. She then made a good decision in co-producing the box-office hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), which garnered a Visionary Award from the PGA Golden Laurel. Aside from those accomplishments, Wilson did not make much of an impact with her guest roles in numerous series, including “Bosom Buddies” (1981) and “Who’s the Boss?” (1986, played Shirley), as well as the supporting turns in films like Nora Ephron’s Mixed Nuts (1994) and Raise Your Voice (2004). In 2006, Wilson will take a leading turn as Judith Messerman in the upcoming drama comedy Beautiful Ohio, for director Chad Lowe.
Outside the spotlight, in 2003, Wilson and her husband were angered by a construction company that revealed the production cost of their Idaho hideaway by claiming the couple owed them $1.9 million. On a more personal note, Wilson is the mother of Chester and Truman Theodore Hanks, and the stepmother of two.
Childhood and Family:
Rita Wilson was born Margarita Ibrahimoff on October 26, 1958, in Los Angeles, California, to a Bulgarian father and a Greek mother. She and her family lived in Bulgaria and Turkey before immigrating to the US. The family then changed their last name to “Wilson” (from the name of a local street in Southern California).
Young Rita did early modeling after being discovered by a fashion photographer at age 14. She later decided to study acting and worked at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Rita is known as the wife of famed actor Tom Hanks (born on July 9, 1956), whom she first met while guest starring in “Bosom Buddies” (1981). Reunited on the set of Volunteers (1985), Rita and Tom married on April 30, 1988, and have two sons: Chester Hanks (born on August 4, 1990) and Truman Theodore Hanks (born on December 26, 1995). Rita is also the stepmother of Colin Hanks and Elizabeth Hanks.
Big Fat Greek Wedding
Following her modeling jobs, beautiful Rita Wilson kicked off her screen career with the guest role of Pat Conway in an episode of the phenomenally successful sitcom “The Brady Bunch” (1972). She followed it up with a TV movie debut in Flying High (1978), with the small role of Debbie. The next year, she went to the big screen and acquired a bigger part in the sci-fi horror The Day It Came to Earth (1979), which was ensued with an appearance as an actress in the 70s comedy Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980).
Wilson then flew to London and trained as an actor while taking part in a number of stage productions at the London’s Macowan Theatre. Returning to the US, she made guest appearances in several series, such as the sitcom “Bosom Buddies” (1981), “M*A*S*H” (1982, took a recurring role of Nurse Lacey), “Three’s Company” (1983) and the drama series “Legmen” (1984).
In 1985, Wilson received her first starring role in Nicholas Meyer’s comedy Volunteers, where she was cast as down-to-earth Peace Corps worker Beth Wexler, opposite Tom Hanks and John Candy. It was followed by guest performances in the TV series “Who’s the Boss?” (1986, played Shirley), “thirtysomething” (1988), “Midnight Caller” (1989 and 1990, 3 episodes as Connie Zymak), “Tales from the Crypt” (1991) and “Civil Wars” (1992). She also took supporting roles in such motion pictures as the 1993 Sleepless in Seattle and the 1994 Mixed Nuts (both of which were directed by Nora Ephron), as well as the drama Now and Then (1995, as Chrissy DeWitt Williams) and the holiday movie Jingle All the Way (1996, played Liz Langston).
Wilson’s triumphant moment came when director Michael Grossman cast her as an astronaut’s wife named Susan Borman in the miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon” (1998). Thanks to her impressive portrayal, the actress took home a Golden Satellite for Best Supporting Actress. Meanwhile, after withdrawing from Neil Simon’s play “The Dinner Party” (1999), Wilson made her debut on the LA stage by taking a role in the Pulitzer-winning “Dinner with Friends” (2000).
Cast as Roberta in the big screen drama Perfume (2001), Wilson tried her hand at producing by collaborating with husband Tom Hanks to produce Nia Vardalos’ My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002). Earning huge success, the film later won her a PGA Golden Laurel Visionary award, which sparked off her decision to executive produce the series “My Big Fat Greek Life” (2003). Although the series did not last very long, she again collaborated with Nia Vardalos by executive-producing Connie and Carla (2004).
Wilson, who appeared in an episode of “My Big Fat Greek Life” as Arianna, was previously cast as Anne Crane, the wife of Bob Crane, in the biopic Auto Focus (2002). She also undertook the role of Francis Fletcher in the teen musical drama Raise Your Voice (2004), before playing Terri Bratley in Arie Posin’s dark satirical comedy The Chumscrubber (2005).
Recently, the actress made her Broadway debut and successfully carried out the role of murderess Roxie Hart in the renowned play “Chicago” (2006). She will also be seen on the silver screen in the leading role of Judith Messerman, the mother of a 70s family, in the Chad Lowe-directed drama comedy Beautiful Ohio (2006).
- PGA Golden Laurel: Visionary Award, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 2003
- Golden Satellite: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television,
- “From The Earth To The Moon,” 1999