Iranian actress Shohreh Aghdashloo gained Hollywood recognition with her Academy Award-nominated role as Nadi, the wife of Ben Kingsley’s character, in Vadim Perelman's House of Sand and Fog (2003, based on Andre Dubus III's novel). The first Iranian and Middle Eastern actress to be nominated for an Academy Award, Shohreh Aghdashloo appeared in Maryam (2000), Surviving Paradise (2000), America So Beautiful (2001) and The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005). She will be seen in the upcoming films: The Lake House, American Dreamz and X-Men 3.
Childhood and Family:
Pari Vaziri-Tabar, who would later be popular as Shohreh Aghdashloo, was born on May 11, 1952 in Tehran, Iran to a wealthy family. She flew to England after the 1979 Revolution to study politics and social justice and eventually received a degree in International Relations.
From 1972 to 1980, Shohreh married famous Persian painter Aydin Aghdashloo. Five years later, she tied the knot with Persian theatre actor and director Houshang Touzie and has a daughter named Tara.
America So Beautiful
Having joined acting school at a young age, Shohreh Aghdashloo began performed in numerous plays with Theater Workshops in Iran and had her stage debut with the Drama Workshop of Tehran. She landed roles in such Persian films as Mohammad Reza Aslani's Shatranje bad (1976, loosely translated "Chess With the Wind,” screened at several film festivals but was banned in her home country), renowned writer-director Abbas Kiarostami's family drama Gozaresh (1977, a.k.a. The Report, won critics awards at the Moscow Film Festival) and legendary Iranian writer-director Ali Hatami's Sooteh-Delan (1978, a.k.a. Desiderium, Heart-brokens, also banned in her home country).
Aghdashloo continued to pursue her acting career and moved to Los Angeles in 1987. She made her first film outside her home country in Reza Alamehzadeh's powerful drama film Guests of Hotel Astoria (1989), which centers a group of Iranian families, fleeing from Iran to Turkey seeking refuge to some Western European country. Four years later, Aghdashloo was cast in Keva Rosenfeld's comedy Twenty Bucks (1993, with Linda Hunt and David Rasche). She was also spotted as a guest in an episode of "Martin" in April 1993.
Seven years after her last film, Aghdashloo returned to the wide screen with a costarring role opposite Mariam Parris and David Ackert in Ramin Serry's Maryam and appeared in writer-director Kamshad Kooshan's family drama Surviving Paradise (both in 2000, with David Barry and Joe Alvarez). The next year, Aghdashloo starred as an exiled Iranian actress in Babak Shokrian's tale about a group of Iranian immigrants in 1979 pursuing the American Dream, America So Beautiful (alongside husband Houshang Touzie). She then produced, co-wrote and narrated the documentary Mystic Iran: The Unseen World (2002, V).
2003 saw Aghdashloo broke the Hollywood scene with her role as Nadi, a strong but obedient Iranian-American wife and mother, opposite Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly, in House of Sand and Fog. The film, written and directed by Vadim Perelman, is adopted from the best-selling novel by Andre Dubus III. Aghdashloo brilliant performance earned several awards, including a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, New York Film Critics Circle award and an Online Film Critics Society award. She also nabbed her first Academy Awards nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Recently, Aghdashloo appeared in Babak & Friends: A First Norooz (V) and in Scott Derrickson's flashback horror The Exorcism of Emily Rose (starring Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson). She also played the controversial reoccurring role of terrorist Dina Araz during the fourth season of the action series “24” (starring Kiefer Sutherland).
The subsequent year will watch Aghdashloo in Alejandro Agresti's romantic drama The Lake House, alongside Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, and in writer-director Paul Weitz's spoof of American identity, American Dreamz, based around the wildly popular television singing contest called "American Dreamz." She is also currently filming the third sequel to X-Men, Brett Ratner's X-Men 3, playing Dr. Kavita Rao, a geneticist who invents a cure for mutation.
- Independent Spirit: Best Supporting Female, House of Sand and Fog, 2004
- New York Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actress, House of Sand and Fog, 2003.