Shohreh Aghdashloo was born Shohreh Vaziri-Tabar on May 11, 1952 in Tehran, Iran. In the 1970s at age 20, she achieved nationwide stardom in her homeland of Iran, starring in some prominent pictures such as Gozaresh (1977) directed by the renowned Abbas Kiarostami, which won critics awards at the Moscow Film Festival. In 1978, she won wider acclaim and established herself as one of Iran’s leading ladies with Sooteh-Delan (1978) directed by the late Ali Hatami. During the 1978 Islamic revolution, Aghdashloo left Iran for England, to complete her education. Her interest in politics and her concern for social injustice in the world would lead her to receive a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations.
She continued to pursue her acting career, which eventually brought her to Los Angeles, California in 1987. She went on to marry actor/playwright Houshang Touzie, performing in a number of his plays, successfully taking them to national and international stages. However, this was not easy getting work in Hollywood as a Middle Eastern actress with an accent; she had roles in some decent, though not great, films, including Twenty Bucks (1993), Surviving Paradise (2000) and Maryam (2002). She received good reviews for her 12 episodes on the fourth season of the Fox television series 24 (2001) as Dina Araz, a terrorist undercover as a well-to-do housewife and mother in Los Angeles. She had to wait quite some time to receive her break in Hollywood.
And finally, years after having read the acclaimed novel “House of Sand and Fog”, DreamWorks were in the process of bringing the story to the silver screen. After having cast Ben Kingsley (as Massoud Amir Behrani) and Jennifer Connelly in the lead roles, they were looking for a relatively unknown Iranian actress to play Kingsley’s wife, Nadi. Shohreh Aghdashloo was duly cast. She stole the limelight and earned herself an Academy Award nomination as best supporting actress amongst many other prestigious awards, including the Independent Spirit Sward as best supporting actress in a feature film, the New York and Los Angeles film critics award and others.
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