Date of Birth: May 11, 1952
Born in Tehran, Iran, Shohreh Aghdashloo began her acting career at the age of 20 when she joined a drama workshop where actors could study while getting work experience at the same time. She began acting in theater but it wasn't long before her talent attracted the attention of a famous screenwriter. Her Iranian feature film debut was in Gozaresh, which premiered in 1977, although her second film, Shatranje bad (1976), was released first. After appearing in a third film, Sooteh-Delan (1978), Aghdashloo left for Britain due to the Iranian Revolution. She studied for four years and got her B.A. in International Relations, hoping to put her degree to use as a political journalist.
Aghdashloo had not been planning a return to acting, but a friend convinced her to read a play he'd written about a man accused of being a member of the Shah's elite. Thrown out of the country, the man wants to commit suicide right in front of Big Ben by the River Thames to highlight what is going on in Iran. She was so moved by the play that she agreed to take part, deciding that she could touch people and make them politically aware through her acting. The play was a big success and even toured the United States, ending up in Los Angeles. When the show wrapped, Aghdashloo attended a play written by Iranian actor/playwright Houshang Touzie. She was moved by the play, and found herself falling in love with Touzie, but returned to London, believing that she had to concentrate on her political ideals rather than marry. However, she finally realized that Touzie, who had also studied at the drama workshop in Iran, shared many of her political ideals and when he asked her to return to Los Angeles, she did. They were married in 1987 and run a theater company together.
One day, while she was watching the television show Oprah, a book called House of Sand and Fog was featured. She bought it and immediately identified with the character of Nadi, a wife and mother. Having appeared in several small budget independent films, she was called in to audition almost three years later and impressed the casting agents and director so much that they couldn't imagine anyone else in the role. Starring Ben Kingsley (as her husband) and Jennifer Connelly, House of Sand and Fog (2003) would be Aghdashloo's highest profile film to date. She not only won numerous awards for her performance, including a Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, New York Film Critics Circle award and an Online Film Critics Society award, but received her first Oscar nomination.
She's since gone on to even bigger and better projects, including supporting roles in The Lake House (2006) starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, and in The Adjustment Bureau (2011), with Matt Damon.