Lana Parrilla is an American actress known for her stints on radio and the TV. Lana was brought up in a very creative environment and she showed interest toward acting at an early age when she used to make home videos with her parents on the camera. After graduating from high school, she made a move to Los Angeles to study acting and got her first few roles as side characters in films such as ‘Very Mean Men’ and ‘Spiders’ and a few comedy series, but nothing solid was coming her way. However, appearing in a meaty dramatic role in the show ‘Boomtown’ got her praise and an award for the best supporting actress, which boosted her career to some extent. Her career took a new pleasant turn in the year 2011 when she was signed on to play the villain in ABC adventure fantasy drama ‘Once Upon a Time’, where her performance was massively praised and she ended up with a Saturn award nomination and won the TV Guide award for the best supporting actress.
Childhood & Early Life
Lana Parrilla was born on 15th July 1977 in Brooklyn, New York to Sam Parrilla, a popular major leagues baseball player who hailed from Puerto Rico and her mother was a bank professional, of Italian roots. Lana was close to her mother in her early childhood and cites her as the biggest influence on her artistic instincts due to the fact that she was also a painter.
Lana’s introduction to film art happened early as she got influenced from her Aunt Candice Azzara, who happened to be a pretty decently popular actress back in her days. Lana lived with her mother post her parent’s divorce, which took place when she was just a little girl of 3. After she turned 10, she moved on to live with her father.
Because of an accident which scarred her lip permanently due to a dog bite, her father became over protective of her and did not allow her to enter an acting school on her own, which she wanted very badly. When she was 16 years old, her father was shot dead and after finishing her high school, she moved to Los Angeles to further be done with her studies and got herself enrolled in Beverly Hills Playhouse to learn acting.
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Upon coming out of the acting school, Lana starting hunting for acting roles and got a few small ones here and there in movies such as ‘Spiders’, Frozen Stars’ and ‘Very Mean Men’, however small these roles were, they paid her bills and she gained some experience in front of the camera. In 1999, a sitcom came her way titled ‘Grown Ups’, her role was small lived and the very next year, her role in the comedy series ‘Spin City’ got her into the attention of several talent agents. Her one season stint on the show was good enough to get her noticed but she wasn’t satisfied.
She was tired of the comedy shows and people not receptive enough of the quality of the show ‘Spin City’, and left it in 2001, to play a part in ‘Boomtown’, the show which made a brief appearance on the television. However, Lana got to play a dramatic character and the show, which also starred Donnie Wahlberg got her an Imagen Award for the best supporting actress in a drama series. She played the role of a paramedic, Teresa and her character resonated with a lot of TV audiences and her popularity rose.
‘Boomtown’ got cancelled after first few episodes of the second season went on air and in order to stay away from being a jobless actor, Lana started doing guest appearances in several shows like ‘JAG’, ‘Six Feet Under’, ‘Covert Affairs’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Chase’. She also had a recurring role in ‘NYPD Blue’, where she was seen playing the role of a police officer. The popular Fox series ‘24’ casted her for a guest role first, and then after seeing her performance, her role was extended to a fully grown character on the show but was killed off later in the 13th episode of the season.
In 2006, she carried on with her roles in TV series’ and appeared in ‘Windfall’, a summer series on NBC, and in the next year, she was seen on ‘Lost’, one of the most popular television series in those days. She appeared for two episodes and got some good appreciation for her character. Over the next few years, she kept herself busy with her roles in shows ‘Swingtown’, ‘Miami Medical’ and she was also seen as the main lead in a 2008 movie ‘The Double Life of Eleanor Kendall’. All her shows were cancelled after a few episodes and Lana kept auditioning for some big characters in big movies and TV series’.
Eventually in 2011, came probably the biggest and the most popular role of her career. She appeared in the series pilot of the adventure fantasy drama show titled ‘Once Upon a Time’, where she played the main villain Mayor Regina Mills/The Evil Queen. The show received some good reviews from the critics and promised to be her first long running television series job.
Her character became immediately popular among the show audiences and she started getting strong recommendations for an Emmy award nomination for her solid performance on the show, but she fell short. Instead, she went on to receive the TV Guide award for her negative role along with a nomination at the Saturn Award for best supporting actress on Television. She was also nominated for many teen choice awards for the same role and eventually won one in 2016.
Lana Parrilla started dating Fred Di Blasio and the couple got engaged in Israel in 2013 and the very next year, the couple got married, right before commencement of her shoot for fourth season of ‘Once upon A Time’. Fred works as a software executive and has three boys from his first marriage named Matt, Jack and Patrick and the entire family lives together.
As of July 2017, Lana Parrilla’s net worth is USD 3 Million.