Olympia Dukakis Biography

(Best Known for Her Role as ‘Rose Castorini’ in the Film ‘Moonstruck’)

Birthday: June 20, 1931 (Gemini)

Born In: Lowell, Massachusetts, United States

Olympia Dukakis is a Greek-American actress. She started her career on the stage and won an Obie Award for her Off-Broadway performance in the 1963 play ‘Man Equals Man’. However, she didn’t become a household name until 1987 when she played Rose Castorini, a sardonic mother, in the romantic comedy film ‘Moonstruck’. Her performance in the flick won her a Golden Globe and an Academy Award along with a BAFTA nomination. Since then, Dukakis has been in high demand in Hollywood. Her versatility and ability to perform a variety of roles brilliantly has made her one of the industry’s top-notch character actors. She is also a part of the television industry and has starred in a number of successful TV shows and TV movies. Born to Greek emigrants, Dukakis is a cousin of the former Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis. She was married to American actor Louis Zorich from 1962 until his death in 2018.

Quick Facts

Died At Age: 89


Spouse/Ex-: Louis Zorich

father: Alexandra

mother: Constantine S. Dukakis

siblings: Apollo Dukakis

children: Christina Zorich, Peter Zorich, Stefan Zorich

Born Country: United States

Actresses American Women

Height: 5'3" (160 cm), 5'3" Females

Died on: May 1, 2021

place of death: Manhattan, New York, United States

Ancestry: Greek American

U.S. State: Massachusetts

More Facts

education: Boston University

Stage Career
Olympia Dukakis made her Broadway debut in "The Aspern Papers" at the age of 30. This was followed by her roles in the plays "Abraham Cochrane" and "Who's Who in Hell". In 1999, she was featured in a one-woman play titled "Rose", which premiered at the National Theatre in London. Her performance garnered her the Outer Critics Circle Award along with a Drama Desk Award nomination.
In 2008, the actress starred in ‘The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore’ as well as in ‘Another Side of the Island’. She then went on to appear in the plays ‘Vigil’, ‘The Tempest’, ‘The Cherry Orchard’, ‘The Rose Tattoo’, ‘The Marriage of Bette and Boo’, ‘The Seagull’, ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ and ‘Hecuba.’ She directed the production of Todd Logan's play ‘Botanic Garden’ at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago.
Television Career
Olympia Dukakis has been making sporadic television appearances since the early 1950s. In 1991, she appeared in the television film ‘Lucky Day’. Her role as Katherine Campbell earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. A year later, she appeared in four episodes of ‘Sinatra’. Soon after this, she featured in the miniseries ‘Tales of the City’, as Anna Madrigal, a role she later reprised in the sequel ‘More Tales of the City’ in 1998. The actress did the miniseries ‘Joan of Arc’ in 1999 and again garnered an Emmy Award nomination for her performance. In 2002, she lent her voice to the character of Zelda in the animated sitcom ‘The Simpsons’.
In 2004 and 2005, Dukakis played Marge Barnett on CBS’ ‘Center of the Universe’. From 2013 to 2015, she starred in the television miniseries ‘Sex & Violence’ and also played Novalea in the Canadian series ‘Forgive Me’.
Film Career
Olympia Dukakis’ breakthrough role on the big screen came in 1987 when she was cast as Rose Castorini in Norman Jewison’s romantic comedy film ‘Moonstruck’. The film follows an Italian-American widow who falls for her fiancé's estranged younger brother. Dukakis’ performance as the protagonist’s sardonic mother earned her a Golden Globe as well as an Academy Award. She next starred in the romantic comedy movie ‘Look Who's Talking’ as Rosie, a role she later reprised in the film’s sequels ‘Look Who's Talking Too’ and ‘Look Who's Talking Now’.
In 1995, Dukakis appeared in ‘Mr. Holland's Opus’, a drama film about a high school music tutor who aspires to compose his own songs while coping with his dysfunctional family. After this, the actress featured in the comedy flick ‘Mafia’ alongside Jay Mohr, Christina Applegate and Lloyd Bridges. She next played Lila in ‘The Event’ (2003) and earned a Canadian Academy Award nomination for her performance. In the ensuing years, Dukakis had roles in ‘The Thing About My Folks’, ‘Away from Her’ and ‘In the Land of Women’. After this, she appeared in ‘Cloudburst’, a comedy-drama film about a lesbian couple. In 2013, she served as the executive producer and starred in ‘Montana Amazon’. This was followed by her roles in ‘The Last Keepers’, ‘A Little Game’, ‘7 Chinese Brothers’ and ‘The Infiltrator’.
Family & Personal Life
Olympia Dukakis was born on June 20, 1931 in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, to Alexandra and Constantine S. Dukakis. She has a younger brother named Apollo. She is a cousin of the former Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, for whom she served as a delegate from New Jersey at the Democratic National Convention in 1988.
She studied at Arlington High School and later attended Boston University. Talking about her love life, the veteran actress was married to American actor Louis Zorich from 1962 until his death in January 2018. They couple raised three children together.


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1988 Best Actress in a Supporting Role Moonstruck (1987)
Golden Globe Awards
1988 Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Moonstruck (1987)

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