Childhood & Early Life
Vera Ann Farmiga was born on August 6, 1973, in Clifton, New Jersey, USA, to Ukrainian parents. Her mother Lubomyra was a schoolteacher and her father Michael Farmiga was a computer systems analyst. She has an older brother and five younger siblings.
Born to a Ukrainian Catholic family, she couldn’t speak English until she began attending kindergarten at the age of six. At the age of 12, the family moved from Irvington to Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and Farmiga attended ‘St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic School’ in Newark.
She was a shy girl and trained as a folk dancer and classical pianist. As a teenager, she toured with a Ukrainian folk-dancing group called ‘Syzokryli,’ and was also a member of the Ukrainian girl scouts group ‘Plast.’
She graduated from ‘Hunterdon Central Regional High School’ in 1991. It was during her time at the school that she discovered her talent for acting.
Though she wanted to become an Ophthalmologist, her interest in acting led her to graduate in visual and performing arts from ‘Syracuse University’ in 1995.
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Vera Farmiga’s stage career took off in 1996 when she starred as ‘Miranda’ in the American Conservatory Theatre’s production of ‘The Tempest.’ She also performed as a member of ‘The Barrow Group,’ a prestigious theatre company in New York City. She made her Broadway debut on October 17, 1996, in Ronald Harwood’s play ‘Taking Sides.’
This was followed by her role as ‘Emily Elliot’ in the television Western film ‘Rose Hill’ (1997). In 1997, she also starred as former slave ‘Catlin’ in the ‘Fox’ fantasy adventure series ‘Roar.’ The show was aired for a single season.
In 2000, she featured in a supporting role in the commercially successful romantic drama film ‘Autumn in New York,’ alongside lead actors Richard Gere and Winona Ryder. The same year, she also featured in the crime-drama film ‘The Opportunists.’
In 2001, she starred in a supporting role in an action thriller titled ‘15 Minutes,’ which achieved considerable box office success. She also starred in the British-Macedonian Western drama film ‘Dust,’ which premiered at the 2001 ‘Venice Film Festival.’
In 2001, she also appeared as ‘Alex Cross’ in NBC's procedural drama series ‘UC: Undercover.’ The series aired for a single season following which she appeared as ‘Queen Josephine’ in ‘Hallmark’ fantasy television film ‘Snow White: The Fairest of Them All.’
She starred in the lead role in the romantic drama film ‘Love in the Time of Money,’ which premiered at the 2002 ‘Sundance Film Festival.’ She also portrayed ‘Helen’ in the John Erman-directed stage production of ‘Under the Blue Sky’ at the ‘Williamstown Theatre Festival.’
In 2002, she also appeared as ‘Lorena Fanchetti’ in the comedy-drama ‘Dummy.’ The following year, she had her breakout role in the independent drama film ‘Down to the Bone,’ which premiered at the 2004 ‘Sundance Film Festival.’ The role won her a critics’ award.
Next in line was the ‘HBO’ drama film ‘Iron Jawed Angels’ and an American adaptation of the British crime drama series ‘Touching Evil.’ Though it was aired only for a single season, the series received appreciation from critics.
Also in 2004, she played a supporting role in the critically acclaimed and commercially successful political thriller ‘The Manchurian Candidate.’
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In 2005, she played the role of ‘Eleanna’ in ‘Neverwas.’ The film premiered at the ‘Toronto International Film Festival.’
In 2006, she appeared in a supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Departed.’ The film was a commercial hit and won four ‘Academy Awards.’ The same year, she also starred in Wayne Kramer's crime thriller ‘Running Scared.’
She landed the lead role in Gina Kim's Korean-American romantic drama ‘Never Forever,’ which premiered at the 2007 ‘Sundance Film Festival.’ She next appeared in the psychological thriller ‘Joshua’ (2007) and the drama film ‘Quid Pro Quo.’ The latter premiered at the 2008 ‘Sundance Film Festival.’
On September 2008, she appeared in the critically acclaimed British historical drama film ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.’ The same year, she also starred in the British-Russian war drama ‘In Transit’ and the political thriller ‘Nothing But the Truth.’
In 2009, she starred in Jaume Collet-Serra's blockbuster ‘Orphan,’ portraying a mother who adopts a strange nine-year-old girl after suffering a stillbirth. Following this, she appeared in Niki Caro's romantic drama ‘A Heavenly Vintage’ which premiered at the ‘Toronto International Film Festival.’
In 2009, she appeared opposite George Clooney in the blockbuster film ‘Up in the Air.’ For her performance, she received several award nominations and was inducted into the ‘Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.’
In 2009, she also featured in the romantic comedy ‘Henry's Crime.’ The film was screened at the 2010 ‘Toronto International Film Festival.’
In 2011, she played ‘Capt. Colleen Goodwin’ in ‘Source Code,’ a science fiction action thriller film. She also appeared in a short art film titled ‘Suite for Pong.’
She made her directorial debut with the religious drama film ‘Higher Ground’ in 2011. The film received critical acclaim following its premiere at the 2011 ‘Sundance Film Festival.’ Many of her family members like younger sister Taissa Farmiga, husband Renn Hawkey, and Cousin Adriana Farmiga were part of the production team.
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In 2012, she appeared in an independent comedy-drama film titled ‘Goats’ which premiered at the ‘Sundance Film Festival.’ The same year, she portrayed ‘CIA’ agent ‘Catherine Linklater’ in Daniel Espinosa's commercially successful action thriller ‘Safe House.’
On March 2013, she started playing the lead role of ‘Norma Louise Bates’ in the ‘A&E’ drama-thriller series ‘Bates Motel.’ Apart from receiving several award nominations, she also served as a producer of the show since its second season. The series ran from 2013 to 2017.
In 2013, she appeared as the renowned mystical researcher ‘Lorraine Warren’ in James Wan's film ‘The Conjuring.’ The film went on to become one of the highest grossing horror movies ever. She then appeared as ‘Edith Martin’ in the romantic comedy film ‘At Middleton.’ The film premiered at the 2013 ‘Seattle International Film Festival.’
She next featured in the Romanian-American comedy-drama ‘Closer to the Moon’ (2013) and David Dobkin's drama film ‘The Judge’ (2014). Both the films were moderate box office successes.
In 2016, she played ‘Eleanor Finch’ in Ricky Gervais' comedy satire ‘Special Correspondents.’ The same year, she reprised her role as ‘Lorraine Warren’ in James Wan’s ‘The Conjuring 2.’
From 2018 to 2019, she played prominent roles in many movies like ‘The Commuter,’ ‘Boundaries,’ ‘The Front Runner,’ ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters,’ and ‘Annabelle Comes Home.’ In 2018, she was cast to reprise her role as ‘Lorraine Warren’ in ‘The Conjuring 3.’ The following year, she was cast to play an important role in a crime drama film titled ‘The Many Saints of Newark.’