Aghdashloo at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival
(1952-05-11) May 11, 1952
|Spouse(s)||Aydin Aghdashloo (m. 1972; div. 1979)
Houshang Touzie (m. 1987)
Shohreh Aghdashloo (Persian: شهره آغداشلو, pronounced [ʃohˈɾe ɒɢdɒʃˈluː]; born May 11, 1952) is an Iranian–American actress. Following numerous starring roles on the stage, her first major film role was in The Report (Gozāresh) (1977) directed by Abbas Kiarostami, which won the Critics Award at the Moscow Film Festival. Her next film was Shatranje Bad (Chess of the Wind), directed by Mohammad Reza Aslani, which screened at several film festivals. Both films were banned in her home country; but, in 1978, Aghdashloo won acclaim for her performance in Sooteh Delan (Broken-Hearted), directed by Ali Hatami, which established her as one of Iran’s leading actresses.
After establishing a theatre and film career in Iran, Aghdashloo moved to England during the Iranian Revolution in 1979, subsequently becoming a U.S. citizen. After several years playing small roles in television and film, her performance in House of Sand and Fog (2003) brought her several film critics’ awards and a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has continued to play supporting and character roles in film and television, including a starring role as Chrisjen Avasarala on the Syfy original series The Expanse (2015–present), and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie for her work in the HBO original miniseries House of Saddam (2008). In 2013, she released her autobiography, titled The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines.
Aghdashloo was born in Tehran, Iran, as Shohreh Vaziri-Tabar, the daughter of Effie (née al-Sadat) and Anushiravan Vaziri-Tabar. She has three brothers: Shahram, Shahriar, and Shahrokh. Her stage name is from the family name of her first husband, painter Aydin Aghdashloo. After their marriage in 1972 when she was 19 and he was 31, she began attending theatre workshops, against the wishes of her family. She had always wanted to be an actress, and soon began playing leading roles in Iranian theatre and film. They did not have children and were divorced in 1979, when she left Iran for England at the start of the Iranian Revolution.
Once she arrived in England, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in international relations because of her interest in politics after having to leave her home country. She was already familiar with England, as her parents took her to London as a child. She then continued to pursue her acting career, which brought her to Los Angeles. In 1987, Aghdashloo married actor/playwright Houshang Touzie. They have a daughter, Tara Touzie, born in 1989. She has since performed in a number of Touzie’s plays, successfully taking them to national and international stages, primarily in the Iranian diaspora. Though born to a Muslim family, she never practiced the religion.
Aghdashloo made her American film debut in 1989 in a starring role in Guests of Hotel Astoria. Her television debut came on 25 September 1990 in a guest role in the two-hour episode of the NBC television series Matlock, titled “Nowhere to Turn: A Matlock Mystery Movie”. In the years that followed, Aghdashloo appeared on screen sporadically, including in the critically acclaimed Surviving Paradise (راز بهشت) (2000), the first English-language Iranian American feature film released in the United States, written and directed by Kamshad Kooshan. Having been shown at major International Film Festivals, Surviving Paradise went on to become one of the most well received Iranian films in the U.S.
In 2001, Aghdashloo was cast opposite Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly in director Vadim Perelman‘s House of Sand and Fog (2003) for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Following this exposure, Aghdashloo had a prominent recurring role on Season 4 of the Fox television series 24, playing Dina Araz, a terrorist undercover in Los Angeles as a well-to-do housewife and mother. In an interview with Time magazine, Aghdashloo stated that although she had previously resisted reinforcing the stereotype of Muslims as terrorists, the strength and complexity of the role convinced her to accept it. In the period that followed, Aghdashloo made guest appearances in several well-known television shows, such as Will & Grace, ER, and Grey’s Anatomy. She also played supporting roles in films such as X-Men: The Last Stand as Dr. Kavita Rao, The Lake House, The Nativity Story as Elizabeth, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.
In 2008, Aghdashloo served as an official festival judge at the second annual Noor Iranian Film Festival in Los Angeles, while she also played the lead character of Zahra Khanum in the film The Stoning of Soraya M., marking her first leading role in a feature-length American film. In the same year she also portrayed Sajida Talfah in the HBO original miniseries House of Saddam for which she received the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. Speaking to a crowd of over 1,400 people at George Washington University‘s Lisner Auditorium on September 12, 2009, Aghdashloo, author Dr. Azar Nafisi, and Dr. Dwight Bashir, Associate Director for Policy at the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, added their voices to those concerned about human rights in Iran and the persecution of Bahá’ís in Iran. Aghdashloo’s talk in particular was posted to YouTube.
On October 9, 2010, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans awarded Aghdashloo their Career Achievement Award during its first annual gala.
Agdashloo continues to act in films, such as The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Septembers of Shiraz, and Star Trek Beyond; and on television, guest starring in shows such as House, M.D., The Simpsons, Grimm, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service. She also voiced characters for the video games Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Destiny, Destiny 2 and Overwatch (video game); starred in the London revival of the play The House of Bernarda Alba at the Almeida Theatre as Bernarda Alba; and narrated the audiobook And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini.
Aghdashloo currently stars in Syfy‘s acclaimed television series The Expanse, as UN Deputy Undersecretary of Executive Administration Chrisjen Avasarala, a “smart and passionate member of a political family legacy who has risen high in the ranks of Earth’s governing body without once standing for election”.
|1989||Guests of Hotel Astoria||Mrs. Pori Karemnia||First American film role|
|1993||Twenty Bucks||Ghada Holiday|
|2000||Surviving Paradise (راز بهشت)||Pari||First English language Iranian-American feature film distributed theatrically in the United States, written and directed by Kamshad Kooshan|
|2001||America So Beautiful||Exiled Actress|
|2002||Maryam||Mrs. Homa Armin|
|2003||Possessed||Woman||Short film by Shirin Neshat|
|Mystic Iran||Narrator||Documentary film by Aryana Farshad|
|House of Sand and Fog||Nadereh ‘Nadi’ Behrani||Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
|2005||The Exorcism of Emily Rose||Dr. Sadira Adani|
|Babak and Friends – A First Norooz||Farah||Animated film|
|2006||American Dreamz||Mrs. Nazneen Riza|
|The Lake House||Dr. Anna Klyczynski|
|X-Men: The Last Stand||Dr. Kavita Rao|
|The Nativity Story||Elizabeth|
|2008||The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2||Professor Nasrin Mehani|
|The Stoning of Soraya M.||Zahra Khanum||Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture|
|2010||The Adjustment Bureau||The Chairman||(Role was cut from finished version)|
|The No Game||Aunt Laila|
|2011||Iranium||Narrator||Documentary film by Alex Traiman|
|On the Inside||Dr. Lofton|
|2012||The Odd Life of Timothy Green||Evette Onat|
|2013||Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters||The Oracle||Voice role|
|Silk||Rani||Short film by Catherine Dent|
|Still Here||Farzaneh||Short film by Ethan Rains|
|Septembers of Shiraz||Habibeh|
|2016||Star Trek Beyond||Commodore Paris|
|Window Horses||Mehrnaz||Animated film|
|The Promise||Marta Boghosian|
|1990||Matlock||Saleslady||Episode: “Nowhere to Turn”|
|1993||Martin||Malika||Episode: “Jerome’s in the House”|
|2001||The Honduran Suburbs||Zereshk||2 episodes|
|2004||The Secret Service||Lila Ravan||Television film|
|2005||24||Dina Araz||12 episodes: Day 4
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
|Will & Grace||Pam||Episode: “Cowboys and Iranians”|
|Curious George||Hat Salesperson||Episode: “The Clean, Perfect Yellow Hat”|
|ER||Mrs. Riza Kardatay||Episode: “Lost in America”|
|2007||Grey’s Anatomy||Dr. Helen Crawford||Episode: “Scars and Souvenirs”|
|2008||House of Saddam||Sajida Talfah||4 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
|Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons||Mina||Episode: “MyPods and Boomsticks“|
|2009||FlashForward||Nhadra Udaya||3 episodes|
|2011||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Detective Saliyah “Sunny” Qadri||Episode “Dirty”|
|House M.D.||Afsoun Hamidi||Episode: “Moving On“|
|NCIS||Mariam Bawali||Episode: “Safe Harbor”|
|2012||Portlandia||Nelofar Jamshidi||Episode: “Cool Wedding”|
|Mob Doctor||Dr. Lauren Baylor||3 episodes|
|2013||Grimm||Stefania Vaduva Popescu||7 episodes|
|2014||Believe||Mrs. Delkash||Episode: “Origin”|
|Bones||Azita Vaziri||Episode: “The Cold in the Case”|
|Scorpion||Dr. Cassandra Davis||Episode: “True Colors”|
|2015||Elementary||Liliane Bellerose||Episode: “Tag, You’re Me”|
|2015–present||The Expanse||Chrisjen Avasarala||Main role
|2017||The Punisher||Farah Madani||Recurring|
|2010||Mass Effect 2||Admiral Shala’Raan vas Tonbay (voice)|
|2012||Mass Effect 3||Admiral Shala’Raan vas Tonbay (voice)|
|2017||Destiny 2||Lakshmi-2 (voice)|
- 2007: Arpa Career Achievement Award
- 2013: Noor Iranian Film Festival Achievement Award