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Mena Suvari Bio
Mena Suvari (born February 13, 1979) is an American actress, fashion designer and model. Shortly after beginning her career as a model, Suvari appeared in guest roles on such 1990s television shows as Boy Meets World and High Incident.
She made her film debut in the drama Nowhere (1997). She achieved international fame for her roles as Angela Hayes in American Beauty and Heather Gardner in American Pie (both 1999), the former earning her a BAFTA Award nomination. She reprised her role as Heather in American Pie 2 (2001) and American Reunion (2012). She also appeared in The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), Loser (2000), Sugar & Spice (2001), Spun (2002), Trauma (2004), and the HBO drama series Six Feet Under (2001–05). Suvari is a model for Lancôme cosmetics and print ads for Lancôme Paris Adaptîve and has been featured in several fashion blogs and magazines such as Vogue. She is a long-time supporter and activist for the African relief organization, the African Medical and Research Foundation.
Early work, 1995–1998
Suvari made appearances in television shows such as Boy Meets World and ER at the age of fifteen and sixteen respectively. She also appeared in a number of episodes of the television series High Incident. She played a girl named Ivy infected with HIV in the Chicago Hope episode “Sympathy for the Devil”.
She gained early notice for her performance as Zoe in Gregg Araki‘s low-budget drama feature Nowhere, alongside James Duval, Rachel True, Heather Graham and Ryan Phillippe. She had a supporting part in the indie drama film Snide and Prejudice, which opened at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. She played a small role as Coty Pierce in the 1997 thriller Kiss the Girls, where she appeared opposite Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. She next was cast in a supporting role in the independent dramedy Slums of Beverly Hills, which was released in 1998. It was on the set of this film that she met Natasha Lyonne, who would later join the cast of American Pie.
International success, 1999–2006
In 1999, Suvari starred in the Academy Award-winning American Beauty, for which she received a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and was nominated for the “Favorite Actress – Newcomer” at the 2000 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. She appeared as Heather in the popular teen comedy American Pie the same year. The film was commercially successful, grossing $102 million domestically and $235 million worldwide. She appeared as Lisa Parker in The Rage: Carrie 2.
Suvari starred alongside her American Pie co-star Jason Biggs in the romantic comedy Loser (2000). She appeared in the poorly received film The Musketeer, and had an appearance again with Biggs in the music video for the Wheatus song “Teenage Dirtbag” in 2001. She reprised the role of Heather in the 2001 sequel to American Pie, American Pie 2, which was also a box office success. She joined the cast of the dark comedy film Sugar & Spice, playing the character Kansas Hill, one of a group of close-knit cheerleaders. The film was a box office bomb. The following year, she starred in the independent drama Spun, opposite Brittany Murphy and John Leguizamo, and appeared in Nicolas Cage‘s directorial debut Sonny, a low-budget drama co-starring James Franco and Brenda Blethyn. In 2004, Suvari’s film, the thriller Trauma, directed by Marc Evans, was released at the Sundance Film Festival. She portrayed the character of Charlotte, and co-starred with Colin Firth. The film was described by several film critics as a psychological thriller in the same vein as Jacob’s Ladder (1990) and Memento (2000). In that year, she became a recurring character in the fourth season of the critically acclaimed HBO serial Six Feet Under, as lesbian performance poet and artist, Edie. She and the other Six Feet Under cast members received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2005.
Suvari appeared alongside Keira Knightley in Tony Scott‘s Domino, an 2005 action film based on the life of bounty hunter Domino Harvey. Later, she played Annie, Jennifer Aniston‘s character’s tennis-obsessed sister, in the romantic comedy Rumor Has It, and co-starred with Queen Latifah and Alicia Silverstone in Beauty Shop, a spinoff of the BarberShop films, as Joanne Marcus. She performed the voice role of Aerith Gainsborough in the Square Enix/Disney video game Kingdom Hearts II and the English-language version of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Advent Children. She had a lead role opposite Katherine Heigl in Caffeine (2006), a romantic comedy about the relationships of the staff and patrons of the Black Cat Cafe in London one day. Suvari’s last film in 2006 was Factory Girl, which premiered on December 29, 2006.
Recent work, 2007–present
In 2007, Suvari was cast in Michael Corrente‘s film Brooklyn Rules. The crime drama was released on May 18 in a limited release. Later, she starred in the Stuart Gordon‘s Stuck. The film premiered on May 21, 2007 at the Cannes Film Market, and opened in the United States on May 20, 2008. She had the main role in the direct-to-video horror zombie Day of the Dead (2008), a remake of George A. Romero’s 1985 film of the same name.
She appeared in the film version of writer Michael Chabon‘s novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. She was cast as Catherine Bourne in the film adaptation of The Garden of Eden. The film was released in 2008 at the RomaCinemaFest and had a limited investors’ screening in the UK. Sex and Lies in Sin City, starring Suvari, is a Lifetime made-for-television film about the events surrounding the death of Las Vegas casino owner Ted Binion.
In October 2014, a newspaper article detailed that Suvari is starring in a television series, South of Hell, which will be a paranormal thriller. It is being filmed in North Charleston, South Carolina.
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