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Rita Wilson          

Actress, Producer & Singer Known for "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Volunteers"; Breast Cancer Survivor; Alzheimer's Advocate

Born Margarit Ibrahimoff, actress and producer Rita Wilson is known for such projects as Sleepless in Seattle and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. With her father changing the family surname to "Wilson" during her childhood, the future TV and film star attended Hollywood High School. During this time she worked at the high-end clothing store Fred Segal, but Wilson didn't last there for long. As she told Harper's Bazaar, "I got fired because I talked too much."

Wilson had better luck with her acting career. Beginning in the 1970s, she made guest appearances on TV shows like "The Brady Bunch," "Lou Grant," and "Flying High." In the 1980s, Wilson got a role in Bosom Buddies, starring future husband Tom Hanks, but the pair didn't begin their romance until years later.

Having traveled to England to study her craft at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Wilson eventually landed a leading film role opposite Hanks in the 1985 comedy Volunteers, with John Candy. While the movie proved to be a commercial and critical disappointment, Hanks and Wilson would become one of Hollywood's greatest romances. Though at the time of filming Volunteers she was engaged and Hanks was married, the pair eventually found their way to each other and wed in 1988. They have two children together, sons Chester and Truman.

More TV and movie roles soon followed for the actress. On the big screen, notable performances included work in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Mixed Nuts, (1994) and Psycho (1998). Wilson made appearances on TV series like "Mad About You," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Frasier."

One of Wilson's biggest successes, however, came as a producer -- she was instrumental in bringing Nia Vardalos's play "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" (2003) to the screen and fighting to keep Vardalos as the project's star. Of Greek heritage herself, Wilson felt close to the subject matter. She continued to produce Greek-themed projects when she served as executive producer on 2008's "Mamma Mia!," which is set in Greece.

Wilson continued to tackle a range of interesting projects. A talented singer, she made her Broadway debut in 2006 in the musical "Chicago" as Roxie Hart. Around this time, Wilson also became a contributing editor to "Harper's Bazaar" magazine and went on to explore her love of music, releasing her debut album, AM/FM, in 2012.

Wilson continues to be a creative force in the world of entertainment. She has enjoyed recurring roles on hit shows like "The Good Wife" and "Girls" and also worked on a screenplay entitled "Terms of Embarrassment."

In 2015, Wilson returned to Broadway to appear in Larry David's popular play "Fish in the Dark," co-starring Rosie Perez. Wilson's health, however, forced her to take a leave of absence from the project.

In April 2015, Wilson announced that she had a double mastectomy after discovering she had breast cancer. She gave a statement about her condition, saying that she is "expected to make a full recovery." Wilson credits this positive outcome to early detection of her cancer, "excellent doctors and because I got a second opinion."

In 2016, Wilson released her second album, Rita Wilson and served as executive producer for 2018's Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and 2016's My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.

Wilson is an advocate for awareness and prevention of Alzheimer's disease, which her mother died of.

News


Rita Wilson: 'Life After 50 Keeps Getting Better And Better'

Happy birthday, Rita Wilson! The actress, producer, writer, singer and Huff/ Post50 editor-at-large turns 57 today.

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