Shohreh Aghdashloo

Shohreh Aghdashloo (Persian: شهره آغداشلو, pronounced [ʃohˈɾe ɒɢdɒʃˈluː]) (born Shohreh Vaziri-Tabar; 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.

Shohreh Aghdashloo
Aghdashloo in 2017
Shohreh Vaziri-Tabar

(1952-05-11) May 11, 1952
Years active1976–present
Aydin Aghdashloo
(m. 1972; div. 1979)

Houshang Touzie (m. 1987)

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 Expanse (2015–present),[1] 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.[2]

Early life

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.[3]

Once she arrived in England, she earned a Bachelor's degree in international relations at Brunel University[4] because of her interest in politics after having to leave her home country. She was already familiar with England, as her parents had taken 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.[5] Though born to a Muslim family, she never practised the religion.[6]


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 widely panned Surviving Paradise (2000),[7][8][9] the first English-language Iranian American feature film released in the United States, written and directed by Kamshad Kooshan.

In 2001, Aghdashloo was cast opposite Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly in director Vadim Perelman's House of Sand and Fog (2003)[10] for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[11] Following this exposure, Aghdashloo had a prominent recurring role on Season 4 of the Fox television series 24,[12] 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. Iranian film scholar Hamid Naficy criticized Aghdashloo's acting in "the sensationalist film The Stoning of Soraya M." as "discredit[ing] her vow not to play in films that stereotype Middle Easterners, including Iranians."[13] In the period that followed, Aghdashloo made guest appearances on several well-known television series, 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.,[14] 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.[15] Aghdashloo's talk in particular was posted to YouTube.[16]

On October 9, 2010, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans awarded Aghdashloo their Career Achievement Award during its first annual gala.[17]

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 on series such as House, M.D., The Simpsons, Grimm, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and NCIS. She also voiced characters for the video games Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, Destiny and Destiny 2; 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.[18]

Aghdashloo currently stars on Amazon Prime Video'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".[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1976 Shatranje Bad
1977 The Report
1978 Sooteh-Delan Aghdas
1989 Guests of Hotel Astoria Mrs. Pori Karemnia First American film role
1991 Raha Raha
1993 Twenty Bucks Ghada Holiday
2000 Surviving Paradise 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
Pulse Woman
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
2014 Rosewater Moloojoon
Still Here Farzaneh Short film by Ethan Rains
2015 Last Knights Maria
Septembers of Shiraz Habibeh
2016 Star Trek Beyond Commodore Paris
Window Horses Mehrnaz Animated film
The Promise Marta Boghosian
2018 Simple Wedding Ziba Husseini
2020 Run Sweetheart Run Post-production

2019 impulse


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Matlock Saleslady Episode: "Nowhere to Turn"
1993 Martin Malika Episode: "Jerome's in the House"
2001 The Honduran Suburbs Zereshk 2 episodes[19]
2004 The Secret Service Lila Ravan Television film
2005 24 Dina Araz 12 episodes: Day 4

Gold Derby TV Award - Best Drama Supporting Actress [20]
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film

2006 Smith Charlie 7 episodes
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

Nominated - Gold Derby TV Award - Best Miniseries/TV Movie Supporting Actress

The 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"
The 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"[21]
2015–present The Expanse Chrisjen Avasarala Main role
4 seasons
2016 Pearl Arlene TV film
2017 The Punisher Farah Madani 4 episodes
2019 The Lion Guard Queen Janna Voice Role; 4 episodes
2019– Impulse Fatima 2 episodes[22][23]

Video games

Video Games
Year Game Character
2010 Mass Effect 2 Admiral Shala'Raan vas Tonbay (voice)
2012 Mass Effect 3 Admiral Shala'Raan vas Tonbay (voice)
2014 Destiny Lakshmi-2 (voice)
2017 Destiny 2 Lakshmi-2 (voice)

Other awards

See also


  1. Hibberd, James. "Syfy's 'The Expanse' space drama casts Shohreh Aghdashloo". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  2. World Archipelago. "The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines". HarperCollins US.
  3. Shohreh Aghdashloo biography retrieved 2/25/2015
  5. source: House Of Sand And Fog DVD – Biographies
  6. Balfour, Brad (28 June 2009). "Iranian Actress Shohreh Aghdashloo Speaks Out Loudly About The Stoning of Soraya M."
  7. "'Surviving Paradise': Iranian Kids on the Loose". Los Angeles Times. 2000-06-30. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  8. Stack, Peter; Guthmann, Edward; LaSalle, Mick (2000-09-29). "FILM CLIPS / Also opening today". SFGate. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  9. "Film Search Results". 2001-07-07. Retrieved 2019-12-12.
  10. "House of Sand and Fog Movie – Shohreh Aghdashloo Interview". 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  11. "Q&A: Shohreh Aghdashloo". TIME. 2005-01-24. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  12. Bianco, Robert (2010-05-21). "At the end of the day, Jack Bauer and '24' delivered". Usatoday.Com. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  13. Naficy, Hamid (2012). A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Vol. 4: The Globalizing Era, 1984-2010. Duke University Press. p. 289.
  14. "Shohreh speaks against stoning". 2010-07-17. Archived from the original on 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  15. "Azar Nafisi, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Dwight Bashir Join Swelling Chorus in Support of Iranian Baha'is". Bahá'í Community of DC,News & Events. Bahai Faith, Washington DC. 2009-09-12. Archived from the original on 2010-12-23. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  16. Aghdashloo, Shohreh (2009-09-21). "Shohreh Aghdashloo on Baha'i Human Rights in Iran". ctcny9. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  17. "Announcing the First PAAIA Annual Gala", Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, October 9, 2010
  18. results, search; Negahban, Navid; Aghdashloo, Shohreh (21 May 2013). "And the Mountains Echoed". Penguin Audio via Amazon.
  19. TV Guide: The Honduran T.V. series makes cameos for two unusual characters in Hollywood.
  20. "Shohreh Aghdashloo". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  21. "Elementary, Episode "Tag, You're Me": Full Cast & Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  22. "Seven of Hearts". Impulse. Season 2. Episode 206. October 16, 2019. 2:20 minutes in. YouTube Premium.
  23. "Making Amends". Impulse. Season 2. Episode 210. October 16, 2019. 53:55 minutes in. YouTube Premium.
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