Melina Kanakaredes is an American actress best known for her starring roles in television: as Dr. Sydney Hansen in Providence (1999-2002) and as Detective Stella Bonasera in CSI: NY.
Her character appeared in a crossover episode with CSI: Miami, entitled "MIA/NYC Nonstop" (Season 2, Episode 23).
Kanakaredes is a second-generation Greek-American who was born and raised in Akron, Ohio. Her love of musical theatre, especially the work of Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera, inspired her as a child.
She began performing locally; singing with her sisters and making her acting debut at age eight in the community theatre production of Tom Sawyer.
Kanakaredes attended Ohio State University to study music, dance and theatre, later transferring to Point Park College in Pittsburgh. She appeared in commercials, industrial films and on stage in the Pittsburgh Playhouse and Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Upon graduation, Kanakaredes moved to New York City where she supported her acting dreams by working in off-Broadway plays.
Kanakaredes' first major role was as Eleni Andros Spaulding Cooper in the soapie Guiding Light (1991-1995). She was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Eleni, a favourite character of fans.
Her other television credits include NYPD Blue, Northern Exposure, Due South, Oz, The Practice, and the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of Saint Maybe. She was considered for the lead role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding but had to turn it down due to pregnancy.
Her appearances in film include the character of Trin in The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Nicolette Karas, the girlfriend of Robert DeNiro's character, 15 Minutes.
She has also appeared in Carts (1987), Bleeding Hearts (1994), Dangerous Beauty (1998), and Rounders (1998).
In addition, Kanakaredes has had roles in the short-lived series New York News (1995), and in the made-for-TV movie Into the Fire (2005).
She has been married to chef and restaurateur Peter Constantinades since 6 September 1992. The couple have two children.