Shohreh Aghdashloo is an Iranian-American actress best known for her roles as Dina Araz in the 4th season of the television action series 24, and as Nadi in the 2003 feature film The House Of Sand And Fog, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Aghdashloo was born in Tehran, Iran as Pari Vaziri-Tabar ("Aghdashloo" is the name of her former husband, famous Iranian painter Aydin Aghdashloo), to a wealthy secular Shiite Muslim family.
Shohreh started acting at the age of 20. Following numerous starring roles on the stage, she was offered her first film role in Gozaresh (The Report) directed by renowned director Abbas Kiarostami, which won the Critics Award at the Moscow Film Festival.
Her next film was Shatranje Bad (loosely translated: Chess With The Wind), directed by Mohammad Reza Aslani which screened at several film festivals.
Unfortunately, both films were banned in her home country, but in 1978, Aghdashloo won acclaim for her performance in Sooteh Delan (Broken Hearts), directed by the late Iranian filmmaker Ali Hatami which established her as one of Iran's leading actresses.
During the 1979 Revolution, Aghdashloo left Iran for Windermere, England, where she achieved her longtime ambition of completing her education. Her interest in politics and concern for social injustice in the world and especially in her native Iran, led her to earn a Bachelor's degree in International Relations.
She continued to pursue her acting career, however, which brought her to Los Angeles.
In 1987 Aghdashloo married actor/playwright Houshang Touzie. They had one daughter in 1989, whom they named Tara. She has since performed in a number of Touzie's plays, successfully taking them to national and international stages, primarily in the Iranian community.
Aghdashloo made her American film debut in 1989 in a starring role in Guests Of Hotel Astoria.
Her TV debut came in 1990 in a guest role in the two-hour episode of the television series Matlock, titled "Nowhere to Turn: A Matlock Mystery Movie". Aghdashloo played a saleslady and was credited for this simply as Shohreh.
She returned to American TV three years later when she played a guest role in the popular comedy series Martin, playing the character Malika (2003). In that same year she also made her next film appearance in Twenty Bucks, playing Ghada Holiday.
After seven years, Aghdashloo returned once again to the American film industry in 2000, starring in the critically acclaimed Maryam (in which she played Mrs. Armin) and Surviving Paradise.
After appearing as an exiled actress in America So Beautiful in 2001, Aghdashloo shot to fame in 2003 co-starring opposite Ben Kingsley and Jennifer Connelly in director Vadim Perelman's House of Sand and Fog, for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Following this exposure, she received good reviews for her 12-episode run on the fourth season of the television series 24, playing Dina Araz, a Muslim terrorist undercover in Los Angeles as a well-to-do housewife and mother.
This storyline raised controversy in Iranian-American and Muslim-American communities, and 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 the part.
Jonathan Ahdout played her son both in House of Sand and Fog and 24.
She went on to guest star on two episodes of NBC shows that were broadcast the same night, March 23, 2006: The "Cowboys and Iranians" episode of the comedy Will & Grace, in which she played a wannabe interior designer who, to the confusion of Grace, is a Jewish Persian; and the "Lost in America" episode of the medical drama ER, playing a bereaved mother who loses her daughter in the trauma room.
Shohreh also continued her film career. She played Dr. Adani in the 2005 movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose and also appeared as the Asian-Indian Dr. Kavita Rao in the film X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
Two other parts also came her way in 2006, that of a wealthy housewife whose family lovingly takes in their cousin (who has been sent by Pakistani terrorists to kill the American president) in the satirical comedy American Dreamz and that of Dr. Anna Klyczynski, friend and colleague to Sandra Bullock's character Kate, in The Lake House.
Other credits include narrating and producing a documentary Mystic Iran: The Unseen World, narrating the PBS documentary Iran: A Celebration of Art and Culture, narrating the audiobook version of Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia and lending her vocal talents to animated movie Babak & Friends: A First Norooz.
She also starred in the 2004 one-hour-long pilot episode The Secret Service (which was not picked up) and played the character Charlie in the short-lived TV series Smith.
At the end of 2006 Aghdashloo appeared as Elizabeth, cousin of the Virgin Mary, in the biblical film The Nativity Story. Aghdashloo has noted the irony that she is a Muslim playing a Jewish character.