Maria Menounos

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Maria Menounos
Maria Menounos 2.jpg
Maria Menounos at the premiere of 27 Dresses, January 7, 2008.
Born(1978-06-08) June 8, 1978 (age 35)
Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma materEmerson College (2000) [1]
Occupationactress, journalist, television presenter
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
TitleMiss Massachusetts Teen USA 1996
Partner(s)Kevin Undergaro
(1998–present)
 
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Maria Menounos
Maria Menounos 2.jpg
Maria Menounos at the premiere of 27 Dresses, January 7, 2008.
Born(1978-06-08) June 8, 1978 (age 35)
Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.
Alma materEmerson College (2000) [1]
Occupationactress, journalist, television presenter
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
TitleMiss Massachusetts Teen USA 1996
Partner(s)Kevin Undergaro
(1998–present)

Maria Menounos (born June 8, 1978)[2][3][4] is an American actress, journalist, television presenter and occasional professional wrestler. She is known in the United States for her appearances as a correspondent for Today, Access Hollywood, Extra, and abroad for co-hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in Athens, Greece.

Early life and beauty pageants[edit]

Menounos was born in Medford, Massachusetts, to Greek immigrant parents Costas and Litsa Menounos. She has a younger brother, Peter,[5] and is fluent in the Greek language. From age 13–19, she was an employee of Dunkin' Donuts.[6] Menounos attended the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Somerville, Massachusetts. Menounos attended Medford High School in Medford, MA. In 1995, Menounos began to compete in beauty pageants. The following year, she won the title of Miss Massachusetts Teen USA and competed at Miss Teen USA where she placed in the top 15, receiving an honorary mention, during the preliminary competition; Menounos placed 13th in preliminaries. The pageant was won by Christie Lee Woods. Maria competed for the title of Miss Massachusetts USA 2000; she was the first runner up.

Film and television career[edit]

Maria Menounos signs autographs at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival

Later Menounos attended Boston's Emerson College where she participated in the now award winning organization, Emerson Independent Video. She graduated from Emerson in 2000.[1] During her senior year, she was hired as a reporter for Channel One News. Her work for Channel One's 10-minute segments included traveling to El Salvador to report on the earthquake of 2001, interviewing North Atlantic Treaty Organization aircrew members aboard an AWACS while flying a combat air patrol mission during the military alliance's Operation Eagle Assist and interviewing President George W. Bush. Entertainment Tonight hired Menounos as a correspondent in 2002, where she reported on movies, music and fashion. ET executives offered her a hosting gig for ET on MTV and VH1; she left the program in 2005 to focus on her acting career, though she would eventually join rival program Access Hollywood later that Fall as a special correspondent.[7] She went on to co-host a few episodes of the Today show in the late summer and fall of 2006 as well as in April 2007. In 2003, Menounos appeared on the November 30 episode of Punk'd where she was one of many celebrities caught in the awkward and embarrassing "Red Carpet Interviews".

In 2004, Menounos appeared in an episode of the UPN series One on One as Glenda, an eccentric, self-proclaimed "Fairy Godmother to the Stars". In the summer of 2005, she appeared in the comic book film Fantastic Four, where she played a nurse who is romanced by the "Human Torch", played by Chris Evans. Her likeness and voice was featured in the 2005 Electronic Arts video game, From Russia with Love as Eva Adara, Red Grant's henchwoman, which stars Sean Connery as James Bond. She is also the spokesperson for Pantene hair products. Menounos presented the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest (along with Greek singer Sakis Rouvas) that took place in Athens.[8]

As an actress, Menounos had recurring roles on CBS' Without a Trace and as Jules in the second season of The CW's One Tree Hill (during its run on The WB). Menounos also appeared on the Scrubs episode "My Extra Mile", which aired in May 2006 where she is attracted to John Dorian because she likes his hair. In 2006, Menounos appeared in the music video for "A Public Affair" by Jessica Simpson. On April 27, 2007, Menounos starred in Kickin' It Old Skool. In 2007, Menounos continued in her run as international spokesperson doing print and television commercials for Pantene hair products as well as print ads for New York & Company. From December 17 to December 20, 2007, Menounos hosted the reality game show miniseries Clash of the Choirs.

Menounos at the 81st Academy Awards in February 2009

In 2008, she became the host of Hollywood Green on the Planet Green network. "Maria Menounos brings glamour to green living as the hostess of Hollywood Green. Both as the special correspondent for daily entertainment newsmagazine "Access Hollywood," and on Hollywood Green, Menounos provides TV viewers with comprehensive coverage of entertainment and news personalities."[9] In 2008, she had a role in the movie Tropic Thunder, and in the same year became the first (and to date the only) journalist to interview the entire Obama family as a whole. She is represented by Jon Rosen at WME (William Morris Endeavor).[10]

Maria Menounos poses for a photograph with U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jared Thompson at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar (2008)

In May 2008, she played in the AVP Cuervo Gold Crown Huntington Beach Open, but was eliminated in the qualifying round.[11] On July 13, 2008, Menounos starred in the celebrity softball game at Yankee Stadium in New York. In November 2008, when Richard Belzer fell ill, she filled in as host for the North Shore Animal League's Dogcatemy Celebrity Gala, which takes place at NYC's Capitale.[12] Since 2009, she has hosted reunion specials of MTV's The Real World and the Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Menounos appeared on the 2008 Knight Rider series episode "Fly By Knight", which aired on February 11, 2009 where she played a DEA agent who is in charge of investigating a plane crash.

On August 4, 2011, it was announced that she is joining Warner Bros.'s Extra, where she will co-host the show with Mario Lopez. She'll also have on-air duties at Dr. Drew's Lifechangers, and will develop new projects.[13]

She was a contestant on the 14th season of Dancing with the Stars partnering with Derek Hough.[14] The couple were eliminated on May 15, 2012, ending up in 4th place.

World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]

Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos celebrate their victory at Wrestlemania XXVIII. (2012)

Menounos is a known long-time WWE fan and has made several appearances with the promotion. Menounos' first appearance came on October 12, 2009 when Menounos joined Nancy O'Dell in guest hosting WWE Raw. She made her in-ring debut that night in a six diva tag team match with Gail Kim and Kelly Kelly against Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, and Rosa Mendes; Menounos's team was victorious, with the match highlighted by Menounos slapping the much larger-statured Phoenix.[15][16]

On December 11, 2011, atWWE Tribute to the Troops, Menounos returned and teamed with Alicia Fox, Eve Torres, and Kelly Kelly to defeat the team of The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki) and The Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya).[17] Menounos continued her feud with WWE Divas Champion Beth Phoenix after Phoenix and Eve Torres interrupted an interview segment with Kelly Kelly on Extra. This led to tag team match at Wrestlemania XXVIII with Menounos teaming with Kelly Kelly to take on Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.[18] Despite legitimately suffering two cracked ribs during practice for Dancing with the Stars before the match,[19] Menounos and Kelly were successful in defeating Phoenix and Eve on April 1, 2012, at Wrestlemania, with Menounos pinning Phoenix for the win.[20]

On April 6, 2013, at Madison Square Garden, Menounos inducted Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame.[21] On August 18 at Summerslam Axxess, Menounos teamed with Natalya to defeat Brie Bella and Eva Marie.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Menounos has been in a relationship with director and producer Kevin Undergaro since April 1998, but they have never married.[23]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
2005Fantastic FourSexy Nurse
2006Fwiends.comGladysShort film
2007Kickin' It Old SkoolJenniferMajor role
2007In the Land of Merry MisfitsRisandraVoice role
2008Tropic ThunderHerselfCameo appearance
2011Serial BuddiesKatelyn

Television[edit]

Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1990Channel One NewsHerselfHost
2002–2005Entertainment TonightHerselfCorrespondent
2002Sabrina, the Teenage WitchReporter #1"Free Sabrina" (season 7: episode 5)
2003Without a TraceChris Sanders"Trip Box" (season 2: episode 8)
2003Punk'dHerself(season 2: episode 6)
2004One on OneGlenda"We'll Take Manhattan" (season 4: episode 1)
2004–2005One Tree HillEmily "Jules" Chambers"I Will Dare" (season 2: episode 5)
"We Might as Well Be Strangers" (season 2: episode 6)
"Let the Reigns Go Loose" (season 2: episode 7)
"Truth, Bitter Truth" (season 2: episode 8)
"Don't Take Me for Granted" (season 2: episode 10)
"The Heart Brings You Back" (season 2: episode 11)
"Between Order and Randomness" (season 2: episode 12)
"The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" (season 2: episode 14)
"Unopened Letter to the World" (season 2: episode 15)
"Somewhere a Clock is Ticking" (season 2: episode 16)
2005–2011Access HollywoodHerselfCorrespondent
2006Eurovision Song Contest 2006HerselfCo-host
2006ScrubsTamara"My Extra Mile" (season 5: episode 15)
2006EntourageHerself"Aquamom" (season 3: episode 1); cameo appearance
2007Clash of the ChoirsHerselfHost
2009Knight RiderDEA Agent Jessie Renning"Fly by Knight" (season 1: episode 15)
2009–2011The ChallengeHerselfHost of Reunion episodes
2009–2011The Real WorldHerselfHost of Reunion episodes
2009WWE RawCo-Host/HerselfTV special
2010EntourageHerself"Buzzed" (season 7: episode 2); cameo appearance
2011–presentExtraHerselfHost
2011Funny or Die PresentsTalk Show Host(season 2: episode 2); "Paco Dances" segment
2012Sesame StreetHerself"The All of Our Senses Club"; cameo appearance
2012Dancing with the StarsHerselfSeason 14 contestant
2012WrestleMania XXVIIIHerselfPerformed With Kelly Kelly Defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve
2012The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying OrangeHerselfGuest appearance
2013WWE Hall of FameHerself - InducteeInducted Bob Backlund
2013The Mindy ProjectHerselfGuest appearance
2013The Eric Andre ShowHerselfGuest appearance

Production[edit]

Maria Menounos in The Heart Truth

At the age of 17, Menounos produced In the Land of Merry Misfits, an independent film fairy tale. The 35 mm feature film was produced by Menounos while attending Emerson College with director Keven Undergaro, then head writer for MTV's Singled Out. The negative of the film was stolen and the film was never completed but her work on the film, and the film's director, helped her land her reporting job at Channel One News and at MTV (ET on MTV). Menounos, however, never forgot the film or the film's director. In 2005, Menounos personally funded the recovery and restoration of the film, which was narrated by John Waters and starred an eclectic group in the Waters vein — including former WWE champion Bob Backlund, actress Josie Davis from the TV show Charles in Charge and B-movie icon Randal Malone. The film premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

Menounos also directed Longtime Listener starring Wilmer Valderrama. The film was an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival 2006. Menounos acted in and produced Adventures of Serial Buddies, which is credited with being the first serial killer buddy comedy.[24] In May of 2013 Menounos launched a new interview series called Conversations with Maria,[25] with Zoe Saldana being her first guest. Menounos also continues to maintain AfterBuzzTV, which is an online entertainment broadcast network that she founded with partner Keven Undergaro. And AfterBuzzTV has quickly gained prominence as a pioneer in digital broadcasting and now covers over 200 series with an astounding audience of over 20 million each week to more than 100 countries. [26]

Menounos' creation of AfterBuzzTV as a digital media innovator has also earned her the distinct honor of being named the 2014 CES Entertainment Matters Ambassador in Las Vegas. [27]

Popular awards[edit]

Menounos appeared in FHM magazine and in People magazine in 2004 as one of the "50 Most Beautiful People." In another poll conducted by askmen.com, Menounos was voted one of the top five girls a guy would most want to marry, along with Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Jessica Alba. She has also beaten Jessica Alba and Charlize Theron for "Cyber Vixen of the Year" on Spike TV's video game awards. On August 8, 2010 she won the Madden NFL Pro-AM MVP award. She also won MadTV's "Smokin' Hot TV Personality" Award for 2010.

Charity work[edit]

Menounos founded the charity "Take Action Hollywood!" after her trip to South Africa. Reporting on the devastating effects of the AIDS crisis she was inspired to create TAH!, a charity that utilizes the power of the entertainment industry and the medium of film to affect for positive social change. Maria also created the Cosmo Girl Cup, a national, annual competition and award given to the group of teens who do the most in their communities to affect for positive social change. Menounos presented at the Earth Day Network's Climate Rally in Washington, DC on April 25, 2010. She encouraged people to go green and threw carrots into the crowd. Menounos acted as the Masters of Ceremony for the First Annual Los Angeles CureSearch Walk for Children's Cancer held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on October 24, 2010.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Loftus, Jamie, "Up close with TV's Menounos '00", Emerson College Today, April 19, 2011
  2. ^ "Maria Menounos: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  3. ^ "Maria Menounos- Biography". Yahoo. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  4. ^ "13 Questions with Maria Menounos". AskMen. Retrieved 2013-04-10. 
  5. ^ "Maria Menounos's Greek Christmas". 
  6. ^ "The Big Idea Interview w/Donny Deutsch". 
  7. ^ "Maria Menounos joins 'Access Hollywood' and 'Today'". USA Today. 2005-08-23. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  8. ^ "In pictures: Eurovision 2006". BBC News. 2006-05-21. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  9. ^ "imdb credits". 
  10. ^ "Maria Menounos". IMDb. Retrieved 24 April 2011. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ "View Co-Hosts Dish to OK! About Sherri - OK! Magazine - The First for Celebrity News". OK! Magazine. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  13. ^ "Menounos to Co-Host 'Extra' - 2011-08-04 16:31:47 | Broadcasting & Cable". Broadcastingcable.com. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  14. ^ "New Dancing with the Stars cast revealed". abcnewsgo.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  15. ^ "Fights, camera, Access!". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-09-05. [dead link]
  16. ^ Dick, Marcia (2009-10-14). "Menounos stands tall in ring, and stands up for Medford". Boston.com. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  17. ^ "CALDWELL'S WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS REPORT 12/13: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of USA Network special". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 27 November 2012. 
  18. ^ Wortman, James (2012-03-16). "Beth: "I will Glam Slam you into tomorrow!"". WWE. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  19. ^ Watkins, Jade (2012-04-01). "She's a tough cookie! Maria Menounos gets into the WWE ring to wrestle not one but TWO women despite having broken ribs". Dailymail. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  20. ^ Artus, Matthew (2012-04-02). "Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos def. Divas Champion Beth Phoenix & Eve". WWE. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  21. ^ "Maria Menounos to induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  22. ^ "SUMMERSLAM PPV RESULTS: Quick rundown of match results". 
  23. ^ "Maria Menounos Is Not Engaged to Boyfriend Keven Undergaro: "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It"". March 28, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  24. ^ http://www.serialbuddies.com/
  25. ^ "Menounos Launches New Interview Series". Retrieved 2013-05-30. 
  26. ^ Graser, Marc. "VARIETY". Retrieved 1-6-2014. 
  27. ^ Stedman, Alex. "VARIETY October 2013". Retrieved 10-22-2013. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Maria Menounos at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
Erika Ewald
Miss Massachusetts Teen USA
1996
Succeeded by
Jessica Gregory
Preceded by
Ukraine Maria Efrosinina & Pavlo Shylko
Eurovision Song Contest presenter
(with Sakis Rouvas)
2006
Succeeded by
Finland Mikko Leppilampi & Jaana Pelkonen