Maria Menounos (Μαρία Μενούνος in Greek; born June 8, 1978) is an
American actress, journalist, and television presenter known at home for her
appearances as a correspondent for The Today Show and Access Hollywood, and
abroad for Lal Kostas co-hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in Athens,
Maria, a Greek American, was born in Medford, Massachusetts, and is fluent in the Greek language. At age 17, she was an employee of Dunkin' Donuts with aspirations to be something more. Maria attended the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. In 1995, Maria 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 failed to place in the top 10. Maria did however place in the top 15, receiving an honorary mention, during the preliminary competition; Maria 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 1st runner up.
Later Maria attended Boston's Emerson College where she participated in the now award winning organization, Emerson Independent Video. 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 and interviewing former President George W. Bush.
Entertainment Tonight hired Maria as a correspondent in 2002, where she reported on movies, music and fashion. ET executives offered her a hosting gig for ET on MTV & 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. 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, Maria 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 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.
Maria presented the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest (along with Greek singer Sakis Rouvas) that took place in Athens.
Maria is a correspondent for The Today Show as well as Access Hollywood in an overall deal with NBC Universal to act in films and television shows. She also has 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).
Maria 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, Maria appeared in the music video for "A Public Affair" by Jessica Simpson. In April 27, 2007, Maria starred in Kickin' It Old Skool. In 2007, Maria 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, Maria hosted the reality game show miniseries Clash of the Choirs.
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, Maria provides TV viewers with comprehensive coverage of entertainment and news personalities."
In 2008, she also had a very memorable role in the movie Tropic Thunder.
In 2008, she became the first journalist to interview the entire Obama family as a whole. She is represented by Creative Artists Agency.
In May 2008, played in the AVP Cuervo Gold Crown Huntington Beach Open, but was eliminated in the qualifying round. On July 13, 2008, Maria 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.
At the age of 17, Maria produced In the Land of Merry Misfits, an independent film fairy tale. The 35 mm feature film was produced by Maria 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, Maria 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.
Maria also directed Longtime Listener starring Wilmer Valderrama. The film is an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival 2006.
Maria 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, Maria 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.
This Maria Menounos Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub