Shohreh Aghdashloo

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Shohreh Aghdashloo
شهره آغداشلو
Aghdashloo talking about The Expanse, during Q&A at Fan Expo Canada, 2017
Shohreh Vaziri-Tabar

(1952-05-11) 11 May 1952 (age 71)
  • Iran
  • United States
Alma materBrunel University
Years active1976–present
(m. 1972; div. 1979)
Houshang Touzie
(m. 1987)

Shohreh Aghdashloo (Persian: شهره آغداشلو, pronounced [ʃohˈɾe ɒɢdɒʃˈluː]; née Vaziri-Tabar (وزیری‌تبار); 11 May 1952) is an Iranian and American actress. She has received various accolades, including a Primetime Emmy Award and a Satellite Award, in addition to a nomination for an Academy Award.

Following numerous starring roles on the stage, she made her film debut in Chess of the Wind (1976). Her next two films The Report (1977) and Sooteh Delan (1977) garnered critical acclaim and established Aghdashloo as one of Iran's leading ladies, although the films were banned in Iran itself. Aghdashloo moved to England during the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and then to the United States, 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. Her other film appearances include The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), X-Men: The Last Stand and The Nativity Story (both 2006), The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016).

In television, she is best known for her roles as Dina Araz in the fourth season of 24 and as Chrisjen Avasarala on The Expanse (2015–2022).[1] For her role as Sajida Talfah in the HBO miniseries House of Saddam (2008), she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. In 2013, she released her autobiography titled The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines.[2] In 2021, she voiced Grayson in Netflix's series Arcane. In 2024, Aghdashloo voiced the unnamed dragon in the 2024 Netflix film Damsel.

Early life[edit]

Aghdashloo was born Shohreh Vaziri-Tabar (Persian: شهره وزیری‌تبار) in Tehran, the daughter of Effie (née alSadat) 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 Aghdashloo 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. 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 has stated that she is non-practicing.[6]


Aghdashloo in 2008

Aghdashloo first began working as a theatre actress at the age of 19, when she starred in a theatrical adaptation of the novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North (1973).[7] Aghdashloo made her American film debut in 1989 in a starring role in Guests of Hotel Astoria. Her television debut came on September 25, 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),[8][9][10] 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)[11] for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.[12] Following this exposure Aghdashloo had a prominent recurring role in Season 4 of the Fox television series 24,[13] 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."[14] 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.

Aghdashloo at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019

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.,[15] 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 Baháʼís in Iran.[16] Aghdashloo's talk in particular was posted to YouTube.[17] On October 9, 2010, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans awarded Aghdashloo their Career Achievement Award during its first annual gala.[18]

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 Destiny 2, and Assassin's Creed Mirage; 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.[19]

Aghdashloo recently starred in 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 The Chess Game of the Wind Lady’s Maid First film role in Iran, directed by Mohammed Reza Aslani
1977 The Report Azam Firuzkui
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 A Simple Wedding Ziba Husseini Also executive producer
2019 The Cuban Bano Ayoub Film directed by Sergio Navarretta
2020 Run Sweetheart Run “First Lady” Dinah
2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife Gozer the Gozerian Voice role; role shared with Olivia Wilde and Emma Portner[20]
2023 Renfield Bellafrancesca Lobo
2024 Damsel Dragon (voice)
TBA The Alchemist Filming[21]


Year Title Role Notes
1990 Matlock Saleslady Episode: "Nowhere to Turn"
1993 Martin Malika Episode: "Jerome's in the House"
1994 The Bold & The Beautiful Greesa Abineer Episode #1865
2001 The Honduran Suburbs Zereshk 2 episodes[22]
2004 The Secret Service Lila Ravan Television film
2005 24 Dina Araz 12 episodes: Day 4
Gold Derby TV Award for Best Drama Supporting Actress
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 for 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 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 Donya Esfandiari Episode: "Tag, You're Me"
2015–2022 The Expanse Chrisjen Avasarala Main role
6 seasons
2016 Pearl Arlene TV film
2017 The Punisher Farah Madani 4 episodes
2019 The Lion Guard Queen Janna Voice role; 4 episodes
Impulse Fatima 3 episodes[23][24]
2021 Arcane Enforcer Grayson Voice role; 4 episodes
The Expanse: One Ship Chrisjen Avasarala Webisodes; 1 episode
2022 The Flight Attendant Brenda 5 episodes
Archer ClandestiCon Host Voice role; Episode: "The Big Con"
2023 Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight Forouzan Voice role; 4 episodes
Mrs. Davis Virgin Mary Episode 7: "Great Gatsby 2001: A Space Odyssey"
2024 Chad Zahra 1 episode
TBA The Penguin Upcoming miniseries

Video games[edit]

Year Game Character Notes
2010 Mass Effect 2 Admiral Shala'Raan vas Tonbay Voice
2012 Mass Effect 3 Voice
2014 Destiny Lakshmi-2 Voice
2017 Destiny 2 Voice
2022 The Tale of Bistun Narrator Voice
Assassin's Creed Valhalla Roshan bint-La'Ahad Voice; "Shared History" DLC
2023 Assassin's Creed Mirage Voice
The Expanse: A Telltale Series Chrisjen Avasarala Voice
2024 Ara: History Untold Narrator Voice


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia Narrator Audiobook
2007 The Blood of Flowers Narrator Audiobook
2008 The Bible of Clay Narrator Audiobook
And the Mountains Echoed Narrator Audiobook
2016 Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran Narrator Audiobook
2019–2020 The Two Princes Queen Attosa Audio drama


Year Title Role Notes
1973 A Narrow Road to the Deep North Empress Jun Edward Bond
1975 Madame de Sade Reneé Marquise de Sade [25] Yukio Mishima
2012 The House of Bernarda Alba Bernarda Alba [26] Federico Garcia Lorca

Other awards[edit]

Personal life[edit]

In 1987, Aghdashloo married actor/playwright Houshang Touzie. They have a daughter, Tara Touzie, born in 1989.[27][28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hibberd, James. "Syfy's 'The Expanse' space drama casts Shohreh Aghdashloo". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  2. ^ World Archipelago. "The Alley of Love and Yellow Jasmines". HarperCollins US. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  3. ^ Shohreh Aghdashloo biography Archived February 25, 2017, at the Wayback Machine retrieved February 25, 2015
  4. ^ "Brunel University". January 29, 2015. Archived from the original on April 12, 2018. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  5. ^ source: House Of Sand And Fog DVD – Biographies
  6. ^ Balfour, Brad (June 28, 2009). "Iranian Actress Shohreh Aghdashloo Speaks Out Loudly About The Stoning of Soraya M." HuffPost. Archived from the original on September 14, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  7. ^ "'Shohreh Aghdashloo – "I had to fight for every right. For my basic right!"". YouTube. December 10, 2017. Archived from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  8. ^ "'Surviving Paradise': Iranian Kids on the Loose". Los Angeles Times. June 30, 2000. Archived from the original on December 12, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  9. ^ Stack, Peter; Guthmann, Edward; LaSalle, Mick (September 29, 2000). "FILM CLIPS / Also opening today". SFGate. Archived from the original on December 12, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  10. ^ "Film Search Results". July 7, 2001. Archived from the original on July 7, 2001. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  11. ^ "House of Sand and Fog Movie – Shohreh Aghdashloo Interview". June 17, 2010. Archived from the original on January 11, 2011. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  12. ^ "Q&A: Shohreh Aghdashloo". TIME. January 24, 2005. Archived from the original on August 25, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  13. ^ Bianco, Robert (May 21, 2010). "At the end of the day, Jack Bauer and '24' delivered". Usatoday.Com. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  14. ^ Naficy, Hamid (2012). A Social History of Iranian Cinema, Vol. 4: The Globalizing Era, 1984–2010. Duke University Press. p. 289.
  15. ^ "Shohreh speaks against stoning". July 17, 2010. Archived from the original on December 19, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  16. ^ "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. September 12, 2009. Archived from the original on December 23, 2010. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  17. ^ Aghdashloo, Shohreh (September 21, 2009). "Shohreh Aghdashloo on Baha'i Human Rights in Iran". ctcny9. Archived from the original on September 27, 2009. Retrieved September 26, 2009.
  18. ^ "Announcing the First PAAIA Annual Gala" Archived September 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, October 9, 2010
  19. ^ results, search; Negahban, Navid; Aghdashloo, Shohreh (May 21, 2013). And the Mountains Echoed. Penguin Audio. ISBN 978-1-61176-180-1.
  20. ^ Kennedy, Michael (November 20, 2021). "Who Plays Gozer In Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Is It Olivia Wilde?)". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on November 20, 2021. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  21. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 8, 2021). "Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist' Gets Fall Morocco Production Start; Sebastian De Souza, Tom Hollander, Shohreh Aghdashloo Star For Director Kevin Frakes". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on February 26, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  22. ^ TV Guide: The Honduran T.V. series makes cameos for two unusual characters in Hollywood.
  23. ^ "Seven of Hearts". Impulse. Season 2. Episode 206. October 16, 2019. 2:20 minutes in. YouTube Premium. Archived from the original on August 24, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  24. ^ "Making Amends". Impulse. Season 2. Episode 210. October 16, 2019. 53:55 minutes in. YouTube Premium. Archived from the original on November 9, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  25. ^ "Conversations with Shohreh Aghdashloo of THE EXPANSE". YouTube. Archived from the original on August 11, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "The House of Bernarda Alba, Almeida Theatre". January 28, 2012. Archived from the original on June 29, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  27. ^ "January 2018".
  28. ^ "My Beloved Daughter Tara Jane Touzie. The Love of my life. 😍 @taratouzie".

External links[edit]