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Early success with the smash teen comedy “American Pie” (1999) and the Academy Award-winning Best Drama “American Beauty” (1999) took young adult and former teen model Mena Suvari by surprise. A 20-year-old acting novice with only a few guest television spots under her belt, Suvari suddenly had Hollywood’s attention virtually overnight, though she struggled a bit to find her way amongst offers of mainstream comedies and the darker, more offbeat independent films. Her onscreen performances belied any self-doubt, and over the following decade, the actress gave confident performances in several roles that were best described as fearless, including that of a woman whose inebriated judgment leads her to abandon a hit-and-run victim embedded in her windshield in the chilling and twistedly comic “Stuck” (2008) hot sex nude.

Mena Suvari was born on Feb. 2, 1979, in wealthy Newport, RI to her Estonian-American father Ando, a psychiatrist, and her Greek-American mother, Candice, a nurse. The couple relocated Suvari and her three brothers to South Carolina, where the boys enrolled at the prestigious Citadel Military Academy and the academic daughter dreamed of becoming a doctor or an astronaut until a chance visit by a modeling agency to her girl’s school changed her course.
 
She was signed by the Wilhelmina modeling agency in New York City and spent several years traveling up and down the East Coast to attend fashion shoots. When Suvari was 12, the family moved to California, where she landed her first TV commercials and guest spots on shows like "Boy Meets World" (ABC, 1993—2000), "ER" (NBC, 1994- ) and "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994—2000).
 
She made her film debut with a small role in the third installment of Gregg Araki's Los Angeles-set teenage wasteland trilogy "Nowhere” (1997) and followed up with another decidedly unglamorous role in "Snide and Prejudice" (1997) as a young girl abused by her uncle Adolf in an odd take on the life of Hitler — played out through a schizophrenic man who believes he is the notorious Nazi leader.

Continuing to land jobs, Suvari had a small role in the wry comedy "The Slums of Beverly Hills" alongside future “American Pie” co-star Natasha Lyonne before a string of high profile films in 1999 turned her into an overnight sensation.
 
Her role as the suicidal best friend of a telekinetic time bomb in "The Rage: Carrie 2" was overshadowed by a co-starring role as a wholesome choir girl who wins the heart of amiable jock Oz (Chris Klein) in the surprisingly good teen romp "American Pie." Touted as "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982) for a new generation, the enjoyable film fell somewhat short of that claim, though Suvari's performance revealed a unique screen presence reminiscent of a young Jennifer Jason Leigh.
 
Trumping her ensemble role in “Pie,” she followed up with a critically lauded dramatic role as an entirely different kind of suburban teen in "American Beauty." With her brilliant characterization of Angela — a delusional yet sophisticated amateur model whose manufactured sexual bravado misleads a husband in a midlife crisis (Kevin Spacey) — the actress proved that she had dark and emotional depths yet to be fully explored on screen. And her scenes straight out of Spacey’s fantasies – particularly of her nude and covered with rose petals – became the most iconic scene of the film and perhaps the decade.

Suvari’s next role was alongside "American Pie" star Jason Biggs in "Loser" (2000), Amy Heckerling's college-set romantic comedy where she essayed an undergraduate with a persistent crush on her professor (Greg Kinnear). She next joined the ensemble of the black comedy "Sugar and Spice" (2001), as one of a group of close-knit cheerleaders whose fierce loyalty in the face of adversity leads to criminal behavior. The film failed to miss its mark, bringing minimal audience turnout upon wide release. Suvari returned for an abbreviated role in the less-than-stellar sequel "American Pie 2" (2001) and continued to explore her interest in more offbeat material by portraying a speed freak in the derivative drug flick "Spun" (2002), which co-starred Jason Schwartzman, Mickey Rourke and Brittany Murphy.

In 2004, Suvari reteamed with "American Beauty" screenwriter Alan Ball on the fourth season of his hit HBO creation, "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001—05), as a daring performance artist who strikes up a provocative relationship with series regular Claire Fisher (Lauren Ambrose). The same year, she shared an on-screen romance with Colin Firth’s recovering coma patient in the stylish psychological thriller “Trauma” (2004) which was mainly seen on U.K screens and in international film festivals.

The David Mamet stage play adaptation “Edmond” (2005), in which Suvari played a small but pivotal role as a prostitute, received unenthusiastic reviews and a limited release and Suvari was next seen by wide audiences in director Tony Scott's hyperkinetic pseudo-biopic "Domino" (2005), playing the assistant to a television producer in the chronicle of a model-turned-bounty hunter. She was an unexpected addition to the ensemble cast of the Queen Latifah vehicle “Beauty Shop” (2005), which was a moderate hit, and went on to a supporting role in the Jennifer Aniston comedy “Rumor Has It…” (2005), an ill-conceived sequel to the movie classic “The Graduate” (1967). Follow-up comedies “Caffeine” (2006) and “Standing Still” (2006) were not as successful and went almost directly to home video.

Despite a detour into the straight-to-video zombie romp “Day of the Dead” (2008), Suvari was back to a critically-acclaimed performance in “Stuck” (2008), a darkly comedic thriller in which she played a high-as-a-kite nursing worker who hits a homeless man with her car and leaves him embedded in her windshield to die in her garage. The off film was released to a limited theatrical run in May. An unsuccessful adaptation of Michael Chabon’s “Mysteries of Pittsburgh” (2008), co-starring Suvari as the eccentric girlfriend of an aimless young adult, hit the festival circuit early that same year around the time that Suvari made a rare entry into the entertainment blogs for sporting a shaved head. No publicity stunt for a “Beauty Shop” sequel, Suvari undertook the dramatic makeover for a film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s erotic drama “Garden of Eden,” released in late 2008.

    * Also Credited As:
      Mena A. Suvari, Mena Adrienne Suvari
    * Born:
      Mena Adrienne Suvari on February 13, 1979 in Newport, Rhode Island, USA
    * Job Titles:
      Actor, Model

Family
    * Brother: A J Suvari. Older; attended The Citadel and enlisted in the US Army
    * Brother: Sulev Suvari. Older; attended The Citadel and enlisted in the US Army
    * Brother: Yuri Suvari. Older
    * Father: Ando Suvari. Estonian-American
    * Mother: Candice Suvari. Greek American

Significant Others
    * Companion: Jay Bulloch. Dated in 2005; no longer together
    * Companion: Mike Carrasco. Member of Knucklehead Zoo, a Las Vegas-based troupe; met in 2005 at Battle of the Year, a breakdancing competition; ended relationship after dating for several months
    * Companion: Simone Sestito. Began dating in 2007; became engaged in July of 2008 during a vacation to Jamaica
    * Husband: Robert Brinkmann. Married from 2000-2005; met Brinkmann, who is eighteen years older, on the set of Sugar and Spice (2001)
    * Husband: Robert Brinkmann. born c. 1962; married in March 2000; had been married previously; met on the set of Sugar and Spice

Education
    * Providence High School, Burbank, CA, 1997
    * Ashley Hall, Charleston, SC

Milestones
    * 1996 Played the recurring role of brash Sergeant Jim Marsh’s daughter on ABC s High Incident
    * 1996 First acting roles, appeared on Boy Meets World (ABC) and Minor Adjustments (UPN)
    * 1997 Appeared in episodes of the medical dramas ER (NBC) and Chicago Hope (CBS)
    * 1997 Film debut in Gregg Araki s Nowhere
    * 1997 Played a young girl abused by her uncle Adolf in Philippe Mora’s Snide and Prejudice
    * 1998 Acted opposite Natasha Lyonne in The Slums of Beverly Hills
    * 1999 Played Heather, a virginal choirgirl in the Weitz brothers’ ensemble comedy, American Pie
    * 1999 Played the only friend of a lonely girl with telekinetic powers in The Rage: Carrie 2
    * 1999 Portrayed Kevin Spacey’s fantasy object, seductive cheerleader Angela, in Sam Mendes American Beauty
    * 1999 Was featured as Rob Lowe s rebellious teenage daughter in the NBC disaster miniseries Atomic Train
    * 2000 Co-starred with American Pie veteran Jason Biggs in Amy Heckerling s college-set comedy Loser
    * 2001 Co-starred in Francine McDougall’s crime comedy, Sugar & Spice
    * 2001 Played the female lead opposite Justin Chambers in The Musketeer
    * 2002 Co-starred with Jason Schwartzman and Mickey Rourke in Spun
    * 2004 Had a recurring role as a fellow art student of Claire Fisher s in the HBO series, Six Feet Under ; earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination
    * 2005 Cast opposite Keira Knightley in Domino, about model-turned-bounty hunter Domino Harvey
    * 2005 Played Jennifer Aniston s younger sister in Rob Reiner s Rumor Has It...
    * 2006 Co-starred in the indie comedy Standing Still
    * 2007 Co-starred with Freddie Prinze Jr. in Michael Corrente s Brooklyn Rules
    * 2008 Shaved her head to play the lead role in the feature adaptation of Ernest Hemingway s The Garden of Eden
    * 2009 Appeared in the film version of Michael Chabon s novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
    * Relocated with family to California
    * Signed by the Wilhelmina modeling agency and did print work for Oscar de la Renta
    * TV debut in a commercial for Rice-A-Roni

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