Rita Wilson is an actress, singer/songwriter, and producer born in Los Angeles in 1956 (October 26, 1956). She has appeared in several films including, It’s Complicated (2009), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Now and Then (1995), Jingle All the Way (1996), The Story of Us (1999), Runaway Bride (1999), and the TV series The Good Wife, and Girls. Wilson has performed on Broadway and has produced several films, including the vey sucessful My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002).
Something most people don’t know is that Rita Wilson is not only an actress but also a succesful singer/songwriter. Rita Wilson has also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019.
Rita Wilson was born and raised in Hollywood, her full name is Margarita Ibrahimoff. Her mother, Dorothea, was Greek, raised in the Sotirë village in modern day Albania, close to the border with Greece. Wilson’s father, Hassan Halilov Ibrahimoff was a Pomak (Bulgarian Muslim) born in Breshtene (Oraio), Greece, close to the border with Bulgaria. Wilson’s father moved to the US in 1949. He converted from Islam to Orthodox Christianity upon his marriage and changed his name to Allan Wilson in 1960, choosing his name after a local street. Rita was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith. According to Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson’s husband, Rita’s father speaks Greek and Bulgarian fluently, and also Russian, Turkish, Polish, a little bit of Italian, a little bit of French. Hanks said he modeled his portrayal of the character Viktor Navorski in the film The Terminal on his father-in-law.
Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks are married since 1988 making them one of the most enduring couples in Hollywood. Wilson and Hanks met for the first time on the set of the TV sitcom Bosom Buddies in 1981. Hanks was starring in this sitcom and Wilson appeared as a guest on an episode about a video dating service. A few years later, in 1985, Hanks and Wilson starred together in the 1985 comedy, Volunteers. It took them one more year to make their relationship public and then 3 more years to make it official (they got married in 1988).
In January 1990, while accepting the trophy for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for the movie Big at the Golden Globes, Hanks said:
“I married a Greek babe,” he started his speech. “She was born right here in California, right here in Hollywood, but her folks are great, she’s marvelous, Rita Wilson—thank you, babe, for marrying me…”
Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks own a house in Antiparos, Greece, and the visit Greece often.
“I would go to school and be American
and then come home and be Greek.”
Is Rita Wilson Greek?
Rita Wilson is Greek. Her father Halilov Ibrahimoff was born in a Pomak (muslim) village near the town of Xanthi in Northern Greece. He relocated to the United States and in 1949 and later changed his name to Alan Wilson. Her mother was born in a Greek village, currently located within Albania, close to the border with Greece. Rita was raised to love Greece, the Greek language and traditions, and she visits Greece often to this day.
Rita Wilson writes about her parents and her heritage:
In 1946 my Bulgarian dad “jumped ship” in Philadelphia, making his way to New York City, eagerly learning English while working at the St. Regis Hotel. My Greek mother had escaped from her ethnically Greek but geographically Albanian village during the war, arriving in New York via Athens with her mother, sister, and two brothers.
My parents met in 1950 in New York City at a Greek-Bulgarian dance. My dad eyed my mom across a crowded room and asked her to dance. He wooed her briefly and then asked her to marry him. My mother, still new to the United States, thought maybe she should wait a bit before she got married—sow some oats, or sew some coats, really, because that was her job at a factory. After a few dates and no acceptance of my dad’s proposal, they amicably parted ways.
A year later, they met again. A friend of my mother’s saw my handsome dad across the dance floor and declared, “If you don’t want him, I do. He’s nice.” There is nothing like someone else’s recognition of a good catch to wake you up. My mom, now another year older, realized that she missed my dad and that she’d only sewn coats, and had sown no oats. So she pushed her friend aside like some desperate contestant on Dancing with the Stars and box-stepped the night away. – February 2008 Issue of O Oprah Magazine