Maria Menounos (born June 8, 1978) is an American actress, journalist and a television presenter. 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.
1 Early life and beauty pageants
2 Film and television career
3 World Wrestling Entertainment
4 Personal life
7 Popular awards
8 Charity work
9 See also
11 External links
Early life and beauty pageants
Menounos was born in Medford, Massachusetts, to Greek immigrant parents Costas and Litsa Menounos. She has a younger brother, Peter, and is fluent in the Greek language. From age 13–19, she was an employee of Dunkin’ Donuts. 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
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. 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. 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 and most recently with Michael Strahan in March 2014. 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.
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.” 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).
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. 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. 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.
She was a contestant on the 14th season of Dancing with the Stars partnering with Derek Hough. The couple were eliminated on May 15, 2012, ending up in 4th place.
World Wrestling Entertainment
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.
On December 11, 2011, at WWE 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). 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. Despite legitimately suffering two cracked ribs during practice for Dancing with the Stars before the match, Menounos and Kelly were successful in defeating Phoenix and Eve on April 1, 2012, at Wrestlemania, with Menounos pinning Phoenix for the win.
On April 6, 2013, at Madison Square Garden, Menounos inducted Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame. On August 18 at Summerslam Axxess, Menounos teamed with Natalya to defeat Brie Bella and Eva Marie.
Menounos has been in a relationship with director and producer Kevin Undergaro since April 1998.
Maria Menounos Is Leaving Extra
By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis
03/24/2014 at 05:45 PM EDT
Maria Menounos Is Leaving Extra
Maria Menounos will no longer co-host Extra with Mario Lopez, a source confirms to PEOPLE.
Menounos has willingly decided to leave the show, and reports of her being fired are false, a source says.
“She was not fired. She wasn’t ousted,” the source tells PEOPLE. “No one is pushing her out.”
And rumors of a rift between Menounos, 35, and Lopez, 40, are also untrue, according to the source.
“There’s no Mario-Maria thing. She has no problem with him. She’s fine with her co-host.”
The source adds, “It was a mutual understanding” between Menounos and Extra to part ways. “She’s exploring a few options right now. There was absolutely no drama.”
The Greek beauty also stars in her own reality show, Chasing Maria Menounos, which premiered on the Oxygen network last week, and features her boyfriend of more than 15 years, Kevin Undergaro, and her parents, Costas and Litsa.