Menounos in January 2008
June 8, 1978|
Medford, Massachusetts, United States
|Occupation||Actress, journalist, television presenter, professional wrestler|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Maria Menounos|
|Billed height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Debut||October 12, 2009|
Maria Menounos (born June 8, 1978) is an American actress, journalist, television host, and occasional professional wrestler. She is known in the United States for her appearances as a TV correspondent for Today, Access Hollywood, Extra, and abroad for co-hosting the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 in Athens, Greece.
Menounos was born in Medford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Greek parents Costas and Litsa Menounos, who worked as janitors in a Boston nightclub. She has a younger brother named Peter. Menounos attended the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Somerville, Massachusetts. She also attended Medford High School in Medford.
In 1995, Menounos began to compete in beauty pageants. The following year, she won the title of Miss Massachusetts Teen USA, and she 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. Maria competed for the title of Miss Massachusetts USA 2000. She was the first runner-up.
Menounos attended Boston's Emerson College, where she participated in the organization Emerson Independent Video. She graduated from Emerson in 2000.
Film, television, and radio career
During her senior year at Emerson, Menounos worked as a reporter for Channel One News. For her 10-minute segments, she traveled to El Salvador to report on the 2001 El Salvador earthquakes, interviewed NATO aircrew members aboard an E-3 AWACS plane during the military alliance's Operation Eagle Assist, and interviewed President George W. Bush.
Entertainment Tonight hired Menounos as a correspondent in 2002, where she reported on movies, music, and fashion. She left the program in 2005 to focus on her acting career, though she would join rival program Access Hollywood that fall as a 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, 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 the CBS-TV program 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.
In 2008, she became the host of Hollywood Green on the Planet Green network. 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 also reported for NBC Nightly News.
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. From 2009 to 2012, she hosted various reunion specials of MTV's The Real World and The 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 would join 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. For her work on Extra, Menounos won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Entertainment News Program.
In May 2014, after three years of hosting Extra, Menounos left the show and signed a multi-year contract with E! Entertainment, where she will host and produce several programs. In July 2015, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Menounos would replace Giuliana Rancic as the co-anchor of E! News.
World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE (2009-present)
Menounos is a long-time WWE fan and has made several appearances with the promotion. Menounos's 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) where Menounos got the win for her team by pinning Phoenix.
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, 2013 at Summerslam Axxess, she team up with Natalya to defeat Brie Bella and Eva Marie.
On August 17, 2014, Menounos was seen at the SummerSlam pay-per-view, appearing in the crowd and later in a backstage segment with Stephanie McMahon, who accepted Menounos's challenge for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Menounos was actually nominated in the first place by McMahon's father and chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon.
She has hosted the WWE Hall of Fame red carpet pre-show for three years in a row, in 2014, 2015, and 2016. She also appeared during the event as a guest backstage interviewer for both WrestleMania 31 and WrestleMania 32. In 2016, Menounos appeared in one episode of the WWE Network's Swerved and was a backstage interviewer for SummerSlam.
|2005||Fantastic Four||Sexy Nurse|
|2007||Kickin' It Old Skool||Jennifer||Major role|
|2007||In the Land of Merry Misfits||Risandra||Voice role|
|2008||Tropic Thunder||Herself||Cameo appearance|
|2011||Adventures of Serial Buddies||Katelyn|
|2013||Paranormal Movie||Dr. Luni|
|2000||Channel One News||Herself||Host|
|2002||Sabrina, the Teenage Witch||Reporter #1||Episode: "Free Sabrina"|
|2003||Without a Trace||Chris Sanders||Episode: "Trip Box"|
|2004||One on One||Glenda||Episode: "We'll Take Manhattan"|
|2004–2005||One Tree Hill||Emily "Jules" Chambers||10 episodes|
|2006||Eurovision Song Contest 2006||Herself||Co-host|
|2006||Scrubs||Tamara||Episode: "My Extra Mile"|
|2006||Entourage||Herself||Episode: "Aquamom"; cameo appearance|
|2007||Clash of the Choirs||Herself||Host|
|2009||Knight Rider||DEA Agent Jessie Renning||Episode: "Fly by Knight"|
|2009–2011||The Challenge||Herself||Host of Reunion episodes|
|2009–2012||The Real World|
|2009||WWE Raw||Co-Host/Herself||TV special|
|2010||Entourage||Herself||Episode: "Buzzed"; cameo appearance|
|2011||Funny or Die Presents||Talk Show Host||"Paco Dances" segment|
|2012||Sesame Street||Herself||Episode: "The All of Our Senses Club"; cameo appearance|
|2012||Dancing with the Stars||Herself||Season 14 contestant|
|2012||WrestleMania XXVIII||Herself||Performed With Kelly Kelly Defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve|
|2012||Louie||Entertainment News Anchor||Episode: "Late Show: Part 2 & 3"|
|2012–2013||The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange||Herself||Guest appearance|
|2013||WWE Hall of Fame||Herself – Inductor||Inducted Bob Backlund|
|2013||Hell's Kitchen||Herself||Episode: "7 Chefs Compete Part 2"; Chef's table guest in the blue kitchen|
|2013||The Mindy Project||Herself||2 episodes|
|2013||The Eric Andre Show||Herself||Guest appearance|
|2013–present||Live from E!||Herself||Co-host|
|2014||Chasing Maria Menounos||Herself||Lead role|
|2014–2015||Bar Rescue||Herself||3 episodes|
|2014||WWE Hall of Fame||Herself||Co-Host of the Red Carpet Pre-Show on the WWE Network|
|2014||Botched||Herself||Host of the two-part reunion episode|
|2015||The Celebrity Apprentice 7||Herself||Guest donor for Team Infinity on Episode 1|
|2015||WrestleMania 31||Herself||Guest backstage interviewer|
|2016||Cupcake Wars||Herself||Celebrity Baker|
|2016||Have You Been Paying Attention?||Herself||Guest Quiz Master|
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Entrance themes
At the age of 17, Menounos produced In the Land of Merry Misfits, an independent film fairy tale. The 35 mm feature film was produced by Menounos 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, Menounos 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.
Menounos also directed Longtime Listener starring Wilmer Valderrama. The film was an official selection of the Tribeca Film Festival 2006. Menounos acted in and produced Adventures of Serial Buddies, which is credited with being the first serial killer buddy comedy. In May 2013, Menounos launched a new interview series called Conversations with Maria Menounos, with Zoe Saldana being her first guest. Menounos also maintains AfterBuzzTV, an online entertainment network she founded with partner Keven Undergaro. for which she was named the 2014 CES Entertainment Matters Ambassador.
Menounos 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, Menounos 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. On August 8, 2010 she won the Madden NFL Pro-AM MVP award. She also won MadTV's "Smokin' Hot TV Personality" Award for 2010.
In 2014, she won a Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Entertainment News Program for her work on Extra.
Menounos founded the charity "Take Action Hollywood!" after her trip to South Africa, where she reported on the effects of the AIDS crisis there. She also created the Cosmo Girl Cup, a national, annual competition and award given to the group of teens who do the most in their communities to affect for positive social change. Menounos presented at the Earth Day Network's Climate Rally in Washington, DC on April 25, 2010. She acted as the Masters of Ceremony for the First Annual Los Angeles CureSearch Walk for Children's Cancer held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on October 24, 2010.
Menounos has been in a relationship with director and producer Keven Undergaro since April 1998. On March 9, 2016, Undergaro proposed to her live on The Howard Stern Show, and Menounos accepted. In addition, they own the online entertainment network AfterBuzz TV where she is an executive producer.
- Loftus, Jamie (April 19, 2011). "Up close with TV's Menounos '00". Emerson College. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015.
- "Maria Menounos: Biography". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2013-04-10.
- Coulton, Antoinette Y. (November 12, 2008). "Maria Menounos's Greek Christmas". People. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
- "Maria Menounos joins 'Access Hollywood' and 'Today'". USA Today. 2005-08-23. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
- "In pictures: Eurovision 2006". BBC News. 2006-05-21. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
- "View Co-Hosts Dish to OK! About Sherri - OK! Magazine - The First for Celebrity News". OK! Magazine. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
- "Menounos to Co-Host 'Extra' - 2011-08-04 16:31:47 | Broadcasting & Cable". Broadcastingcable.com. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
- "New Dancing with the Stars cast revealed". abcnewsgo.com. Retrieved 2012-02-28.
- Massabrook, Nicole (July 30, 2015). "Maria Menounos To Replace Giuliana Rancic On 'E! News' Despite Viewer Criticism During SAG Awards". International Business Times. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
- James, Caldwell (October 12, 2009). "CALDWELL'S WWE RAW REPORT 10/12: Complete coverage of Nancy O'Dell and Maria Menounos hosting Raw". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- James, Caldwell (December 13, 2011). "CALDWELL'S WWE TRIBUTE TO THE TROOPS REPORT 12/13: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of USA Network special". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
- Wortman, James (2012-03-16). "Beth: "I will Glam Slam you into tomorrow!"". WWE. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- Watkins, Jade (2012-04-01). "She's a tough cookie! Maria Menounos gets into the WWE ring to wrestle not one but TWO women despite having broken ribs". Dailymail. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- Artus, Matthew (2012-04-02). "Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos def. Divas Champion Beth Phoenix & Eve". WWE. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
- "Maria Menounos to induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- WWE.COM, STAFF (August 14, 2013). "Eva Marie joins Brie Bella to face Natalya & Maria Menounos at SummerSlam Axxess". WWE.com. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- "SUMMERSLAM PPV RESULTS: Quick rundown of match results". PRO WRESTLING TORCH (pwtorch.com). August 18, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
- Diva-dirt. "WrestleMania 28: Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos Victorious". Diva-dirt.com. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "Girlfriend Pop 2 - Various Artists". iTunes. April 25, 2016.
- "WWE: Holla (Kelly Kelly) [feat. Desiree Jackson] - Single". iTunes. April 29, 2016.
- "Menounos Launches New Interview Series". Conversations with Maria. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- Graser, Marc. "'Extra' Host Maria Menounos' YouTube Channel Gives TV Fans an Online Forum". Variety. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
- Stedman, Alex. "VARIETY October 2013". Retrieved 2013-10-22.
- "Menounos Launches New Reality Series". Chasing Maria. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
- Cosgrove Baylis, Sheila (24 March 2014). "Maria Menounos Is Leaving Extra". People.
- "Maria Menounos Engaged". UsMagazine.com. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
- AfterBuzz TV (21 July 2014). "Cassandra Lee Morris Interview (Sword Art Online, Bravely Default) - AfterBuzz TV's The Voice Of". Retrieved 13 July 2016 – via YouTube.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maria Menounos.|
|Miss Massachusetts Teen USA
| Succeeded by|
Maria Efrosinina & Pavlo Shylko
|Eurovision Song Contest presenter
(with Sakis Rouvas)
| Succeeded by|
Mikko Leppilampi & Jaana Pelkonen