Actor and comedian Ian Gomez, who got his start with the famed Second City comedy group in Chicago, rose to prominence with his recurring role of Larry Almada on “The Drew Carey Show” (1995-2004). He gained further recognition for portraying Javier Clemente Quintata on the hit WB show “Felicity” (1998-2002) and Danny Sanchez on ABC's “The Norm Show” (1999-2001). The New York City native was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for his performance on “Felicity” and won the Special Achievement Award at the 2000 ALMA Awards for working on the three aforementioned prime time television series simultaneously. More recently, he played regular roles in ABC's “Jack in Progress” (2005-2006, as Adrian), “Rita Rocks” (2008-2009, as Owen Delgado Jr.) and “Cougar Town” (2009-2010, as Andy Tores). Gomez has also guest starred in the television series “Married with Children,” “Murphy Brown,” “Melrose Place,” “NYPD Blue,” “7th Heaven,” “Lost,” “Campus Ladies,” “Heroes,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Reaper,” among other shows. On the big screen, Gomez received roles in the movies “'Till There Was You” (1997), “Meet Prince Charming” (1999), “Edtv” (1999), “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (2002), “Chasing Papi” (2003), “Connie and Carla” (2004), “The Last Shot” (2004), “Underclassman” (2005), “You Did What” (2006), “My Life in Ruins” (2009), “I Hate Valentine's Day” (2009) and “Wake” (2009).
Gomez has been married to Nia Vardalos of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” fame since 1993. The couple and their adopted daughter currently reside in Los Angeles, California.
Childhood and Family:
The son of an artist and a dancer, Ian Gomez was born on December 27, 1964, in New York City, New York, His father is from Puerto Rico and his mother is from the Bronx.
On September 5, 1993, Ian married Greek-Canadian-American actress and writer Nia Vardalos (born September 24, 1962). Ian, who is of Puerto Rican and Russian Jewish origin, has converted to the Greek Orthodox religion. In 2008, Ian and his wife adopted a daughter.
Ian Gomez was working as a restaurant manager in New York City before he decided to concentrate solely on acting. He moved to Chicago in the early 1990s and began his professional career with Chicago's renowned The Second City improvisational comedy troupe. During his seven year tenure with the company, he developed and improved on his skills as a comedic actor.
Gomez broke into the big screen in 1993 when he landed the supporting role of Lucas on Jon Hess' action feature “Excessive Force,” starring Thomas Ian Griffith, Lance Henriksen and James Earl Jones. He went on to have a cameo role in “Rookie of the Year” (1993), a comedy directed by Daniel Stern that starred Thomas Ian Nicholas and Gary Busey. His first television gig also arrived in 1993 when he landed the recurring role of Pete, a mortuary technician, in the series “Missing Persons,” a role he would keep until the following year.
In early 1995, Gomez guest starred in Fox's “Married... With Children.” Later that same year, he began his high profile recurring stint on the ABC popular sitcom “The Drew Carey Show,” which was created by and starred comedian Drew Carey. Portraying Larry Almada, Gomez appeared in 38 episodes until September 2004.
Gomez next appeared in two episodes of the CBS hit comedy series “Murphy Brown” (1995-1996) and as a hotel employee in two episodes of the Fox drama “Melrose Place” (1998). He also guest starred as Art Brown in The WB's sitcom “Smart Guy” (1998) and resumed his film career by playing roles in Scott Winant's “'Till There Was You” (1997, as Scott) and Paul Tarantino's “Courting Courtney” (1997, as Hank) and appeared on stage in a Los Angeles production of “What's Is Art” (1997).
It was in October 1998 that Gomez joined the cast of the J.J. Abrams created college drama series “Felicity” in the recurring role of Javier Clemente Quintata, the openly gay manager of Dean & DeLuca, a local coffee shop where Felicity and Ben (played by Keri Russel and Scott Speedman) worked. Originally, his character was planned to be written out after a story line that involved a green card, but Javier was so popular that he was kept in the role. Eventually, Gomez was added to the cast as a regular in the last season (2001-2002) and appeared in 39 episodes. He was nominated for a 2000 Teen Choice for TV - Choice Sidekick for his performance. Meanwhile, in 1999, Gomez also won a regular role on the ABC television sitcom “The Norm Show.” He stayed with the show from March 1999 to April 2001.
1999 also found Gomez acting alongside his wife, Nia Vardalos, in the Brett Parker directed movie “Meet Prince Charming” and portraying McIlvaine in Ron Howard's comedy “Edtv,” which starred Matthew McConaughey as Ed Pekurny. He then guest starred in the Drew Carey hosted improvisational comedy series “Who's Line Is It Anyway” (ABC) and prior to the demise of “The Norm,” had an unaccredited part in an episode of “Nikki” called “The Jupiter and Mary Chain” (2001).
Gomez was next featured as a delivery man in the dramatic film “The Center of the World” (2001) and teamed up with John Mahoney and Virginia Madsen in the independent movie “Almost Salinas” (2001) for director and writer Terry Green, before being reunited with his wife in the sleeper hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” (2002), which starred and was written by Mrs. Gomez, and directed by Joel Zwick. Adapted from Vardalos' one woman show of the same name, the romantic comedy garnered rave reviews and performed well at the box office. With a budget of $5 million, it grossed over $241 million in the domestic market, making it the fifth highest grossing film of 2002.
After the demise of “Felicity,” Gomez portrayed Orlando Walker in the made for television film “Get a Clue” (2002) and Gary in “Exit 9” (2003) and guest starred in such TV series as “NYPD Blue” (2002), “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2002) and “Lucky” (2003). He also starred as Beau in the short film “Street of Pain” (2003), supported Roselyn Sanchez, Sofía Vergara, Eduardo Verástegui and Jaci Velasquez in “Chasing Papi” (2003), a Latino comedy film directed by Linda Mendoza, was featured in “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” (2003), a comedy directed by Sam Weisman, and rejoined his wife for the crime comedy “Connie and Carla” (2004), which again starred and was written by Vardalos. Also in 2004, he costarred with Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Toni Collette, Tim Blake Nelson, Calista Flockhart, Ray Liotta, Buck Henry and Tony Shalhoub in the action comedy “The Last Shot” (2004) for director/writer Jeff Nathanson, and guest starred as a jewelry salesman in “George Lopez.”
In 2005, Gomez returned to television when he was cast as Adrian on the ABC comedy series “Jack in Progress,” starring John Stamos. The show, created by Austin Winsberg, was canceled after 14 episodes aired. The same year, he also played Russ in Liz Lachman's short “Getting to Know You” and Detective Gallecki in the movie “Underclassman,” opposite Nick Cannon. Gomez then teamed up with Edward Kerr, Kathy Wagner, A.J. Buckley, Kelly Overton and Jason George in the Jeff Morris comedy “You Did What” (2006), acted in a TV series pilot called “The Beast” (2007) and played Beau in the segment “Street of Pain” of “Stories USA” (2007), which was a compilation of short films about desperate lives in America. During 2006 to 2007, the comedian also guest starred in a number of television series, including “Reba,” “7th Heaven,” “Lost,” “Heroes,” “My Boys” and “Campus Ladies.” He continued landing guest spots in 2008 with work in “According to Jim,” “Head Case,” “Reaper” and “Gary Unmarried” before joining the cast of the Lifetime sitcom “Rita Rocks,” starring Nicole Sullivan as Rita Clements. He was on the show from the first episode, which was broadcasted on October 20, 2008, until October 2009 when he quit to join the series “Cougar Town.” “Rita Rocks” was eventually canceled after two seasons because of poor ratings. The final episode aired on December 7, 2009.
Created by Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel, “Cougar Town” debuted on ABC on September 23, 2009, with Courteney Cox starring as newly divorced Jules Cobb. The show was renewed for a second season in early 2010. In the series, Gomez plays Jules' next door neighbor, loving dad and devoted husband Andy Tores.
During 2009, Gomez was also busy doing other projects. He appeared as a hotel clerk in Donald Petrie's comedy “My Life in Ruins” (2009), which starred his wife Nia Vardalos, costarred with Bijou Phillips, Ian Somerhalder, Jane Seymour, Danny Masterson and Marguerite Moreau in Ellie Kanner's “Wake” (2009) and offered a notable supporting turn as KJ Ken in the romantic comedy “I Hate Valentine's Day,” directed and written by and starring his wife. He also appeared in the short films “In Stereo,” “A Heart Too Tender” and “Murder Squad” and guest starred in “Life” and “True Jackson, VP.”
ALMA: Special Achievement Award, “Felicity,” 2000