Born on August 6, 1973 in New Jersey, Vera Farmiga is an American actress. She was raised in a strict Ukrainian Catholic household, and did not speak English until the age of six. She studied in a Ukrainian Catholic school and went to public school, before touring with a folk-dancing company when she was a teenager. She graduated from Hunderton Central Regional High School in 1991, then decided to study acting instead of her original plans of being an optometrist. She attended Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts.
In 1996, Vera Farmiga made her Broadway debut, playing an understudy in Taking Sides. She then starred in the American conservatory Theater production of The Tempest. She was also seen on stage in The Glass Menagerie, Hamlet and the acclaimed off-Broadway production Second-Hand Smoke in 1997. That year, she also debuted on television, playing opposite an unknown Heath Ledger in the FOX series Roar. She also had the part of Emily Elliot in Rose Hill, and was cast in an episode of Law & Order. In 1998, she had her breakthrough on the big screen in the drama Return to Paradise. She next played the daughter of Christopher Walken in 2000’s The Opportunists. Farmiga was also cast alongside Richard Gere in Autumn of New York that year.
Vera Farmiga was given the role of Daphne Handlova in 2001’s 15 Minutes, as well as playing Amy in the Western drama Dust. In 2004, she portrayed a working-class mother hiding her drug addiction in Down to the Bone. For her performance, she won Best Actress Awards from the Sundance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. She also had a memorable role opposite Jon Voight in The Manchurian Candidate. In 2006, she was cast in Running Scared, as well as in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed.