Date of Birth: August 6, 1973
Vera Farmiga was born and raised in New Jersey, the second oldest of seven children. She was raised in a Ukrainian-American community, and didn't speak English until she was six years old. Her childhood was full of folk stories, singing and dancing, and she performed for years with the Syzokryli Ukrainian Dance Ensemble. She began acting in school dramas at age 16, and graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School in 1991.
Despite dabbling in acting as a child, her initial dream was to become an optometrist. "I thought I could tell everything about someone from one glance deep into their eyes," she said. Her own vision was perfect as a child, but she prayed she would need glasses because she wanted attention. Her wish came true, and her sight began to fail in her teens. (She recently had laser eye surgery to correct her vision.) She ended up changing her mind about her career choice, and went on to study acting at Syracuse University's School of Performing Arts.
Vera made her Broadway debut in 1996 as an understudy in the play Taking Sides, and in the same year starred in The Tempest. Other stage credits included The Glass Menagerie, Hamlet and Second-Hand Smoke. In 1997, she made her television debut in the Fox series Roar, opposite then-unknown Heath Ledger.
After appearing in the TV movie Rose Hill and in an episode of Law & Order, Vera made her feature film debut in Return to Paradise with Vince Vaughan and Anne Heche. Her film career immediately jump-started, and she went on to complete films such as Autumn in New York (2000), 15 Minutes (2001), Dummy (2002), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Down to the Bone (2005) (which earned her a Best Actress award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association), The Departed(2006) and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2008). For her work in Up in the Air (2009) opposite George Clooney, she received her first Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress.
She accumulated more television credits, appearing in a episodes of UC: Undercover and Touching Evil, as the lead actress in Bates Motel and in the TV movies Snow White (2001), Touching Evil (2004) (based on the series) and Iron Jawed Angels (2004). Roles in films kept coming her way as well, including Orphan (2009), Higher Ground (2011), and Safe House (2012), just to name a few. She rose to higher fame by starring in the horror smash The Conjuring (2013). The following year, she landed a role in The Judge (2014) alongside Robert Downey Jr.
Vera went on to reprise her role as real-life paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren in the 2016 sequel The Conjuring 2. Her latest roles have been opposite Liam Neeson in the heart-pounding drama The Commuter (2018), alongside Christopher Plummer in Boundaries (2018) and with Hugh Jackman in the political drama The Front Runner (2018). More recently, she also starred in Captive State (2019) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019). Vera once again played Lorraine Warren in Annabelle Comes Home (2019) and in The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It(2021), both opposite Patrick Wilson.
Vera was married to actor Sebastien Roché from 1997 to 2005, and married Renn Hawkey, keyboardist for the goth band Deadsy, in 2008. They have two children together. She spends time in both New Jersey and Los Angeles, and enjoys reading, playing piano and spending time with her pet goats.