Rita Wilson has enjoyed a long and successful career in show business as an actress, producer, director, and writer, but it wasn't until 40 years after she made her television debut that she branched out into a new line as a pop singer. Inspired by her run in Broadway's Chicago in 2006, she made her recording debut with 2012's AM/FM, a set of covers. Sticking to a warm, adult contemporary sound, she made her songwriting debut with her eponymous album, released in 2016. Wilson was born Margarita Ibrahimoff on October 26, 1956 in Los Angeles, California. She began her acting career as a teenager, appearing in a number of television series (The Brady Bunch, M*A*S*H, Happy Days, Three's Company, Who's the Boss?) and making her film debut in the 1979 sci-fi opus The Day It Came to Earth. In 1981, Wilson played a guest role on the sit-com Bosom Buddies, where she first met co-star Tom Hanks. Wilson and Hanks would cross paths again when they co-starred in the 1983 comedy Volunteers; this time, they made a greater impression on one another, and in 1988, the two were married. While her husband's career may have enjoyed a higher public profile, Wilson has remained a popular actress with a busy schedule, playing a wide variety of roles on television and in feature films, including Sleepless in Seattle, The Runaway Bride, The Story of Us, Auto Focus, and It's Complicated. After seeing Nia Vardalos' one-woman show My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Wilson was convinced the story had the potential to be a successful screen comedy, and she ended up co-producing the 2002 film version, which became one of the most commercially successful independent films ever. Wilson went on to produce two more film projects for Vardalos, Connie and Carla and My Life in Ruins, as well as the screen adaptation of the hit musical Mamma Mia! Wilson grew up as a passionate music fan, and sang with a folk group affiliated with her church as a teenager, but her love of music didn't intersect with her professional life until the summer of 2006, when she was cast as Roxie Hart in the Broadway revival of the musical Chicago. Inspired by joy she rediscovered in singing music that she loved, she started making plans to record an album. In the meantime, Wilson made her directorial debut with the 2007 short subject The Trap, and in 2009, she had a supporting role in the feature film It's Complicated with Meryl Streep, Steve Martin, and Alec Baldwin. She also made an appearance in 2011's Larry Crowne, which was co-written by Hanks and Vardalos. That same year, she began a recurring role on CBS' The Good Wife. Inspired by the songs of the '60s and '70s that first sparked her enthusiasm for music, Wilson teamed with producer Fred Mollin to record AM/FM, which included interpretations of some of her favorite tunes of the era. The LP included guest appearances from Sheryl Crow, Jackson Browne, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, and Jimmy Webb, who played piano on Wilson's cover of his classic "Wichita Lineman." Wilson supported the album's release with a short concert tour. The following year, she began a recurring role on HBO's Girls, and in 2016, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 hit theaters with Wilson as co-producer. Also in 2016, she released a second album, titled Rita Wilson, through her own Sing It Loud label. This time, she explored her gifts as a songwriter, co-writing all of the album's 15 tracks. She followed it later in the year with the seasonal EP The Christmas Sessions. Including ten original songs along with covers of Cat Stevens and Burt Bacharach, Wilson's third full-length record, Bigger Picture, arrived in 2018, also via Sing It Loud. ~ Mark Deming
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