This stunning actress spent five years on the daytime soap Guiding Light before jumping to prime time in 1995 with a recurring role as an ambitious journalist on NYPD Blue. A few short-lived series and supporting film roles later, she landed on the family drama Providence as a doctor who moves back to her hometown. After the show folded, Kanakaredes made a handful of films and even starred in the Broadway revival of Cabaret. But the small screen remained her medium, and in 2004, Kanakaredes won her most popular role to date as Detective Stella Bonasera on CSI: NY. After a nine-year absence from the big screen, Kanakaredes returned to features in 2010, portraying the Greek goddess Athena in the fantasy adaptation Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

Fast Facts

  • Began performing in community theater at the age of 8.
  • After being crowned Miss Columbus, was first runner-up in the 1986 Miss Ohio pageant.
  • Competed on the synchronized swim team while attending Ohio State University and remains an avid swimmer.
  • Named one of People magazine's Most Beautiful People in the World in 1999.
  • Received a 2000 TV Guide Award for Favorite Actress in a Drama for her work on the NBC series Providence.
  • Food factors heavily into Kanakaredes's life---her family runs a candy store in Akron, OH, and her husband is a chef and restaurateur.
  • Reprised her role as Detective Stella Bonasera for CSI: NY The Game, a 2008 computer game based on the CBS series.


  • Connie Kanakaredes — Mother
  • Harry Kanakaredes — Father
  • Aretta Kanakaredes — Sister
  • Karina Eleni Constantinides — Daughter
  • Lia Kanakaredes — Sister
  • Peter Constantinides — Husband
  • Zoe Constantinides — Daughter


  • Attended Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; Point Park College, Pittsburgh, PA (BFA, 1989)

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  • Birth Name: Melina Eleni Kanakaredes
  • Birth Place: Akron, OH
  • Birthday: April 23, 1967, Taurus
  • Profession: Actor

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