Born in Toronto, Ontario on May 9, 1975, Chris Diamantopolous was raised in a Greek household, and divided much of his time during his early years between homes in Greece and Canada. He also spoke only Greek during this period, but learned English primarily through watching American movies. In doing so, Diamantopolous discovered a gift for understanding and imitating a variety of vocal intonations. He soon began to parlay his gifts in television commercials while in grade school. After graduating from East York Collegiate Institute in Toronto, he left home at 18 to pursue his career as a professional actor. After years as a member of various theatrical touring companies, Diamantopolous made his feature debut in the independent dark comedy The Adulterer (). The following year, he landed back-to-back leads in the Broadway productions of The Full Monty and Les Misérables.
Supporting roles in a wide variety of television series preceded his breakout performance as the incomparable Robin Williams in "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Mork & Mindy'" (NBC, 2005), which drew critical praise for his uncanny take on Williams' manic voice and mannerisms. He received both Gemini and Prism Award nominations in his native country for his impressive turn, but soon returned to regular work as a guest star. Among his more notable appearances during this period was a role on "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) as Jason Barone, scion of a sanitation business used by Tony Soprano as a front for his criminal activities. He also provided numerous voices for the animated comedy "American Dad" (Fox, 2006- ). In 2007, Diamantopolous won rave reviews for his supporting turn as a gay designer in a relationship with a straight actor on "The Starter Wife," an original miniseries for the USA Network, as well as its subsequent tenure as a series (USA, 2010). Production costs brought the series to an end after a single season, but Diamantopolous was soon on board another series, the Lifetime drama "State of Mind" (2007). Unfortunately, it also failed to exceed a single season, which sent him back into rotation as a guest star.
In 2010, he enjoyed a recurring role on "24" (Fox, 2001-2010) as the duplicitous Chief of Staff for Cherry Jones' President Allison Taylor, who was arrested for attempting to launch a kidnapping attempt against a Middle East president in order to prevent a nuclear attack by terrorists. That same year, he played Frank Sinatra in the controversial, Emmy-winning miniseries "The Kennedys" (ReelzChannel, 2010), then switched gears to play a deeply self-absorbed ex-boyfriend of Maya Rudolph's ersatz Oprah on the sitcom "Up All Night" (NBC, 2011- ). The following year, Diamantopolous auditioned for the role of Moe Howard in the Farrelly Brothers' "Three Stooges" feature. Despite looking or sounding nothing like the famed comic, he created an astonishingly accurate portrayal of Howard based on hours of studying his mannerisms in the group's comedy shorts. The feature debuted at No. 2 at the box office during its 2012 release, with critical praise showered on Diamantopolous' extraordinary transformation into the much-shorter Howard, complete with modified bowl haircut and Brooklyn-born bark.
By Paul Gaita