Shawkat was born in Riverside, California to Dina (née Burke) and actor Tony Shawkat. She grew up in nearby Palm Springs. She has two brothers. The actor Paul Burke was her maternal grandfather. Shawkat’s father is an ArabIraqi, from Baghdad. Her mother is of half-Norwegian, one-quarter-Irish, and one-quarter-Italian descent.
As Maeby Fünke, Shawkat was a regular cast member of Arrested Development for the entire run of the show from 2003 to 2006. The series received nearly universally positive reviews, with Shawkat’s performance occasionally singled out for praise. Pop-culture commentator Brian M. Palmer remarked that she was “one of the brightest lights on a show populated solely by bright lights,” and Scott Weinberg of eFilmCritic described her as “one funny young lady.” In an interview with The A.V. Club in 2010, Shawkat remarked that many of her “formative moments” as an actress took place on the Arrested Development set: ” [Show creator]Mitch Hurwitz was like a father figure to me. In a way, it was great to be around [the cast], because I feel that my understanding of comedy was able to grow really well during that time.”
In 2009, Shawkat appeared in Whip It co-star Har Mar Superstar‘s music video for “Tall Boy”, which also featured Eva Mendes and Eric Wareheim. In October 2009, it was announced that Shawkat, Har Mar, and fellow Whip It co-star Page would produce and write a show for HBO called Stitch N’ Bitch. According to theHollywood Reporter, the show “follows two painfully cool hipster girls as they relocate from Brooklyn‘s Williamsburg neighborhood to Los Angeles‘ Silver Lakeenclave in hopes of becoming artists–of any kind.”
Six years after the series was canceled by Fox, filming for a revived fourth season of Arrested Development began on August 7, 2012 and Shawkat reprised her role as Maeby Fünke. The season consists of 15 new episodes which debuted at the same time on Netflix on May 26, 2013. Each episode focuses on one particular character, with Shawkat’s Maeby, now a high school senior, featured in episode 12, “Señoritis” and appearing in several other episodes of the season.
|1999||Three Kings||Amir’s Daughter|
|2005||Queen of Cactus Cove||Billie||Short film|
|2006||Deck the Halls||Madison Finch|
|2008||Bart Got a Room||Camille|
|2008||Prom Wars||Diana Riggs|
|2011||The Oranges||Vanessa Walling|
|2011||Our Deal||Night Creeper||Short film|
|2012||Damsels in Distress||Madge|
|2012||That’s What She Said||Clementine|
|2012||The Brass Teapot||Louise|
|2012||The Golden Age||Janice||Short film|
|2013||May in the Summer||Dalia|
|2013||The End of Love||Herself||Cameo|
|2013||Setup, Punch||Dottie Kaufman||Short film|
|2013||The To Do List||Fiona Forster|
|2014||Life After Beth||Roz|
|2015||The Final Girls||Gertie||Post-production|
|2015||The Driftless Area||Carrie||Post-production|
|2015||Me Him Her||Laura||Post-production|
|2015||Adam Green’s Aladdin||Emily||Post-production|
|1999||JAG||Young Mac||1 episode: “Second Sight”|
|2000||The Trial of Old Drum||Dee||TV Movie|
|2002||State of Grace||Young Hannah Rayburn||Main cast
|2002||Presidio Med||Tara Wegman||1 episode: “Good Question”|
|2003||Without a Trace||Siobhan Arintero||1 episode: “Maple Street”|
|2003||Boomtown||Denise Stein||1 episode:
|2003-2006; 2013||Arrested Development||Mae “Maeby” Fünke||Main cast
|2005||Last Call with Carson Daly||Herself||1 episode: “Episode dated 15 September 2005”|
|2005||Blow Out||Herself||1 episode: “Episode #2.1”|
|2006||Veronica Mars||Stacy Wells||1 episode: “The Rapes of Graff”|
|2006||Not Like Everyone Else||Brandi Blackbear||TV Movie|
|2007||The Business||Screenwriting Manicurist||2 Episodes: “Field Trip to Hollywood: Part 1”, “Field Trip to Hollywood: Part 2”|
|2008||The Bad Mother’s Handbook||Charlotte||TV Movie|
|2008||The Starter Wife||Robin||3 Episodes: “The Remains of the Snow Day”, “Mollywood”, “Das Booty Call”|
|2009||Arrested Development Documentary Project||Herself|
|2009||Crappy Holidays Present…||3 episodes: “Crappy Father’s Day”, “Crappy Pioneer Day”, “Crappy Labor Day: Final Destination”|
|2009||Made in Hollywood||Herself||1 episode: “Episode #5.2”|
|2009||Sundance Directors Lab||Herself||1 episode: “First-Time Filmmakers”|
|2010||The League||April||1 episode: “The Expert Witness”|
|2013||NTSF:SD:SUV::||Gail||1 episode: “Burn After Killing”|
|2014||Drunk History||Frances Cleveland||1 episode: “First Ladies”|
|2014||Robot Chicken||Baroness||1 episode: “G.I. Jogurt”|
|2014||Getting On||Colleen Hoover||4 episodes|
|2015||Adventure Time||Young Betty Poundcake||1 episode: “The Diary”|
|2015||Broad City||Adele||1 episode: “Coat Check”|
Awards and nominations
- “Alia Shawkat – DVD – Interview”. The A.V. Club.
- “Internet Movie Database – Alia Shawkat – Biography”. IMDb.
- Alia Shawkat (2013-05-28). The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. CBS. Event occurs at 34:52.
(Shawkat) “I’m half Iraqi, my dad’s from Bagdhad”
- Cheirif, Samantha (October 1, 2012). “Alia Shawkat Talks THE ORANGES, Cut Scenes and Alternate Ending, and Returning to ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT”. Collider.com. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
- “Internet Movie Database – Alia Shawkat”. IMDB.
- “Interview with Brian M. Palmer”.
- “eFilmCritic – DVD Review: Arrested Development Season 1”.
- “Interview”. The A.V. Club.
- “Ellen Page, Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat, and Har Mar Superstar (!) working on HBO show”. The A.V. Club.
- Alia Shawkat reference in CD release announcement