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Arab Americans

Alia Shawkat

Alia Shawkat

Alia Martine Shawkat (/ˈæliə ˈʃkɑːt/ al-ee-ə shoh-kaht; born April 18, 1989) is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Maeby Fünke in the Fox television series Arrested Development.

Early life

Shawkat was born in Riverside, California to Dina (née Burke) and actor Tony Shawkat. She grew up in nearby Palm Springs.[1] She has two brothers.[2] The actor Paul Burke was her maternal grandfather. Shawkat’s father is an Arab[3]Iraqi, from Baghdad.[4] Her mother is of half-Norwegian, one-quarter-Irish, and one-quarter-Italian descent.[5]

When she is not working (acting), she likes to paint; she has participated in gallery shows in Los AngelesMexico Cityand Paris. She also likes to make music and sing in jazz bars.[6]


As Maeby Fünke, Shawkat was a regular cast member of Arrested Development for the entire run of the show from 2003 to 2006.[7] 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,”[8] and Scott Weinberg of eFilmCritic described her as “one funny young lady.”[9] 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.”[10]

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.[10] 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.”[11]

Shawkat, along with Arrested Development co-star Mae Whitman, sang guest vocals on a number of tracks from indie-punk band Fake Problems‘ 2010 album Real Ghosts Caught on Tape.[12]

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.



Year Title Role Notes
1999 Three Kings Amir’s Daughter
2005 Rebound Amy
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
2009 Amreeka Salma
2009 Whip It Pash
2010 The Runaways Robin
2010 The Lie Seven
2011 Cedar Rapids Bree
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 Ruby Sparks Mabel
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
2013 Bunion Rachel Short film
2013 Night Moves Surprise
2013 The Moment Jessie
2014 Life After Beth Roz
2014 Wild Canaries Jean
2015 The Final Girls Gertie Post-production
2015 The Driftless Area Carrie Post-production
2015 Me Him Her Laura Post-production
2015 Nasty Baby Wendy Post-production
2015 Adam Green’s Aladdin Emily Post-production
2015 Green Room Filming


Year Title Role Notes
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
40 episodes
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:
Home Invasion”
2003-2006; 2013 Arrested Development Mae “Maeby” Fünke Main cast
68 Episodes
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

Year Award Category Work Result
2002 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Comedy Series – Leading Young Actress State of Grace Nominated
2004 TV Land Award Future Classic Shared with Jason BatemanWill ArnettMichael CeraDavid CrossPortia de RossiTony HaleJessica Walter,Mitchell Hurwitz (executive producer), and David Nevins Arrested Development Won
2005 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) – Supporting Young Actress Tied with Christina Schmidt Won
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Shared with Jason BatemanWill ArnettMichael Cera,David CrossPortia de RossiTony HaleJeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter Nominated
2006 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Shared with Jason BatemanWill ArnettMichael Cera,David CrossPortia de RossiTony HaleJeffrey Tambor and Jessica Walter Nominated
2014 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Shared with Will ArnettJason BatemanJohn Beard,Michael CeraDavid CrossPortia de RossiIsla FisherTony HaleRon HowardLiza Minnelli, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Tambor,Jessica Walter, and Henry Winkler Nominated