Family & Companions
Actor-comedian Ian Gomez was something of a ubiquitous presence on America's television screens for a number of years before achieving recognition as a cast member on the hit comedy series "Cougar Town" (ABC, 2009-12; TBS, 2013-15). After receiving his comic training at Chicago's Second City Theater, Gomez began the arduous climb through the ranks of film and television projects that included "Rookie of the Year" (1993) and "Missing Persons" (ABC, 1993-95). Although he worked steadily over the next decade with recurring roles on shows like "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC, 1995-2004) and "Felicity" (The WB, 1998-2002), hopes of landing a coveted permanent spot on a series failed to pan out, with shows like "Jake in Progress" (ABC, 2005-06) being canceled mid-season. Fortune smiled on Gomez, however, when he joined a troupe of talented actors on the Courtney Cox comedy hit "Cougar Town" (ABC, 2009-12; TBS, 2013-15). A versatile and likeable supporting character actor, Gomez had proven himself as a welcome addition to comedy ensembles for nearly two decades on screens big and small.
Ian Gomez was born on Dec. 27, 1964 in New York City, where he was raised by his mother, a dancer, and father, an artist. Interested in performing from a young age, Gomez left the Big Apple after being discouraged by the sheer number of young, struggling actors he would be competing against. Transitioning to Chicago, IL, he honed his craft at the famed Second City improvisational workshop, where the balding Everyman emerged as a talented comedic actor, developing improvisational skills which, in addition to his varied ethnic background -he described his lineage as "Russian-Puerto Rican-Jewish-Greek Orthodox" - made for an especially versatile performer. In 1993, he married actress and writer Nia Vardalos, with whom he would later appear in several film and TV projects.
Gomez made his big screen debut with a cameo role as an odd hotel bellman in the Daniel Stern family comedy "Rookie of the Year" (1993). Guest television work followed, with a 1993-94 recurring role as a morgue technician on the crime drama "Missing Persons" (ABC, 1993-95), a 1995 guest spot on "Married...With Children" (Fox, 1987-1997), and the role of a particularly memorable office temp with a flair for mimicry on "Murphy Brown" (CBS, 1988-98). That same year, he debuted on "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC, 1995-2004), playing Larry, an antagonistic and opportunistic co-worker who uses his boss' attraction for him to further his career, serving as her unlikely boy toy. Gomez performed well in the series; enough that he appeared in a long-running recurring role throughout its run. During his stint on "The Drew Carey Show," the actor took to the Los Angeles stage in the farce "What Is Art?" (1997), and was also featured in a 1998 two-episode stint on the primetime soap "Melrose Place" (Fox, 1992-98).
The year 1998 also saw the start of Gomez's recurring part on the New York City-set drama "Felicity" (The WB, 1998-2002). Here he took on the role of Javier, a flamboyant and caring cafe manager who employs the titular college student (Keri Russell). In a story arc that involved a green card marriage, Javier was to be deported, ending the actor's run, but the plot was reconsidered and his popular character remained for the second season. At the same time, Gomez appeared in the Ron Howard media exploratory comedy "EDtv" (1999), and soon landed a regular role on "The Norm Show" (ABC, 1999-2001), playing Danny, the co-worker of a callous former hockey player-turned-social worker (Norm MacDonald). As opposed to his over-the-top turns on both "The Drew Carey Show" and "Felicity," he played more of a straight man opposite MacDonald, creating an interesting and quietly quirky character that provided further evidence of his diversity as a performer.
Gomez's wife Nia Vardalos enjoyed notoriety as the star and writer of the enormous hit indie "My Big Greek Wedding" (2002), in which Gomez enjoyed a small supporting role. That same year, he had an amusing two-episode stint as a follicly challenged chef on Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ), followed by appearances in the comedy features "Chasing Papi" (2003), "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star" (2003), "The Last Shot" (2004), and a turn in Vardalos' "Greek" follow-up, "Connie & Carla" (2004). Gomez then landed a plumb role as Adrian, a married dad who lives vicariously through his ladies' man best friend Jake (John Stamos) on the romantic comedy "Jake in Progress" (ABC, 2005-06). Unfortunately, the show did not prove to be the long-running hit the network had hoped for, so Gomez kept busy with shooting guest spots on other series, including in a 2006 episode of "Lost" (ABC, 2004-2010).
Business picked up for Gomez when he landed a recurring role on another short-lived series, "Rita Rocks" (Lifetime, 2008-09), starring Nicole Sullivan as a working mom who decides to start a garage band with her friends. Following the cancellation of the show, he appeared in two more of his wife's feature efforts, "My Life in Ruins" (2009) and "I Hate Valentine's Day" (2009). Gomez finally hit pay dirt when he joined the regular cast of the sitcom "Cougar Town." As Andy Torres, Gomez played the goofily endearing neighbor of Jules (Courtney Cox), the best friend of his ice-queen wife, Ellie (Christa Miller). Initially positioned to cash in on the "middle-aged single woman on the prowl" craze of the time, the show quickly abandoned the shallow premise in favor of episodes that focused more on Jules, her fractured-but-friendly family, and her close-knit circle of eccentric friends. With the change in direction came big ratings and Gomez at last found himself on a bona fide hit show. The considerable exposure he enjoyed on "Cougar Town" led to other offers, including a supporting turn in the Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts romantic comedy "Larry Crowne" (2011).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made feature film debut in "Excessive Force "
Had a recurring role on ABC's "Missing Persons" as Pete, a morgue technician
Guest starred as a car wash employee on an episode of FOX's "Married... With Children"
Played a mimicking secretary candidate on episodes of the CBS sitcom, "Murphy Brown"
Had a recurring role on ABC's "The Drew Carey Show" as antagonistic fellow employee Larry
Featured in the Los Angeles stage production of "What is Art?"
Guest starred in a two-episode stint on the FOX drama, "Melrose Place"
Had a recurring role on "Felicity" (The WB) as Javier, a flamboyantly gay Dean & Deluca manager; made regular for the show's final season
Was a guest player on the Drew Carey-hosted improvisational comedy series, "Who's Line Is It Anyway?" (ABC)
Appeared in the Ron Howard film "EDtv"
Had a regular role as a co-worker of the titular character on ABC's "Norm/The Norm Show"
Made cameo appearance in "The Big Tease"; written by and starring Craig Ferguson
Had a supporting role in the breakout hit, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"; starring his wife Nia Vardalos and based on her one-woman show
Appeared in the comedy, "Connie and Carla"; written by and starring wife Nia Vardalos
Co-starred with John Stamos in the ABC series, "Jake in Progress"
Played a fellow detective, opposite Nick Cannon, in the comedy "Underclassman"
Had a recurring role as the title characters' unemployed neighbor in the Lifetime sitcom, "Rita Rocks"
Played a hotel clerk in "My Life in Ruins," starring wife Nia Vardalos
Cast as Andy in the ABC comedy, "Cougar Town"