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Rosie Malek-Yonan

Rosie Malek-Yonan

Assyrian actress, author, director, public figure and human rights activist
Rosie Malek-Yonan
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Assyrian actress, author, director, public figure and human rights activist
Is Actor Writer Novelist Film director Stage actor Television actor Radio personality
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature
Gender female
Birth 4 July 1965, Tehran
Age 55 years
Peoplepill ID rosie-malek-yonan
The details (from wikipedia)


Rosie Malek-Yonan is an American actress, author, director, public figure and activist of Assyrian ethnicity.

Early life and education

Born in Tehran, Malek-Yonan is a descendant of one of the oldest and most prominent Assyrian families, tracing her Assyrian roots back nearly 11 centuries. The Malek family originated from Jilu and eventually settled in the Assyrian Christian village of Geogtapa, in the Urmia region of northwestern Iran. Geogtapa was the largest Assyrian Christian village in the region and much of it belonged to the Malek-Yonan family with the oldest plot in the family graveyard dating back to 1100.

Malek-Yonan's father, George Malek-Yonan (1924-2014), an international attorney in Iran, was personally responsible for negotiating and procuring a seat for the Assyrians as a recognized Christian minority in the Iranian Parliament, a huge accomplishment for a people who had been without a formal country since the fall of the Assyria.

Malek-Yonan's mother, Lida Malek-Yonan (1928–2002) regarded as an activist and humanitarian, was equally influential in demanding recognition for Assyrian women in Iran by launching and presiding over the Assyrian Women's Organization which was the only officially recognized charter member of the Iranian Women's Association until the end of the Pahlavi dynasty.

During the Assyrian genocide of 1914–1918, Malek-Yonan's grandparents left their ancestral homeland in Urmia, as part of the "Great Exodus" from Urmia in March 1918. The Malek-Yonan family fled to Mesopotamia where her father was born in Baghdad, while Malek-Yonan's maternal grandmother fled to Russia where her mother was born in Rostov. Years later, both families returned to Tehran where her parents met and were married.


Malek-Yonan is a classically trained pianist, composer, actress, director, writer, documentary filmmaker and activist. She began studying piano at the age of four and while still in her teens, competed in and won many national piano competitions in Iran and attended the Tehran Conservatory of Music. In 1972 after winning a national piano competition in Iran, she was invited by Queen Farah Pahlavi to play at a Command Performance.

Upon receiving her L.C. degree in English from the University of Cambridge, she studied classical piano with Saul Joseph at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and acting with Ray Reinhardt at the American Conservatory Theatre. A graduate of San Francisco State University with two degrees in Music, she won an invitation to study drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the historic Pasadena Playhouse. Her plays have been produced and performed on stage. In 2008 Malek-Yonan’s one woman play, An Assyrian Exodus previewed in Hartford, Connecticut. The work is based on true family diaries written during the 1918 Great Exodus from Urmia, Iran. About the production, Janey Golani, of The Assyrian Star writes, "…presentations included those of Ms. Rosie Malek-Yonan which was filled with many emotional attendees who were struck by her performance of "An Assyrian Exodus" a dramatic staged reading based on Rosie's Family Diaries."

Reviewing Malek-Yonan's work as an actor and director, Martin Hernandez of LA Weekly writes, "Superbly acted and directed...Director Rosie Malek-Yonan honed the works to perfection, even down to the fitting choice of songs for transitions and intermission." About her stage directing, Bruce Feld writes, "Rosie Malek-Yonan has done an excellent job directing...top-of-the-line and what might have become a sketch in other hands becomes a poignant episode of universal import...exceptional direction.". In another review, Feld wrote, "Very well directed by Rosie Malek-Yonan...The material is very tricky, but Malek-Yonan handles it with requisite sensitivity, without in any way watering down the heavy conflict...Sparks ignite..."

Malek-Yonan made her television debut in 1983 on Aaron Spelling's television series, Dynasty, followed by a national commercial for AT&T where she spoke in Assyrian. She has since appeared in numerous notable television shows, films and plays, acting in a wide range of roles opposite many of Hollywood's leading actors. She has had recurring roles on Days of Our Lives, Chicago Hope, Beverly Hills, 90210, The Young and the Restless and in 2008 she joined the cast of ABC's General Hospital as Farah Mir. On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine she was Tekoa. She has guest starred on such shows as Generations, Seinfeld, Life and JAG. She played the role of Nuru Il-Ebrahimi, opposite Reese Witherspoon in New Line Cinema's Rendition, directed by Oscar-winning director Gavin Hood. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

In 2015 Malek-Yonan joined the executive board of the Beverly Hills Film Festival as a consultant.

Human rights activism

Malek-Yonan is an outspoken advocate of issues concerning her nation, in particular bringing attention to the Assyrian Genocide as well as the plight of today's Assyrians in the Middle-East since the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States and its Coalition Forces. She has candidly criticized the U.S. for failure to protect the Christians in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. In an interview with The New York Times Malek-Yonan said, "Anytime the Western countries go to war in the Middle East, it becomes a religious war…" In the interview she also held Kurdish commanders in Iraq responsible for "depriving the Christians of security in an effort to tilt the demographics in favor of Kurds. The expected result, she said, was an exodus of hundreds of thousands of Christians from Iraq. At least hundreds have been killed. One priest was quartered and beheaded."

Congressional Testimony, June 30, 2006

On June 30, 2006, Rosie Malek-Yonan, was invited to testify on Capitol Hill before a Congressional Committee of the 109th Congress on religious freedom regarding the genocide, massacres and persecution of Assyrians in Iraq since the beginning of the 2003 Iraq War. Reading from her book, she compared the Assyrian Genocide of 1914-1918, as depicted in The Crimson Field, to the current plight of the indigenous Assyrian Christians in Iraq. Her 30-minute testimony and plea to the U.S. government, ultimately prompted Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) to travel to war-torn Iraq to witness matters for himself. While in Iraq, after meeting with local Assyrians, he turned in Malek-Yonan's in depth report to U.S. Officials in Iraq. One year later, a Congressional appropriations subcommittee voted to send $10 million to aid the Assyrians in Iraq. The complete archived transcript and webcast of the actual Congressional Testimony is available at the website of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Monica Malek-Yonan's documentary film, My Assyrian Nation on the Edge, based on Rosie Malek-Yonan's Congressional Testimony was released September 2006 (ISBN 0-9771873-0-6) in English. The film is released in Europe with French, German, Swedish and Dutch subtitles (ISBN 978-0-9771873-31). The Australian Premiere was on 7 August 2008, at the Australian Parliament of New South Wales in Sydney.

In 2008, Malek-Yonan addressed the topics of genocide, world peace and in particular the Assyrian Genocide in statements presented at the British House of Lords on 12 March and on 24 April at the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

On October 5, 2008, Malek-Yonan spoke on behalf of the Assyrian nation in Iraq at a Los Angeles rally held in front of the Federal Building to oppose the Iraq Election Law. She addressed the crowd of demonstrators and the media voicing her opposition at the removal of article 50 and its consequences for the minorities in Iraq in particular the Assyrians. "Democracy in Iraq will fail if it does not treat all members of its society equally under the law." She went on to say, "Assyrians have already paid a heavy price since the beginning of the Iraq War. The liberation of Iraqis must encompass all its citizens, including the Assyrians, and not just the Sunni, the Shi'ites and the Kurds.

Malek-Yonan is frequently interviewed on television and radio programs worldwide giving her assessment of the current situation of the Assyrians in the Middle-East as well as discussing the topic of the hotly debated Assyrian Genocide.

Malek-Yonan’s articles are published globally and translated into many languages. She is a public speaker and is often invited to lecture about the Assyrian Genocide. On 24 February 2007, Malek-Yonan was a keynote speaker at an open forum in Anaheim, California, discussing the persecution of the Copts and the plight of Christians in the Middle East. She has lectured at University of California, Berkeley, University of California, Merced, and Woodbury University among others.

On December 20, 2010, Malek-Yonan, was invited by the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance to speak at a press conference to address the escalating crisis and the deadly attacks on the Assyrians in Iraq. Later in an interview with Fox News, Malek-Yonan described how going to church is a game of Russian Roulette for the Assyrian Christians in Iraq. "They never know when they go to church, if that's going to be the last mass, the last moment of their lives." The press conference was prompted by the 31 October 2010 massacre at "The Lady of Salvation Church" in Baghdad.


In 2006, at the 73rd Annual Assyrian Convention in Chicago, Illinois, the Board of Advisors of the Assyrian American National Federation, Inc., Malek-Yonan was awarded Woman of the Year.

For her numerous contributions as an actress, artist, director, author and activist, in March 2008, Malek-Yonan was awarded for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment by the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC).

At the Assyrian Universal Alliance 26th World Conference in Sydney, Australia, Malek-Yonan was awarded "2009 Assyrian Woman of the Year" in recognition of her substantial contribution to advance the Assyrian national cause by promoting international recognition of the Assyrian Genocide, her extensive efforts in conveying the needs of the Assyrians to the United States government, and achievements in providing individual service to the Assyrian community worldwide.

In 2014, at the 14th annual Beverly Hills Film Festival, Malek-Yonan's screenplay, The Crimson Field, cowritten with her sister, Monica Malek-Yonan, based on her book by the same title, won the Palme d'Or for best screenplay

Charitable work

Malek-Yonan is a founding member of the Assyrian Cultural and Arts Society that has provided scholarships since 2005 to students at Woodbury University's Design School through an annual Assyrian Design Competition.

In 2009 Malek-Yonan became an ambassador for the Swedish-based organization, Assyrians Without Borders.


Rosie Malek-Yonan


Year Title Role Director/Notes
1980 Olives for Breakfast Rosie Nilgun Tölken
1980 Walking Among Angels Angel Alexandria Dante
1990 Separate Rooms Sophie G. Tempert
1996 Up Close & Personal Agent Jon Avnet
1996 For Goodness Sake II 4 Characters Trey Parker (Produced by David Zucker)
2002 Anniversary Maria Shami Samano (Awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association)
2005 Animal Stories Maria Shami Samano
2007 Rendition Nuru El-Ibrahimi Gavin Hood

Documentary films

Year Title Role Director/Notes
Filming The Assyrians Director, writer and producer
2010 Defying Deletion: The Fight Over Iraq’s Nineveh Plains Herself Winner 2011 Detroit Film Festival, 2011 Uptown Film Festival
2006 My Assyrian Nation on the Edge (ISBN 0-9771873-0-6) Herself Writer, Director, Composer, Co-executive Producer

Television series

Year Title Role Director/Notes
1982 Dynasty Stewardess Vincent McEveety
1986 Capitol Recurring Kenn Herman, Corey Allen, Patrick Corbett
1986 Santa Barbara Guest Starring Rick Bennewitz
1989 Murder, She Wrote Air Levant Clerk Vincent McEveety
1989 Divorce Court Terri Ahmadi
1990 Generations Gretchen Edward Mallory
1990 Cop Rock Production Assistant Fred Gerber
1991 Lethal Charm aka Her Wicked Ways Iberian Airline Clerk Richard Michaels
1995 NYPD Blue Ackama Jim Charleston
1995 Babylon 5 ("Confessions and Lamentations") Doctor Jim Kremin
1996 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Tekoa Allan Kroeker
1996/1987 Days of Our Lives Recurring Joseph Behar, Phil Sogard, Randy Robbins, Susan Orlikoff Simon, Herb Stein
1997 The Visitor Maria Frederick King Keller
1997 Diagnosis: Murder Claudia Mores Vincent McEveety
1998 Beverly Hills, 90210 Recurring/Barbara Chip Chalmers, Harvey Frost, Michael Lange, Joel J. Feigenbaum
1998 Profiler Roya John Patterson
1998 Seinfeld Mrs. Phil Andy Ackerman
1999/1997/1996 Chicago Hope Recurring/Cindy Grey Bill D'Elia, Stephen Cragg, Michael Schultz, Jesus Salvador Trevino
1999 St. Michael's Crossing ("CBS Pilot") Wife Robert Butler
1999 Melrose Place Doctor Charles Pratt, Jr.
1999 Entertainment Tonight Self
2000 The Practice Lambert Andy Wolk
2001 Three Sisters ("NBC Pilot") Arab Woman Pam Fryman
2002 CSI: Miami Receptionist Joe Chappelle, Deran Sarafian
2002 JAG Guest Starring (multiple episodes) Bradford May, Hugo Cortina
2003/1999 The Young and the Restless Recurring/Fadel Mike Denney, Sally McDonald
2007 Life Guest Starring/Roya Darvashi Dan Sackheim
2007 ER Nazely Richard Thorpe
2008 Eli Stone Nurse Perry Lang
2008/1991 General Hospital Recurring/Farah Mir Craig McManus, Phideaux Xavier, Phil Sogart, Alan Pultz

Stage credits

Title Role Theatre Director Notes/References
An Assyrian Exodus Assyria Hartford Marriott Rosie Malek-Yonan
William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life Elsie Pasadena Playhouse Jill Mana Capps
Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke Alma Pasadena Playhouse Stan Zales
Detective Story Susan Pasadena Playhouse Darleen Duralia
Bedfellows Miranda Morales Skylight Theatre Chris Fields World Premiere, Drama-Logue Award recipient, Critic's Pick
A Gentleman of Quality Nicole Ivar Theatre Rosie Malek-Yonan
Molière's Le Malade imaginaire The Imaginary Invalid Toinette Gallery Theatre Rosie Malek-Yonan
Speak! Brandy Theatre Geo Dana Coen World Premiere
Soft Dude Doll Theatre Geo Rosie Malek-Yonan Critic's Pick
Garrison Keillor's My Stepmother, Myself Snow Theatre Geo Rosie Malek-Yonan
Double Bound Mori Mise en Scène Theater Herb Rogers World Premiere
Once a Catholic Mother Thomas Aquinas Celtic Arts Center Joe Premell
The Light in the Mill Nancy Theatre Americana Edgar Weinstock World Premiere

Lies Like Truth Denise Theatre Americana John Otrin World Premiere
Stage Door Olga Charles Jehlinger Theatre Lisle Wilson
All Over Town Millie Charles Jehlinger Theatre Ken McGee

Director credits

  • The Assyrian - a documentary film
  • My Assyrian Nation on the Edge - a documentary film
  • Her Master's Voice - co-wrote with Monica Malek-Yonan - Radio Show
  • The Imaginary Invalid - Gallery Theatre, Hollywood
  • A Gentleman of Quality - co-wrote with Monica Malek-Yonan - Ivar Theatre, Hollywood
  • A Matter of the Mind - En Scene Theatre, N. Hollywood
  • Service Please Hold! (from 8x10) - Theatre Geo, HollywoodHernandez, Martin (21–27 October 1994). "Calendar". LA Weekly. 
  • Soft Dude - Theatre Geo, Hollywood
  • Correct Address - Theatre Geo, Hollywood
  • The Ties That Bind - Theatre Geo, Hollywood
  • My Stepmother, Myself - Theatre Geo, Hollywood
  • IMDb
  • ^ Daily News, 26 February 1995
  • Daily News of Los Angeles Simpson Jurors Get Private Performance 26 February 1995
  • The Los Angeles Times 16 April 1995
  • Daily Breeze (Torrance, Ca) Mr. Blackwell has Kind Words for Jury 16 April 1995
  • "Mr. Blackwell has Kind Words for Jury". Daily Breeze (Torrance, CA). 16 April 1995. 
  • ^ Drama-Logue 4–10 August 1994 by Bruce Feld
  • ^
  • Drama-Logue June 1994


The Crimson Field is an historical and literary epic novel, set in Urmia, Iran, Russia and San Francisco, California. It is based on real events and true family chronicles set to the backdrop of the Assyrian Genocide of 1914-1918 in the shadows of World War I where 750,000 Assyrians were massacred by the Ottoman Turks and Kurdish tribes in Ottoman Turkey and in the Assyrian inhabited region of Urmi (Urmia) in northwestern Iran. The book was selected as The Assyrian Event of the Year 2005 by Zinda magazine (22 April 2006). It was features in the Winter 2007's fourth issue of MAKE, a Chicago Literary Magazine and chosen as required reading by Professor Ellene Phufas for a World Literature class for the SUNY system (State University of New York) to represent a work about the Christian Genocides in Asia Minor.

Seyfo: Genocide, Denial and the Right of Recognition is a compilation of articles and speeches presented at conferences held in the European Parliament. Contributors include Rosie Malek-Yonan (author of The Crimson Field), MP Stephen Pound (House of Commons of the United Kingdom), Prof. Ove Bring (Swedish Parliament), Sabri Atman (Director of Seyfo Center, Europe), Mechtild Rothe (Vice President of the European Parliament), Prof. David Guant (Södertörns University College, Sweden), Markus Ferber (EVP-ED, Member of the European Parliament) and Willy Foeutre (Human Rights Without Frontiers).

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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