Rosie Malek-Yonan (Assyrian: ܪܘܙܝ ܡܠܟ ܝܘܢܢ; Persian: رزی ملک یونان) (born July 4, 1965) is an Assyrian actress, artist, director, author and human rights activist.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Rosie Malek-Yonan is a descendant of one of the oldest and most prominent Assyrian families, tracing her Assyrian roots back nearly eleven centuries. The Malek family or tribe came from the Assyrian village of Geogtapah, Urmi (also known as Urmia), a region in 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 1,100 CE.
In the 17th century, Geogtapah became the setting for the famous tragic love story of Aslee from the House of Malek and Karam, a commoner. The tale has been recounted in numerous Assyrian and Russian books. The Aslee and Karam Opera was composed in 1912 by the Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov. This tragic love story has been compared to that of Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet. A beautiful stone well was erected in the village of Geogtapah in Aslee’s memory after her heartrending and untimely death.
Rosie’s father, George Malek-Yonan (born 1924), 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 or Majlis of Iran. This was a huge accomplishment for a people who had been without a formal country since the fall of the Assyrian Empire. He also held the title of Champion of Champions in Iran for three years.
Rosie’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 up until the end of the Pahlavi Dynasty.
During the Assyrian Genocide of 1914-1918, Rosie’s grandparents left their ancestral homeland in Urmi, Iran, during the Great Exodus from Urmi. The Malek-Yonan family fled to Mesopotamia where her father was born in Baghdad, while Rosie’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. Rosie has a younger sister, Monica, who works very closely with her on most of her projects. Rosie’s great-great-uncle, Dr. Jesse Malek-Yonan represented the Assyrians of Urmi during the Paris Peace Talks in 1919 after World War I.
Rosie 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 prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the historic Pasadena Playhouse. Her plays have been produced and performed on stage in Los Angeles.
Rosie made her television debut in 1982 on Aaron Spelling‘s television series, Dynasty, immediately 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 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 2008, Rosie joined the cast of ABC’s General Hospital as Farah Mir.
In 2006, at the 73rd Annual Assyrian Convention in Chicago, Illinois, the Board of Advisors of the Assyrian American National Federation, Inc., selected Rosie Malek-Yonan as Woman of the Year.
She 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.
For her numerous contributions as an actress, artist, director, author and activist, in March 2008, Rosie Malek-Yonan was awarded for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment by the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC).
In 2009 she became an ambassador for the Swedish based organization, Assyrians Without Borders.
At the Assyrian Universal Alliance 26th World Conference in Sydney, Australia, she was named the 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.
She 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 is frequently interviewed on television and radio programs worldwide including Australia’s ABC National Radio giving her assessment of the current situation of the Assyrians in the Middle-East as well as discussing the topic of the Assyrian Genocide. Her articles are published globally and translated into many languages. She is also a public speaker and is often invited to lecture about the Assyrian Genocide. She has lectured at University of Berkeley, University of California at Merced and Woodbury University among others.
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 epic and historical 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 passionate testimony and plea to the U.S. government, ultimately prompted Congressman Christopher 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 being released in Europe with French, German, Swedish and Dutch subtitles (ISBN 978-0-9771873-31). On 7 August 2008, the documentary film was screened at the Australian Parliament of New South Wales in Sydney. Among the attendees were Rev. Hon. Fred Nile MLC, Hon. David Clarke MLC, Senator Helen Coonan and Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
In 2008 Rosie 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.
Selected theatre reviews
|“||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.||”|
– Martin Hernandez, LA Weekly
|“||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.||”|
– Bruce Feld
|“||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…||”|
– Bruce Feld
- Olives For Breakfast (1980s) – Starring as Rosie – Directed by Nilgun Tölken
- Walking Among Angels (1980s) – Starring as Angel – Directed by Alexandria Dante
- Separate Rooms (1990) – Starring as Sophie – Directed by G. Tempert
- Up Close And Personal (1996) – Co-Starring – Directed by Jon Avnet
- For Goodness Sake II (1996) – Co-Starring – Directed by Trey Parker, Produced by David Zucker
- Anniversary (2002) (Awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) – Starring as Maryam – Directed by Shammi Samano
- Animal Stories (2005) – Starring as Maryam – Directed by Shammi Samano
- Rendition (2007) – Nuru El-Ibrahimi – Directed by Gavin Hood
TV filmography (episodics, pilots, MOW)
- Dynasty (The Search) (1982) – Co-Starring – Directed by Vincent McEveety
- Murder, She Wrote (Appointment in Athens) (1989) – Co-Starring – Directed by Vincent McEveety
- Cop Rock (Bang the Potts Slowly) (1990) – Co-Starring – Directed by Fred Gerber
- Lethal Charm aka Her Wicked Ways (MOW) (1991) – Co-Starring – Directed by Richard Michaels
- NYPD Blue (Curt Russell) (1995) – Ackama – Directed by Jim Charleston
- Babylon 5 (Confessions and Lamentations) (1995) – Doctor – Directed by Kevin Cremin
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (The Assignment) (1996) – Tekoa – Directed by Allan Kroeker
- Chicago Hope (Last One Out, Get the Lights) (1996) – Recurring/Cindy Grey – Directed by Bill D’Elia
- Chicago Hope (Second Chance) (1997) – Recurring/Cindy Grey – Directed by Stephen Cragg
- Chicago Hope (The Day of the Rope) (1997) – Recurring/Cindy Grey – Directed by Michael Schultz
- The Visitor (The Black Box) (1997) – Maria – Directed by Frederick King Keller
- Diagnosis: Murder (In Defense of Murder) (1997) – Claudia Mores – Directed by Vincent McEveety
- Beverly Hills, 90210 (Budget Cuts) (1998) – Recurring/Barbara – Directed by Chip Chalmers
- Beverly Hills, 90210 (The Fundamental Things Apply) (1998) – Recurring/Barbara – Directed by Harvey Frost
- Beverly Hills, 90210 (All That Glitters) (1998) – Recurring/Barbara – Directed by Michael Lange
- Beverly Hills, 90210 (Making Amends) (1998) – Recurring/Barbara – Directed by Joel J. Feigenbaum
- Profiler (Victims of Victims) (1998) – Roya – Directed by John Patterson
- Seinfeld (The Strongbox) (1998) – Mrs. Phil – Directed by Andy Ackerman
- ST. Michael’s Crossing (CBS Pilot) (1999) – Co-Starring – Directed by Robert Butler
- Melrose Place (Asses to Ashes) (1999) – Co-Starring – Directed by Charles Pratt, Jr.
- Chicago Hope (White Rabbit) (1999) – Recurring/Cindy Grey – Directed by Jesus Salvador Trevino
- Entertainment Tonight (1999) – Self
- The Practice (Checkmates) (2000) – Lambert – Directed by Andy Wolk
- Three Sisters (Pilot) (NBC Pilot) (2001) – Co-Starring – Directed by Pam Fryman
- CSI: Miami (Camp Fear) (2002) – Co-Starring – Directed by Joe Chappelle for Deran Serafian
- JAG (In Country) (2002) – Guest Starring – Directed by Hugo Cortina
- JAG (Lawyers, Guns and Money) (2003) – Rosa – Directed by Bradford May
- Life (A Civil War) (2007) – Roya Darvashi – Directed by Dan Sackheim
- ER (Family Business) (2007) – Nazely – Directed by Richard Thorpe
- Eli Stone (Happy Birthday Nate) (2008) – Co-Starring – Directed by Perry Lang
TV filmography (soap operas)
- Days of our Lives – Recurring – Directed by Herb Stein, Joseph Behar, Phil Sogard, Randy Robbins, and Susan Orlikoff Simon
- The Young and the Restless – Guest Starring/multiple episodes – Directed by Sally McDonald and Mike Denney
- Capitol – Recurring – Directed by Kenn Herman, Corey Allen and Patrick Corbett
- Generations – Gretchen – Directed by Edward Mallory
- Santa Barbara – Guest Starring/multiple episodes – Directed by Rick Bennewitz
- General Hospital (1980’s and 1990s) – Guest Starring/multiple episodes – Directed by Phil Sogart and Alan Pultz
- General Hospital (2008) – Recurring/Farah Mir – Directed by Craig McManus, Phideaux Xavier
- My Assyrian Nation on the Edge (2006) (ISBN 0-9771873-0-6) – Pearlida Pictures, A Monica Malek-Yonan Film, based on a Congressional Testimony by Rosie Malek-Yonan
- The Assyrians – (In Production) – Pearlida Pictures – Directed by Rosie Malek-Yonan, Produced by Monica Malek-Yonan
- William Saroyan‘s The Time of Your Life – Elsie – Pasadena Playhouse – Directed by Jill Mana Capps
- Tennessee Williams‘ Summer and Smoke – Alma – Pasadena Playhouse – Directed by Stan Zales
- Detective Story – Susan – Pasadena Playhouse – Directed by Darleen Duralia
- Bedfellows (A World Premiere, Drama-Logue Award recipient and Critic’s Pick)- Miranda Morales – Skylight Theatre – Directed by Chris Fields for the Echo Theatre Co.
- A Gentleman Of Quality – Nicole – Ivar Theatre – Directed by Rosie Malek-Yonan
- Molier‘s Le Malade imaginaire The Imaginary Invalid – Toinette – Gallery Theatre – Directed by Rosie Malek-Yonan
- Speak! (A World Premiere) – Brandy – Theatre Geo – Directed by Dana Coen
- Soft Dude (Critic’s Pick) – Doll – Theatre Geo – Directed by Rosie Malek-Yonan
- Garrison Keillor‘s My Stepmother, Myself – Snow – Theatre Geo – Directed by Rosie Malek-Yonan
- Double Bound (A World Premiere) – Mori – En Scene Theatre – Directed by Herb Rogers
- Once A Catholic – Mother Thomas Aquinas- Celtic Arts Center – Directed by Joe Premell
- The Light In The Mill (A World Premiere) – Nancy – Theatre Americana – Directed by Edgar Weinstock
- Lies Like Truth (A World Premiere) – Denise – Theatre Americana – Directed by John Otrin
- Stage Door – Olga – Charles Jehlinger Theatre – Directed by Lisle Wilson
- All Over Town – Millie – Charles Jehlinger Theatre – Directed by Ken McGee
Additional stage credits
The Seagull (Nina) – Blythe Spirit (Madame Arcati) – Two Gentlemen Of Verona (Julia) – A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream (Hermia) – The Merchant Of Venice (Portia) – Charlie’s Aunt (Kitty) – Miss Julie (Julie) – Moon Children (Kathy) – Bad Habits (Ruth Benson) – Broadway (Grace) – Twigs (Celia)
- The Assyrian – A Documentary Film/Rosie Malek-Yonan
- My Assyrian Nation on the Edge – A Documentary Film/Rosie Malek-Yonan
- 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 8×10) – Theatre Geo, Hollywood
- Soft Dude – Theatre Geo, Hollywood
- Correct Address – Theatre Geo, Hollywood
- The Ties That Bind – Theatre Geo, Hollywood
- My Stepmother, Myself – Theatre Geo, Hollywood
- The Crimson Field by Rosie Malek-Yonan
Pearlida Publishing, USA
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, Kurds and Persians 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 (April 22, 2006). It was also featured in the Winter 2007’s fourth issue of MAKE, a Chicago Literary Magazine. The Crimson Field was chosen as required readings 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
Seyfo Center, Netherlands
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 (Södertöms University Colledge, Sweden), Markus Ferber (EVP-ED, Member of the European Parliament) and Willy Foeutre (Human Rights Without Frontiers).
- Enokian Hits the Nail Right on the Head,  2005. Zinda Magazine 23 July
- Winner of the Crimson Field International Book Cover Competition,  2005. Zinda Magazine 23 July
- Nuri Kino in the City of Angels,  2006. Zinda Magazine 22 April
- The Assyrian Festival: One Cross. One Flag. One Nation,  2006. Zinda Magazine 13 May
- Annual Assyrian Design Fashion Scholarship Competition,  2007. Zinda Magazine 17 February
- Assyrian Genocide Memorial Wall,  7 May,  2007. 21 March
- Deliver Us From Evil,  2007. 21 March
- The Assyrian Parade, 2007. Tehran International Weekly Magazine, Issue No. 539 27 April
- Moon Over Assyria,  2007. 20 May,  24 May.
- America Welcomes Sabri Atman,  2007. 12 November. 
- Turkey’s Dark Secret Resonating the Airwaves,  2008. 12 March.  
- Genocide Unfolding: Death of a Catholic Assyrian Archbishop in Iraq, 2008.  18 March.  
- USA är passiv i assyriernas fråga, 2008.  20 March.
- SEYFO – LE GÉNOCIDE CONTINUE: Décès d’un archevêque assyrien catholique en Irak, 2008  23 March.
- Another Priest Killed: the Assyrian Genocide Continues in Iraq, 2008.  5 April.
- Encore un prêtre tué: le génocide assyrien continue en Irak,  2008. 6 April.
- Children of Assyria, 2008.  25 November.
- Aishu Auraay: A Missing Seven-Year-Old Assyrian Boy, 2009.  12 March.
- Turkish Hackers Facilitate Assyrian Book Sales, 2009.  1 June.
- SUNY Days for ‘The Crimson Field’, 2010.  24 January.
- An Assyrian Tragedy, 2010.  23 August.
- The Baghdad Church Massacre: Waiting for Godot!, 2010. co-writer, Soner Onder  23 November.
Lectures, speeches and conferences
- My Journey a series of lectures presented across the U.S. that began in Boston, MA on September 1, 2005 and ended in Northern California in December 2006
- Assyrian Genocide 1914-1918 (U.C. Berkeley, CA), 2006. 1 March
- Rosie Malek-Yonan’s Congressional Statement (Washington, D.C.), 2006. 30 June
- I am an Assyrian Woman (Tarzana, CA), 2006 12 August
- A Continuous Slow Genocide (U.C. Merced, CA), 2006. 28 October
- The Assyrians (Tarzana, CA), 2007. The Unveiling of the Assyrian Genocide Memorial Wall, 17 February
- Deliver Us From Evil (Anaheim, CA), 2007. TBNTV, 24 February
- The Assyrian Parade (Tarzana, CA), 2007. The Assyrian Festival, 14 April
- We Are the Ones for Whom We’ve Been Waiting (Chicago), 2007. The Assyrian Universal Alliance Foundation’s 23rd Annual Scholarship Dinner, 15 July
- The Assyrian Story (Turlock, CA), 2007. 29 October
- Assyrian Author Addresses British House of Lords on Genocide, 2008. Rosie Malek-Yonan’s Statements to the House of Lords 12 March and House of Commons 24 April
- Women in the Middle-East (San Jose, CA), 2008. 28 September
- An Assyrian Exodus (Hartford, Connecticut), 2008. 30 September
- Iraq Election Law and the Removal of Article 50 (Los Angeles, CA), 2008. 5 October