Joe Manganiello and his girlfriend, Caitlin O’Connor, and little Bubbles at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan

COAF Board Member and Acclaimed Actor Joe Manganiello Takes Pilgrimage to Armenia


YEREVAN/LOS ANGELES — Actor, producer, director, author and reality competition host Joe Manganiello recently embarked upon a deeply personal and transformative journey to his ancestral homeland of Amenia, with the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF).

Manganiello, who is now a board member of COAF, received the Humanitarian Award at the organization’s 20th anniversary gala in New York last year.

Manganiello’s decision to embark upon the pilgrimage was born out of profound introspection and a desire to deepen his sense of identity. While delving into the rich tapestry of his Armenian ancestry, he sought to weave the threads of the past into the fabric of his present.

Joe Manganiello and Caitlin O’Connor (and Bubbles) tour the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute in Yerevan

Manganiello has publicly shared his family’s story as a way to help heal generational trauma and validate the atrocities that took place against the Armenians in 1915. A survivor of the Armenian Genocide, his maternal great-grandmother, Terviz “Rose” Darakjian, gave birth to Joe’s grandmother, Sirarpi, in a refugee camp.

The intensely personal journey gave Manganiello a chance to walk in his ancestors’ footsteps, visit the places that shaped his family history, and connect with the culture, traditions, and people integral to his identity.

Along with his girlfriend, Caitlin O’Connor, and pet dog, Bubbles, Manganiello toured Armenia for 10 days in May.

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After touring Yerevan’s Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Manganiello planted a tree at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial complex in honor of Terviz and Sirapri, not only to commemorate his great-grandmother and grandmother as victims and survivors but also to symbolize life, renewal, and the enduring human spirit.

Among the trip’s highlights was a visit to the state-of-the-art COAF Smart Center in the Lori region of Armenia. At one of COAF’s Child and Family Centers in Armavir, Manganiello joined children in a finger-painting activity and learned about the many services provided to rural families. He attended dinner at Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan’s private residence, and met with Zareh Sinanyan, High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs.

Manganiello, who is an Emmy winning voice actor, holds a BFA in acting from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama. He can most recently be seen as the host of NBC’s brand-new hit series “Deal or No Deal Island,” which was just renewed for a second season.

Last year, he starred opposite Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson in the feature film “The Kill Room,” and he is currently putting the finishing touches on the “Official 50 Year History of Dungeons & Dragons” documentary series he directed and produced for eOne and Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro.

Joe Manganiello with the young children visiting the COAF Smart Center

As an actor, Manganiello is probably best known for his roles as the werewolf Alcide Herveaux on HBO’s “True Blood,” as Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike” and “Magic Mike XXL,” as Pee Wee Herman’s best friend in “Pee Wee’s Big Holiday,” and as super-villain “Deathstroke” in Zack Snyder’s “Justice League.” He occasionally returns to his roots on stage, the last time being a Yale Repertory production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” in which he played Stanley Kowalski. He will next be seen opposite Vince Vaughn, Susan Sarandon, and Lorraine Bracco in the comedy film “Nonnas,” set to be released later this year.

He financed, produced & directed the award-winning documentary “La Bare,” and produced “Bottom of the 9th,” “Shoplifters of the World” and “Archenemy.”

Topics: COAF

Aside from his film work, Manganiello has worked over the years as a paid consultant for Dungeons & Dragons which led to him being recruited to write and develop their New York bestselling series of novels, Dragonlance for TV/streaming as a showrunner.


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