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This weekend in New York City, the Greek America Foundation is holding its second Innovation Conference. Founded in 1997 to "promote, preserve, and perpetuate the Greek culture, history, and heritage in America", tonight the Foundation is honoring the people it has named the "40 Under 40"- 40 young Greek-Americans from various walks of life they consider "young leaders who are successful at what they do, and simultaneously make tremendous contributions to their communities and to the world around them." And one of Phineas and Ferb's creative team is among them.
Born in California to Greek immigrant parents, Aliki Theofilopoulos Grafft's career in animation started at Walt Disney Feature Animation, where she worked as an animator on such films as Hercules and Tarzan, honing her craft with various animation legends. After working in storyboard and design capacities on shows such as ChalkZone, Johnny Test, and Catscratch and writing and storyboarding a few test pilot shorts of her own, Aliki was hired as a writer and storyboard artist on Phineas and Ferb in 2006, working as a cleanup artist on one of the earliest storyboards, "Flop Starz", before being assigned to an episode of her own, "Mom's Birthday", alongside Kent Osborne. Since then, she's written and storyboarded such memorable episodes including “I, Brobot”, “That Sinking Feeling”, “Finding Mary McGuffin”, “Unfair Science Fair”, “Hail Doofania!”, “Suddenly Suzy”, “Split Personality”, “Excaliferb”, and “Tri-Stone Area”, to name a few (and yes, I realize that's quite a few). In addition, she can be heard as the voice of Mandy in "Thaddeus and Thor" and "Perry The Actorpus", and has co-written a number of songs for the series, including "Come Home Perry", for which she was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award.
Aliki has shared her interesting life story and some amusing anecdotes about her experiences working on Phineas and Ferb in a number of interviews, including one with the Greek edition of Marie Claire magazine and one conducted by yours truly for this very website. I congratulate her on being named a representative of young Greeks in America. I'd call her a gladiator, but as we all know, gladiators were Roman, not Greek.
The profiles of the Greek America 40 Under 40, including Aliki, can be accessed on the Greek America Foundation website.