A native of Sydney, Australia, with a Greek heritage unmistakable from his "exotic" look, actor Thaao Penghlis claims one of the most familiar countenances in all of daytime drama, thanks largely to his ongoing portrayals of Antony DiMera and his twin brother, Andre DiMera, on NBC's seminal Days of Our Lives. Penghlis originally had no intention of entering show business, and in fact planned to establish himself as an archaeologist, but instead embarked on a career in diplomacy, which carried him to the United Nations in New York. A chance meeting with the acting instructor-cum-director Milton Katselas changed that, as Katselas saw in Penghlis tremendous dramatic potential and encouraged the young man to formally study theater. For a time, Penghlis worked as an antique dealer by day and attended acting classes at night, then accepted a position as assistant to Katselas and followed the professor to Los Angeles, where he began to direct theater and accept roles in films and on television.
Following appearances in the films Slow Dancing in the Big City (1978), The Bell Jar (1979), and Altered States (1980), Penghlis landed the role of Victor Cassadine on ABC's General Hospital -- a portrayal so popular that the station reportedly received thousands of letters of complaint following the character's departure. In response, the network attempted to bring Penghlis back, but by that point he had already signed with NBC for Days. Penghlis' resumé also includes a long-running portrayal of Nicholas Black on the late-'80s revival of Mission: Impossible, and roles in the features Memories of Midnight and The Mirror.