Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Active - 1986 - Present  |   Born - Jan 13, 1961 in New York, New York, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Like other Saturday Night Live alumni, Julia Louis-Dreyfus made the move to feature films, but she achieved true stardom on TV as Seinfeld's inimitable Elaine Benes. Born to an affluent family and raised in Washington, D.C., Louis-Dreyfus studied theater at Northwestern University. Along with working as a member of The Practical Theater Company, Louis-Dreyfus cut her sharp comic teeth as part of Chicago's Second City troupe. She soon followed in the footsteps of prior Second City-ers John Belushi and Bill Murray, joining the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live from 1982 to 1985 (along with Northwestern classmate and eventual husband Brad Hall). Louis-Dreyfus bounced to films with appearances in Soul Man (1986), Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), before returning to TV on the second episode of a low-rated NBC primetime sitcom starring comedian Jerry Seinfeld in 1990.

As Jerry's ex-girlfriend-turned-pal Elaine, Louis-Dreyfus proved that she could hold her own as the sole female member of Seinfeld's do-nothing quartet of neurotic New Yorkers. With her "big wall of hair," signature shoes and penchant for over-enthusiastic exclamations, Louis-Dreyfus' Elaine was no mere foil, but rather a full participant in the show's increasingly popular, irony-laden comic shenanigans. Along with winning an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1996, Louis-Dreyfus won the Golden Globe in 1994 and the Screen Actor's Guild award in 1997 and 1998. During Seinfeld's phenomenally successful nine-year run, Louis-Dreyfus also played supporting roles in North (1994), Father's Day (1997), and as a libidinous sister in Woody Allen's Deconstructing Harry (1997). After Seinfeld went off the air in 1998, Dreyfus took some time off from appearing in front of the camera to spend time with her husband and two sons, but she did the voice of Princess Atta in the Pixar animated blockbuster A Bug's Life (1998).

Louis-Dreyfus subsequently returned to TV as the Blue Fairy in the TV movie musical Gepetto (2000) before attempting another sitcom. After two of her Seinfeld co-stars failed to make their own series fly in 2000 and 2001, Louis-Dreyfus opted for a non-traditional approach, playing a struggling lounge singer in the real time, laugh track free Watching Ellie in 2002. Louis-Dreyfus would continue to remain one of the most beloved comedic actresses in TV, starring on The New Adventures of Old Christine, and the political satire Veep.

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Factsheet

  • Her family runs the Louis Dreyfus Group, a French conglomerate.
  • While at Northwestern University, was the only female member of an improv comedy troupe under the direction of Brad Hall (whom she later married).
  • Performed as a member of Chicago's Second City improv troupe.
  • Met Seinfeld co-creator Larry David when the two worked for Saturday Night Live.
  • Her character was not included in the original Seinfeld pilot; NBC executives felt that a female perspective was needed.
  • Concealed two real-life pregnancies, usually with a roomy overcoat, while filming Seinfeld.
  • Honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2010; her name was misspelled on the star, omitting both the "o" and the hyphen from her name.
  • With her Emmy win for Veep in 2012, she became the first woman to win an acting Emmy for three separate shows; her win in 2016 gave her the most wins in the Best Actress in a Comedy Series category, ahead of Mary Tyler Moore and Candice Bergen.