Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus enjoyed an extraordinary run of success on television for more than two decades, first as one of the stars of "Seinfeld" (NBC, 1989-1998) and later as the multi-Emmy-winner lead in the acclaimed comedies "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (CBS, 2006-2010) and "Veep" (HBO, 2011-19). Born Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus on January 13, 1961 in the New York borough of Manhattan, she was the daughter of writer Judith LeFever and French-born Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, chairman of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services. Her parents divorced a year after her birth, and when Louis-Dreyfus was eight, her mother relocated to Washington, D.C where she married L. Thompson Bowles, dean of the George Washington University Medical School. Bowles' work with Project HOPE took him and his family to various corners of the globe, providing Louis-Dreyfus with a childhood filled with international travel. But she remained in the United States long enough to graduate from the Holton-Arms School, which she followed with theater and performance studies at Northwestern University. While there, she also performed with the Waa-Mu (later Mee-Ow) Show, an improvisational comedy troupe that also counted fellow "Saturday Night Live" alums Seth Meyers and Ana Gasteyer among its former members. She also appeared with Chicago's famed Second City improv group, as well as the Practical Theatre Company, an improv group founded by fellow Northwestern student Brad Hall. The group's 1982 show, "The Golden 50th Anniversary Jubilee," caught the attention of "Saturday Night Live" producers Dick Ebersol and Bob Tischler, who hired Louis-Dreyfus, Hall and castmates Gary Kroeger and Paul Barosse to join the NBC series' main cast. Louis-Dreyfus dropped out of Northwestern to appear on "SNL" in 1982, and would remain with the series until 1985. Though her tenure there was brief, she did meet Larry David, who was writing for the show during her third and final year. Upon leaving "SNL," Louis-Dreyfus married Hall in 1987 and made appearances in several feature films, including Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986) and "Soul Man" (1986), and co-starred on the short-lived NBC sitcom "Day By Day" (1988-1990). When the series ran its course, Louis-Dreyfus was tapped by David and comedian Jerry Seinfeld to join the cast of their sitcom, "Seinfeld," which lacked a central female character amidst its trio of male leads. As the vain, dance-challenged Elaine Benes, Louis-Dreyfus more than held her own against Seinfeld, fellow comic Michael Richards and actor Jason Alexander, and netted seven Emmy nominations, winning one in 1996, as well as a Golden Globe in 1994 and three Screen Actors Guild Awards in 1995, 1997 and 1998. Between seasons, Louis-Dreyfus made occasional forays into feature films, most notably in Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry" (1997) and the Disney/Pixar animated film "A Bug's Life" (1998) but "Seinfeld" remained her most prominent showcase until its much-celebrated finale in 1998. She made her first foray as star of her own series in 2002 with "Watching Ellie" (NBC, 2002-03), a sitcom created by Hall and starring Louis-Dreyfus as a jazz singer, but the show garnered mixed reviews and was canceled in its second season. Undaunted, she returned to television in 2006, this time for CBS and the sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine" (2006-2010), about a divorced woman balancing her job, family relationships and a friendship with her ex-husband (Clark Gregg) and his new wife. "Christine" proved to be a substantial hit that not only dispelled the "Seinfeld curse" - so named because of the run of bad career luck experienced by Richards and Alexander - but also confirmed her status as a leading comic talent on television. She would net five consecutive Emmy nominations, winning one in 2006, and when the series ran its course in 2010, Louis-Dreyfus settled into a remarkable streak of creative and career successes, beginning in 2011 with "Veep." The HBO comedy series, created by Armando Ianucci and based on his UK series "The Thick of It" (BBC Four/Two, 2005-2012), starred Louis-Dreyfus as the foul-mouthed, all-too-human Vice President (and later, presidential candidate) of the United States, and earned nearly universal positive reviews for its acerbic writing and Louis-Dreyfus's performance. She would set records with six Emmy Awards for "Veep," as well as two Screen Actors Guild Awards, which brought her total of the latter laurel to nine. Between "Veep" seasons, Louis-Dreyfus kept busy with feature films, including a rare leading turn in Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said" (2013), with Louis-Dreyfus as a masseuse caught between a friendship with a client (Catherine Keener) and a relationship with her ex (James Gandolfini). In the midst of so much praise, Louis-Dreyfus revealed that she had breast cancer in 2017, but underwent treatment and announced that she was free of the disease in 2018. The following year, she returned to Disney/Pixar to lend her voice to their animated feature "Onward."