Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus (born January 13, 1961 in New York City) is an American actor and comedian (of French Jewish ancestry), best known for her work on Seinfeld and Veep.
A Second City veteran, she started in the Practical Theatre Company in Chicago before getting cast on Saturday Night Live in 1982. Despite being overshadowed by the likes of Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo (and later, Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, and Martin Short), Louis-Dreyfus managed to make the most of her time on the show. Her notable recurring characters include Patty-Lynn Hunnsucker (a teenage commentator for "Saturday Night News"note ), Weather Woman (a parody of Storm in the recurring sketch, "The Interesting Four"), April May June (a female televangelist), and Consuela (a Hispanic TV show host), and her celebrity impressions include Jo Anne Worley, Andie MacDowell, Linda Ellerbee (back before she did Nick News), Linda Ronstadt, and Marie Osmond (in the infamous Christmas sketch where Marie and Donny Osmond make out). Louis-Dreyfus even found love on SNL; her husband is former cast member Brad Hall, who was an anchor for the "Saturday Night News" segment for season eight and parts of season nine. She was the first female former castmember to host SNL, hosting the penultimate episode of season 31 (2005-06).
Her biggest success was as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld. She has also acted in such movies as National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Hannah and Her Sisters and Deconstructing Harry. She is a 11-time Emmy Award winner (eight for acting, three for producing) and the only actress who won for three different comedy series: Seinfeld, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep. That last one also gave her the current record for the most Emmy wins for playing a single character, with six. Along with the two she got from Seinfeld, she's tied with Cloris Leachman for the most acting Emmys.
Oh, and if you're wondering: Yes, she's related to the Louis-Dreyfus family of the Louis Dreyfus Company, a.k.a. one of the "Five Great Fortunes of France". Her late father Gérard "William" Louis-Dreyfus was the chairman of family conglomerate for decades, and left Julia with a massive fortune that meant she didn't have to work a day in her life. That she chose to not only work, but become one of the hardest-working actresses in American comedy for over 40 years, has earned her a lot of respect in the comedy community.
She has appeared in:
- Saturday Night Live (1982-1985)
- Troll (1986)
- Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
- Soul Man (1986)
- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
- Seinfeld (1990-98)
- North (1994)
- Fathers Day (1997)
- Deconstructing Harry (1997)
- A Bug's Life (1998)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000, 2001, 2009)
- The Fairly OddParents! (2005)
- The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006-10)
- Enough Said (2011)
- Veep (2012-19)
- Planes (2013)
- Onward (2020)
- Marvel Cinematic Universe (2021 — present) as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021)
- Black Widow (2021) note
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)
- Thunderbolts (2024)
- You People (2023)
Tropes associated with her work include:
- As Herself: In 1996's Good Money and in several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
- Big Applesauce: Her career is strongly associated with the Big Apple. Broke through on TV on SNL, played Elaine on Seinfeld,note starred in Woody Allen movies... Plus, she was born there.
- The Danza: "Julia" on the "Ben Treats" episode of Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
- Expy: While the character is largely seen as autobiographical, Tina Fey has also cited her as an inspiration for her 30 Rock character Liz Lemon. Appropiately enough, Louis-Dreyfus played Lemon in one of 30 Rock's live episodes.
- Get Out!: After all, it is her Catchphrase.
- Ms. Fanservice: Remember the dress she wore to the 1995 Emmy Awards? Or the scene from the debut episode of Watching Ellie of her running around her apartment and, with her back to the camera, taking off her bra? Hell, there was a time during Seinfeld's run when Elaine's hair was considered sexy. Her clothes-free cover for Rolling Stone in 2014 shows she can still bring the fanservice as time goes on.
- Older Than They Look: She was in her 50s when on Veep but could easily pass for a decade younger.
- Romance on the Set: Of SNL with her husband Brad Hall, whom she met at Northwestern University.
- "Sesame Street" Cred: Appeared on Sesame Street's All Star 25th Birthday: Stars and Streets Forever in 1994, and voiced "Miss Felter" on the 1997 Hey Arnold! episode "Helga's Boyfriend/Crush on Teacher."
- Sitcom: Along with Seinfeld, of course, Watching Ellie, The New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep.
- What Could Have Been: Among the roles she was apparently considered for were Madison in Splash and Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives.