Maya Khabira Rudolph (born July 27, 1972) is an American actress and comedian best known for her many roles on Saturday Night Live. Her mother, Minnie Riperton (the same one known for the song "Loving You"), was a soul singer, and her father, Richard Rudolph, was a music producer, so Maya practically grew up in the studio. Her godmother is rhythm-and-blues singer Teena Marie. Her mother died of breast cancer when Maya was very young.
In the 1990s, Maya was the backing singer and occasional keyboardist for rock band The Rentals, appeared in a few films and TV shows, such as As Good as It Gets and Gattaca, and was a member of Improv comedy troupe The Groundlings.
Maya Rudolph's big break came in 2000, when she joined Saturday Night Live, becoming the first half-black, half-white cast member, the fourth black female cast member (after Yvonne Hudson from season six, Danitra Vance from season eleven, and Ellen Cleghorne from season 17), and the first black female cast member to actually be popular (Hudson was a background player, Vance was a decent performer but was often relegated to stereotypical roles, and Ellen Cleghorne did attain some popularity on SNL, but she was overshadowed by the male cast members and has not done anything of note after her tenure on the show). From 2000 to 2007, she did many celebrity impressions (most famously Donatella "GETHOOOOOOOOOOUT" Versace), original characters, and even sang. Her Ambiguously Brown appearance and vocal talents made her a chameleon, as she played real and fictional characters of every race and ethnicity — and sometimes, she even played men (such as Scott Joplin and Lorne Michaels).
Rudolph was planning on leaving the show after the 32nd season (2006-2007), but stayed on without a contract for the 33rd season (2007-2008). Unfortunately, it was only for the first four episodes. When Saturday Night Live was put on hiatus due to the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, Rudolph quietly left the show and was replaced with Casey Wilson when the strike ended and production continued. Rudolph did come back to cameo a few episodes and even host (season 37; February 18, 2012; musical guest: Sleigh Bells), becoming one in a handful of former female cast members to come back and host (joining Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Molly Shannon, and, later, Rudolph's Bridesmaids co-star, Kristen Wiig).
Outside SNL, Maya Rudolph has appeared in several movies and TV shows, such as Bridesmaids, where she was joined by fellow SNL comedian Kristen Wiig. In 2011, she began starring alongside Christina Applegate and Will Arnett in the sitcom Up All Night. Maya lives with film director Paul Thomas Anderson and their four children.
- Chicago Hope (1996-1997) as Nurse Leah Martine
- As Good as It Gets (1997) as Police Woman
- Gattaca (1997) as Delivery Nurse
- City of Angels (2000) as Nurse Grace Patterson
- Saturday Night Live (2000-2007) in various roles (see below for celebrity impersonations)
- 50 First Dates (2004) as Stacy
- Idiocracy (2005) as Rita
- A Prairie Home Companion (2006) as the Stage Manager
- Shrek the Third (2007) as Rapunzel (voice role)
- The Simpsons (2007 episode "Homer of Seville") as Julia (voice role)
- Away We Go (2009) as Verona de Tessant
- Grown Ups (2010) and Deanne McKenzie
- MacGruber (2010) as Casey
- Bridesmaids (2011) as Lillian
- Up All Night (2011-2012) as Ava Alexander
- Friends with Kids (2012) as Leslie
- Turbo (2013) as Burn
- Big Hero 6 (2014) as Aunt Cass
- The Way, Way Back (2013) as Caitlyn
- The Angry Birds Movie (2016) as Matilda (voice role)
- The Emoji Movie (2017) as Smiler
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2017, guest star) as Dionne Warwick
- The Good Place (2018) as Gen, The All Knowing Judge
- Forever 2018 (2018) as June Hoffman
- The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part (2019) as Finn and Bianca's mom
SNL celebrity impersonations (selected)
- Barbra Streisand
- Christina Aguilera
- Condoleezza Rice
- Diana Ross
- Halle Berry
- Jennifer Lopez
- Lisa Kudrow
- Lucy Liu
- Michelle Obama
- Nelly Furtado
- Oprah Winfrey
- Paris Hilton
- Scott Joplin
- Tina Turner
- Tyra Banks
- Vanessa Hudgens
- Whitney Houston
- Ambiguously Brown: Her father was a white Ashkenazi Jew and her mother was African-American. Referenced in The Good Place when she goes to Earth for the first time and is quite surprised to find that "Apparently I'm black."
- Attractive Bent-Gender / Bifauxnen: As Scott Joplin and other male roles.
- The Cast Show Off: Whenever she sings.
- Dead Guy Junior: Two of Rudolph's children are named after her late mother, Minnie Riperton: her oldest, Pearl Minnie, and her youngest, Minnie Ida.
- Ms. Fanservice: Spent years on SNL as the go-to "sexy one."
- Parental Love Song: Her mother's most famous song, "Lovin' You," was written about a then-infant Maya. Near the end of the song, Riperton repeatedly sings Maya's name.
- Plays Great Ethnics: Her Ambiguously Brown looks let her play any ethnicity.
- Woman of a Thousand Voices