Childhood & Early Life
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was born on 13 January 1961, in New York City. She is the eldest daughter of Judith, who was a special needs tutor and author, and Gerard, a French-born former chairman of the famous ‘Louis-Dreyfus Group.’
She is the great-great-granddaughter of businessman Leopold Louis-Dreyfus, who founded the international ‘Louis-Dreyfus Group.’
Her parents got divorced when she was one year old. When she was eight, her mother married L. Thompson Bowles, the dean of ‘George Washington University Medical School.’ She spent her childhood in many countries and states due to the nature of her step-father’s work.
She attended ‘Holton Arms School’ in Bethesda, Maryland. She got herself enrolled at ‘Northwestern University’ to study theater but dropped out before graduating to pursue a career in acting.
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Julia joined ‘The Practical Theater Company’ in Chicago. After joining the group, she appeared in a drama titled ‘The Second City.’
At the age of 21, she became part of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and remained a part of the show from 1982 to 1985. She was the youngest female cast member in the history of the program. In 2006 and 2007, she hosted episodes of ‘Saturday Night Live.’ She was the first female cast member to return and host the show.
After her exit from ‘Saturday Night Live,’ she started her film career in 1986 with two films, ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’ and ‘Soul Man.’
In 1988, she was cast in the ‘NBC’ sitcom ‘Day by Day,’ which was aired for two seasons. In 1989, she appeared in the movie ‘National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.’
While she was working for ‘Saturday Night Live,’ she met Larry David. In the early-1990s when Larry co-created ‘Seinfeld,’ he offered her the role of ‘Elaine.’ ‘Seinfeld’ went on to become a huge hit and established her as a comedian.
During the 1990s, she also appeared in movies, such as ‘Father’s Day’ and ‘Deconstructing Harry.’ The latter was nominated for the ‘Oscars.’
In 1998, she voiced a character in Disney Pixar’s animated movie ‘A Bug's Life.’ In 2001, she voiced ‘Gloria’ in an episode titled ‘A Hunka Hunka Burns in Love’ in ‘The Simpsons.’ She went on to voice characters in ‘The Simpsons’ in 2007 and 2008 for episodes titled ‘I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ and ‘Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes’ respectively.
Meanwhile in 2001, she also made several guest appearances on Larry David's show ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’
She starred in a new single-camera sitcom titled ‘Watching Ellie’ in 2002. The series was created by her husband Brad Hall, and co-starred Steve Carell and her half-sister Lauren Bowles. The show received mixed reviews. When the series returned for a second season in 2003, it suffered a decline in viewership. Subsequently, the series was canceled on May 2003.
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From 2004 to 2005, she played the recurring guest role of a prosecutor in the Emmy Award-winning comedy series ‘Arrested Development.’
The year 2006 saw her playing the title role in the series ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine.’ She garnered fame, accolade, and awards for this role.
In 2009, she appeared with the rest of the cast of ‘Seinfeld’ in four episodes of the seventh season of Larry David's sitcom ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ This reunion show received high ratings.
In 2010, Julia guest-starred several times in the third season of ‘Web Therapy,’ which starred Lisa Kudrow. She played the sister of a self-involved therapist, played by Lisa, and her performance was appreciated by the critics.
The same year, she made a guest appearance in the live episode of the Emmy Award-winning comedy series ‘30 Rock.’ She appeared in the episode alongside several ‘Saturday Night Live’ alumni. Julia also starred in a TV special titled ‘Women of Saturday Night Live.’
Julia, along with her husband, released her first short film ‘Picture Paris’ in 2012. In this film, she played the lead role of an ordinary woman with an extraordinary obsession with the city of Paris. This film was a huge hit.
In early 2011, Julia played the role of the ‘U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer’ in a satirical comedy series titled ‘Veep.’ This series proved to be another milestone in her career.
She voiced the character of ‘Rochelle’ in the 2013 animated film ‘Planes.’ This film was a box office hit. The same year, she also starred in the film ‘Enough Said,’ directed by Nicole Holofcener. For her role in the film, she received a number of nominations at award ceremonies, such as ‘Golden Globe Awards,’ ‘Satellite Awards,’ ‘Critics' Choice Movie Awards,’ and ‘American Comedy Awards.’
In 2014, she started endorsing ‘Old Navy’ brand. In 2018, she was roped in to voice a character named ‘Laurel Lightfoot’ in a computer-animated urban fantasy film titled ‘Onward.’
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Julia tasted success with ‘NBC’ network’s sitcom ‘Seinfeld,’ which was aired in the early-1990s. She was part of the series for nine seasons. Throughout the nine seasons, she failed to appear in only three episodes. Interestingly, her character was not intended to be a part of the series initially. It was only after the first episode that her character was introduced to negate androcentrism in the show. Her performance in the series won her a ‘Golden Globe Award,’ ‘Primetime Emmy Award,’ five ‘Screen Actors Guild Awards,’ and five ‘American Comedy Awards.’
One of Julia’s major works is her portrayal of ‘Christine’ in the sitcom TV series ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine.’ The series was based on the story of Christine Campbell, a single mother who manages to maintain a fantastic relationship with her ex-husband, while running a women's gym. Julia won the 2006 ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ for her performance. She received five consecutive ‘Emmy Award’ nominations, three consecutive ‘Satellite Award’ nominations, two ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ nominations, and a nomination for a ‘Golden Globe Award.’ In 2007, she also received two nominations for ‘People's Choice Award.’ The show was canceled after five seasons in 2010.
In 2012, Julia delivered another power-packed performance, playing the lead role in HBO’s comedy series ‘Veep.’ She played the role of the ‘U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer.’ After the success of the show’s first season, she was named by the ‘Huffington Post’ as one of the ‘Funniest People’ of 2012. She received three consecutive ‘Primetime Emmy Award.’ She also received ‘Critics' Choice Television Award’ for ‘Best Actress in a Comedy Series’ in 2013 and 2014. In 2014, she also received ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.’
Awards & Achievements
In 1994, Julia’s role in ‘Seinfeld’ earned her a ‘Golden Globe’ award under the ‘Best Performance by an Actress in Series made for TV’ category. She also won the ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series’ in 1996.
In 2006, she won the ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ under the ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series’ category for her role in ‘The New Adventures of the Old Christine.’
In 2009, Louis-Dreyfus was granted the honorary award for ‘Legacy of Laughter’ at the ‘TV Land Awards.’
The following year Louis-Dreyfus received the 2,407th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 4, 2010, for her remarkable contribution to the broadcast television industry as both an actress and a comedian.
For four consecutive years from 2012 to 2015, her role on Vice-president Selina Meyer in ‘Veep’ won her ‘Primetime Emmy Awards’ under ‘Outstanding Lead Actress in Comedy Series’ category.
Personal Life & Legacy
Julia met Brad Hall while attending ‘Northwestern University.’ They got married in 1987. They have two sons – Henry (born in 1992) and Charles (born in 1997). She lives in Los Angeles with her family.
Her second home in Montecito, California, is solar-powered, radiant-heated, and built from recycled materials.
Her maternal half-sister Lauren Bowles is also an actor.
On September 28, 2017, Louis-Dreyfus announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In a 2018 episode of ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!,’ she said that she was cancer-free.
Apart from her acting career, Julia is also active in political matters and social causes. She supported Al Gore's U.S. presidential bid, and also endorsed Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
She appeared in a video which urged President Obama to reject the proposal of installing the ‘Keystone XL Pipeline,’ expressing her concern over mass pollution should the pipeline leak. She has also voiced her concern over several environmental issues. She has raised millions of dollars for various non-profit organizations.
She also supported ‘Proposition O,’ which allocated 500 million USD for cleaning the Los Angeles water supply.