Wanda Sykes Biography

Wanda Sykes is a comedian and actress, ranked among the 25 funniest people in America. This biography of Wanda Sykes provides detailed information about her childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Wanda Sykes
Quick Facts

Birthday: March 7, 1964

Nationality: American

Famous: Lesbians Black Comedians

Age: 55 Years, 55 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Pisces

Also Known As: Wanda Sykes

Born in: Portsmouth

Famous as: Actress

Height: 5'2" (157 cm), 5'2" Females


Spouse/Ex-: Alex Sykes (m. 2008), Dave Hall (m. 1991–1998)

father: Harry Ellsworth Sykes

mother: Marion Louise Sykes

children: Lucas Claude Sykes, Olivia Lou Sykes

U.S. State: Virginia

More Facts

education: Hampton University, Arundel High School

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Wanda Sykes, counted as one of the funniest women in America, is a comedian and actress best known for her role as Barbara Baran on ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine’. Given her immense popularity today, it is hard to imagine that she did not even think of a career in comedy as a child or a teenager. Growing up in a comfortable middle class locality she had set her aims on going to college and getting a respectable job. She attended the Hampton University and was employed by the National Security Agency (NSA) upon her graduation. But this work gave her no satisfaction and she decided to try her hand at stand-up comedy. She moved to New York City to pursue her new found career interest and got her big break opening for comedian Chris Rock at Caroline’s Comedy Club. Meeting Chris Rock was a turning point in her life; she was soon hired to write for the ‘The Chris Rock Show’ and won an Emmy Award for her writing. Gradually she made her transition to movies and appeared in comedies like ‘Down to Earth’ and ‘Pootie Tang’. She is openly gay and is an active supporter of same-sex marriages and gay rights activism.

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Wanda Sykes
Childhood & Early Life
  • Wanda Sykes was born to Marion Louise and Harry Ellsworth Sykes. Her father was a U.S. Army colonel while her mother was a banker.
  • She graduated from Arundel High School and attended Hampton University from where she earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha.
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  • She started her career as a procurement officer at the National Security Agency (NSA) after her graduation. She held this government post for five years. However, this job did not provide her much satisfaction.
  • She participated at the Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in 1987 where she performed stand-up comedy for the first time in front of a live audience. It was during this performance that she realized her love for comedy.
  • She spent the next few years honing her skills and performance and moved to New York City in 1992 in order to pursue a career in comedy.
  • She met the comedian Chris Rock and opened for him at the Caroline’s Comedy Club. Soon she joined the writing team on ‘The Chris Rock Show’ in 1997. Her collaboration with Chris Rock proved to be very productive for her and she also got the opportunity to make several appearances on his show.
  • Starting from 2001, she made several appearances on various episodes of the improvised comedy television series ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’.
  • She acted as Biggie Shorty in the 2001 comedy film ‘Pootie Tang’ which also co-starred Chris Rock. The movie was adapted from a comedy sketch that was first performed on ‘The Chris Rock Show’.
  • She starred as Wanda Hawkins in the sitcom ‘Wanda at Large’ which ran on the Fox network for two seasons in 2003. She was also the creator of the show. She portrayed an outspoken stand-up comedian who is chosen as a correspondent on a political talk show.
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  • In 2004, she represented herself in the television show ‘Wanda Does It’ that depicted a day in the life of the comedian.
  • She authored a humorous book ‘Yeah, I said It’ in 2004. The book featured a collection of jokes and rants about diverse subjects like sex, politics, family, crime, war, race, etc.
  • She made several appearances as Barb Baran in the sitcom television series ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine’ first in a recurring role and then as a main cast member from 2006 till 2010.
  • She voiced Bessy the Cow in the animated show ‘Back at the Barnyard’ for 45 episodes from 2007-2011.
  • She hosted a talk show ‘The Wanda Sykes Show’ on Fox Channel from November 2009 till May 2010.
  • She voiced the school therapist in ‘What Animated Women Want’, one of the episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ in 2013.
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Major Works
  • Her best known role is that of Barb Baran in the sitcom series ‘The New Adventures of Old Christine ‘where she played the protagonist’s funny best friend. She initially played a recurring character which was later converted into a main cast member because of her popularity.
  • She wrote 33 episodes of ‘The Chris Rock Show’. Her writing was widely appreciated and won her several nominations and awards.
Awards & Achievements
  • She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program in 1999 for ‘The Chris Rock Show’.
  • She was presented the American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic in 2001.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • She married Dave Hall in 1991 and divorced him in 1998.
  • She publicly came out as lesbian in 2008 and married her girlfriend Alex.
  • She is a supporter of gay rights and same-sex marriages. She also volunteers with PETA.
  • She was the first African American woman to become the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

1. Clerks II (2006)


2. Jexi (2019)


3. Bad Moms (2016)


4. A Bad Moms Christmas (2017)

  (Comedy, Adventure)

5. Monster-in-Law (2005)

  (Romance, Comedy)

6. Evan Almighty (2007)

  (Comedy, Family, Fantasy)

7. Down to Earth (2001)

  (Comedy, Fantasy)

8. License to Wed (2007)

  (Comedy, Romance)


Primetime Emmy Awards
1999 Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program The Chris Rock Show (1997)

See the events in life of Wanda Sykes in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Wanda Sykes Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- October 24, 2017

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