Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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In recent years, we’ve been seeing more and more women entering the comedy circuit, proving that they can hang with anybody in the genre. While there have been some here and there for the past 50 years, it’s really been in the new millennium that it’s become more frequent. A lot of that is thanks to improv comedians of the 2000s, especially when they were showcased on shows like “Saturday Night Live”. Among them is Maya Rudolph, who has parlayed her casting on the show into a full-time acting career in film and television.Advertisements:
Rudolph might have gone into comedic acting, but her parents were firmly planted in the music world. Her father Richard Rudolph spent a lot of time as a songwriter that worked with performers, while her mother, the late Minnie Riperton, was a singer. You might know her best for the high pitched hit “Lovin’ You”, which included a reference for her daughter. Rudolph herself was born on July 27, 1972 in Gainesville, Florida, but grew up in California.
Rudolph went to school in Santa Monica, California, which had many prominent students at the time she was there, including fellow comedic actor Jack Black. Once she finished with high school, Rudolph headed to Santa Cruz to attend the city’s University of California branch. There, she earned her degree in the mid 1990s, but focused on photography rather than drama.
In 1996, Rudolph made her acting debut by taking on a recurring role as Leah Martine in the medical drama “Chicago Hope”. The following year, Rudolph had her first film roles with brief spots in “As Good as It Gets” and “Gattaca” and appeared in the TV movie “The Devil’s Child”. Then, Rudolph hadn’t made any appearances over the next three years.
2000 then proved to be the breakout year for Rudolph as she appeared in a pair of films with “Chuck & Buck” and “Duets”, as well as the shows “Action” and “City of Angels”. The big news of that year, however, was when Rudolph was added to the cast of “Saturday Night Live”. Along with her friends Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, Rudolph became a staple of the sketch series for nearly 150 episodes and earned an Emmy nomination during her time for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
“My dream since I was a little girl was to be on ‘Saturday Night Live,’” she said. “I was truly obsessed with Gilda Radner. I thought she was the funniest woman, and I believed that being a comedia was the most exciting thing you could be...It was something inside of me that I knew I had to do. So I though, I know I’ll pick up the music again, but let’s go and find out what this is really like.”
During that run on “SNL”, Rudolph hadn’t appeared much on other television shows, but started to pop up in movies more often. Rudolph starred in the films “Duplex”, “50 First Dates” and the cult hit “Idiocracy”. Then, in 2007, Rudolph announced that she was leaving the cast of “SNL” on a full-time basis, but she’s made returns for episodes here and there ever since.
Rudolph wrapped up the 2000s with movies such as “Away We Go” and shows like “Kath & Kim”. Rudolph has been married to Paul Thomas Anderson (who has directed movies such as “Magnolia” and ‘Punch-Drunk Love”) since 2001, and it was during this time in her career that Rudolph was having multiple children. They’ve had four children together, born between 2005 and 2013.
In the 2010s, Rudolph got off to a hot start thanks to hit movies like “Grown Ups”, “Bridesmaids” and “MacGruber”. She’s been in dozens of productions ever since, including doing a lot more voicework in recent years. Some of her more notable movies of the past decade include “CHiPs”, “Big Hero 6” and “Life of the Party”. Meanwhile on television, Rudolph has been part of the cast of “The Good Place” (which earned Rudolph her second Emmy nomination) and has done voice work for “Big Mouth” and many other series.
Even if Rudolph went into comedy, she did want to be a singer early on. “Music is really my life,” she said. “I don’t sound anything like my mother; she was so unique and her voice was its own thing. When I was a little girl, I would stand on the side of the stage and watch my mom singing out there in beautiful gowns. She was a diva in the most exquisite sense. Those are very vivid memories for me. I always had the idea of wanting to be on a stage, in these beautiful gowns, with a microphone in my hand, and that comes from my mom.”
She added that “The truth is that I had always felt most comfortable doing comedy. But music is such a natural part of me, it was something that I always did.” Talking about her career, Rudolph says that “I never, ever think of myself as a woman in comedy. I think of myself as a comedian. And if I ever thought there was a chance people wouldn’t have liked a movie, because we(‘re women), I would have thrown in the (expletive) towel a long time ago.”
She added that “I’ve never set out to write a funny movie or be a funny comedian as a woman. I am a woman. I don’t really have a choice in the matter. My goal is just to be funny.”