Tina Fey (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Elizabeth Stamatina "Tina" Fey (born May 18, 1970) is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer, known for her work on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live (SNL, 1997-2006), the critically acclaimed NBC comedy series 30 Rock (2006-2013), and such films as Mean Girls (2004), Baby Mama (2008), Date Night (2010), and Admission (2013).
Fey first broke into comedy as a featured player in the Chicago-based improvisational comedy group The Second City. She then joined SNL as a writer, later becoming head writer and a performer, known for her position as co-anchor in the Weekend Update segment. In 2004 she adapted the screenplay Mean Girls in which she also co-starred. After leaving SNL in 2006, she created the television series 30 Rock, a situation comedy loosely based on her experiences at SNL. In the series, Fey portrays the head writer of a fictional sketch comedy series. In 2008, she starred in the comedy film Baby Mama, alongside former SNL co-star Amy Poehler. Fey next appeared alongside Steve Carell in the 2010 comedy film Date Night and with Will Ferrell in the animated film Megamind.
Fey has received eight Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, five Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Writers Guild of America Awards and has been nominated for a Grammy Award for her autobiographical book Bossypants, which topped the The New York Times Best Seller list for five weeks. In 2008, the Associated Press (AP) gave Fey the AP Entertainer of the Year award for her satirical portrayal of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a guest appearance on SNL. In 2010, Fey was the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the youngest-ever winner of the award. On January 13, 2013, Fey hosted the Golden Globe Awards, along with her long-time friend and fellow comedian, Amy Poehler. Their performance was critically acclaimed.
Fey was born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania - a township just west of Philadelphia. Her mother, Zenobia "Jeanne" (née Xenakes), is a brokerage employee of Greek descent, and her father, Donald Fey, is a university grant-proposal writer of half German and half Scottish descent. She has a brother, Peter, who is eight years older.
Fey was exposed to comedy early and has recalled:
Fey also grew up watching Second City Television (SCTV), and has cited Catherine O'Hara as a role model.
Fey attended Cardington-Stonehurst Elementary School and Beverly Hills Middle School in Upper Darby. By middle school, she knew she was interested in comedy, doing an independent-study project on the subject in eighth grade. Fey attended Upper Darby High School, where she was an honor student, a member of the choir, drama club, and tennis team, and co-editor of the school's newspaper, The Acorn. She also anonymously wrote the newspaper's satirical column, The Colonel. Following her graduation in 1988, Fey enrolled at the University of Virginia, where she studied playwriting and acting. She graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama.
Saturday Night Live (1997-2006)
While performing shows with The Second City in 1997, Fey submitted several scripts to NBC's variety show Saturday Night Live (SNL), at the request of its head writer Adam McKay, a former performer at Second City. She was hired as a writer for SNL following a meeting with SNL creator Lorne Michaels, and moved to New York. Fey told The New Yorker, "I"d had my eye on the show forever, the way other kids have their eye on Derek Jeter." Originally, Fey "struggled" at SNL. Her first sketch to air starred Chris Farley in a Sally Jessy Raphael satire. Fey went on to write a series of parodies, including one of ABC's morning talk show The View. She co-wrote the "Sully and Denise" sketches with Rachel Dratch, who plays one of the teens.
Fey played an extra in one of the episodes in 1998, and after watching herself, decided to diet and lost 30 pounds. She told The New York Times, "I was a completely normal weight. But I was here in New York City, I had money and I couldn't buy any clothes. After I lost weight, there was interest in putting me on camera." In 1999, McKay stepped down as head writer, which led Michaels to approach Fey for the position. She became SNL's first female head writer.
In 2000, Fey began performing in sketches, and she and Jimmy Fallon became co-anchors of SNL's Weekend Update segment. Fey said she did not ask to audition, but that Michaels approached her. Michaels explained that there was "chemistry" between Fey and Fallon. Michaels, however, revealed that choosing Fey was "kind of risky" at the time. Her role in Weekend Update was well received by critics. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly wrote: "...Fey delivers such blow darts - poison filled jokes written in long, precisely parsed sentences unprecedented in Update history - with such a bright, sunny countenance makes her all the more devilishly delightful." Dennis Miller, a former cast member of SNL and anchor of Weekend Update, was pleased with Fey as one of the anchors for the segment: "...Fey might be the best Weekend Update anchor who ever did it. She writes the funniest jokes". Robert Bianco of USA Today, however, commented that he was "not enamored" of the pairing.
In 2001, Fey and the writing staff won a Writers Guild of America Award for SNL's 25th anniversary special. The following year at the 2002 Emmy Awards ceremony, she and the writing team won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program.
The pairing of Fey and Fallon ended in May 2004 when Fallon last appeared as a cast member. He was replaced by Amy Poehler. It was the first time that two women co-anchored Weekend Update. Fey revealed that she "hired" Poehler as her co-host for the segment. The reception to the teaming of Fey and Poehler was positive, with Rachel Sklar of the Chicago Tribune noting that the pairing "has been a hilarious, pitch-perfect success as they play off each other with quick one-liners and deadpan delivery".
The 2005-2006 season was her last; she thereafter departed to develop 30 Rock.
In 2002, Fey suggested a pilot episode for a situation comedy about a cable news network to NBC, who rejected it. The pilot was reworked to revolve around an SNL style series, and was accepted by NBC. She signed a contract with NBC in May 2003, which allowed her to remain in her SNL head writer position at least through the 2004-2005 television season. As part of the contract, Fey was to develop a primetime project to be produced by Broadway Video and NBC Universal. She began developing the pilot project under the working title Untitled Tina Fey Project. The pilot, directed by Adam Bernstein, centered on the head writer of a variety show and how she managed her relationships with the show's volatile star and its executive producer. In October 2006, the pilot aired on NBC as 30 Rock. Although the episode received generally favorable reviews, it finished third in its timeslot.
The network renewed the series for a second season, which began in October 2007. The show's third season premiered on October 30, 2008. The premiere episode set records for the highest ratings of the series. In January 2009, NBC renewed 30 Rock for the 2009-2010 season.
In 2007, Fey received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. The show itself won the 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. In 2008, she won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Emmy awards all in the category for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. The following year, Fey again won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award in the same categories, and was nominated for an Emmy Award. In early 2010, Fey received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress, and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Lead Actress. 30 Rock was renewed for the 2010-2011 season in March 2010. The series returned for the 2011-2012 season, though due to Fey's pregnancy with her second child, the season premiere was delayed until midseason.
Fey once mentioned that her performance on the show is inspired by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and later used Louis-Dreyfus to play the stand-in for the character of Liz Lemon in flashback scenes during the live episode of the fifth season. On May 11, 2012, it was announced that the show had been renewed for a seventh and final season, to premiere October 4, 2012, with only 13 episodes.
In 2002, Fey appeared in the surreal comedy Martin & Orloff. She made her debut as writer and co-star of the 2004 teen comedy Mean Girls. Characters and behaviors in the movie are based on Fey's high school life at Upper Darby High School and on the non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. The cast includes other past cast members of SNL including Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, and Amy Poehler. The film received favorable reviews, and was a box office success, grossing US$129 million worldwide.
In a 2004 interview, Fey expressed that she would like to write and direct movies in which she has small parts. In 2006, Fey worked on a movie script for Paramount Pictures, which was to feature Sacha Baron Cohen, by the name of Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill, based loosely on the true story of a Hasidic rock musician. In 2007, she was cast in the animated comedy film Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters as the Aqua Teens' mother, a giant burrito.
She received her SAG Card after appearing in Artie Lange's Beer League released in 2006, in which she was compelled to join for "... a thousand dollars".
Fey and former SNL castmate Amy Poehler starred in the 2008 comedy Baby Mama. The movie was written and directed by Michael McCullers. The plot concerns Kate (Fey), a business woman, who wants a child but, discovering she has only a million-to-one chance of getting pregnant, decides to find a surrogate: Angie (Poehler), a white-trash schemer. Baby Mama received mixed reviews, but many critics enjoyed Fey's performance. Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote: "Fey is a delight to watch throughout. Able to convey Kate's intentions and feelings through the simple looks and inflections, she never melodramatizes her situation; nor does her efficient, perfectionist side become overbearing." The movie grossed over US$64 million at the box office.
Fey's projects after 2008 include her lending her voice to the character Lisa in the English-language version of the Japanese animated film Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (titled Ponyo for its U.S. release). In 2009, she appeared in The Invention of Lying, alongside Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and Christopher Guest. Her next film role was in Shawn Levy's 2010 comedy Date Night, a feature that focuses on a married couple, played by Fey and Steve Carell, who go on a date; however, the night goes awry for the two. Also in the same year, she voiced Roxanne Ritchie, a television reporter, in the DreamWorks animated film Megamind (2010). With a total worldwide gross of US$321 million, Megamind is Fey's most commercially successful picture to date. It earned US$173 million outside the U.S. and US$148 million domestically.
In January 2011, it was announced that Fey would star in the comedy/drama film entitled Admission based on the Jean Hanff Korelitz novel by the same name. The film was directed by Paul Weitz.
Impersonation of Sarah Palin
From September to November 2008, Fey made frequent guest appearances on SNL to perform a series of parodies of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. On the 34th season premiere episode, aired September 13, 2008, Fey imitated Palin in a sketch, alongside Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton. Their repartee included Clinton needling Palin about her "Tina Fey glasses". The sketch quickly became NBC.com's most-watched viral video ever, with 5.7 million views by the following Wednesday. Fey reprised this role on the October 4 show, on the October 18 show where she was joined by the real Sarah Palin, and on the November 1 show where she was joined by John McCain and his wife Cindy. The October 18 show had the best ratings of any SNL show since 1994. The following year Fey won an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her impersonation of Palin. Fey returned to SNL in April 2010, and reprised her impression of Palin in one sketch titled "Sarah Palin Network". Fey once again did her impression of Palin when she hosted Saturday Night Live on May 8, 2011.
In December 2009, Entertainment Weekly put her impersonation on its end-of-the-decade "best-of" list, writing, "Fey's freakishly spot-on SNL impersonation of the wannabe VP (and her ability to strike a balance between comedy and cruelty) made for truly transcendent television."
In 1997, Fey and other members of The Second City provided voices for the pinball game Medieval Madness.
In 2000, Fey partnered with fellow SNL cast member Rachel Dratch in the Off Broadway two-woman show Dratch & Fey at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City. The production was well received by critics. Tim Townsend of The Wall Street Journal in review of Dratch & Fey, wrote that the fun part of watching them perform was "seeing how comfortable they are with each other". He concluded that the production "isn't about two women being funny. [...] Dratch and Fey are just funny. Period." One of the SNL sketches, "Sully and Denise", originated at Second City in Chicago.
On August 13, 2007, Fey made a guest appearance on the children's television series Sesame Street, in the episode, "The Bookaneers". She appeared as a guest judge on the November 25, 2007, episode of the Food Network program Iron Chef America. Fey has appeared in Disney's campaign "Year of a Million Dreams" as Tinker Bell, along with Mikhail Baryshnikov as Peter Pan and Gisele Bündchen as Wendy Darling. She has also done commercials for American Express credit card in 2008, and Garnier Nutrisse hair color in 2012.
On February 23, 2008, Fey hosted the first episode of SNL after the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike. For this appearance, she was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program. Fey hosted SNL for a second time on April 10, 2010, and for her appearance she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
On April 5, 2011, her book, a humorous autobiography entitled Bossypants, was released. It received a positive review from the New York Times.
In 2011, Fey narrated The Secret Life of Girls, a two-hour-long radio documentary produced by The Kitchen Sisters. Fey introduced stories of women and girls from around the world, and also shared memories of her own girlhood and mother.
In 2012, Fey made her rapping debut on Childish Gambino (Donald Glover's music stage name)'s mixtape named "Royalty". Glover is a former writer of 30 Rock, on which he worked with Fey.
In the media
Fey was ranked in the Hot 100 List at number 80 on Maxim magazine in 2002. She was named one of People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2003, and one of People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People in 2007, 2008, and 2009. In 2007, Fey placed seventh on the Hot 100 List on AfterEllen.com. She repeated the appearance the following year, however, being voted as number one on the list.
In 2001, Entertainment Weekly named Fey as one of their Entertainers of the Year for her work on Weekend Update. She was named one of the magazine's Entertainers of the Year in 2007, and placed number two in 2008. In 2009, Fey was named as Entertainment Weekly's fifth individual in their 15 Entertainers of the 2000s list. In 2013, Entertainment Weekly crowned Fey as "The Once and Future Queen" (an allusion to The Once and Future King) in their feature on "Women Who Run TV," calling her "the funniest woman in the free world." EW quoted Mindy Kaling as saying, "I always feel unoriginal bringing up Tina as my inspiration, but she's everyone's inspiration for a reason." The column also quoted praise by Zooey Deschanel and Lena Dunham.
The newspaper editors and broadcast producers of the Associated Press voted Fey the AP Entertainer of the Year as the performer who had the greatest impact on culture and entertainment in 2008, citing her impression of Sarah Palin on SNL. She has appeared on Forbes' annual Celebrity 100 list of the 100 most powerful celebrities in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 at No. 99, No. 86, No. 90, No. 92, and No. 79 respectively.
In 2007, the New York Post included Fey in New York's 50 Most Powerful Women, ranking her at number 33. Fey was among the Time 100, a list of the 100 most influential people in the world, in 2007 and 2009, as selected annually by Time magazine. Fey's featured article for the 2009 list was written by 30 Rock co-star, Alec Baldwin. She was selected by Barbara Walters as one of America's 10 Most Fascinating People of 2008.
In September 2011, Fey landed at the top of the Forbes magazine"s list of the highest-paid TV actresses.
In June 2010, it was announced she would receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2011.
Fey met Jeff Richmond, now a composer on 30 Rock, at Chicago's Second City. They dated for seven years before marrying in a Greek Orthodox ceremony on June 3, 2001. The couple has two daughters: Alice Zenobia Richmond (born September 10, 2005) and Penelope Athena Richmond (born August 10, 2011). In April 2009, Fey and Richmond purchased a US$3.4 million apartment on the Upper West Side in New York City.
Fey has a scar a few inches long on the left side of her chin and cheek, the cause of which remained unexplained to the public until a 2008 Vanity Fair profile by Maureen Dowd and subsequently in her autobiographical book, where she revealed "During the spring semester of kindergarten, I was slashed in the face by a stranger in the alley behind my house."
Her charity work includes support of Autism Speaks, an organization that sponsors autism research. In April 2008, she participated in Night of Too Many Stars, a comedy show benefit for autism education.
Fey is also a supporter of Mercy Corps, a global relief and development organization, in their campaign to end world hunger. Fey narrated a video for Mercy Corps's Action Center in New York City, describing hunger as a symptom of many wider world problems. She also supports the Love Our Children USA organization, which fights violence against children, who named her among their Mothers Who Make a Difference, in 2009. She was the 2009 national spokesperson for the Light the Night Walk, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Head writer 1999-2006 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (2002) Nominated"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (2001, 2003)
Episodes written: Season 1: (8/21) "Pilot", "The Aftermath", "Tracy Does Conan", "The Head and the Hair"", "Black Tie"", "Up All Night", "The C Word", "Hiatus" Season 2: (4/15) "SeinfeldVision", "Somebody to Love"", "MILF Island"", "Cooter" Season 3: (5/22) "Do-Over", "Christmas Special"", "St. Valentine's Day"", "The Bubble", "The Natural Order"" Season 4: (4/22) "Season 4", "Secret Santa", "Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter"", "I Do Do" Season 5: (4/23) "The Fabian Strategy", "Live Show"", "100" (counts as 2 episodes)" Season 6: (3/22) "Dance Like Nobody's Watching"", "Kidnapped by Danger", "Live from Studio 6H"" Season 7: (2/13) "Stride of Pride", "Last Lunch"" "denotes episode co-written. Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (2008, 2013) Nominated"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (2007, 2010)
Nominated"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for Rural Juror (2013)
Nominated"Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album (2012)
Includes being a cast member from 1998 to 2006, host of Weekend Update (2000-2006), host in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013, and made five appearances impersonating Sarah Palin. Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2009) Nominated"Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2010, 2011)
Main role Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy (2007, 2008) Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (2008) Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2007, 2008, 2009, 2013) Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2008) People's Choice Award for Favorite Funny Female Star (2008) Critics' Choice Television Awards for Best Actress in a Comedy Series (2011) Nominated"Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series (2007, 2009-2013) Nominated"Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) Nominated"People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy Actress (2009, 2010, 2011) Nominated"Satellite Award for Best Actress - Television Series Musical or Comedy (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2010, 2011, 2012) Nominated"Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011)
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters