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Overview for Kristen Wiig
Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig


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Also Known As: Kristen Carroll Wiig Died:
Born: August 22, 1973 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Canandaigua, New York, USA Profession: Cast ... actress comedian impressionist


As one of the stars of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Kristen Wiig created numerous hilariously offbeat characters - from serial braggart Penelope to mischievous grade-schooler Gilly - that had the live audience and viewers at home laughing before she could deliver a punch line. Wiig immersed herself not only in her subtly deranged original characters, but also in her spot-on celebrity impersonations that ranged from politician Nancy Pelosi's deadpan stare to Kathie Lee Gifford's belligerent morning show antics. Wiig's comic wit and charm also translated successfully on the big screen, with hilarious appearances as a snotty television executive in "Knocked Up" (2007), a loopy yoga instructor in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008), and an overwhelmed maid of honor in "Bridesmaids" (2011). Like "SNL" legends Gilda Radner, Molly Shannon and Tina Fey before her, Wiig made her own mark in the world of comedy and proved that being seriously funny was far from just a man's game. After "Bridesmaids," which she co-wrote, made her a mainstream comedy star, Wiig went on to star in films both comic ("Friends With Kids," "Ghostbusters") and serious ("The Skeleton Twins," "Welcome To Me"), making her one of the biggest SNL-to-movies stars since the show's glory days. Her supporting roles in high-profile films ranging from science fiction blockbuster "The Martian" (2015) to Darren Aronosky's oblique parable "mother!" (2017) gave her a sideline career as a compelling character actress as well as being a comic powerhouse.

Kristen Carroll Wiig was born on Aug. 22, 1973 in Canandaigua, NY. After her parents divorced when she was nine years old, she spent her teen years in Rochester with her artist mother and her mentally handicapped older brother. After attending the University of Arizona, Wiig headed further west to California after getting bit by the acting bug at 23. Wiig was a member of renowned comedy theater troupe The Groundlings, where she quickly rose up the ranks and became a Main Company player within a year. Her improv theater training at The Groundlings, which launched the careers of many famous comic actors over the decades, including Phil Hartman, Will Ferrell and Lisa Kudrow, helped Wiig land a role in the pseudo-reality series "The Joe Schmo Show" (Spike TV, 2003-04). On the show, she played Dr. Pat Lane, also referred to as "the Quack," who pretended to counsel a man who believed he was starring in a reality show.

The actress spent a couple of years acting in little-seen independent movies, like "Life, Death and Mini-Golf" (2004), while making several guest appearances on television, including a 2004 episode of "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC, 1995-2004). Wiig made a huge career stride when "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels asked her to join the long-running show midway through the 2005-06 season. The actress quickly made an impression on viewers with her offbeat and unforgettable character sketches, from the jumpy store clerk "Target Lady" to the precociously evil grade-schooler Gilly. Another one of Wiig's most memorable characters was the fast-talking one-upper Penelope, a character the actress said was inspired by someone she knew in real life.

Her uncanny celebrity impersonations lifted Wiig from a series player to breakout star. Like "SNL" alum Will Ferrell, Wiig was not content in simply caricaturing a star's personality; she worked hard to embody every detail and mannerism - an eye roll here, a nervous tic there - with each character. Among Wiig's many targets were Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, financial advisor Suze Orman and actress Jaime Lee Curtis. The New York Post summed up Wiig's performances as "playing outrageous versions of people we've all had the misfortune to encounter." Wiig, who was the sole female regular cast member for the show's 34th season, said "SNL" opened a lot of doors for her, especially when she parlayed her success to a career on the big screen, which took off after a scene-stealing performance in Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up." She played a snide, buttoned-up television executive who bosses Katherine Heigl's character around. Apatow was so impressed by Wiig that he cast her in his fictional biopic "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (2007), in which she played John C. Reilly's perpetually pregnant wife. Wiig and Reilly's comedy theater training played a huge role on set, with both actors incorporating lots of improv in their scenes.

It was only a matter of time until Wiig acted opposite Ferrell, who was the poster boy for character-driven comedies. The actress played a bear handler opposite Ferrell in the critically derided "Semi-Pro" (2008), which focused on an aging basketball player's return to glory in the 1970s. Also that year, Wiig played a yoga instructor in another Apatow-produced romantic comedy, "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," which she followed with a turn as a surgeon opposite Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear in the supernatural comedy "Ghost Town" (2008). Continuing a busy year, the actress showed her versatility in the indie drama "Pretty Bird," though her gig on "SNL" took up most of her schedule. Wiig made the following year a banner one, creating the role of Brahbrah, a woman who catches the eye of "The Flight of the Conchords" (HBO, 2007-09) stars Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie. She also starred in the coming-of-age comedy "Adventureland" (2009), playing the manager of a local amusement park who hires a down-on-his-luck teen (Jesse Eisenberg) to operate one of the carnival game booths. Wiig's "SNL" co-star Bill Hader played her husband. The actress was seen in two more movies that year, including "Whip It" (2009), directed by Drew Barrymore, in which Wiig portrayed a roller derby athlete named Malice in Wonderland, and in Mike Judge's workplace comedy "Extract" (2009), opposite Ben Affleck and Jason Bateman.

In July 2009, Wiig received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on "Saturday Night Live," a category that had her competing against friend and series alum Amy Poehler. Meanwhile, she continued making strides in movies, making an appearance in the failed "SNL" spinoff "MacGruber" (2010) while voicing Ruffnut in the animated hit "How to Train Your Dragon" (2010) and Miss Hattie in another cartoon blockbuster, "Despicable Me" (2010). After roles in "Date Night" (2010) and "All Good Things" (2010), Wiig co-wrote and starred in the surprise hit "Bridesmaids" (2011), a Judd Apatow-produced comedy in which she played a Midwestern woman nursing personal and professional problems asked by her best friend (Maya Rudolph) to be the maid of honor at her wedding, only to run afoul with her fellow bridesmaids. The movie was hugely successful and earned her a number of accolades, including a surprise Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay that opened the door wider for her in the features world.

Hot on the heels of her "Bridesmaids" success, Wiig was featured in the well-received ensemble comedy "Friends with Kids" (2012) and earned another Emmy nod for her various characters on "SNL." In May 2012, Wiig received a touching send-off during her final appearance as an "SNL" regular, having logged seven years on the program and mined countless scene-stealing characters - enough that no less than Lorne Michaels listed her as one of the best performers ever to appear in the history of the show. Naturally, she was honored with another Emmy Award nomination that same year. In 2013, Wiig appeared as matriarch Lucille Bluth in her younger days on the highly anticipated return of the cult-favorite comedy series "Arrested Development" (Netflix) and portrayed secret agent Lucy Wilde in the hit animated sequel "Despicable Me 2."

After low-profile roles in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" (2013), "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" (2013) and "Her" (2013), Wiig returned to television in the sardonic miniseries parody "The Spoils of Babylon" (IFC 2014-15), for which she was nominated for an Emmy. She next starred in Shira Piven's quirky indie "Welcome To Me" (2014) as a mentally unbalanced woman who wins the lottery, before reteaming with former co-star Bill Hader for the critically-acclaimed "The Skeleton Twins" (2014), about a pair of emotionally damaged siblings reuniting as adults. Supporting roles in indie dramas "The Diary of a Teenage Girl" (2015) and "Nasty Baby" (2015) were followed by a key role in big-budget science fiction action film "The Martian" (2015). When Wiig teamed up with Melissa McCarthy and fellow SNL vets Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon for Paul Feig's reboot "Ghostbusters" (2016), negative reactions from upset men on Twitter spurred a debate about sexism in geek culture. Wiig next co-starred in crime comedy "Masterminds" (2016) alongside Zach Galifianakis before joining the cast of animated hit "Despicable Me 3" (2017). Wiig continued her work as a character actress with supporting roles in Darren Aronofsky's audience-dividing "mother!" (2017) and Alexander Payne's social satire "Downsizing" (2017).

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