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Cheri Oteri

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Also Known As: Cheryl Ann O'Teari Died:
Born: September 19, 1962 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Profession: comedian, writer, actor, singer, bartender, secretary

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

From the onset of her first appearances on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Cheri Oteri fully explored her gifts for provoking laugher. Her spot-on mimicry of celebrities such as Barbara Walters and Judge Judy Sheindlin, along with a wide range of bawdy and perky originals - including cheerleader Arianna, feisty Rita Del Vecchio and talk show host Cass Van Rye - helped the petite comedy dynamo anchor the show's late 1990s resurgence, stirring viewer adulation and kick-starting her big screen career.Cheryl Ann O'Teari was born on Sept. 19, 1965 in Philadelphia, PA and raised along with siblings Brian, Denise and Tom in the suburb of Upper Darby. Oteri never grew up dreaming about being a comedy performer, but as a student at Archbishop Prendergast High School, had a serious interest in music. At the tail end of the 1980s, after several years of temping, she moved to Los Angeles to get more involved in the music business. From 1990-94, she began her career working in promotions at A&M Records, where she had a reputation for routinely making her colleagues laugh. At the suggestion of one, Oteri decided to try her hand at comedy, starting to take courses with L.A.'s famed improvisational company,...

From the onset of her first appearances on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Cheri Oteri fully explored her gifts for provoking laugher. Her spot-on mimicry of celebrities such as Barbara Walters and Judge Judy Sheindlin, along with a wide range of bawdy and perky originals - including cheerleader Arianna, feisty Rita Del Vecchio and talk show host Cass Van Rye - helped the petite comedy dynamo anchor the show's late 1990s resurgence, stirring viewer adulation and kick-starting her big screen career.

Cheryl Ann O'Teari was born on Sept. 19, 1965 in Philadelphia, PA and raised along with siblings Brian, Denise and Tom in the suburb of Upper Darby. Oteri never grew up dreaming about being a comedy performer, but as a student at Archbishop Prendergast High School, had a serious interest in music. At the tail end of the 1980s, after several years of temping, she moved to Los Angeles to get more involved in the music business. From 1990-94, she began her career working in promotions at A&M Records, where she had a reputation for routinely making her colleagues laugh. At the suggestion of one, Oteri decided to try her hand at comedy, starting to take courses with L.A.'s famed improvisational company, The Groundlings. It was also at that time that the comic decided to officially go from "O'Teari" to "Oteri" - which people had already erroneously tended to rhyme with her first name.

By 1994, Oteri had left her job at A&M, temping once more while devoting herself to appearances with The Groundlings, with which she had become a permanent performing member. That spring, her work came to the attention of "S.N.L." creator-producer Lorne Michaels after an agent spotted one of her performances. Like many fledgling comedians before her, Oteri was flown to New York to audition for the iconic show in the summer of 1995. Two months later, she made her first appearance on the show. With the housecleaning that followed the 1994-1995 season, the next year's cast was mostly comprised of new players, and Oteri - along with fellow newcomer Molly Shannon and Ana Gasteyer - were soon helping in the return of a sturdy female presence to the series.

On "S.N.L.," Oteri began getting considerable airtime with a slew of celebrity impressions and characters, devised either by herself or in conjunction with her fellow castmates. Often times, this meant taking the initiative of writing sketches herself. As her personality often veered towards energetic, one of her most famous characters arose when towering co-star Will Ferrell caught her absentmindedly foot-tapping and chimed in with the beat, which gave the two an idea for a cheerleading sketch. Playing the oft-seen Arianna and Craig - two limber, enthusiastic unofficial cheerleaders for the Spartans football team - the pair made good use of clever wordplay and diametrically opposed physiques. Oteri also created sassy neighborhood porch lady Rita Del Vecchio, patterned after her tough-talking grandmother; an easily enraged employee named Nadine; and re-teamed with Ferrell for a mock-up of chipper morning show talk shows, with Oteri handling the part of the maddeningly upbeat co-host Cass Van Rye of "Morning Latte."

Since her originals were ongoing fixtures over the years, Oteri's impressions were good enough to merit compliments from the real-life figures they ribbed. Veteran TV anchor Barbara Walters was a fan, as was the no-nonsense Judge Judy Sheindlin of "Judge Judy" (syndicated, 1996- ). In 1998, Sheindlin famously capped off Oteri's run as the judge by appearing as herself at the end of one of Oteri's parodies. Oteri also shone in impersonations of male figures, even one point, aping pint-sized presidential hopeful Ross Perot.

During her "S.N.L." period, Oteri began appearing in movies, often as a brief, bright spot of comic relief. She had a small role as Jane, the loopy receptionist of Jim Carrey in "Liar Liar" (1997), before putting in inspired cameos as a flight attendant in "S.N.L." vet Mike Myers' "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" (1997) and as a phone operator in the toys-gone-wild blockbuster, "Small Soldiers" (1998). Back on the small screen, Oteri appeared as the bumbling office assistant Cindy on the NBC sitcom, "Just Shoot Me!" (1997-2003) in 1997. Returning for a second guest spot in 1999 netted her an Emmy Award nomination. After five strong years, Oteri left "S.N.L." in 2000, but was quickly able to put her improv skills back to work under director Keenan Ivory Wayans, who cast her as the humorously haughty reporter Gail Hailstorm in the horror movie spoof, "Scary Movie" (2000).

Into the new millennium, Oteri popped up in various supporting roles that took advantage of her recognizable face and her tendency to tap into the boil beneath characters' inviting veneers. She memorably became the bane of Larry David's existence in 2002, as the unstable nanny Martine on "Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000- ), and took that dark edge even further as the pumped-up Marxist Zora Carmichaels of Richard Kelly's big screen apocalypse satire, "Southland Tales" (2006). After a slew of live action onscreen work, Oteri brought her distinctive voice to the world of feature animation, first cast as the voice of Doreen Nickle, the oblivious mother of a forlorn boy in "The Ant Bully" (2006). In 2007, however, Oteri and a bevy of former "S.N.L." talents stormed the fairy tale gates of "Shrek the Third" (2007) as modernized princesses. As was typical of the "Shrek" movies, and its princess, Oteri's was no dainty damsel, with her narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty was not quite the Disney classic audiences would remember.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Grown Ups 2 (2013)
2.
 Bad Parents (2013)
3.
5.
 Surveillance (2008)
6.
 Shrek the Third (2007)
7.
 Park (2006)
8.
 Surviving Eden (2006)
9.
 Ant Bully, The (2006)
10.
 Southland Tales (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Philadelphia, PA
1989:
Moved to LA
1990:
Worked as coordinator for the promotions department of A&M Records
:
Was a member of the Groundlings comedy troupe; first collaboration with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan
1995:
Joined the cast of NBC sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live"; left at the end of the 1999-2000 season
1997:
Played Jim Carrey's wacky receptionist in the blockbuster comedy "Liar, Liar"
1997:
Made a memorable guest appearance as an incompetent assistant in the hit NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me"
1999:
Had featured role as the mayor in comic caper "Inspector Gadget"
2000:
Reprised guest role on NBC's "Just Shoot Me"; received Emmy nomination
2000:
Played the Courtney Cox character in the popular "Scream" spoof "Scary Movie"
2000:
Appeared in the romantic comedy "Love & Sex" opposite Jon Favreau and Famke Janssen
2000:
Signed development deal with CBS for own sitcom
2001:
Reteamed with Favreau and Janssen for the mob comedy "Made"
2006:
Cast in the computer-animated "The Ant Bully" directed by John Davis
2006:
Cast as a professional dog-killer in the mockumentary "Surviving Eden"
2007:
Voiced Sleeping Beauty in "Shrek the Third"
2007:
Co-starred in Richard Kelly's ensemble film, "Southland Tales"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Archbishop Prendergast High School: Philadelphia , Pennsylvania -

Notes

Cheri Oteri refuses to divulge her age in interviews, stating that she loves playing characters of all ages.

"I just thought, [comedy] is like being in love. When I do well, I can't sleep because I'm so excited. And when I do awful, I can't sleep because I feel so bad." --Oteri to US, December 1996.

"When I was a kid, I used to just study people. Now, as an adult, I'm being everybody I ever watched." --Oteri to Rolling Stone, November 27, 1997.

"I'm the kind of person who needs to know someone really well before I decide if I want to go out with them. I want to know I want to have coffee with them before I have coffee with them. I'm picky. I know how to be alone." --Oteri quoted by the Associated Press, July 17, 2000.

"I totally existed in my imagination. When I woke up in the morning, the curtain went up! When I went to sleep, it went down. I took my bow, and I got into my bottom bunk. There are kids who entertain themselves. It's a form of escape, to make yourself laugh. My mom probably thought, 'I don't know whether Cheri's masturbating or what the hell she's doing in there.'" --Oteri to US Weekly, July 17, 2000.

"I've been going to the movies by myself forever. The only problem is sharing the experience. To this day, if something makes me laugh, I always hit the person next to me. They look at me like, 'Yeah, I saw it. Keep your hands to yourself.'" --Oteri to US Weekly, July 17, 2000.

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