A tough-as-nails New York stand-up comedienne, Susie Essman broke into showbiz with a small role in "Punchline" (1988), for which she also served as a comedy advisor. Notching memorable cameos onscreen and building a reputation as a sharp-tongued, quick-witted comic on the stage, Essman finally achieved stardom as Susie Greene, Jeff Garlin's foul-mouthed wife on Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ). With her unique ability to turn her character's expletive-laden, devastatingly caustic rants into hilariously profane brilliance, Essman stole all her scenes and emerged as one of the long-running show's most popular characters. She furthered her career with turns on the prank-call comedy show "Crank Yankers" (Comedy Central, 2002-05; MTV2, 2007) and by voicing the streetwise cat Mittens in Disney's animated superdog hit "Bolt" (2008). A proud alumna of multiple comedy specials and celebrity roasts, Essman also penned an autobiographical book of comedic essays, "What Would Susie Say? Bullsh*t Wisdom About Love, Life and Comedy." Although she may not have become a household name per se, Susie Essman enjoyed a reputation as a respected, talented comedienne who electrified any project with her dangerous and abrasive sense of humor.
Born May 31, 1955 in New York City, Susan "Susie" Essman was the daughter of a doctor, Leonard, and a Russian professor, Zora. Her Jewish and New Yorker identities helped provide and shape her sense of humor, leading Essman to cut her teeth in the cutthroat stand-up comedy business. She broke into the business with a pair of small performances in "Crocodile Dundee II" (1988) and the Tom Hanks/Sally Field misfire "Punchline" (1988), serving as a stand-up comedy advisor on the latter. Along with fellow comedian and kindred spirit Joy Behar, Essman provided sassy support to Kate Jackson in the television adaptation of the Diane Keaton film comedy "Baby Boom" (NBC, 1988-89). She continued to book small film roles of increasing important in such diverse projects as "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II The Secret of the Ooze" (1991), "Volcano" (1997), "The Siege" (1998) and "Keeping the Faith" (2000).
Although she worked steadily as a film and TV actress, Essman's stand-up career remained her greatest passion, and she built a successful reputation as a comedienne, appearing in many projects, celebrity roasts and revues. Her take-no-prisoners sense of humor came in handy with multiple appearances as the voice of Helen Higgins on the puppet-based, prank-call comedy show "Crank Yankers" (Comedy Central, 2002-05; MTV2, 2007), where Essman proved just how tough she could be in the pursuit of the perfect punchline. Nowhere was her go-for-the-throat comedy fearlessness more apparent than her role as Susie Greene, the acid-tongued, short-tempered wife of Jeff (Jeff Garlin) on Larry David's misanthropic smash "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ). Turning her profanity-laced rants tantrums into a hilarious X-rated art form, Essman stole all of her scenes and emerged as the series' ultimate secret comedic weapon.
With her profile raised higher than ever, she voiced a sardonic, streetwise cat named Mittens in the successful Disney animated comedy "Bolt" (2008), opposite John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, and appeared in the ancient Jewish tradition-steeped romantic drama "Loving Leah" (CBS, 2009). That same year, she published her first book, What Would Susie Say? Bullsh*t Wisdom about Love, Life and Comedy. As "Curb" continued its impressive run, Essman scored laughs on the big screen in Kevin Smith's Bruce Willis/Tracy Morgan buddy comedy "Cop Out" (2010) with a fun cameo as a tough-talking, pistol-packing mama.
By Jonathan Riggs
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Film Production - Main (Feature Film)
Played Charlotte Elkman on the short-lived NBC series "Baby Boom"
Appeared in the half-hour HBO comedy special, "HBO's One Night Stand"
Performed on the Comedy Central special "The Friar's Roast of Jerry Stiller"
Performed off-Broadway in the play "The Vagina Monologues"
Cast as Susie Greene, wife of Larry David's manager in the acclaimed HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Provided the voice of Helen Higgins on the Comedy Central series "Crank Yankers"
Appeared opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy in the comedy "The Man"
Lent her voice to the animated feature "Bolt"
Penned the steamy memoir, <i>What Would Susie Say: Bulls**t Wisdom About Love, Life and Comedy</i>