Best Known For
Comedian Kristen Wiig's Saturday Night Live characters Penelope and Gilly, and spot-on impressions of Suze Orman and Nancy Pelosi, became fan favorites.
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Kristen Wiig was born August 22, 1973, in Canandaigua, New York. She debuted on Saturday Night Live in 2005. When Amy Poehler left SNL in November 2008, Wiig became the most senior female cast member on the program. On the heels of her success at SNL, she made her film debut in 2007's Knocked Up, followed by roles in Adventureland, Extract, Whip It and MacGruber. Although she left SNL in 2012,
"It's a mystery to me what makes people laugh. I just try to be as real as possible."
she went on to star in popular films, such as the Academy Award-nominated Bridesmaids.
Comedian and actress Kristen Carroll Wiig was born on August 22, 1973, in Canandaigua, New York. Wiig's family moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania,a when she was 3 years old before settling in Rochester, New York. Her parents divorced when she was 9 years old, and Wiig lived with her mother and older brother Erik, who is mentally disabled. Even as a child, Wiig had a quirky sense of humor. She later recalled of her youth, "I used to carry my dad's empty guitar case around the neighborhood because I wanted people to think I played the guitar. I would put Flintstones vitamins in it in case I got tired, so I could pop some and keep walking."
After graduating from Rochester's Brighton High School, Wiig enrolled at the University of Arizona as an art student. It was there that Wiig, a natural introvert, enrolled in her first acting class. "I was terrified," she said. "I don't really like talking in front of groups of people. Through high school if ever I had to give a speech, I would try to get out of it or not go to school that day... But I took the class, and I liked it, and the teacher was really encouraging for me to keep doing it."
After graduation, Wiig got a job at a plastic surgery clinic, where she was supposed to produce drawings of clients' post-surgery bodies. The day before she was to start, she found herself alone at the house she shared with roommates in Tucson. "I looked in the mirror and was like, 'OK, if you could do anything, what would it be?' And I thought, 'I would move to L.A. Just try to act,'" she recalled. "The next day, the Jetta was packed and I was gone, freaking out the whole way."
After arriving in Los Angeles, Wiig took a job folding clothes at the store Anthropologie. The string of odd jobs she held over the next few years included selling peaches at a farmer's market, catering Hollywood events, babysitting, working in a floral design shop and selling hot dogs at the mall. She was unsatisfied with traditional acting classes. Then a co-worker took her to a show at the Groundlings, the celebrated improv troupe that launched the careers of Saturday Night Live (SNL) stars like Will Ferrell and Maya Rudolph. Wiig was hooked. "That place changed my life," she said.
Wiig auditioned and got a spot on the Groundlings. Even on a stage full of funny people, Kristen Wiig soon established herself as a standout. She made audiences laugh with characters she'd later bring to SNL, like the over-enthusiastic Target clerk and the crotchety film reviewer Aunt Linda.
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Learn more about the cast of Saturday Night Live, including old-timers such as John Belushi, Billy Crystal, Jane Curtin, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy and David Spade, as well as newer stars of the series, including Tracy Morgan, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Andy Samberg, Jason Sudeikis, Seth Meyers, Kate McKinnon, Molly Shannon and Kristen Wiig.
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