Laraine Newman

Laraine Newman Biography.com

Comedian, Television Actress(1952–)
Laraine Newman was an original cast member on ‘Saturday Night Live.’

Synopsis

Born in 1952 in Los Angeles, California, Laraine Newman gained fame in 1975 as an original Saturday Night Live cast member. Throughout high school, Newman studied acting, improv comedy, and miming. During her five years on SNL, she originated and portrayed memorable characters like Connie Conehead. She left the program in 1980 and has gone on to a successful career in film and television.

Early Years

Original Saturday Night Live cast member, Laraine Newman was born March 2, 1952, in Los Angeles, California. The youngest of four children and a twin, Newman attended Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills, California.

Newman’s interest in comedy and improv came at a young age. At 14 she was already working with a comedy troupe when it was hired to perform in the parks around LA’s South Central region. Around that same time, Newman attended a performance of legendary mime artist Marcel Marceau. She was so enamored by the show and its star that afterward she finagled her way backstage to meet the performer.

Newman's own love of the stage continued through her high school years, and following her graduation she moved to Europe, where she auditioned for four acting schools in England. When none of the programs accepted her, Newman moved to Paris and reconnected with Marceau to study mime under him.

By the age of 19, Newman was back in the United States and living in LA, where she did a brief stint at a secretarial school. Committed to continue performing, she eventually co-launched the pioneering comedy improvisational group the Groundlings with her sister Tracey, who has since gone on to an Emmy-winning career as a television writer and producer.

Saturday Night Live

Newman first caught the attention of SNL creator, Lorne Michaels, in 1973, when she appeared in a Lily Tomlin television special that he produced and which also featured Richard Dreyfuss.

Two years later, when Michaels set out to launch his landmark show, he tapped Newman to join an SNL cast that included John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner.

During her five years on the show, Newman originated and portrayed memorable characters like Sheri the Valley Girl and Connie Conehead. Against the expectations of NBC executives, SNL became an instant cultural hit, thrusting its young cast members into high-wattage stardom. Newman later recalled being stopped in New York City by John Lennon and Yoko Ono on the street to introduce themselves to her.

After SNL

In 1980, Newman, along with the remaining original SNL cast members, departed the show. For Newman, who disliked living in New York City and grew tired of the program’s grind, the departure was a welcome change. She returned to California, where she set out on what has proven to be a quiet but successful career in film and television.

Her movie credits include Stardust Memories (1980), Perfect (1985) Problem Child 2 (1991) and Jingle All the Way (1996). In 1993, she played Laarta in the film version of the famed SNL skit Coneheads. In addition to extensive voice-over work in TV and videos, she’s played smaller roles in numerous television shows, including Brothers and Sisters, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Friends and Entourage, among others.

Newman lives in Los Angeles with her husband—writer, actor, director Chad Einbinder—whom she married in 1991. The couple has two daughters together, Lena (1991) and Hannah (1995). 

Laraine Newman

Laraine Newman (Photo: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com)

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