Tina Fey is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer born on May 18, 1970, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. She broke through in 1995 on Saturday Night Live as a writer and actress. Since leaving the show, Fey has written hit movies, written and starred in the Emmy Award-winning television series 30 Rock, and is the creator of the Netflix hit, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Comedian, writer, producer and actress Tina Fey was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey on May 18, 1970, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, to parents Donald and Zenobia "Jeanne" Fey. Jeanne worked in a brokerage firm and Donald Fey wrote grants for the University of Pennsylvania. At the age of five, Fey was in an alley behind her house when a stranger approached her and slashed her face with a knife, leaving her with the signature scar she still carries today. But Fey did not allow this incident to define or hinder her. Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Tina recalls a dorky adolescence filled with unplucked eyebrows and perms. In lieu of dating, Fey would have friends over to play party games like Celebrity. This self-proclaimed super nerd went on to study drama at the University of Virginia.
'Saturday Night Live'
After graduating from college in 1992, Tina Fey moved to Chicago to pursue a career in comedy. She enrolled in the comedy training ground Second City, a renowned program where many Saturday Night Live (SNL) comedians got their start. In 1995, SNL writers came to Second City looking for new talent and were encouraged by Tina Fey's aptitude. When SNL producer Lorne Michaels read Fey's sketch ideas, she was offered a job as an SNL writer. It may be hard for some to imagine Tina Fey prior to stardom and her trademark sexy librarian image, but husband Jeff Richmond remembers dating a Tina who wore "mismatched frumpy clothing" on a heavier, Rubenesque frame.
After several years in New York, Fey became the first female head writer in SNL history. However, when critics were apprehensive of casting her because she didn't have the looks, Fey realized she needed a diet and a makeover.
It was during the show's 25th season when Fey was able to transform her image and establish a fan base. Fey was cast as a news reporter on the regular "Weekend Update" sketch with Jimmy Fallon, where she wrote many of the segments' most popular biting jokes.
Films, '30 Rock' and Beyond
Despite gaining a more glamorous persona in recent years, Fey still retains her legendary work ethic, deadpan humor, and grounded personality. These qualities helped Fey catapult her comedy projects into unprecedented levels of success. In 2004, Fey went on to write Mean Girls starring Lindsay Lohan, a popular movie about the awkwardness of teenage culture in America.
Shortly after, Fey created the television show 30 Rock, a satirical look on her own life as a SNL writer. Despite lukewarm ratings in the show's early seasons, 30 Rock made comedy-series history after receiving 17 different Emmy nominations in 2008. The show won an Emmy for Best Comedy Series in 2007 and 2008, and Fey won two Emmys for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.
Many attribute the sudden success of 30 Rock to Tina Fey's enormously popular impersonations of Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live during the 2008 presidential election. When combined with friend Amy Poehler's impersonations of New York Senator Hillary Clinton, the skits resulted in a 46 percent increase in Saturday Night Live's ratings from the prior season.
Fey has continued her successful momentum post 30 Rock. She took time out to release her autobiography, Bossy Pants, which was well received from the New York Times. She starred opposite Paul Rudd in Admission (2013), in Muppets Most Wanted (2014), This Is Where I Leave You (2014), and as Marcia Clark in the comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, for which she added another Emmy nomination to her bank of accolades.
In 2015 Fey also starred in the comedy Sisters, which co-starred Amy Poehler.
Awards and Honors
In 2001, Fey won Writer's Guild awards for her writing on SNL. In 2002, Fey's writing also helped win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program for the sketch program. She also won Golden Globe awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series for 30 Rock in 2008 and 2009, a Gracie Allen award for Outstanding Female Lead in 2007 and 2008, a PGA award for Television Producer of the Year Award in 2008 and 2009, a People's Choice Award for Favorite Funny Female Star in 2009, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards — one for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series in 2009, and another for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. In 2008, Fey won a Television Critics Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy.
In 2016, Fey won an Emmy Award with Amy Poehler for Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for co-hosting a December 19th, 2015 episode of Saturday Night Live. In the episode, the comedy duo performed a sketch about a meeting between Hillary Clinton (Poehler) and Sarah Palin (Fey).
Fey currently resides in New York City with her husband—30 Rock producer and composer Jeff Richmond, and their daughters Alice Zenobia Richmond (b. 2005) and Penelope Athena Richmond (b. 2011).
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