Maya Rudolph

Maya Rudolph

Rudolph at the 2012 Paley Center
Born Maya Khabira Rudolph
(1972-07-27) July 27, 1972
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Residence San Fernando Valley, California
Alma mater UC Santa Cruz
Years active 1996–present
Partner(s) Paul Thomas Anderson
Children 4
Parent(s) Richard Rudolph
Minnie Riperton

Maya Khabira Rudolph[1] (born July 27, 1972) is an American actress, comedian and singer. After becoming a member of The Groundlings improv troupe in the late 1990s, Rudolph joined the NBC television series Saturday Night Live, on which she was a cast member from 2000 to 2007. She then ventured into film, appearing in 50 First Dates (2004) and A Prairie Home Companion (2006).

Since leaving Saturday Night Live, Rudolph has appeared in Grown Ups (2010), Bridesmaids (2011), Grown Ups 2 (2013) and Sisters (2015). She has also lent her voice to the animated films Shrek the Third (2007) and Big Hero 6 (2014). In addition to her film appearances, Rudolph also starred as Ava Alexander on the NBC sitcom Up All Night from 2011 to 2012, and co-hosted her own variety show Maya & Marty.

Early life

Soul singer Minnie Riperton, Rudolph's mother, 1977.

Rudolph was born in Gainesville, Florida. She is the daughter of soul singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton and composer, songwriter, and producer Richard Rudolph. Her father is an Ashkenazi Jew, and her mother was an African-American.[2][3][4] Her paternal grandfather was Sidney Rudolph, a philanthropist who once owned all of the Wendy's and Rudy's restaurants in Dade County, Florida.[5] Her great-grandfather, who was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, changed his surname from "Rudashevsky" to "Rudolph," and was one of the founding members of Congregation Beth Shalom, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[6]

Rudolph's parents moved to Los Angeles, California when she and her brother Marc were very young, and they grew up primarily in the Westwood neighborhood.[7] Near the end of the "Lovin' You" track, Riperton can be heard singing "Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya". Riperton incorporated this into her performance of the song on The Midnight Special.[8] Riperton died on July 12, 1979, at age 31, from breast cancer.[7] Rudolph's godmother was R&B singer Teena Marie.[9] In 1990, Rudolph graduated from Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California, where she became friendly with fellow students Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black,[10] and continued her education at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in photography from Porter College.[11]


Saturday Night Live

In May 2000, Rudolph joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player for the final three episodes of the 1999–2000 season, after a stint as a member of The Groundlings improv troupe, where she met future Saturday Night Live cast member Will Forte.[7] Rudolph's musical talents were frequently employed on Saturday Night Live. She sang as Beyoncé Knowles in the Prince Show sketches, as the "Space Creature" in the Gays in Space sketches, except for the one on the season 31 episode hosted by Peter Sarsgaard, because it aired around the time Rudolph was on maternity leave. Friend Will Forte substituted for her during that episode. Her ability to change her looks and her command of many accents also led to her playing an unusually wide range of ethnicities on the show, often with only a change of wigs. As "Nooni Schoener," Rudolph, along with Fred Armisen, created a couple from an unspecified Scandinavian country, who have unplaceable accents and bewilderingly foreign manners. Rudolph was also able to play male characters such as Scott Joplin, Justin Guarini, and Mario Vazquez.

Her final episode as a cast member was on November 3, 2007, with host Brian Williams and musical guest Feist, the last episode before the writers' strike. She returned on October 25, 2008, in a featured guest appearance as Michelle Obama and sang a duet with Kenan Thompson about Amy Poehler's newborn. She then also appeared in the 2008 Christmas episode, where she reprised her role in the sketch Bronx Beat, with Amy Poehler. She also appeared in two sketches in the 2008–09 season finale with Will Ferrell. She appeared in a Weekend Update Thursday sketch during the fall 2009–10 season as Oprah Winfrey speaking on behalf of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. She also appeared on the show in May 2010 to perform in skits including "The Manuel Ortiz Show" with Betty White. She returned to Saturday Night Live for the season 36 premiere, hosted by Amy Poehler, performing the "Bronx Beat" sketch and that same season for episode 700, hosted by Tina Fey.[12] On February 18, 2012 she returned to Saturday Night Live as a host for the first time and reprised her roles in sketches such as "Bronx Beat". She once again returned to SNL on December 19, 2015 for the Christmas episode hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to reprise her role in the "Bronx Beat" sketch.[13] She appeared once more on the 41st season finale (hosted by Fred Armisen) as Dilma Rousseff on Weekend Update.


Rudolph's characters on the show have included "Attorney Glenda Goodwin" and "Megan" from the "Wake Up, Wakefield!" sketches. Rudolph has done a number of celebrity impressions on Saturday Night Live during her tenure, including Amanda Byram, Ananda Lewis, Barbra Streisand, Bern Nadette Stanis (as Thelma Evans on Good Times), Beyoncé, Charo, Christina Aguilera, Condoleezza Rice, Darcel Wynne, Diana Ross, Dilma Rousseff, Donatella Versace, Donna Fargo, Emily Robison, Fredricka Whitfield, Free, Gayle King, Griselda Blanco, Halle Berry, Ivanka Trump, Ja'net Du Bois (as Willona Woods on Good Times), Jennifer Lopez, Joyce "Fenderella" Irby, Justin Guarini, Kara Saun, La Toya Jackson, Lisa Kudrow, Lisa Ling, Liza Minnelli, Lucy Liu, Lynda Lopez, Macy Gray, Mario Vasquez, Mary Roach, Maya Angelou, Melinda Doolittle, Melissa Stark, Michelle Obama, Mýa, Nelly Furtado, Omarosa, Oprah Winfrey, Paris Hilton, Patti LaBelle, Phylicia Rashad (as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show), Rocsi, Scott Joplin, Teresa Heinz, Terra Patrick, Tina Turner, Tyra Banks, Valerie Simpson, Vanessa Hudgens (as Gabriella Montez from High School Musical 3), Wanda Sykes and Whitney Houston.

Recurring characters

  • Appreciante
  • Beertje Van Beers
  • Britanica of Gemini's Twin
  • Casey
  • Charli Coffee
  • Cocktail Waitress
  • Donatella Versace
  • Glenda Goodwin
  • Jackie
  • Jodi Deitz (one of the co-hosts of "Bronx Beat")
  • Leilani Burke
  • Megan (one of the co-hosts of "Wake Up, Wakefield!")
  • Mrs. Denmont
  • Nuni Schoener
  • Patti Sylviac
  • Rebecca
  • Space Creature

Television and film

In addition to her work on Saturday Night Live, Rudolph has appeared on other television shows, including the CBS medical drama series City of Angels and Chicago Hope. She had small parts in Chuck & Buck, Gattaca, As Good as It Gets, Duplex and Duets; she was also a music supervisor for Duets. Her first prominent film role came in 2006 with A Prairie Home Companion. Earlier, she had costarred with Luke Wilson in the 2005 Mike Judge sci-fi comedy Idiocracy, although that film was shelved until September 2006 and then only given a limited release. She also guest-starred as Rapunzel in the DreamWorks animated film Shrek the Third. She guest-starred as Julia in The Simpsons episode "The Homer of Seville". Rudolph guest-starred as character Athena Scooberman in NBC's Kath & Kim, and starred in the film Away We Go with The Office star John Krasinski. In 2010, she appeared in Grown Ups starring Adam Sandler, where she played the wife of Chris Rock's character. In 2011, she appeared in Bridesmaids with Saturday Night Live colleague Kristen Wiig, and in 2013 she played a supporting role in The Way, Way Back as the girlfriend of Sam Rockwell's character. She co-starred in the NBC sitcom Up All Night, with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. Rudolph's self-titled variety show television pilot aired on May 19, 2014,[14] but the show did not go beyond that. It was later announced that she would star in an NBC variety series Maya & Marty with Martin Short,[15] which debuted on May 31, 2016.


Prior to joining Saturday Night Live, Rudolph was backing singer (1995–99)[1] and briefly a keyboardist in the band The Rentals, with whom she toured for a short time.[7] She also appears in the music videos of the songs "Waiting" and "Please Let That Be You". She sang backing vocals for "Barcelona" and "My Head Is in the Sun," both from the album Seven More Minutes. In 2004, she recorded a track with The Rentals frontman Matt Sharp, including a cover of Tegan and Sara's "Not Tonight." Rudolph also performed "Together In Pooping" and "Little Roundworm" with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Robert Smigel) on his album Come Poop With Me. She is in a Prince cover band called Princess with her friend Gretchen Lieberum.[16]

Personal life

Rudolph has been in a relationship with director Paul Thomas Anderson since 2001.[17] They live together with their children: Pearl (born 2005), Lucille (born 2009), Jack (born July 3, 2011) and Minnie (born 2013).[18]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 As Good As It Gets Policewoman
1997 Gattaca Delivery Nurse
2000 Chuck & Buck Jamilla
2000 Duets Karaoke Hostess
2003 Duplex Tara
2004 Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie Kanshasha X
2004 50 First Dates Stacy
2006 A Prairie Home Companion Molly Nominated—Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated—Gold Derby Awards for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated—Gotham Awards for Best Ensemble Performance
2006 Idiocracy Rita
2007 Shrek the Third Rapunzel Voice role
2009 Away We Go Verona De Tessant Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Actress
2nd Place—St. Louis Film Critics Association for Best Actress]]
Nominated—Utah Film Critics Association Awards for Best Actress
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association for Best Actress
2010 MacGruber Casey Fitzpatrick
2010 Grown Ups Deanne McKenzie
2011 Bridesmaids Lillian Donovan MTV Movie Awards for Best Gut-Wrenching Performance
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated—MTV Movie Awards for Best Cast
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2011 Zookeeper Mollie Voice role
2011 Friends with Kids Leslie
2013 The Way, Way Back Caitlyn Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards for Best Ensemble Acting[19]
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society for Best Ensemble Performance[20]
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics for Best Acting Ensemble[21]
2013 Grown Ups 2 Deanne McKenzie Nominated—Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Couple/Ensemble
2013 Turbo Burn Voice role
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Outstanding Voice Performance
2014 The Nut Job Precious Voice role
2014 Inherent Vice Petunia Leeway
2014 Big Hero 6 Aunt Cass[22][23] Voice role
Nominated—Black Reel Award for Outstanding Voice Performance
Nominated—BTVA Feature Film Voice Acting Award for Best Female Vocal Performance in a Feature Film in a Supporting Role
Nominated—BTVA Feature Film Voice Acting Award for Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film
2015 Strange Magic Griselda Voice role
BTVA Feature Film Voice Acting Award for Best Female Vocal Performance in a Feature Film in a Supporting Role
Black Reel Award for Outstanding Voice Performance
Nominated—BTVA Feature Film Voice Acting Award for Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film
2015 Maggie's Plan Felicia
2015 A Very Murray Christmas Lounge Singer
2015 Sisters Brinda
2016 Mr. Pig Eunice
2016 The Angry Birds Movie Matilda Voice role
2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Deborah
2016 We Don't Belong Here Joanne
2016 My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea Voice role
2017 The Nut Job 2 Precious Voice role
2018 Life of the Party[24] Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1996–97 Chicago Hope Nurse Leah Martine 5 episodes
1997 The Devil's Child Holly Movie
2000 Action Phina Episode: "Dead Man Floating"
2000 City of Angels Nurse Grace Patterson 15 episodes
2000–07 Saturday Night Live Various Characters 150 episodes
2006 Campus Ladies Professor Theresa Winslow Fabre Episode: "All Nighter"
2007 The Simpsons Julia (voice) Episode: "Homer of Seville"
2008–09 Kath & Kim Athena Scooberman 5 episodes
2009 The Mighty B! Cherry (voice) Episode: "The Dragonflies"
2011–12 Up All Night Ava Alexander 35 episodes
2012 Saturday Night Live Herself/Host Episode: "Maya Rudolph/Sleigh Bells"
2014 Portlandia Anita Episode: "Bahama Knights"
2014 The Maya Rudolph Show Herself Variety show
2014 Family Guy Chloe (voice) Episode: "The Book of Joe"
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Herself Episode: "Maya Rudolph Wears a Black Skirt and Strappy Sandals"
2015 The Spoils Before Dying Fresno Foxglove 4 episodes
2015 Drunk History Griselda Blanco Episode: "Miami"
2016 The Grinder Jillian 3 episodes
2016 Mike Tyson Mysteries Dilma Rousseff (voice) Episode: "Yves Klein Blues"
2016 Angie Tribeca Jackie Wilder Episode: "Organ Trail"
2016 Maya & Marty Herself 6 episodes
2016 Brooklyn Nine-Nine U.S. Marshal Karen Haas 2 episodes
2017 Big Mouth

Web series

Year Title Role Notes
2014 The Awesomes Mrs. Malocchio Voice, 5 episodes
2015 Bad Lip Reading Princess Leia Voice, 3 episodes

Awards and nominations

For TV performances
Year Association Category Series Result
2004 Satellite Awards Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical Saturday Night Live Nominated
2007 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2011 Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Mini Series or TV Movie Up All Night Nominated
2012 Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Saturday Night Live Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Up All Night Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress in a TV Series, Mini Series or TV Movie Nominated


  1. 1 2 "Maya Rudolph". The Complete Marquis Who's Who (fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). Marquis Who's Who. 2010. Gale Document Number: GALE K2014901123. Retrieved September 24, 2011. Gale Biography In Context.
  2. "Maya Rudolph Biography (1972–)". Retrieved January 2, 2011.
  3. "The Essence of Lucinda". Ocala Star-Banner. June 6, 2001. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  4. "Sidney J. Rudolph, Philanthropist and Restaurant Owner". Miami Herald. December 23, 1992.
  5. Stated by Henry Louis Gates on the Finding Your Roots episode "In Search of Freedom," January 19, 2016, PBS
  6. 1 2 3 4 Itzkoff, Dave (September 9, 2011). "Juggling a Comedy Series About Juggling Life's Tasks". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
  7. Minnie Riperton (1975). Minnie Riperton - Lovin' You (Live 1975). The Midnight Special (TV series). Event occurs at 03:07. Retrieved September 25, 2011. Maya, Maya, Maya
  8. "Top 10 little known facts about Teena Marie". CNN Entertainment. December 28, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2011.
  9. Morris, Alex (May 8, 2014). "The New Carol Burnett: Maya Rudolph on Fulfilling Her Variety-Show Dream". Vulture. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  10. "Maya Rudolph Biography". Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  11. McGlynn, Katla (May 8, 2011). "'SNL': Pregnant Tina Fey & Maya Rudolph Sing Duet About Doin' It". Retrieved May 9, 2011.
  13. Collins, Scott (May 19, 2014). "Maya Rudolph looks to spice up NBC with a variety show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  14. Littleton, Cynthia (February 12, 2016). "NBC Greenlights Maya Rudolph-Martin Short Variety Show, Targets May Premiere (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
  16. Stanhope, Kate (July 19, 2011). "It's a Boy for Maya Rudolph and Paul Thomas Anderson". TV Guide. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  17. "Maya Rudolph Welcomes Fourth Child!". Us Weekly. Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  22. "Cast Announcement: Six Reasons We Can't Wait to See Big Hero 6". Oh My Disney. July 13, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  23. Kit, Borys (August 4, 2016). "Maya Rudolph Joins Melissa McCarthy Comedy 'Life of the Party' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 4, 2016.
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