Laraine Newman (born March 2, 1952) is an American comedian, actress, voice artist, and writer who was part of the original cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live.
Newman was born on March 2, 1952, in Los Angeles, California, the granddaughter of a cattle rancher from Arizona. Her family is Jewish. She is the youngest of four children and a twin. Her sister, Tracy Newman, is an Emmy Award winning television writer. Newman attended Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills, California. Newman married actor-writer-director Chad Einbinder in 1991. They have two daughters, Lena (born 1991) and Hannah (born 1995).
Life and career
Newman took her first Improvisational theatre classes when she was 15. After finishing high school she auditioned for four acting schools in England including Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Bristol Old Vic. She was not accepted after the second round of auditions for all four schools, so she went to Paris to study mime with Marcel Marceau for a year.
She was a founding member of The Groundlings and is best known for being an original cast member on NBC's Saturday Night Live, appearing on the show from its inception in 1975 through 1980. She originated the characters of Sheri the Valley Girl and Connie Conehead, among others:
" ...my favorite character that I created at Saturday Night Live, which, I think, only pleased me and no one else, was Lina Wertmuller."
During her five years on SNL she became a close friend of co-star Gilda Radner (although there was also a degree of rivalry between them). However, by her own account, she was unhappy for much of her time with the show—she disliked living in New York. Newman's post-SNL film career has been in both leading and supporting roles, as well as a voice artist on television and features. Among these were Perfect, American Hot Wax, Wholly Moses, Problem Child 2 and a cameo in Mr. Mike's Mondo Video. She also had a small role in Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980) and in the 1993 film Coneheads. In 1986 she starred in the syndicated B-movie comedy series, The Canned Film Festival, playing the lead role as Laraine the usherette. Additionally, she made appearances on such programs as Laverne & Shirley, as Donut Rooter in Devo's We're All Devo VHS, According to Jim, St. Elsewhere, E.T. and Friends (1983), in which she reprised her role as Connie Conehead, Steve Martin's Best Show Ever (1981), Amazing Stories, Friends, The Tick, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Histeria!, Wayside, Danny Phantom, CatDog, Sonic the Hedgehog, As Told By Ginger, Rugrats (in "All Growed Up", an episode which would form the basis of the spinoff All Grown Up!, for which she also provided voice work), 7th Heaven, The Flintstones, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Metalocalypse. Most recently she appeared in episodes of Entourage and Brothers & Sisters, provided voice work for WALL-E, Battle for Terra, Ponyo, Jungle Junction, Cars, Up!, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Barnyard, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Happily N'Ever After, Horton Hears a Who!, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, and Wreck-It Ralph. She made guest voice appearances in SpongeBob SquarePants and Doc McStuffins. She also voices Queen Jipjorrulac, the mother of Mark Chang, in The Fairly OddParents.
She voiced the Wicked Witch of the West in Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz, an animated direct-to-DVD film set during the events of the classic 1939 film.
Newman also works as a writer and editor. She is a contributing editor for the online magazine One For The Table, and she is an occasional contributor to the Huffington Post. She has contributed articles for the Los Angeles Times, The Believer, and McSweeney's. She wrote the foreword to the book version of the UCB Production Worst Laid Plans.
On July 9, 2014 Laraine appeared on Ken Reid's "TV Guidance Counselor" podcast.