Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus (born January 13, 1961) is an American actress and comedienne best known for her Emmy award winning roles as Elaine Benes on the NBC sitcom Seinfeld in the 1990s, and as Christine Campbell on the current CBS sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Louis-Dreyfus spent her childhood in several states, living with her mother and stepfather. She was later raised in Bethesda, Maryland, and graduated from the Holton-Arms School. She attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she studied theater and was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority (she left the sorority after a semester of membership). She left Northwestern after 3 years to begin working on Saturday Night Live. She was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Northwestern University in 2007. While living in Evanston, she was a member of the Practical Theatre Company, an Evanston storefront theatre. She, now-husband Brad Hall, and Paul Barosse were all members of the Practical Theatre who made the transition to Saturday Night Live. Since 1987, she has been married to actor/writer Brad Hall, whom she met while they were students at Northwestern. Hall also worked on SNL. They have two sons, Henry (born June 1992) and Charles (born May 1997).
Louis-Dreyfus was a cast member on NBC's Saturday Night Live from 1982 to 1985. While on SNL, she met writer Larry David, who would later co-create Seinfeld. Louis-Dreyfus also appeared in a few sitcoms and films over the years, but is best known for her nine-season role as "Elaine Benes" on NBC's Seinfeld from 1990 to 1998, appearing in all but three episodes. On the "Notes About Nothing," on the Season 1-2 DVD, Jerry Seinfeld notes that Louis-Dreyfus' ability to eat a peanut M&M without cracking the peanut aptly describes the actress: She cracks you up without breaking your nuts".
After Seinfeld, Louis-Dreyfus began a new NBC sitcom, Watching Ellie, which was canceled after two abbreviated seasons. Louis-Dreyfus came to be seen as a victim of "the Seinfeld Curse", a term applied to typecast actors who, after appearing in an enormously popular television series or movie, have trouble finding popularity in other roles.
Her current series, The New Adventures of Old Christine, receives high ratings. Louis-Dreyfus won the Lead Actress Emmy Award for her work on the show's first season , exactly 10 years after her Seinfeld win. Referring to the curse, she stated in her acceptance speech, "I'm not one to believe in curses . . . but curse this baby!"
She had a notable recurring guest role as the deceitful prosecutor Maggie Lizer on Arrested Development. She has also appeared on The Simpsons, providing the voice for Snake's girlfriend Gloria on three episodes.
She returned to host Saturday Night Live on May 13, 2006, becoming the first former female cast member to return as host. (Gilda Radner was supposed to host in the 1987-88 season, season 13, but a writers' strike cut the season short, and Radner died of ovarian cancer a year later.) Louis-Dreyfus appeared with former Seinfeld mates Jason Alexander and Jerry Seinfeld in the opening monologue, parodying the so-called "Seinfeld Curse". She mocked the curse once again while accepting her Emmy award in 2006. She has also appeared on Seinfeld co-creator Larry David's show Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing herself fictionally trying to break the "curse" by planning to star in a show in which she would play an actress affected by a Seinfeld-like curse. That storyline expanded on Seinfeld's "show about nothing" theme by twisting it into a "show about a show about a show about nothing."