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Tina Fey (born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey; May 18, 1970) is an American writer, comedian, actress and producer. She has won five Emmys, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award. Fey is best known for her work on Mean Girls, Saturday Night Live (SNL), her impersonation of Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin as well as her work on 30 Rock, a situation comedy loosely based on her experiences at Saturday Night Live.[1] On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported that Fey has been selected as one of America's top ten most fascinating people of 2008 for an upcoming Barbara Walters ABC special scheduled to air on December 4, 2008.[2] Fey became a writer on SNL in 1997. She was promoted to the position of head writer in 1999. She was added to the cast of SNL in 2000.[3] After leaving SNL in 2006, Fey created her own television series called 30 Rock. In the series, she portrays Liz Lemon, the head writer of TGS with Tracy Jordan, a fictional sketch comedy series.[3] In early 2008, she starred in the movie Baby Mama, alongside Amy Poehler. During the final two months of the 2008 presidential election, Fey appeared on SNL portraying 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.


Fey was born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, the daughter of Zenobia "Jeanne" (née Xenakes),[4][5] a brokerage employee, and Donald Fey, a university grant proposal-writer.[6] Fey's father is of German and Scottish ancestry and her mother of Greek ancestry.[7]

Fey was exposed to comedy early. She recalls:

" I remember my parents sneaking me in to see Young Frankenstein. We would also watch Saturday Night Live, or Monty Python, or old Marx Brothers movies. My dad would let us stay up late to watch The Honeymooners. We were not allowed to watch The Flintstones though: my dad hated it because it ripped off The Honeymooners.[8]

I actually have a very low level of Flintstones knowledge for someone my age.[9] "

She also grew up watching SCTV and includes Catherine O'Hara among her role models.[10]

Fey attended Cardington Elementary School and Beverly Hills Middle School in Upper Darby.[11] By middle school, she knew she was interested in comedy, even doing an independent-study project on the subject in eighth grade.[8] She graduated from Upper Darby High School in 1988.[11][12]

Personal life

Fey is married to Jeff Richmond, a composer on SNL. They met at Chicago's Second City and dated for seven years before marrying in a Greek Orthodox ceremony on June 3, 2001.[13] They have a daughter, Alice Zenobia Richmond, who was born on September 10, 2005, in New York City,[14][15] where they reside.

Fey has a scar a few inches long on the left side of her chin and cheek. Responding to questions about its origin, Fey was quoted in the November 25, 2001, New York Times as saying: "It's a childhood injury that was kind of grim. And it kind of bums my parents out for me to talk about it".[16] But in an interview with Fey and Richmond in the January 2009 issue of Vanity Fair, Richmond revealed the scar resulted from a slashing incident, which happened when she was five. Richmond said: "It was in, like, the front yard of her house, and somebody just came up, and she just thought somebody marked her with a pen." She has said she was reluctant to discuss the incident in part because "It's impossible to talk about it without somehow seemingly exploiting it."[17][18]


After Fey graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in drama in 1992, she moved to Chicago, Illinois in order to take night classes at The Second City.[19] Once her Second City training began, she immersed herself in the "cult of improvisation," becoming, as she described it a decade later, "one of those athletes trying to get into the Olympics. It was all about blind focus. I was so sure that I was doing exactly what I'd been put on this Earth to do, and I would have done anything to make it onto that stage. Not because of SNL, but because I wanted to devote my life to improv. I would have been perfectly happy to stay at Second City forever."[19]

By 1994, she was invited to join the cast of The Second City, where she performed in the Jeff Award-winning revue Paradigm Lost. Improvisation became an important influence on her initial understanding of what it means to be an actress, as she noted in an interview for The Believer in November 2003:[19]

" When I started, improv had the biggest impact on my acting. I studied the usual acting methods at college—Stanislavsky and whatnot. But none of it really clicked for me. My problem with the traditional acting method was that I never understood what you were supposed to be thinking about when you're onstage. But at Second City, I learned that your focus should be entirely on your partner. You take what they're giving you and use it to build a scene. That opened it up for me. Suddenly it all made sense. It's about your partner. Not what you're going to say, not finding the perfect mannerisms or tics for your character, not what you're going to eat later. Improv helped to distract me from my usual stage bullshit and put my focus somewhere else so that I could stop acting. I guess that's what method acting is supposed to accomplish anyway. It distracts you so that your body and emotions can work freely. Improv is just a version of method acting that works for me. "

While in Chicago, she also made what she later described as an "amateurish" attempt at stand-up comedy.[8] Fey is also a veteran of The ImprovOlympic.

Saturday Night Live

With then-head-writer Adam McKay's help, Fey became a writer for NBC's Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1997. By 1999, Fey was SNL's first female head writer, a milestone she downplays in light of the fact that there have not been very many head writers.[20] As co-head writer of SNL's 25th anniversary special, Fey won a 2001 Writers Guild of America Award. She and the writing staff also won a 2002 Emmy Award for their work on the show.

In September 2005, she went on maternity leave after giving birth to a daughter, Alice Zenobia Richmond. Her Weekend Update role was covered by Horatio Sanz for two episodes before her return to the show on October 22, 2005, at which time she noted:

"I had to get back to work. NBC has me under contract; the baby and I only have a verbal agreement."[21]

The season was her last, as she thereafter departed to develop 30 Rock.

SNL sketches

Some recurring sketches written by Fey include:

  • Parodies of Live with Regis and Kelly and The View
  • The Girl with No Gaydar, cowritten by Rachel Dratch
  • The Boston Teens, cowritten by Rachel Dratch

She is also credited with:

  • Colonel Angus, portrayed by Christopher Walken in a sketch filled with word play on the colonel's name
  • Mom Jeans commercial
  • "Talkin 'Bout 'Ginas" (Parody of The Vagina Monologues)
  • "Old French Whore!" (game show parody with teens paired with old French prostitutes)
  • "Census" (Tim Meadows questions a clueless Christopher Walken)

Weekend Update

In 2000, Fey and Jimmy Fallon became co-anchors of SNL's Weekend Update, a pairing that ended in May 2004 when Fallon last appeared as a cast member. (Fey also was co-writer of the Weekend Update segment). Fallon was replaced by Amy Poehler. It was the first time that two women co-anchored Weekend Update.[22]

Returning host

On February 23, 2008, Fey hosted the first episode of SNL after the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, becoming the third female cast member to return and host.

Fey's celebrity impressions during the episode included Ellen Page (as Juno MacGuff) and Mary Jo Buttafuoco.

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FilmographyBaby Mama, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, Martin & Orloff, Artie Lange's Beer League, Mean Girls
TV Appearances30 Rock, Saturday Night Live
Birth Date:  May 18, 1970
Movie Writing CreditsMean Girls
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Quick Tip by . April 09, 2010
I really hope Feylin comes back this Saturday NIIIIGHT
review by . December 16, 2008
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon
I love Tina Fey.    Tina Fey is smart and funny.  She's relatable, she's quirky, and she is talented.  I pretty much want to be Tina Fey.    Of all the performances Tina Fey has done in recent years, I would have to say that her character Liz Lemon on 30 Rock is absolutely, without a doubt, definitively, the best thing she has ever done.    Liz Lemon (a character loosely based on Tina Fey during her SNL years) is a neurotic, sodium-obsessed, …
review by . October 02, 2008
As a Republican who supports the McCain/Palin ticket, even I can appreciate a good laugh. Tina Rey does a super job impersonating Sarah Palin! Her accent and mannerisms are dead on!    However, I think the skit of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hilary Clinton prior to this one was much funnier. Amy Poehler's constant and exaggerated blinking as Katie Couric was very distracting, drawn out, and not funny. Does Katie Couric even do that? In this skit, Tina Fey …
Tina Fey
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