Comedian Alex Borstein is widely remembered for her role as the outrageous Ms. Swan on Fox's sketch comedy show “Mad TV” and devoted wife Lois Griffin on the hit Fox animated series “Family Guy.” She had recurring roles in "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers," "Gilmore Girls" and "Robot Chicken" and was spotted as a guest in such shows as "3-South," "Frasier," "Friends," "Drawn Together" and "American Dad!" Her voice can now be heard as Latoyah in the animated ABC Family series "Slacker Cats," which premiered on Monday August 13, 2007.
On the big screen, the petite, dark-haired actress could be seen in the films "Coyote Ugly" (2000), "Showtime" (2002), "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" (2003), "Bad Santa" (2003), "Catwoman" (2004), "Kicking & Screaming" (2005), "Good Night, and Good Luck" (2005) and "The Lookout" (2007). She will star in an upcoming comedy movie titled "For Christ's Sake," directed by her husband Jackson Douglas.
Childhood and Family:
Daughter to Jewish parents Judy and Irving Borstein (both are mental health professionals), Alexandrea Borstein was born on February 15, 1971, in Highland Park, Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in the nearby suburb of Deerfield. She moved to Los Angeles with her family in the early 1980s and later moved to San Francisco where she studied rhetoric at San Francisco State University, in San Francisco, California.
Borstein's school bus driver was John Malkovich, who is now an Academy Award nominated actor, producer and director. Recalling her school years, Borstein said, "I was a fat, quiet clown. Kind of like Star Jones used to be. I basically had one really good friend from junior high on and she’s still my best friend today. (Shout out to Karen!) I was kind of Karen’s private clown."
While performing with the ACME Comedy Theatre training program in Los Angeles, Borstein met actor/writer Jackson Douglas (born in 1969; played Jackson Belleville in the television series "Gilmore Girls") and the two became a couple. Douglas proposed to her during the taping of a "Mad TV" (1995) skit. They eventually exchanged wedding vows in 1999.
Borstein owns a production company called “Crackerpants, Inc.” She plays the harp, which she has demonstrated on the show “Gilmore Girls.”
"The first time I ever did standup I was 16 at a little club in southern California. My parents had to be there because I was under 21. I did standup there for the first time and then a couple more times. Then I abandoned it. In college at San Francisco State, I revisited it a few times and I did this little comedy competition and Certs breath mints sponsored it. The people who were the celebrity sponsors were The Kids in the Hall so I was very excited." Alex Borstein
While studying at San Francisco State University, Alex Borstein began trying her comic talent at improvisational theater and after graduation began performing at the Los Angeles-based comedy troupe ACME Comedy Theater. She also took her first job at an ad agency where she wrote print ads for “Barbie.”
In 1993, the aspiring comic landed a small role on Fox's live-action television series “The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers,” based on the sixteenth installment of the Japanese Super Sentai franchise, "Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger." Afterward, she began to work on the animated series “Pinky and the Brain” (The WB; 1995) and “Casper” (Fox; 1996). Shortly after, she left her ad job to become a full time writer.
While still writing for “Casper,” Borstein worked on Fox's popular TV show based on the Super Sentai series “Chouriki Sentai Ohranger,” “Power Rangers Zeo” (1996), a continuation of the television series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.” In the show, she lent her voice to the character Queen Machina.
While performing with the ACME Comedy Theater at the Big Stinkin' International Improv and Sketch Festival in Austin, Texas, Borstein was spotted by a "Mad TV" casting agent and joined the cast of Fox's sketch comedy show during Season 3 as a featured player. During her stint with the show, she became an audience favorite with the memorable characterizations of obnoxious Ms. Swan, which Borstein based on a combination of her real-life grandmother and Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk. She also played Eracist Anne, "Stick Chick" Echo, singer Jasmine Wayne-Wayne, child prodigy Karen Goddard, lounge singer Shaunda, News at Six's outside-the-studio reporter Sue Napersville, Cordo the GAP troll, and was Mama Brightling, the mother of mean boss Mr. Brightling (played by recurring guest Seth Green). She also proved to be a valuable member of the "Mad TV" team as a writer.
During her time on “MAD TV,” Seth MacFarlane, the creator and lead writer of FOX’s animated sitcom “Family Guy,” cast her as the voice of Lois Griffin, the level-headed wife of the boorish title character (Peter Griffin; voice by MacFarlane) and mother of two trying teens (Meg; voice by Mila Kunis, and Chris; voice by Seth Green) and a matricidal infant (Stewie; voice by MacFarlane). Borstein also provided several other voices as well. After being canceled from the FOX lineup in 2002, “Family Guy” returned in 2005.
Borstein has also appeared in multiple episodes of Comedy Central's animated television series “Drawn Together,” once as Lois Griffin, her character on “Family Guy.” Her animated version of Ms. Swan also made a brief appearance in an episode of “Family Guy” titled "Don't Make Me Over."
Meanwhile, Borstein was also eager to launch a film career. She had a cameo in David McNally's romantic comedy/drama based on the bar in New York City, "Coyote Ugly" (2000), and played tiny parts in Tom Dey's comedy/action film "Showtime" (2002; starring Eddie Murphy and Robert De Niro) and Terry Zwigoff's crime/comedy "Bad Santa" (2003; starring Billy Bob Thornton). She was also cast as Hilary Duff's new high school principal, Miss Ungermeyer, in the film version of the Disney Channel show, "The Lizzie McGuire Movie" (2003), and as Sally, Halle Berry's man-crazy best friend, in Pitof's disappointing adaptation of the DC character, "Catwoman" (2004).
TV viewers could catch her on The WB wildly popular family drama series "Gilmore Girls." She originally won the role of "Sookie St. James" in the show, portrayed it in the pilot, but her MAD TV contract prevented her from continuing and the producers recast her role with actress Melissa McCarthy. Borstein later made several recurring appearances as different characters. She was also spotted as a guest on such series as NBC’s internationally hit sitcom "Friends," "Frasier," and MTV's short-lived cartoon "3-South," which was created by "Family Guy" veteran writers Mark Hentemann and Steve Callaghan.
In 2005, Borstein took a turn for the dramatic in "Good Night, and Good Luck." In the film, directed and co-written by George Clooney, Borstein starred as Natalie, an employee at CBS News. Along with the film's cast members, Borstein received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
That same year, Borstein had an unaccredited cameo as an obnoxious coffee shop patron in the Jesse Dylan's comedy movie starring Will Ferrell, “Kicking & Screaming.” She also got recurring voice roles on Adult Swim/Teletoon stop motion animated television series “Robot Chicken,” which was created by "Family Guy" alumna Seth Green.
In 2006, Borstein would bring her popular stage show to viewers across the nation with the release of “Drop Dead Gorgeous (In a Down to Earth Bombshell Sort of Way)” to home video. Recently, in 2007, Borstein was paired with "Good Night, and Good Luck." star Jeff Daniels once again in writer/director Scott Frank's tense crime thriller “The Lookout,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. She was also cast as a press secretary in the pilot episode of ABC’s comedy based on the British series, “The Thick of It.” Unfortunately, it wasn't picked up by ABC for its fall 2007 schedule, although other networks, including HBO, Showtime and NBC, have expressed an interest in the show.
Next, Borstein will star in the upcoming comedy movie "For Christ's Sake," directed by her husband Jackson Douglas. Her voice can now be heard as Latoyah in the animated ABC Family series "Slacker Cats," which premiered on Monday, August 13, 2007. As a writer, Borstein is currently writing the material for an upcoming animated TV series titled “Angry Little Girls.”
DVD Exclusive: Best Screenplay (for a DVD Premiere Movie), "Family Guy Presents: Stewie Griffin - The Untold Story," 2006