The first-ever, female head writer in the history of “Saturday Night Live,” Tina Fey rose to fame with the huge success of America’s prime sketch show. Her outstanding contribution to the show’s 25th anniversary special garnered Fey two Writers Guild of America Awards and an Emmy Award. She is also well-known as the co-anchor of “Weekend Update” with Jimmy Fallon on Saturday Night Live.
Fey further increased her celebrity status when she penned the screenplay and costarred in the successful Mean Girls (2004), starring teen actress Lindsay Lohan. In the film, Fey was seen as a high school teacher named Ms. Norbury. One of the members of Chicago’s famed Second City comedy troupe, Fey received wide praise when she developed a comedic partnership with Rachel Dratch and performed their two woman show “Dratch & Fey” in Chicago (1999) and New York (2000).
Off screen, Fey was once named one of People’s “50 Most Beautiful in the World” and was voted Entertainment Weekly’s “8th Entertainer of the Year” in 2001. Outside of the limelight, Fey, who considers herself a feminist, is now the mother of daughter Alice (born in 2005) from her four year marriage with the director of Second Comedy, Jeff Richmond. Fey and Richmond tied the knot on June 3, 2001.
Childhood and Family:
“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, which my dad hated because it ripped off The Honeymooners. I actually have a very low level of Flintstones knowledge for someone my age.” Tina Fey
Daughter of German and Irish descendant Donald Fey, and Greece-born mother Jeanne Fey, Elizabeth Tina Fey was born on May 18, 1970, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. Being raised by parents who loved comedy, Tina discovered a knack for sharp comedy early on.
A native of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, Tina was educated and graduated from Upper Darby High School. During her high school years, she showcased her talents by writing a humor column for the school newspaper. She also tried her hand at choir and the drama club. After completing high school in 1988, Tina attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a BA degree in drama. She then moved to Chicago and worked on her comic craft at the Second City Training Center. Before that, she worked at a YMCA.
On June 3, 2001, Tina married Jeff Richmond, an actor and director at Second City. After four years of marriage, the couple welcomed their daughter, named Alice, on September 10, 2005. The happy family currently resides in New York.
Good-looking, petite, brown-haired Tina Fey developed a passion for comedy at a very young age. Upon receiving a degree in drama in 1992, she subsequently made her way to Chicago and auditioned for the selective Second City Training Center, but failed to get in. Fey had to wait for two months before eventually being accepted to study with the elite Second City comedy troupe in 1994. There, she worked on writing, performing and her improvisational skills. She also built up a comedic collaboration with troupe member Rachel Dratch.
Fey was so impressive that when NBC scouts searched for new talent for Saturday Night Live (SNL), she became their first choice. With the help of her friend Adam McKay, who served as a writer for the show, Fey received a big break when executive producer Lorne Michaels hired Fey as a writer for SNL in 1997. Two years later, after writing several sketches for the show including the recurring parodies of Live with Regis and Kelly and The View, Fey became SNL’s first female head writer. As a head for SNL, she has written sketches such as Parodies of the Sharon Osbourne Show (co-written by Amy Poehler), The Girl with No Gaydar and Boston Teens (co-written by Rachel Dratch), Old French Whore, Sully and Denise and the Monica Lewinsky skits, and many others. Also in 1999, she netted a Writers Guild of America for her contribution to Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary. She took home the same award in 2001, as well as a 2002 Emmy, for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. Additionally, Fey was nominated two times for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, in 2001 and in 2003.
Still in 1999, working with fellow cast member Rachel Dratch, Fey received wide appreciation for her brilliant work in a two-woman outline show named Dratch & Fey. A year later, the pair scored the same success when it was performed at New York’s Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater.
In the new millennium, Fey won the hearts of audiences when she co-hosted (with Jimmy Fallon) the” Weekend Update,” a segment of SNL. Her solid and skillful delivery of the news was loved by fans, while her assortment of glitter and complexity balanced out Fallon’s boyish energy. In 2004, the two ended their collaboration after Fallon made his last appearances as a cast member.
Already famous as a writer, Fey kicked off her film career in 2002 when she appeared as Southern Lady in Martin & Orloff (2002). Two years later, Fey scripted and appeared as teacher Ms. Norbury in the 2004 movie Mean Girls. She developed the film’s characters and behaviors based on her real life at Upper Darby High School and on Rosalind Wiseman’s popular book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence. The film, which starred her niece Lindsay Lohan, Tim Meadows, Ana Gasteyer, and Amy Poehler, became a hit.
Fey recently teamed up with Lorne Michaels and two former producers of The Tracy Morgan Show, David Miner and Joann Alfano, on a sitcom for NBC and Broadway Video called Friday Night Bits, in which she will be cast as the head writer of a variety show, as well as serve as a writer and an executive producer.
“I had to get back to work. NBC has me under contract; the baby and I only have a verbal agreement.” Tina Fey
After taking a few months hiatus to play a maternity role in her real life, Fey returned to her “Weekend Update” on October 22, 2005. She is also set to play a role in the upcoming Curly Oxide and Vic Thrill (2005).
- Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, Saturday Night Live, 2002
- Writers Guild of America: Comedy/Variety - Music, Tributes - Specials - Any Length, Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary, 2001
- Writers Guild of America: Comedy/Variety - Music, Tributes - Specials - Any Length, Saturday Night Live: 25th Anniversary, 1999