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Kristen Wiig

Kristen Wiig

American actress and comedian
Kristen Wiig
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actress and comedian
A.K.A. Kristen Carroll Wiig
Is Comedian Actor Film actor Film producer Voice actor Screenwriter Television actor Writer
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio Humor Literature
Gender female
Birth 22 August 1973, Canandaigua, USA
Age 47 years
Star sign LeoLeo
Spouse: Hayes Hargrove
Height: 1.651 m
University of Arizona
Brighton High School
The details


Kristen Carroll Wiig (/wɪɡ/; born August 22, 1973) is an American actress, comedian, writer, and producer. She was born in Canandaigua, New York, and raised in both Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Rochester, New York. She later relocated to Los Angeles, where she broke into comedy as a member of the improvisational comedy troupe The Groundlings, and made her television debut in 2003.

Wiig joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 2005, and the following year, she appeared in the Christmas comedy film Unaccompanied Minors. After appearing in a series of supporting roles in comedy films such as Knocked Up (2007), Adventureland (2009), Whip It (2009), and Paul (2011), she starred in, and co-wrote the screenplay for the comedy film Bridesmaids (2011), which was both critically and commercially successful. The film earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actress – Musical or Comedy, as well as nominations for the BAFTA and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.

Wiig provided her voice for the animated franchises Despicable Me (2010–17) and How to Train Your Dragon (2010–19), and was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her role as Cynthia Morehouse in the comedy miniseries The Spoils of Babylon (2014). Wiig's other notable films include Girl Most Likely (2012), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013), The Skeleton Twins (2014), Welcome to Me (2014), The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015), The Martian (2015), Ghostbusters (2016), Downsizing (2017), Mother! (2017), and Where'd You Go, Bernadette (2019).

Early life

Wiig was born on August 22, 1973, in Canandaigua, New York, the daughter of Jon Wiig, who ran a lake marina in Western New York, and Laurie (née Johnston), an artist. Her father has Norwegian ancestry and her mother is of English and Scottish descent. The name Wiig comes from the area Vik in Sogn og Fjordane in Norway. Kristen's paternal grandfather, Gunnar Wiig, emigrated from Norway to the United States as a child and grew up in Rochester, New York, where he was an accomplished broadcaster for the Rochester Red Wings baseball team, and later became an executive at WHEC radio, WHEC-TV, and WROC-TV.

Wiig moved with her family to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at the age of three, and attended Nitrauer Elementary School and Manheim Township Middle School until eighth grade. She then moved to Rochester with her family at the age of 13, where she attended Allendale Columbia School for ninth and tenth grades and graduated from Brighton High School.

She started her higher education by attending Roanoke College but soon returned to Rochester. She attended community college and did a three-month outdoor-living program. She had no performing ambitions at this time. Wiig then attended the University of Arizona, majoring in art. When she took an acting class in college to fulfill a course requirement, the teacher suggested she continue to act. She was expected to start a job at a plastic surgery clinic drawing pictures of people's postsurgery bodies, but the day before the job began, she decided to move to Los Angeles and pursue an acting career.


SNL and early film roles (2003–2010)

Wiig relocated to Los Angeles to act while working odd jobs to support herself. She performed with Empty Stage Comedy Theatre and with The Groundlings. She felt improvisation was a better fit than acting, and being a part of the comedy group improved her skills. In 2003, she appeared in Spike TV's The Joe Schmo Show, a spoof of reality television, in which she played Dr. Pat, a quack marriage counselor. While at The Groundlings, Wiig's manager encouraged her to submit an audition tape to Saturday Night Live. Wiig played the Target Lady on part of her audition tape. Wiig debuted on SNL shortly into season 31, on November 12, 2005. She survived an SNL budget cut, becoming a full member of the repertory cast at the beginning of season 32 in 2006 and until 2012.

Saturday Night Live characters

  • Gilly
  • Target lady
  • Dooneese
  • Kat
  • Mrs. Vogelcheck
  • Judy Grimes
  • Aunt Linda
  • Karina
  • Sue
  • Penelope
  • A-Hole
  • Mindy Elise Grayson
  • Anastasia Sticks
  • Jean
  • Trina
  • Vicki
  • Jacqueline Seka
  • Triangle Sally
  • Michelle Dison
  • Shana

Saturday Night Live impressions

Wiig was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on Saturday Night Live (2009 to 2012). In December 2009, she headlined in the Christmas special SNL Presents: A Very Gilly Christmas, which featured new sketches with her character Gilly and highlights of older SNL clips. Wiig was featured in Entertainment Weekly's list of 15 Great Performances for her various impersonations on Saturday Night Live (December 2008) and in EW's list of the 25 Funniest Women in Hollywood (April 2009). As of 2011, she voiced Lola Bunny in the series The Looney Tunes Show.

In 2006, Wiig made her film debut in the Christmas movie Unaccompanied Minors, and in 2007, she appeared in Judd Apatow's comedy Knocked Up, as a passive-aggressive assistant, and performed in Jake Kasdan's Walk Hard, another Apatow-produced film. Between 2008 and 2010, she had supporting roles in numerous studio comedies, which opened to varying degrees of success, but gave her an initial exposure with audiences. In 2008, she made a cameo appearance as Bear Trainer Girl in the comedy Semi-Pro, reuniting with SNL alum Will Ferrell, and played a yoga instructor in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, alongside Jason Segel and Mila Kunis, and also a self-involved surgeon in David Koepp's Ghost Town, with Ricky Gervais.

In 2009, Wiig co-starred in Greg Mottola's coming-of-age dramedy Adventureland, voiced a beaver mom in the animated adventure film Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and played a roller derby competitor in Whip It, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, and the wife of a flavoring-extracts company owner in Mike Judge's Extract, alongside Mila Kunis, Jason Bateman and Ben Affleck. In 2010, Wiig had a brief role in Andrew Jarecki's drama All Good Things, starred opposite Will Forte and Ryan Phillippe in MacGruber, and provided her voice for two big budgeted animated comedies —Despicable Me and How to Train Your Dragon— that would mark the beginning of two highly profitable film franchises.

Breakthrough (2011–2016)

Following an appearance as a Christian fundamentalist, one-eyed woman in Greg Mottola's 2011 moderately successful film Paul, the year proved to be a turning point in Wiig's career, as the comedy Bridesmaids, which she wrote with fellow Groundlings performer Annie Mumolo, was released in the Spring by Universal Pictures, to critical acclaim and box office success; it made US$167 million in North America and US$280 million worldwide. She also starred in the top-billing role of a single woman who suffers a series of misfortunes after being asked to serve as maid of honor for her best friend. The New York Times remarked: "A lanky-limbed blonde who evokes Meg Ryan stretched along Olive Oyl lines, Ms. Wiig keeps her features jumping and sometimes bunching. She's a funny, pretty woman, but she's also a comedian, and she's wonderfully confident about playing not nice [...] Ms. Wiig, a longtime cast member of Saturday Night Live, and Ms. Mumolo, a veteran of the Los Angeles comedy troupe the Groundlings, know what female moviegoers want: honest laughs with, and not solely about, women". For her work in the film, Wiig was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Her last 2011 film was the romantic comedy Friends with Kids, in which Wiig played one half of a sex-obsessed couple, opposite Bridemaids collaborator Maya Rudolph. It received positive reviews from critics, who deemed it as "sharp, shrewd, and funny", and was a success in limited release.

Following the success of Bridesmaids, the 2010s saw Wiig's career take off, as she became a prominent screen figure in Hollywood, whether as leading or supporting roles. The little-seen dramedy Revenge for Jolly!, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, was her first 2012 film release, and the comedy Girl Most Likely followed, in which she headlined, opposite Annette Bening, as a playwright who stages a suicide in an attempt to win back her ex, only to wind up in the custody of her gambling-addict mother. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 20 rating based on 85 reviews, with the site's consensus: "Largely witless and disappointingly dull, Girl Most Likely strands the gifted Kristen Wiig in a blandly hollow foray into scattershot sitcom territory." Her final performance as a cast member on Saturday Night Live was season 37, episode 22, which aired on May 19, 2012. The show was hosted by Mick Jagger. The closing celebration of her time on the show included SNL alumni Amy Poehler, Chris Kattan, Chris Parnell, Will Forte, and Rachel Dratch, as well as Steve Martin and Jon Hamm. She has since returned to host the program several times.

Wiig in Sydney, Australia in 2013

Wiig provided once again her voice for Despicable Me 2, released in June 2013, and for the character of Sexy Kitten in the critically acclaimed sci-fi romantic drama Her (2013). She would have a prominent role as the love interest and co-worker of the titular character in the adventure dramedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (also 2013), alongside Ben Stiller and Sean Penn, which polarized critics and was a moderate box office success. The New York Daily News praised Stiller and Wiig's "sweet, mellow chemistry", and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone found her to be "lovely, low-key" in the film, which he considered as "uniquely funny and unexpectedly tender". Her other 2013 film was the comedy sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, in which she teamed with frequent collaborators Will Ferrell and Steve Carell. With Ferrell, she subsequently starred in the six-episode miniseries The Spoils of Babylon (2014), and its fellow-up The Spoils Before Dying (2015) as well as the made-for-television film A Deadly Adoption (2015). While Joshua Alston of The A.V. Club gave A Deadly Adoption a B− and commented that everything in the film is "right visually, and Ferrell and Wiig are close enough to where they should be tonally", Wiig was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her role in The Spoils of Babylon.

Hateship, Loveship (2014), her next theatrically released production, was based on the 2001 short story "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" by Alice Munro. In it, she played a woman who must move to a new town to begin work as a housekeeper for an elderly man who needs help keeping house. Critics asserted that Wiig's "vibrant performance is almost worth the price of admission — and it has to be, because Hateship Loveship doesn't have much else going for it", as part of a mixed overall response. In 2014, she also reprised her role in How to Train Your Dragon 2, and starred with Bill Hader in Craig Johnson's dramedy The Skeleton Twins, as estranged twins reuniting with the possibility of mending their relationship. The Skeleton Twins was an arthouse success, with the Globe and Mail remarking: "Johnson's unfussy direction serves as a fine showcase for the two SNL veterans to demonstrate how their comic shorthand plays equally well in a slightly darker register".

For singer-songwriter Sia's performance of her 2014 single "Chandelier" at the 2015 Grammy Awards, Wiig danced alongside child dancer Maddie Ziegler. The dramedy Welcome to Me was released in selected theaters in May 2015, to a positive critical response; in it, Wiig played a multi-millionaire with borderline personality disorder who uses her newfound wealth to write and star in an autobiographical talk show. Rotten Tomatoes' consensus was: "A transfixing central performance by Kristen Wiig holds Welcome to Me together and compensates for its uneven stretches." In her next film, another dramedy titled The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Wiig starred as a woman whose boyfriend starts a sexual relationship with her daughter. Like Welcome to Me, the film received a limited theatrical release and was favorably received by critics. In 2015, she also played the director of media relations for NASA in the successful sci-fi drama The Martian, opposite Matt Damon, and starred as a family practitioner who is more interested in having a baby than having a boyfriend in the black comedy Nasty Baby, directed by Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva.

In the comedy Zoolander 2 (2016), Wiig took on the role of a villain and the "Queen of Haute Couture", alongside Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell. For the outrageous look of her character, she revealed that she spent around eight hours applying and removing her look each day. Zoolander 2 was a critical and commercial flop. The much criticized all-female reboot Ghostbusters (also 2016) featured Wiig as an author who bands with other paranormal enthusiasts to stop an otherworldly threat. Upon its release, response from critics was more positive than that of the original films' fanbase, and budgeted at over US$140 million, it made US$229.1 million. In 2016, she also voiced a hot dog bun in the well received animated comedy Sausage Party, and played a woman planning a robbery in the otherwise poor received film Masterminds, based on the October 1997 Loomis Fargo Robbery in North Carolina and also starring Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, and Jason Sudeikis.

Later roles (2017–present)

In 2017, Wiig provided her voice for Despicable Me 3, and briefly appeared in the films Mother!, directed by Darren Aronofsky, and Downsizing, reuniting with Damon. Wiig was scheduled to star and executive produce, alongside Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter, in a new untitled 30 minute comedy series from Apple and Witherspoon's company Hello Sunshine, though she later withdrew from the series. She also stars in Wonder Woman 1984, set to be released in 2020, as the villain the Cheetah. She will also be starring alongside Annie Mumolo in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, which she co-wrote, for Lionsgate.

Personal life

Wiig briefly was married to actor Hayes Hargrove. Media reported in 2019 that after three years of dating, Wiig became engaged to actor Avi Rothman, but the couple did not publicly confirm.

Wiig endorsed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Awards and nominations

  • She was named one of PETA's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities of 2011.
  • She is part of Time's 2012 list of The 100 Most Influential People in the World.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 18 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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