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Stars That Died

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Who is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey

Who is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey? The world knows her as Tina Fey. She 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 Alaskan 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 was selected by Barbara Walters as one of America's top ten most fascinating people of 2008. Barbara Walters's special aired on ABC on December 4, 2008.

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. 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. In early 2008, she starred in the movie Baby Mama, alongside Amy Poehler.

Fey was born May 18, 1970 in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, the daughter of Zenobia "Jeanne" (née Xenakes), a brokerage employee, and Donald Fey, a university grant proposal-writer.[ Fey's father is of German and Scottish ancestry and her mother of Greek ancestry.

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.

I actually have a very low level of Flintstones knowledge for someone my age. ”

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

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

Fey is married to Jeff Richmond, a composer on Saturday Night Live. They met at Chicago's Second City and dated for seven years before marrying in a Greek Orthodox ceremony on June 3, 2001. They have a daughter, Alice Zenobia Richmond, who was born on September 10, 2005, in New York City, 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". 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."

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 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."

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:

“ 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. Fey is also a veteran of The ImprovOlympic.

Governor of Alaska and former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is considered by some people to have a striking resemblance to Tina Fey, and in the immediate aftermath of John McCain's announcement of Palin as his running mate, speculation rose as to whether Fey might portray Palin in sketches on SNL. On the 34th season premiere episode, aired September 13, 2008, Fey returned to SNL in the role of Palin, alongside Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton. Their repartee included Clinton needling Palin about her "Tina Fey glasses." It quickly became's most-watched viral video ever, with 5.7 million views by the following Wednesday. In an interview, SNL creator Lorne Michaels said "The whole world cast her in that role." Michaels said that she was unlikely to remain in the role for long. Palin's campaign said that Palin was amused, particularly because she had once dressed up as Tina Fey for Halloween, though Palin later said she had seen the sketch without hearing the audio. John McCain's top economic advisor Carly Fiorina called the sketch sexist. During the 2008 Emmy Awards, Fey said of the vice-presidential candidate, "I want to be done playing this lady November 5. So if anyone could help me be done playing this lady November 5, that would be good for me." In an interview with TV Guide, Fey reiterated her desire that her role as Palin will be temporary. "If she wins, I'm done," said Fey. "I can't do that for four years. And by 'I'm done,' I mean I'm leaving Earth."
On September 27, she reprised her role as Palin, parodying the CBS News interview with Katie Couric, who was played by Poehler. Portions of the sketch were direct quotes and gestures from interviews with Couric on September 24. On October 4, she played the role of Palin at the 2008 vice-presidential debate, with Jason Sudeikis playing Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden and Queen Latifah as moderator Gwen Ifill. SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels, referring to the 50% audience increase in the 34th season, told the New York Times, “I think the gods smiled on us with the Palin thing.” On October 18, 2008, Fey came face-to-face with Palin herself, when impersonating the vice presidential candidate in a fake news conference on SNL. Later on Late Night with Conan O'Brien she told of how Palin actually offerred the services of her daughter Bristol to babysit her daughter Alice if she could not find one.
New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley wrote that the McCain campaign apparently believes that Fey's comedy sketches have "undermined Palin's plausibility" as a candidate qualified to be Vice President, and Stanley speculated that the candidate's appearance on SNL was calculated to "disarm" Fey.
On the Thursday, October 23 episode of Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday, Fey as Palin appeared alongside John McCain (played by Darrell Hammond), as President George W. Bush (played by Will Ferrell) gave his endorsement to the pair.
On Saturday, November 1, Fey appeared with Senator McCain himself in a skit that mocked the McCain campaign's lack of funds. The skit featured McCain and Fey on the set of QVC, just a few days after Barack Obama bought time on the major television networks. Items advertised during the skit included an "Ayers Freshener," which Fey thought would remind people of Bill Ayers, a set of McCain-brand pork knives, a set of 10 white "Town Hall Debate plates," commemorating the 10 town hall meetings that never happened, McCain "Fine Gold Jewelry" (alluding to the McCain-Feingold Act on Campaign Finance Reform) presented by Cindy McCain, as part of the Washington Outsider Jewelery Extravaganza, "Palin in 2012" t-shirts, and "limited-edition Joe Action Figures," including Joe the Plumber, Joe Six Pack, and a talking Joe Biden.[citation needed]
On November 5, 2008, Fey told reporters she was retiring her impersonation of Sarah Palin, in order to focus on 30 Rock.

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