Maya Khabira Rudolph (born July 27, 1972) is an American actress, comedian and singer. She rose to prominence on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live, where she was a cast member from 2000 to 2007. She has also starred in films such as Idiocracy (2006), Away We Go (2009), Grown Ups (2010), Bridesmaids (2011), Friends with Kids (2011), Grown Ups 2 (2013), and Sisters (2015). She starred as Ava Alexander in the NBC sitcom Up All Night from 2011 to 2013.
Rudolph was born in Gainesville, Florida. She is the daughter of soul singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton and composer, songwriter, and producer Richard Rudolph. Her father is an Ashkenazi Jew, and her mother was African-American. Her paternal grandfather was Sidney Rudolph, a philanthropist who once owned all of the Wendy's and Rudy's restaurants in Dade County, Florida. Her great-grandfather, who was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, changed his surname from "Rudashevsky" to "Rudolph," and was one of the founding members of Congregation Beth Shalom, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Rudolph's parents moved to Los Angeles, California when she and her brother Marc were very young, and they grew up primarily in the Westwood neighborhood. Near the end of the "Lovin' You" track, Riperton can be heard singing "Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya, Maya". Riperton incorporated this into her performance of the song on The Midnight Special. Riperton died on July 12, 1979, at age 31, from breast cancer. Rudolph's godmother was R&B singer Teena Marie. In 1990, Rudolph graduated from Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California, where she became friendly with fellow students Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black, and continued her education at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in photography from Porter College.
Saturday Night Live
In May 2000, Rudolph joined the cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player for the final three episodes of the 1999–2000 season, after a stint as a member of The Groundlings improv troupe, where she met future Saturday Night Live cast member Will Forte. Rudolph's musical talents were frequently employed on Saturday Night Live. She sang as Beyoncé Knowles in the Prince Show sketches, as the "Space Creature" in the Gays in Space sketches, except for the one on the season 31 episode hosted by Peter Sarsgaard, because it aired around the time Rudolph was on maternity leave. Friend Will Forte substituted for her during that episode. Her ability to change her looks and her command of many accents also led to her playing an unusually wide range of ethnicities on the show, often with only a change of wigs. As "Nooni Schoener," Rudolph, along with Fred Armisen, created a couple from an unspecified Scandinavian country, who have unplaceable accents and bewilderingly foreign manners. Rudolph was also able to play male characters such as Scott Joplin, Justin Guarini, and Mario Vazquez.
Her final episode as a cast member was on November 3, 2007, with host Brian Williams and musical guest Feist, the last episode before the writers' strike. She returned on October 25, 2008, in a featured guest appearance as Michelle Obama and sang a duet with Kenan Thompson about Amy Poehler's newborn. She then also appeared in the 2008 Christmas episode, where she reprised her role in the sketch Bronx Beat, with Amy Poehler. She also appeared in two sketches in the 2008–09 season finale with Will Ferrell. She appeared in a Weekend Update Thursday sketch during the fall 2009–10 season as Oprah Winfrey speaking on behalf of Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. She also appeared on the show in May 2010 to perform in skits including "The Manuel Ortiz Show" with Betty White. She returned to Saturday Night Live for the season 36 premiere, hosted by Amy Poehler, performing the "Bronx Beat" sketch and that same season for episode 700, hosted by Tina Fey. On February 18, 2012 she returned to Saturday Night Live as a host for the first time and reprised her roles in sketches such as "Bronx Beat". She once again returned to SNL on December 19, 2015 for the Christmas episode hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to reprise her role in the "Bronx Beat" sketch. She appeared once more on the 41st season finale (hosted by Fred Armisen) as Dilma Roussef on Weekend Update.
Rudolph's characters on the show have included "Attorney Glenda Goodwin" and "Megan" from the "Wake Up, Wakefield!" sketches. Rudolph has done a number of celebrity impressions on Saturday Night Live during her tenure, including Amanda Byram, Ananda Lewis, Barbra Streisand, Bern Nadette Stanis (as Thelma Evans on Good Times), Beyoncé, Charo, Christina Aguilera, Condoleezza Rice, Darcel Wynne, Diana Ross, Dilma Roussef, Donatella Versace, Donna Fargo, Emily Robison, Fredricka Whitfield, Free, Gayle King, Griselda Blanco, Halle Berry, Ivanka Trump, Ja'net Du Bois (as Willona Woods on Good Times), Jennifer Lopez, Joyce "Fenderella" Irby, Justin Guarini, Kara Saun, La Toya Jackson, Lisa Kudrow, Lisa Ling, Liza Minnelli, Lucy Liu, Lynda Lopez, Macy Gray, Mario Vasquez, Mary Roach, Maya Angelou, Melinda Doolittle, Melissa Stark, Michelle Obama, Mýa, Nelly Furtado, Omarosa, Oprah Winfrey, Paris Hilton, Patti LaBelle, Phylicia Rashad (as Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show), Rocsi, Scott Joplin, Teresa Heinz, Terra Patrick, Tina Turner, Tyra Banks, Valerie Simpson, Vanessa Hudgens (as Gabriella Montez from High School Musical 3), Wanda Sykes and Whitney Houston.
Television and film
In addition to her work on Saturday Night Live, Rudolph has appeared on other television shows, including the CBS medical drama series City of Angels and Chicago Hope. She had small parts in Chuck & Buck, Gattaca, As Good as It Gets, Duplex and Duets; she was also a music supervisor for Duets. Her first prominent film role came in 2006 with A Prairie Home Companion. Earlier, she had costarred with Luke Wilson in the 2005 Mike Judge sci-fi comedy Idiocracy, although that film was shelved until September 2006 and then only given a limited release. She also guest-starred as Rapunzel in the DreamWorks animated film Shrek the Third. She guest-starred as Julia in The Simpsons episode "The Homer of Seville". Rudolph guest-starred as character Athena Scooberman in NBC's Kath & Kim, and starred in the film Away We Go with The Office star John Krasinski. In 2010, she appeared in Grown Ups starring Adam Sandler, where she played the wife of Chris Rock's character. In 2011, she appeared in Bridesmaids with Saturday Night Live colleague Kristen Wiig, and in 2013 she played a supporting role in The Way, Way Back as the girlfriend of Sam Rockwell's character. She co-starred in the NBC sitcom Up All Night, with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett. Rudolph's self-titled variety show television pilot aired on May 19, 2014, but the show did not go beyond that. It was later announced that she would star in an NBC variety series Maya & Marty with Martin Short, which debuted on May 31, 2016.
Prior to joining Saturday Night Live, Rudolph was backing singer (1995–99) and briefly a keyboardist in the band The Rentals, with whom she toured for a short time. She also appears in the music videos of the songs "Waiting" and "Please Let That Be You". She sang backing vocals for "Barcelona" and "My Head Is in the Sun," both from the album Seven More Minutes. In 2004, she recorded a track with The Rentals frontman Matt Sharp, including a cover of Tegan and Sara's "Not Tonight." Rudolph also performed "Together In Pooping" and "Little Roundworm" with Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Robert Smigel) on his album Come Poop With Me. She is in a Prince cover band called Princess with her friend Gretchen Lieberum.
Rudolph has been in a relationship with director Paul Thomas Anderson since 2001. They live together with their children: Pearl (born 2005), Lucille (born 2009), Jack (born July 3, 2011) and Minnie (born 2013).
Awards and nominations
Maya Rudolph on Twitter
Maya Rudolph at the Internet Movie Database