Louis-Dreyfus Receives Mark Twain Prize

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was awarded the Mark Twain Prize at the Kennedy Center. Photo:Washingtonian.com

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Adds to Her Honors

Longtime Pacific Palisades resident Julia Louis-Dreyfus received the 21st Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on October 21 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Louis-Dreyfus, 57, who is known for her work on Saturday Night Live (1982-1985), Seinfeld (1989-1998), The New Adventures of Old Christine (2006-2010) and Veep (2012-present), has won many honors, including eight Emmy Awards for acting (six consecutively for Veep) and three Emmy’s for producing, a Golden Globe award, nine Screen Actors Guild awards, three Television Critics Association awards, five American Comedy Awards, a Peabody Award, and the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy.

About the only honors escaping this talented comedian has been to serve as honorary mayor of Pacific Palisades and throwing out the first pitch at opening day for the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Louis-Dreyfus said the highlight of her career has been working with talented co-stars on both Seinfeld and her HBO hit Veep.

“Oh God, I mean I’ve had so many [highlights], but I would say first and foremost the biggest highlight of my career has being able to work in a number of very significant ensembles,” Louis-Dreyfus told the reporter.

Among those paying homage at the Mark Twain event was Tina Fey, who noted similarities between the two comedians. “We both started comedy in Chicago and we both moved to Saturday Night Live. We both lost our virginity to Brad Hall (Louis-Dreyfus’ husband).”

Seinfeld told ET that he knew “just 30 seconds into her audition that she was perfect for the role of Elaine Benes, his ex-girlfriend turned good friend in the series.

“‘I always felt like she was the diamond, she was the sparkle of the show that really made it the right chemistry — the right formula,” he said. “You know, I really don’t think the show would have been successful without her.’”

In accepting her award, Louis-Dreyfus drew laughs by saying her true life’s ambition was to be a respected dramatic actress and then launched into a monologue from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice.

Louis-Dreyfus went to Holton-Arms, the girls school that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford attended, before going to Northwestern, where she met her husband. They have two children.

According to the Kennedy Center, the prize is given to those who “had an impact on American society in ways similar to the distinguished 19th century novelist and essayist Mark Twain.”

Louis-Dreyfus joins a list of recipients that includes Carol Burnett, Lily Tomlin, Carol Burnett, Whoopi Goldberg and Tina Fey.

Production for the seventh season of Veep was delayed as Louis-Dreyfus received treatment for breast cancer. At the time of her diagnosis, she announced on Twitter: “One in eight women get breast cancer. Today, I’m the one. The good news is that I have the most glorious group of supportive and caring family and friends, and fantastic insurance through my union. The bad news is that not all women are so lucky, so let’s fight all cancers and make universal healthcare a reality.”

The program will premiere on November 19 at 9 p.m. on PBS. The special will feature, in addition to Fey and Seinfeld, Stephen Colbert, Bryan Cranston, Ilana Glazer, Tony Hale, Abbi Jacobson, Keegan-Michael Key and Kumail Nanjiani.


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