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See Julia Louis-Dreyfus at 21 on "SNL"

The comedy legend celebrates her 60th birthday today, so we're looking back on her TV debut.

Happy birthday to Julia Louis-Dreyfus! The 11-time Emmy Award winner turned 60 on January 13, kicking off another year of being one of the most celebrated comedic actors in TV history. While you may have first become aware of Louis-Dreyfus when she took on the role of Elaine Benes on Seinfeld, the star actually scored her first big TV job seven years before that, when she was just 21 years old. Keep reading for a throwback to Louis-Dreyfus' TV debut, and for another star blowing out the candles today, check out Chris Hemsworth Posts Adorable Throwback Pic for Brother Liam's Birthday.

Read the original article on Best Life.

When she was 21, Julia Louis-Dreyfus became an SNL cast member.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in SNL "Christmas Message" Sketch

In 1982, Louis-Dreyfus joined the cast of Saturday Night Live for Season 8. Other cast members of that era included Eddie MurphyJoe Piscopo, and Louis-Dreyfus' future husband, Brad Hall. Her first episode was hosted by former cast member Chevy Chase, and the musical guest was none other than Queen.

In this sketch from her freshman season, the 21-year-old comedian played a televangelist recounting the story of the first Christmas with her own, probably unsanctioned, commentary.

For one big star who didn't make the cut, check out This Famous Late Night Host Was Rejected From "SNL."

It was her work with her improv group that got her the gig.

Brad Hall and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in 1982
Entertainment Tonight/YouTube

Entertainment Tonight unearthed some vintage footage of Louis-Dreyfus and her improv teammates, including Hall, being interviewed that same year, before they got their feet wet at SNL. Why? Because the sketch show hired the whole Chicago-based troupe, who called themselves "The Golden 50th Anniversary Jubilee."

"Well I'd just like to say that I'm incredibly excited about moving to New York, working on Saturday Night Live," Louis-Dreyfus says in the clip. "I think…well, I can hardly sleep."

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But her tenure didn't last long.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jim Belushi on SNL
NBC / YouTube

Louis-Dreyfus stayed on the late-night comedy show until 1985, outlasting Hall by a season. In fact, she departed with the rest of her Season 10 costars. There was a full cast change on Saturday Night Live between Season 10 and Season 11, with people like Billy CrystalChristopher Guest, and Martin Short also hitting the road due to some production struggles.

Of course, this somewhat truncated beginning of Louis-Dreyfus' TV career didn't portend any more failures. Within a few years, she was cast on Seinfeld, which would earn the actor her first Emmy award and run for nine seasons. Starring roles on The New Adventures of Old Christine (her first Lead Actress Emmy) and the political comedy Veep (six more of those) followed. And she and Hall have been married for almost 34 years.

For more famous pairs who are still together, check out The Longest-Lasting Marriages in Hollywood.

She doesn't look back on her SNL days fondly.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus hosting SNL

In the years since, Louis-Dreyfus has reflected on her SNL stint, sharing that it was a "brutal" experience for her.

"I was unbelievably naive and I didn't really understand how the dynamics of the place worked," she said during a fundraising event in 2019, per USA Today. "It was very sexist, very sexist."

She told the event's emcee Stephen Colbert that it taught her an important lesson, however.

"It is important, it's so basic, but I just thought 'I don't have to do this,'" the actor explained. "I don't have to walk and crawl through this kind of nasty glass if it's not ultimately going to be fulfilling, and so that's how I sort of moved forward from that moment. I sort of applied the fun-meter to every job I've had since and that has been very helpful."

And Louis-Dreyfus hasn't held a grudge. She's returned to Saturday Night Live as a host three times.

For one host who definitely won't be invited back, check out This Is the Worst "SNL" Host of All Time, Cast Says.

Sage Young
Sage Young is the Deputy Entertainment Editor at Best Life, expanding and honing our coverage in this vertical by managing a team of industry-obsessed writers. Read more
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