See Original "SNL" Star Laraine Newman, Who Turns 70 Today
The comedian is a prolific voice actor and has two kids who've also gone into show business.
In the nearly 50 years since Saturday Night Live premiered on NBC, hundreds of comedians and writers have cycled through the late-night sketch comedy show. But the original cast of SNL will always occupy a unique place in the show's history. In 1975, what was then called NBC's Saturday Night made its debut, showcasing the talents of future Hollywood comedy icons including Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, and John Belushi. Also a part of SNL's very first lineup was Laraine Newman, who was just 23 years old at the time. Having gotten her start as a founding member of an improv group called The Groundlings, Newman was cast by Lorne Michaels, who had previously worked with her on a Lily Tomlin special, for his new show, and the rest is history.
The comedy institution has grown and evolved since then, and so has Newman, who left SNL in 1980. Today, she's officially 70 years old, still working, and has an impressively varied career to look back on. Read on to learn more about Newman's life now.
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Newman has become a prominent voice actor.
Her five-year stint on SNL was just the beginning for Newman. After she left the show in 1980, some of her most notable gigs include Coneheads, Problem Child 2, and Jingle All the Way. In more recent years, the comedian has made a pivot to voice acting more frequently, lending her talents to several different roles in American Dad!, Doc McStuffins, and Spongebob Squarepants, among other shows.
"Even if I haven't read the material, I'm so much better than I would ever be at live-action, and I love that," Newman said in a 2013 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, adding, "You have to have a good ear. A lot of times, you'll find that voiceover people are singers. You have to know how to do dialect, and the rest, I think, is just imagination."
She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2017 along with the rest of the original cast of SNL. Her most credit is the 2021 kids' series, Ridley Jones, which also features the voices of Jane Lynch, Blythe Danner, and Sutton Foster.
She released an audio memoir last year.
March 2021 marked the debut of Newman's audio memoir, May You Live in Interesting Times, via Audible. In her memoir, which spans nine hours, the comedian talks about her career, her time on SNL, and her personal struggles with addiction to substances, including heroin.
"Being an active drug user really undermines anybody's ability. And I think chronic drug users have a very negative outlook on the world," she said in a 2022 interview with Lifestyle Media Group. "I was never one of those people who thought it was anybody else's fault but mine. I was the architect of my own adversity. I just wanted oblivion. I didn't want to think, and I didn't want to feel. I just wanted to die, honestly—and it wasn't happening fast enough! But then I had this kind of moment of clarity, and I checked myself into a detox place—on Apr. 28, 1987—thinking that they would teach me how to use drugs like a normal person."
Newman told the outlet that it was important to her to be honest about her experiences in her audiobook.
"I felt that in a lot of memoirs there's a pink bow on the end of the stories. I realized that my story is a happy ending. But I felt that it was necessary and important to be completely honest about my inner life," she said. "I think that helps other people. It connects people when they read about someone's truth, their self-doubt, their depression, and their humiliating failures, which can be funny."
She testified in a very high-profile murder trial.
Also last year, Newman made news by testifying in the murder trial of Robert Durst, the subject of the popular HBO true crime documentary, The Jinx. The SNL star told the court that her friend Susan Berman, for whose murder Durst was being tried, once confessed to her that she'd created a fake alibi for Durst during the investigation into the disappearance of his first wife, Kathleen McCormack Durst.
"Susan told me that she had provided an alibi for him, for Bobby, in relation to the disappearance," Newman said on the stand, via Deadline. "I remember her saying that she made a phone call."
During her testimony, Newman admitted she felt "ashamed" that she "didn't appreciate the gravity of what [Berman] was saying to [her] and that [she] blithely accepted her backtracking and rescinding."
Durst was convicted of Berman's murder in September 2021 and received a life sentence. In November, he was indicted in the murder of McCormack, but Durst died in a state prison hospital facility at the age of 78 this January, before he could be tried. Just last week ago, his murder conviction was vacated because it was in the process of being appealed at the time of his death.
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She still tunes in to SNL.
Newman told Vulture in March 2021 that she still watches SNL and is a fan of certain recent hosts, including Bridgerton star Regé-Jean Page. But when it comes to rewatching her own episodes of SNL? It can be tough.
"It depends. Most actors have a problem watching themselves, and part of that is you've learned so much since and you know what you could have done better," she admitted. "That's a [expletive]. Because SNL is such an amazing opportunity, and it's so fun. I had so much fun doing the 40th anniversary. I was so thrilled I got to be in 'The Californians.'"
Speaking of the Californians, Newman technically is one. She currently lives in Los Angeles, and though she and Chad Einbinder divorced in 2016, they still share two adult children who caught the comedy bug from their mom: Hacks star Hannah Einbinder and Search Party's Spike Einbinder.
"I'm very much a homebody," Newman told Deadline last year. "I've traveled a lot and right now, I'm right where I want to be. My work is here, my family is here (except my 29-year-old, who is in Brooklyn) and once things open up again, I can get back to live performing and seeing live shows."
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