Birthdate: January 13, 1961
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (birthname: Julia Scarlett Elizabeth Louis-Dreyfus) is one of the most acclaimed comedy actors of her generation, with her best-known work for television with her long-running roles on Seinfeld (1989-1998) and Veep (2011-2019), but with a number of roles in feature live-action and animated movies.
Louis-Dreyfus’ feature debut was the horror comedy, Troll (1986), followed by a small supporting role in Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), starring Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, Dianne Wiest, Michael Caine, Allen, Carrie Fisher, Lloyd Nolan, Maureen O’Sullivan, Daniel Stern, and Max Von Sydow. Louis-Dreyfus’ next supporting role was in the hit comedy, Soul Man (1986), directed by Steve Miner, and starring C. Thomas Howell, James Earl Jones, Rae Dawn Chong, and Arye Gross, followed by another small role in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989), written and produced by John Hughes, with Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, and Randy Quaid.
Louis-Dreyfuss played support to Danny DeVito in the Marshall Herskovitz-directed drama written by Steven Zaillian, Jack the Bear (1993), and then Louis-Dreyfuss played Elijah Wood’s mother in the Rob Reiner-directed North (1994), with Jon Lovitz, Bruce Willis, Jason Alexander, Alan Arkin, Dan Akyroyd, Kathy Bates, Graham Greene, and Reba McEntire. Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ first significant supporting role was opposite Robin Williams and Billy Crystal in director-producer Ivan Reitman’s commercially failed comedy, Fathers’ Day (1997), then Louis-Dreyfus was cast in her second Woody Allen movie, Deconstructing Harry (1997), starring Allen, Judy Davis, Richard Benjamin, Kirstie Alley, Bob Balaban, Elisabeth Shue, Williams, and Crystal.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus has performed voice roles in three Disney-Pixar movies: the John Lasseter-directed A Bug’s Life (1998), director/co-writer Klay Hall’s Planes (2013), and director/co-writer Dan Scanlon’s Onward (2020), Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Film. Louis-Dreyfus has had two starring roles in dramedies written and directed by Nicole Holofcener: first, opposite the late James Gandolfini in Enough Said (2013), and a decade later (as star and producer), You Hurt My Feelings (2023), with Tobias Menzies and Jeannie Berlin, and premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Another Sundance premiere for co-star Louis-Dreyfuss was the remake of Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (2014), the critically lambasted black comedy-drama, Downhill (2020), with Will Ferrell, Miranda Otto, and Zoe Chao.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ first role in a Marvel movie was as CIA director Valentina in Ryan Coogler’s sequel, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022), with Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Danai Gurira, and Martin Freeman. Louis-Dreyfus’s second movie as Valentina was the Marvel supervillain adventure directed by Jake Schreier, Thunderbolts (2024), with Florence Pugh, Harrison Ford, David Harbour, Steven Yeun, and Sebastian Stan. Louis-Dreyfus co-starred with Lola Petticrew in writer-director Daina O. Pusic’s U.S.-U.K. debut co-production, Tuesday (date to be announced), distributed by A24.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus was born and raised in New York City by parents Gerard Louis-Dreyfus (French-born president of the French merchant firm Louis Dreyfus Group) and Judith (American-born writer and special needs tutor). When Louis-Dreyfus and her parents divorced; when she was four, her mother Judith married the Dean of the George Washington University Medical School, L. Thompson Bowles. Louis-Dreyfus’ new half-sister was Lauren Bowles, who later became an actor.
The family moved to many different countries for her stepfather’s work with Project HOPE, including Tunisia, Sri Lanka, and Colombia, where Louis-Dreyfus attended various schools, though it was in the US (Bethesda-based Holton-Arms School) where she graduated from high school. Louis-Dreyfus majored in theater at Northwestern University, but dropped out in her junior year to take a job at Saturday Night Live in 1982; she received an honorary degree from Northwestern in 2007. Louis-Dreyfus has been married to producer Brad Hall since 1987; the couple has two children, Henry and Charlie. Louis-Dreyfus’ height is 5’ 3”. Louis-Dreyfus’s estimated net worth is $250 million.
Producer: Julia Louis-Dreyfus pacted in 2020 with Apple TV+ to develop projects as executive producer and star.
Family Tree: Louis-Dreyfus’ extraordinary paternal French family tree includes grandfather Pierre Louis-Dreyfus, president of the commodities and shipping conglomerate, Louis Dreyfus Group (founded by her great-great-grandfather Leopold Louis-Dreyfus) and a member of the French Resistance during World War II. She can also claim as a relative the legendary figure, Alfred Dreyfus, who was the center of the notorious and controversial “Dreyfus Affair,” which shook the French military system to its core and exposed corrosive anti-Semitism that roiled Europe in the early 20th century.