LOUIS-DREYFUS, JULIA (1961– ), U.S. actress. Born in New York but raised in Washington, Louis-Dreyfus has roots in a prominent French banking and financial family. Her father is Gerard Louis-Dreyfus, an important French financier. Her grandfather, Pierre Louis-Dreyfus, fought for the French Resistance during World War II. Her cousin Robert Louis-Dreyfus was the owner of Adidas, the sports-equipment manufacturer, and of the French soccer club Olympique de Marseille. Julia Louis-Dreyfus studied theater at Northwestern University in Chicago and began her theatrical career there with the Practical Theater Company and the Second City Comedy troupe. After three years, 1982 to 1985, on the popular television series Saturday Night Live and appearances in a number of films, including Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), Louis-Dreyfus was cast as Elaine Benes, the ex-girlfriend and pal of jerry seinfeld in the comedy series Seinfeld in 1989. The show proved to be the most popular series of the 1990s, and she won an Emmy Award as best supporting actress in a comedy series in 1996 for her role in Seinfeld. The series, famously about "nothing," but really about the everyday foibles of single people in New York City, also starred jason alexander and Michael Richards. After the end of the series in 1998, Louis-Dreyfus starred in several other television situation comedies. (Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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