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Behind the Curtain

Julia Sweeney

Julia Sweeney.  Photo by WireImage: Michael Caulfield.
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Julia Sweeney is best known for her androgynous character, Pat, on Saturday Night Live and her critically acclaimed one-woman play, God Said, 'Ha!'. Her gift for bringing a wide assortment of characters to life was also featured in the animated series Baby Blues.

The oldest in a family of five children raised in Spokane, Washington, Sweeney quickly found a talent for imitating voices and characters. She decided to put acting aside while she pursued economic studies at the University of Washington. After graduation, Sweeney went to Los Angeles to work as an accountant for Columbia Pictures.

After one class with the improvisational comedy troupe, The Groundlings, she became convinced that acting was her true calling. She auditioned steadily and developed her characters with the troupe, studying under soon-to-be fellow Saturday Night Live cast member Phil Hartman. The program's producer Lorne Michaels saw her at a Groundlings performance and hired her for the late-night show, where she stayed for four hit seasons.

After leaving the series, Sweeney spun one of her most popular characters into the feature film It's Pat and returned to Los Angeles. Within a matter of months, both she and her brother were diagnosed with cancer. Her experiences led her to write and star in God Said, 'Ha!'. Miramax's film version of the play earned the Golden Space Needle Award and won the New York Film Festival's audience award, while Sweeney's recording earned her a Grammy nomination for best comedy album.

She also starred as Mea in Mea's Big Apology, which won the Best Written Play Award from L.A. Weekly and has been developed by Sweeney into a screenplay. She also appeared on the big screen in friend Quentin Tarantino's blockbuster Pulp Fiction, Coneheads and Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

Sweeney made her mark on prime-time television as a series regular on George & Leo, and she guest starred on 3rd Rock from the Sun, Hope & Gloria and Mad About You. Recent work includes the feature films Clockstoppers, Whatever It Takes, Stuart Little, Thick as Thieves, Beethoven's 3rd and the television series Sammy Teemo Supremo and Clerks: The Animated Series.

She also serves as a consultant on the hit HBO series Sex and the City. Sweeney also continues to perform as a stand-up comic.