January 6, 1984
Sea Cliff, New York, United States
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Kate McKinnon made history of a sort when she joined "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975- ) as a featured player in 2012, as the first "out" lesbian to join the cast. (After 1985-86 cast member Danitra Vance's death in 1994, it was revealed that she was also a lesbian.) Kate McKinnon Berthold was born in New York's Nassau County and raised on Long Island. After graduating from Columbia University, McKinnon started performing improv comedy in and around New York, eventually appearing regularly at the prominent Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, performing one-woman shows with titles like "Kate McKinnon On Ice." In 2007, she joined the cast of "The Big Gay Sketch Show" (LOGO 2007-2010), spending three seasons on the show honing her original characters and impressions. McKinnon joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" in the spring of 2012, replacing featured cast member Paul Brittain, who had left the show suddenly earlier in the season. Seen by many as a designated replacement for the departing Kristen Wiig, McKinnon was an immediate success on the show. Her specialty quickly became tightly wound characters with an antic edge, such as Russian immigrant Olya Povlatsky; a 2015 sketch with host Ryan Gosling in which she described her unsavory experiences following an alien abduction became one of the show's most immediate viral hits. Impressions ranging from Ellen DeGeneres to Shakira to a frighteningly accurate Justin Bieber and a superlative Hillary Clinton (whom she played opposite the real thing in a memorable sketch early in the 2016 election season) were part of her arsenal as well. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for her work on the show in 2014 and 2015. McKinnon branched into film work with supporting roles in the romantic comedy "Life Partners" (2014) and the sports comedy "Intramural" (aka "Balls Out") (2014). Higher profile roles in SNL-affiliated features like "Staten Island Summer" (2015), written by Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost, and "Sisters" (2015), starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, followed. Soon, McKinnon graduated to major films such as Pixar's "Finding Dory" (2016) and Paul Feig's "Ghostbusters" (2016), in which she starred alongside Melissa McCarthy and fellow SNL vets Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones.
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