Looking into Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ evergreen career


Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a critically acclaimed TV actress who is taking her talents to the big screen.(Gage Skidmore/ Wikimedia Commons)

Zoe Leone, Associate Arts & Life Editor

If you’re someone who has turned on a TV in the last 30 years, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been lucky enough to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

She is a critically-acclaimed actress and staple in the world of sitcoms, yet if you ask someone of our generation if they know her name, you’re likely to get much less of a reaction than if you had mentioned Jennifer Aniston. Whether it’s because of the more satirical, tongue-in-cheek nature of her hit shows or the lack of popular movie titles attached to her IMDb page, I couldn’t say. Regardless, Louis-Dreyfus should truly be considered the reigning queen of television.

Her big break came in the form of the cult-classic ‘90s sitcom, “Seinfeld.” She played fan favorite Elaine Benes, who was known for her one-liners, impeccable style and love of Jujyfruits candy. The show’s run garnered her seven Emmy nominations and her first win, for “Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series” in 1996.

While she had previously been a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” for three seasons — an experience that she described as “pretty brutal” during a Q&A with Stephen Colbert — Benes was the first time audiences got to see Louis-Dreyfus truly shine. Her comedic timing and brilliant personality quickly made her a stand-out in the world of sitcoms.

It would prove to be a great training ground for what would arguably be the magnum opus of her career (and what I would argue is just about the pinnacle of television): “Veep.”

The critically acclaimed HBO show, which is a political satire sitcom, follows Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer, the vice president of the United States. Meyer is a truly horrible person and so are the rest of the West Wing employees. And yet, the show is so perfectly written and casted that the crass and moronic nature of most of the characters only adds to the perfection of the show.

Louis-Dreyfus won nine Emmys over seven years for “Veep,” six of which she won consecutively for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. For her brilliance as Meyer — and the awards she brought home from it — she made history as the actor to win the single most Emmy awards. The wins came on the heels of the actress beating stage two breast cancer after a double mastectomy and six rounds of chemotherapy, according to People.

It would’ve been easy for her to hang up her hat and call it a career. Yet, when “Veep” ended in 2019, it only took two years for Louis-Dreyfus to jump back into the world of pop culture phenomena. This time, however, she took on a multi-movie role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

First making her appearance in “The Falcon and Winter Soldier,” Louis-Dreyfus will be playing one of the franchise’s new big bads. While her character’s ultimate motivations are being kept mostly under wraps, her surprise arrival in the newest “Black Panther” film cemented her villain status. Louis-Dreyfus is currently slated to reprise her role in two more Marvel flicks in 2024.

To add to her new-found entry into the superhero world, Louis-Dreyfus has continued her starring roles into the world of film. She recently played Jonah Hill’s mother in the Netflix original, “You People.” While the movie had rather mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, it was still the top trending movie on the platform after its release.

On a more critically acclaimed note, “You Hurt My Feelings,” which has yet to land a widespread release date, went certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and raked in rave reviews from publications like Vanity Fair after its premiere at this year’s Sundance Festival. Louis-Dreyfus stars as a novelist who begins to question her career and her relationship after she overhears her husband saying he doesn’t actually like her newest book.

Throughout her illustrious career, Louis-Dreyfus has cemented herself as one of the greatest actresses in recent memory. From successfully dominating the sitcom world to branching out into the faction of film, she’s showing no signs of ever slowing down. How lucky for all of us.