Lisa Valerie Kudrow is an American comedian, writer, actress and producer who is well known as Phoebe Buffay in the sitcom series, Friends. She won her first Emmy Award for Friends as an Outstanding Supporting Actress in Comedy Series. Lisa and her co-stars in the series are among the highest paid TV actors of all time and their names could be found in the Guinness Book of World Record.
Lisa Kudrow’s net worth is estimated around $90 million as of 2020. It should be noted that although Lisa had been a successful actress prior to her appearance in the Friends series and after, a large part of her money was made from the series. She along with her co-stars were paid an amazing $1 million salary per episode toward the end of the series in addition to other side benefits which they still receive from reruns of the show till date.
Friends cast is well known for their equal payments fight. They all started with the same salary, $22,500, but as the seasons were renewed, the actors began to receive different payments. This led to a disagreement and renegotiation which eventually saw each of them earning $1million salary per episode in the last seasons of the show.
Starring as weird Phoebe Buffay, Lisa was the oldest cast in the Friends series. She became one of the most famous American actresses owing largely to the monumental success of the series. Let’s see her story about her personal life, education, family, career, and the Friends series.
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Early Life And Education
Lisa Kudrow was born on 30 July 1963 in Los Angeles, California in a Jewish family. Her mother was a travel agent and her father a physician, a migraine specialist. Lisa is the youngest child in the family. She has an older brother and a sister.
Lisa finished high school in Los Angeles and has a Bachelors Degree in psychobiology from Vassar College, New York. She worked with her father for eight years before starting an acting career. Kudrow played tennis during her educational years and at the age of 16, had plastic surgery to reduce the size of her nose since she thought it was too big. This she has admitted was a right decision because of the self confidence it gives her.
Lisa’s Early Career
The comedian, Jon Lovitz, who was Lisa’s brother’s friend, inspired her to start a career as a comedian. Following this, she quit her job at her father’s office and became a member of “The Groundlings”, an improvisational comedy troupe where she later learnt acting from Cynthia Szigeti. She was a member of few other improvisational troupes before securing roles in TV projects. Lisa also played in an episode of Cheers series. In 1989 she played Nicole in Temporarily Yours followed by Matchmaker in 1990. She also appeared in Bob TV series aired from 1992 – 1993.
Lisa Kudrow on Friends, The Sitcom Series
In an earlier TV series, Mad About You, in which Lisa featured before the Friends series, Lisa played one of the Friends characters, Ursula Buffay, who in Friends was Phoebe’s twin sister. Since Kudrow was playing both twins roles in Friends, her older sister, had to play her double in some of the scenes to make it appear authentic. Lisa made it known her struggles in playing both characters, but was encouraged on by her co-stars and reminded that it was a role she was good at as she had played it for years.
For her role in Friends, Lisa didn’t know how to play guitar which was Phoebe’s chosen musical instrument. She had to take guitar lessons and was able to learn a few chords. It’s not a secret that Friends cast are friends in real life also. They respect each other and spend some time together whenever possible.
According to Lisa, her favorite episode was the one filmed after 9/11. Sean Penn appeared in that episode at the Halloween party at Monica’s apartment. He came as Ursula’s fiancé. However Lisa confessed that she does not watch Friends; but whenever the six cast members spend time together they talk about the fun they had filming the episodes.
The Friends series lasted for a whole decade (1994-2004) and Lisa did not limit herself to the one show during that period. She had roles in projects like The Opposite of Sex in 1998, Analyze This in 1999, Hanging Up in 2000, Analyze That in 2002, and Wonderland in 2003.
Her Personal Life & Family
Lisa Kudrow has been married since 1995 to Michel Stern, a French advertising executive. The couple has a son, born three years after their marriage. Lisa was pregnant with her child during the Friends sitcom series, but this was tactfully covered up as it was made to appear she was playing a surrogate mother for her half-brother’s triplets in the show. She resumed her role in the show two months after the birth of her baby. She loves playing video games with her son in her free time.
Lisa met her husband in college. He was dating her roommate then who was from France. Years after their education, their paths crossed again in 1992. They became friends and later dated for two years before marrying in 1995.
In 1997 People magazine chose Lisa Kudrow as one of the 50 most beautiful women in the world.
Lisa’s Acting Career
It’s a fact that playing Phoebe in Friends was a turning point in Lisa Kudrow’s acting career. It was a breakthrough to one of the most famous actresses worldwide.
Kudrow is not only an actress, but also a writer, producer, and creator of a number of onscreen projects. She is one of the exective producers of the reality show Who Do You Think You Are? (2010) which has won an Emmy award and has had six Emmy nominations. The show is about celebrities and their family trees.
In 2005, Kudrow played in the series The Comeback which she co-created with Michel Patrick King. She also starred in The Web Therapist (2008-2014), a series co-written by herself and Don Roos with six seasons. This series has as guest stars David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and Courtney Cox who were all her co-stars in the Friends series. In turn Lisa has also guest-starred in shows where her cast mates from Friends have leading roles – like in Courtney Cox’s Cougar Town and Matthew Perry’s Go On.
Kudrow has a long list of TV series to her credit. The ones from this year are the comedies Feel Good and Space Force. Her next project that all the Friends fans are waiting for this year is the reunion of the cast after 16 years.
Voice acting is another aspect of Lisa’s acting career. Six months after the birth of her child, she accepted to be the voice of Aphrodite in the animation TV series Hercules. She also was the voice of Mrs. Templeton in The Boss Baby animated movie in 2017. The next year she was the voice of Osma in a short animated movie Lovesick Fool – Love in the age of Like.
Lisa’s role as Phoebe Buffay in Friends has earned her numerous nominations, and awards. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for the Best Supporting Actress in Comedy Series in 1998 and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for her role in the series.
So far, she has had six nominations at Emmy Awards, twelve at SAG Awards, eight at American Comedy Awards, amongst others. Overall, her main awards include the American Comedy Award (1 win), Screen Actors Guild Award (2 wins), Teen Choice Award (1 win), Satellite Award (1 win), and of course the Primetime Emmy Award.
These awards and nominations are in recognition of her roles in various outstanding projects like Mad About You, The Comeback, The Opposite of Sex, Friends, Web Therapy, Who Do You Think You Are, etc All in all, Lisa Kudrow has won about 19 awards and 98 nominations for excellent performances in her entertainment career.
Lisa Kudrow’s Physical Characteristics
Lisa has quite an impressive physique. Perhaps the most noticeable of her aspects is her height. She once revealed that she felt like a mountain next to her female co-stars as she is taller than them.
Here are some other facts on Lisa and her physique:
|Height||1.73 m (5 feet 8.11 inches)|
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Debra Jo Rupp played Lisa Kudrow’s half-brothers fiancee in one of the Friends episodes