Worked With:

Jon Stewart

Seth MacFarlane

Donnie Wahlberg

David Steinberg

Lara Spencer

Tom Papa

Larry David

Bruce Willis

Amy Sedaris

John Travolta

Susie Essman Biography

Home > Actresses > E > Essman, Susie > Biography

Birth Name: Susie Essman
Born: 05/31/1955
Birth Place: Mount Vernon, New York, USA

Born May 31, 1955 in New York City, Susan "Susie" Essman was the daughter of a doctor, Leonard, and a Russian professor, Zora. Her Jewish and New Yorker identities helped provide and shape her sense of humor, leading Essman to cut her teeth in the cutthroat stand-up comedy business. She broke into the business with a pair of small performances in "Crocodile Dundee II" (1988) and the Tom Hanks/Sally Field misfire "Punchline" (1988), serving as a stand-up comedy advisor on the latter. Along with fellow comedian and kindred spirit Joy Behar, Essman provided sassy support to Kate Jackson in the television adaptation of the Diane Keaton film comedy "Baby Boom" (NBC, 1988-89). She continued to book small film roles of increasing important in such diverse projects as "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II The Secret of the Ooze" (1991), "Volcano" (1997), "The Siege" (1998) and "Keeping the Faith" (2000).

Although she worked steadily as a film and TV actress, Essman's stand-up career remained her greatest passion, and she built a successful reputation as a comedienne, appearing in many projects, celebrity roasts and revues. Her take-no-prisoners sense of humor came in handy with multiple appearances as the voice of Helen Higgins on the puppet-based, prank-call comedy show "Crank Yankers" (Comedy Central, 2002-05; MTV2, 2007), where Essman proved just how tough she could be in the pursuit of the perfect punchline. Nowhere was her go-for-the-throat comedy fearlessness more apparent than her role as Susie Greene, the acid-tongued, short-tempered wife of Jeff (Jeff Garlin) on Larry David's misanthropic smash "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ). Turning her profanity-laced rants tantrums into a hilarious X-rated art form, Essman stole all of her scenes and emerged as the series' ultimate secret comedic weapon.

With her profile raised higher than ever, she voiced a sardonic, streetwise cat named Mittens in the successful Disney animated comedy "Bolt" (2008), opposite John Travolta and Miley Cyrus, and appeared in the ancient Jewish tradition-steeped romantic drama "Loving Leah" (CBS, 2009). That same year, she published her first book, What Would Susie Say? Bullsh*t Wisdom about Love, Life and Comedy. As "Curb" continued its impressive run, Essman scored laughs on the big screen in Kevin Smith's Bruce Willis/Tracy Morgan buddy comedy "Cop Out" (2010) with a fun cameo as a tough-talking, pistol-packing mama.

By Jonathan Riggs