I don’t know about you guys, but I have a serious girl-crush on Tina Fey. It’s hard not to when the woman in question is unbelievably talented, smart, funny and beautiful. That’s why I’m so happy to get to write this Neatorama article about one of my biggest idols, who will be celebrating her forty-first birthday today. So for all you other SNL and 30 Rock fans, please join me in wishing Tina Fey a very happy birthday by enjoying these fascinating facts about one of the world’s most influential women (and that’s not just me speaking, see fact #7 for more details).
Image via David Shankbone [Flickr]
1) She Didn’t Start Out As “Tina”
Liz Lemon’s first name is actually Ms. Fey’s real first name. “Tina” was actually born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey. To be fair, at least Tina isn’t a complete stage name, it’s just not her real first name. In case you’ve ever wondered, she was born to a brokerage employee of Greek descent and a university grant proposal writer of German and Scottish descent.
2) She Has One Scary Scar Story
If you’ve ever looked closely enough at one of her movies or shows, you may have noticed that Tina has a fairly large scar on the left side of her cheek. While she refuses to talk about it, her husband finally revealed the story during a 2009 interview with Vanity Fair –and the story is a little terrifying.
According to Tina’s husband, she was playing in the front yard of her house when she was five years old and someone randomly came by and slashed her face with a razor. It happened so fast that when it happened, she thought someone marked her with a pen.
Tina says she doesn’t like to talk about the incident because she doesn’t want to seem like she is exploiting the trauma for attention. She’s also said that talking about it upsets her parents.
If you watch 30 Rock (or pretty much any of her work), you’ll notice the show overwhelmingly features her standing with her right side to the camera –that’s why.
Image via Vivanista1 [Flickr]
3) She Fell in Love With Comedy At An Early Age
As a youngster, Tina’s parents let her watch all kinds of classic comedy television including Monty Python, the Marx Brothers and The Honeymooners. Her dad was such a big fan of The Honeymooners that he refused to let her watch The Flintstones because they were a rip off of the show.
Funnily enough, she even watched two of the shows that she would later work on, SNL and Second City Television (although Tina would only appear on the stage version of The Second City, not the television program, which was cancelled before she joined the improv group).
By middle school, she had already decided that she wanted to be involved with comedy when she grew up.
4) SNL Wasn’t Her First Notable Comedy Troupe
For those of you that haven’t heard of The Second City, it was a popular improv group in Chicago where many SNL alumni got their start, including John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner. Tina Fey joined their ranks when she moved to Chicago after graduating from the University of Virginia with a bachelors in drama.
She took night classes with the group while working at the front desk of a YMCA to pay. Eventually, she was asked to join the cast of the improve troupe in 1994, where she performed eight shows a week for two years straight.
Second City didn’t only give her the big break she needed to get into SNL, it also introduced her to Jeff Richmond (above), a fellow actor and her future husband. He also moved to SNL (as a member of the music team) and after eight years of dating, the couple was married in a Greek Orthodox ceremony in 2001.
Image via Nick Step [Flickr]
5) She Didn’t Start Off Acting At SNL
While still working with Second City, Tina started submitting scripts to Saturday Night Live at the request of former-Second-City-performer-turned-SNL-writer Adam McKay. She was soon picked up as a writer in 1997. She wasn’t even on the show until 1998, when she appeared as an extra in one of the sketches. When she saw herself on TV, she didn’t like how she looked, so she went on a diet and lost 30 pounds. She continued to write during this period and was even promoted to the position of head writer in 1999 –making her the first female head writer on the show.
After thinning down significantly, Tina started appearing in sketches in 2000, eventually becoming a co-anchor with Jimmy Fallon on the Weekend Update segment, which is where her acting talents really started to get her noticed. After Jimmy Fallon left the show, Amy Poehler took over in his place, making it the first time in the show’s history that two women co-anchored the segment. She stayed with the show for two more years before leaving to work on 30 Rock.
6) 30 Rock Wasn’t Originally Intended to Be Auto-Biographical
When Tina first created the pilot for the show in 2002, 30 Rock was supposed to be a behind the scenes sitcom based around a cable news show. It wasn’t until NBC rejected her first attempt that Tina based the show around her experience as the head writer of a sketch-comedy show. While this pilot was accepted in 2003, the show was still put on hold until Tina finished her work with SNL, which lasted until 2006.
7) She’s Kind Of A Big Deal
Most actors and writers are considered lucky to win even a few awards for their work, but Tina Fey has won tons of them. She’s gotten seven Emmys, three Golden Globes, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, four Writer’s Guild of America Awards, one Comedy Award, one Teen Choice Award and she’s been nominated for countless others.
Entertainment Weekly named her one of their Entertainers of the Year in 2001 and 2007, and as number five in their 2009 15 Entertainers of the 2000’s list. In 2008, the Associated Press voted her the AP Entertainer of the Year as the performer with the greatest impact on culture and entertainment. The New York Post named her as one of New York’s 50 Most Powerful Women and Time named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in both 2007 and 2009. She also was the youngest recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, and has been named three times as one of Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Celebrities.
As if all that weren’t enough, Tina will be getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame some time this year.
Image via Capital M [Flickr]
8) She’s Undeniably Sexy.
Despite all of the 30 Rock jokes about how unattractive Liz Lemon is, there’s no denying that most of the world thinks Tina Fey is one hot milf. And she’s got the awards to prove it. In 2002, she was number 80 in Maxim’s Hot 100 List. In 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2009 she was named one of People’s Most Beautiful People. Lesbian-oriented website AfterEllen.com put her in seventh in their 2007 Hot 100 List and in 2008, she was ranked in first place on their list.
9) Her Daughter Starred In Her Own Meme
Tina Fey isn’t a stage mom and it seems unlikely that her daughter, Alice Zenobia, will appear on the big or small screens any time soon, but that didn’t stop her little girl from becoming the star or her own internet meme. The whole thing started when a paparazzi photo of Tina and Alice made its way onto the internet. Alice’s adorable swagger in the picture made her an instant star as Redditers started captioning the pic and Photoshopping Alice into other pictures. See more here and here.
Since Tina just announced that she is pregnant with her second child, it’s hard not to wonder if her new bundle of joy will ever end up making the internet rounds like little Alice has.
Image via Reddit
10) She Has No Intention of Slowing Down
To be fair, if you know much about Tina Fey, you probably know this. Although she is going to take a short break from work because she’s pregnant, she’s still got a busy schedule. 30 Rock is scheduled for another season in January 2012, she’s still busy promoting her book, Bossypants, which just came out and and she only recently hosted SNL. With so much going on for her, it’s impossible to say how much she’ll accomplish in the next few years.
Sources: Wikipedia #1, #2, #3, IMDB
Got any good Tina trivia I’ve left out? Just want to share your love for the media mogul? Feel free to share your contributions in the comments.