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Kathleen Mary "Kathy" Griffin (born November 4, 1960) is an Americamarker actress, stand-up comedian, media personality, and LGBT rights advocate. A self-proclaimed "D-list celebrity", Griffin first gained recognition for appearances on two episodes of Seinfeld, and then for her supporting role on the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan. She is now the star of the Bravo reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, for which she won two Emmy Awards as executive producer. She has also worked as a voice artist and red carpet commentator, in addition to several other career pursuits. In 2008 she was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.

Early life

Griffin was born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, Illinoismarker, and raised there and in nearby Forest Parkmarker. Her family is Irish Catholic, her mother, Margaret "Maggie" (née Corbally), was a hospital administrator; and her father, John Patrick Griffin, was an electronics store manager. She attended St. Bernadine's Elementary School in Forest Park and Oak Park and River Forest High Schoolmarker, where she graduated in 1978. After high school she attended Triton College in River Grove, Illinoismarker later dropping out. Griffin is the youngest of five children — she has two older brothers, John and Gary, and an older sister, Joyce. Her other brother, Kenny, is deceased.

In her 2009 autobiography Official Book Club Selection, Griffin went on the record for the first time about the troubled life of Kenny Griffin. Detailing his history of drug abuse and wife/spousal battering, she also discussed how, though never prosecuted, she believed Kenny was a child molester; and further, how many of his female companions over the years revealed this. She additionally states that when she was eight years old, he would climb into bed with her and cuddle, whispering "sweet nothings" to her (though he never actually molested her.) After being told of his inappropriate contact with minors, Griffin chose to end her relationship with her brother.

In the autobiography Griffin goes on to explain the impact this decision had on her life. Other members of Griffin's family refused to believe Kenny was a molester, which caused a rift in their family. Many years later Griffin's father, while speaking on the telephone to Kenny (who was imprisoned,) confronted him about the issue. Rather than deny or confirm, Kenny simply stated "I do what I do." This essentially confirmed his guilt, and ended the family argument on the issue. Griffin stated that many years later she actually passed Kenny on a road, and saw him with a cardboard sign begging for money. She notes how it struck her that his sign stated simply "Need food" rather than the commonly seen "Will Work For Food", and that it influenced her well-known work ethic for the rest of her life. He ultimately returned home to his parents after living on the street, and died in his mother's arms while waiting for an ambulance.

Career

Stand-up comedy, TV, and film

Griffin began performing in the early 1980s Los Angeles improv comedy troupe, The Groundlings. In an E! True Hollywood Story segment, she stated that she often went to see the Groundlings perform before she joined. She said that at one show, she went backstage and talked with Groundling member Phil Hartman and asked him what The Groundlings were all about. Struggling to make it in the Los Angeles acting scene, she joined the troupe after a failed audition for the lead role in the film version of Harriet the Spy. This led to her taking classes there and eventually being asked into the Main Company.

She went on to perform stand-up comedy and became part of the burgeoning alternative comedy scene in Los Angeles, appearing at Un-Cabaret and her own show "Hot Cup of Talk", later the title of Griffin's 1998 solo HBO special.

Kathy made a cameo appearance in Quentin Tarantino's 1994 film Pulp Fiction. Her small role was a pedestrian coming to the aid of Marcellas Wallace (Ving Rhames) after he is hit by Bruce Willis' character's car.

She broke into film with the supporting role of Connie in the horror film The Unborn, starring Brooke Adams.

Griffin gradually amassed such TV and film credits as a role in comedian Julie Brown's Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful, a Showtime parody of the 1991 Madonna film Truth or Dare; two appearances as the character Susan Klein, a reporter, on NBC's The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, her TV sitcom debut; fellow comic Bob Goldthwait's film Shakes the Clown; as the enthusiastic leader of a fanatical car club on the Ellen episode "Oh, Sweet Rapture", airing in January 1996; starring in a dual-role in a seventh season episode of The X-Files, and an episode of ABC's divorce-attorney series Civil Wars, Griffin's dramatic-series debut. In addition, she most recently appeared on the show Ugly Betty as a fashion channel reporter.

After starring in an HBO Half Hour Comedy Special, Griffin's first consistent public exposure came in 1996, when she was cast as the acerbic colleague of Brooke Shields' title character on the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan. In 1998, Griffin starred in her first one-hour special, HBO's Kathy Griffin: A Hot Cup of Talk. She honed a comedy and television career that poked fun at her relatively modest place in the Hollywoodmarker hierarchy in a self-deprecating manner. She frequently appears in such self-consciously tacky projects as the reality show competition Celebrity Mole Hawaii—in which she won the 2003 edition after undergoing such experiences as walking over hot lava with her bare feet. She identifies her victory as the moment she became a "D-list" celebrity.

Griffin also has a secondary career in voiceover work, and has been featured on a variety of projects such as the animated series Dilbert and Spider-Man: The New Animated Series.

Griffin's TV production company is called Inappropriate Laughter, a reference to her sometimes shocking form of humor.

On June 12, 2008 Griffin hosted the first ever Bravo A-List Awards. Included in the show was a scene where Griffin mimicked a "wardrobe malfunction" (referring to the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl halftime show controversy in 2004). She also hosted the 2009 Bravo A-List Awards, which aired on April 15, 2009 and her Bravo special Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut a Bitch, taped on March 4, 2009 in Portland, Oregon, aired beforehand. Shout! Factory is set to release the DVD of Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut a Bitch on January 12, 2010.

On September 8, 2009, Ballantine Books published Griffin's memoir titled Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin. The book reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List in its first week of release. A week prior, she released her second comedy album Suckin' It for the Holidays. It is the comedian's second bid to win a Grammy Award.

Kathy also appeared in Eminem's "The Real Slim Shady" music video as a nurse.

It was announced on November 3, 2009 that Griffin was to host ABC's new show Let's Dance, which was supposed to premiere immediately after the finale of Dancing with the Stars on November 23. On the show, celebrity contestants would have reenacted famous routines from past music videos, movies and musicals, while competing for a $250,000 grand prize for their favorite charity. However, the show was postponed until January due to casting issues.

Griffin will guest-star in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, TVGuide.com has confirmed. She will play a lesbian activist in the Feb. 10 episode.

Guest co-host of The View

Kathy Griffin served as the unofficial guest co-host of The View from May 2007 to September 2007. Griffin was considered to join the panel of The View in fall 2007 as a replacement for departing panelist Rosie O'Donnell. Despite running jokes in her act about Executive Producer Barbara Walters not liking her, Griffin co-hosted the show many times after O'Donnell left in May 2007. Whoopi Goldberg was ultimately selected as a permanent replacement. On September 10, 2007, Sherri Shepherd took over the remaining co-host spot, vacant since Star Jones' departure. Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that a source tells him that The View was having second thoughts about hiring Shepherd over Griffin, although both The View and Walters' spokespersons deny this. Walters has stated that she was worried about hiring another loose cannon after the troubles with O'Donnell.

Griffin recently divulged in her stand-up that she is now banned from The View after talking about the gig on her televised comedy special, Kathy Griffin: Straight to Hell. While declining to discuss the ban on Access Hollywood, during the filming of an episode for My Life on the D-List with former View co-host/moderator Rosie O'Donnell, Griffin did talk about the ban, specifically targeting View executive producer Bill Geddie. Griffin has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for Walters in the event she departs the show. As of August 2009, Griffin has been un-banned from The View, and was a guest on September 18, 2009.

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List

Emmy Awards controversy



The second season, which premiered on June 6, 2006, brought Griffin the 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program, non-competition, on September 8, 2007. She received it during the Creative Arts Emmy, which was hosted by Carlos Mencia and aired on E! on September 15. Griffin stirred up controversy with her acceptance speech, saying,
"Now, a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award.
I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.
He didn't help me a bit.
If it was up to him, Cesar Millan would be up here with that damn dog.
So all I can say is suck it, Jesus, this award is my god now!"
Griffin later explained that she meant this remark not as a slight on Jesus, but rather as a satire of celebrities who thank Jesus profusely and nonsensically for their awards, especially artists who themselves are controversial.

Her remarks were quickly condemned by the Catholic League which urged the academy to "denounce Griffin's obscene and blasphemous comment." The Academy said that her "offensive remarks will not be part of the E! telecast on Saturday night". Griffin later responded, "Am I the only Catholic left with a sense of humor?" The editing was condemned in two consecutive episodes of Freethought Radio, a radio program produced by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the latter episode containing the deleted material. Annie Laurie Gaylor in particular objected to the comment being described as "hate speech." Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly called Griffin a "pinhead" (a label he frequently uses) for her remark, which Griffin considered a "badge of honor."

Style of humor



While Griffin established her career with candid observations about everyday life and her dating experiences, later focusing on mainly mocking celebrities, her act currently consists of recounting embellished stories involving celebrities. Though her humor may be wicked, Kathy hopes people understand that no malice is intended by it. "I'm genuinely a fan of most of the people I trash in the act," said Griffin in an interview. "I really, really try and focus on making fun of people for their behavior. I'm not so into making fun of someone for the way they look, or something that's out of their control." Her favorite celebrity topics are plastic surgery, Scientology, drunkenness, substance abuse, snooty attitudes, eating disorders, and stars whose sexual orientation is disputed. Among Griffin's staples are Paris Hilton, Clay Aiken, Barbara Walters, Whitney Houston, Larry David, Celine Dion, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jerry Seinfeld, Star Jones, Paula Abdul, Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Ryan Seacrest, Lindsay Lohan, Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, Bravo's Real Housewives,and Kirstie Alley.

Griffin is sometimes the object of her own humor, particularly with regard to her D-list status. While Griffin paints herself as a Hollywood outsider, she has a group of close celebrity friends such as Rosie O'Donnell, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Brooke Shields, Gloria Estefan, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Coolidge, Larry David, Ricky Gervais, and Lance Bass. Griffin's longtime friendship with Bass was the catalyst for a feud between her and gossip blogger Perez Hilton, in which Griffin expressed anger over Hilton's "outing" of Bass on his website, calling Hilton's attacks on Bass "mean" and "unfunny". Hilton responded by saying that Griffin's anger was hypocritical, considering all of the gay jokes she makes about Clay Aiken in her stand-up routines. In 2007, Griffin commented on her aversion to making fun of celebrity friends by saying, "There's nothing I won't do, but on the other hand I'm full of shit because that changes. For example, you know Lance Bass from 'N Sync and how he's gay now? All those years that I knew he was gay, he and I were friends, I would never say, 'Hey, by the way, did you know that Lance Bass is gay?'" Griffin and Hilton ended their feud after the death of Griffin's father, and Hilton appeared on an episode of her show in 2007. Yet in July 2008, he asserted that Griffin's assistant Jessica Zajicek had quit because she could not take Griffin's now hectic career. Griffin dismissed these statements as false as Zajicek is still working for Griffin. However it was later proved on the season premier of The D-List that Zajicek was no longer working for Griffin. Griffin stating Zajicek "has decided too move on".

Her style has led to a number of controversies. Griffin has claimed to be banned from appearing on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Live with Regis and Kelly, Late Show with David Letterman, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She recently got rebanned from The View because of a joke she made about Barbara Walters. She says Ellen s producers told her they cannot have her "trashing celebrities". However, Griffin appeared as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on September 11, 2007. One of the most notable controversies occurred when she made a joke during a 2005 E! televised event that the child actress Dakota Fanning, then age 11, had entered rehab. This incident got Griffin fired from hosting duties on E!'s red-carpet award show coverage. Nevertheless, E! purchased rights to air My Life on the D-List for its British channel, a fact she noted in an episode of season 3.

In a July 2009 episode of My Life on the D-List, after using profanity in an Octomom joke during her routine at New York's legendary Apollo Theatre, Griffin claimed that she received a letter banning her from the venue.

Griffin has claimed to have been fired from an appearance on the show Hannah Montana, on account of her Emmy acceptance speech. According to Griffin "the instructions literally came down, 'We don't want her anywhere near the building.'" Griffin hit back in her comedy act joking that Miley Cyrus "...has been flashing her green bra and posing topless."

In May 2006, Griffin visited the troops in Kuwait who were on their way to service in Iraq. She had dinner at the chow hall with many troops including Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 25.

LGBT rights advocacy

Griffin is an outspoken supporter for LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage. She has protested with fellow proponents in West Hollywood, Californiamarker, and showcased the footage of protesting on her reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. Her mother Maggie Griffin is also a supporter of LGBT rights, and is seen in Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List protesting alongside her daughter. Prior to the controversial Proposition 8 ballot results, Griffin volunteered for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s "Vote for Equality" campaign, going door-to-door asking Los Angeles residents on their opinion of LGBT marriage rights.

She also has been a long-time supporter of the Aid For AIDS annual fundraiser, Best In Drag Show in Los Angeles, and hosted the opening of the show for more than five years.

Personal life

Griffin describes herself as a "militant atheist". While in high school, she fell away from the Roman Catholic Church and wanted to become a Unitarian. Said Griffin: "I'm not really sure what that is, but it sounds better."

She is an outspoken opponent of LASIK eye surgery, having endured a series of operations for her own eyesight that left her partially blind in one eye with a visible eyeball deformity. She is open about her multiple plastic surgeries, and claims that fat "was donated to a soup kitchen" after her liposuction procedure.

Her father, John Patrick Griffin, died of heart failure on February 17, 2007, during the shooting of the third season of her reality show; he was 90 years old. The episode related to his death aired on June 19, 2007.

She placed 17th on Oxygen's 2007 list of "The 50 Funniest Women Alive".

Marriage and relationships

Griffin married Washington, D.C.marker native Matt Moline on February 18, 2001 atop the 360 Degree Restaurant in Hollywood. ABC News reported that she walked down the aisle to the strains of the 1980s power ballad "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger. Her maid of honor was Brooke Shields, and the wedding was attended by, among others, Rebekah Kelley, Camryn Manheim, Bill Maher, James Williams, and Jane Krakowski.

Although they appeared to have a loving and supportive relationship on her reality show, there were problems beneath the surface. After briefly separating and reconciling in 2005, they divorced in May 2006. Griffin had her tattooed wedding ring laser-removed after her divorce. On Larry King Live, Griffin accused her husband of stealing $72,000 from her. In a written statement, he declined to respond to the allegations publicly.

Since July 2007, rumors had circulated that Griffin had been dating Applemarker co-founder Steve Wozniak. They attended the 2007 Emmy Awards together and speculations rose when the two were interviewed together on the red carpet. On September 18, 2007, Us Weekly reported that Griffin and Wozniak were engaged, however, neither Griffin nor Wozniak confirmed the rumor. During a January 2008 interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Griffin confirmed that Wozniak will be a regular guest on the fourth season of her reality show. On Tom Green's House Tonight on February 6, Griffin confirmed her relationship with Wozniak. When asked if she actually targeted Wozniak to make her ex-husband jealous, Griffin stated "What better way to get back at my ex, who was a tech, than to marry the biggest techno-nerd in the Universe?" Wozniak and Griffin served as King and Queen of the Humane Society of Silicon Valley Fur Ball on April 5, 2008 in Santa Clara, California, and scenes for the fourth season of My Life on the D-List were taped. However, as of June 2008, it was confirmed that Griffin and Wozniak are no longer dating and have decided to remain friends. As noted in a postscript on the August 7, 2008 episode of My Life On The D-List, Wozniak quickly became engaged and subsequently married another woman, later revealed to be Apple executive Janet Hill. According to Griffin, "He met someone very quickly and then they [got] engaged. I have had dinner with them, and she's a thousand times more appropriate! I hate to say it, but in the Bruce, Demi, Ashton [scheme of things], I’m the Bruce!"

In August 2009, Griffin announced on her official Twitter that she was in a relationship with another currently unknown individual, which is rumored to be Tom Vize, her roommate and manager. On August 9, 2009 she attended the Teen Choice Awards with Levi Johnston and subsequently interviewed him in her role as guest host on Larry King Live. In the interview, Griffin and Johnston mocked the idea that they were in a serious relationship. She later Twittered on August 10 that "Oh, and I think I'm pregnant".

Filmography

Film
Year Film Role Notes
1991 The Unborn Connie
1992 Shakes the Clown Lucy
Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful Taffy
1994 Pulp Fiction herself Cameo
It's Pat herself
1995 Big News TV film
Four Rooms Betty
The Barefoot Executive Mary TV film
1996 The Cable Guy Mother
1997 Who's the Caboose? Katty
Trojan War cashier
Courting Courtney Ona Miller
1999 Can't Stop Dancing modeling agent
Dill Scallion Tina
Muppets from Space Female armed guard
Jackie's Back herself TV film
2000 Lion of Oz Caroline Voice role
The Intern Cornelia Crisp
Enemies of Laughter Cindy
A Diva's Christmas Carol Ghost of Christmas Past TV film
E Nurse "The Real Slim Shady", music video collection
2001 On Edge Karen Katz
2002 Run Ronnie Run herself
2003 Beethoven's 5th Evie Kling
2005 Dirty Love Madame Pelly
2005 Dinotopia: Quest for the Ruby Sunstone Rhoga Voice role
Her Minor Thing Maggie
Love Wrecked Belinda
2006 Bachelor Party Vegas She-Elvis Uncredited cameo
2007 Judy Toll: The Funniest Woman You've Never Heard of herself Documentary
In Search of Puppy Love herself Documentary
Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project herself Documentary
Heckler herself Documentary
2009 Around the World in 50 Years 3D post production, voice role
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1990 On the Television various "Beauty and the Beet"
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Susan Klein "Not with My Pig, You Don't"
1993 Civil Wars Yvonne "Watt, Me Worry?"
Dream On Dawn "The French Conception"
1995 ER Dolores Minky "Motherhood"
Dweebs Sheila "The Birthday Party Show"
1995 Mad About You Brenda "New Year's Eve"
1996 Ellen Peggy "Oh, Sweet Rapture"
Partners Michelle "Can We Keep Her, Dad?"
Caroline in the City DMV clerk "Caroline and the Movie"
Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist herself Two episodes, voice role
1995-1996 Ned & Stacey Jeanne Two episodes
1997 Oddville, MTV August 13
1996-1998 Seinfeld Sally Weaver Two episodes
1997-1998 Premium Blend herself Hostess
2000 The X-Files Betty Templeton/Lulu Pfeiffer "Fight Club"
1999-2000 Dilbert Alice thirty episodes, voice role
1996-2000 Suddenly Susan Vicki Groener Ninety-two episodes, main character
2001 The Simpsons Francine "Bye Bye Nerdie"
Strong Medicine Matchmaker "Silent Epidemic"
Weakest Link herself "Comedians Special"
Kathy's So Called Reality herself Hostess
2002 The Drew Carey Show Kathy "The Eagle Has Landed"
2003 What's New, Scooby-Doo? Luis Agent Autumn Summerfield "The Unnatural", voice role
Spider-Man: The New Animated Series Roxanne Gaines "Mind Game: Part 1" and "Part 2"
Crank Yankers Maria One episode, voice role
The Mole herself Six episodes, season three winner
2002-2003 Whose Line Is It Anyway? herself Four episodes (5-02, 5-15, 5-19, 5-29)
2004 Striperella The Bridesmaid "The Bridesmaid", voice role
Half & Half Dr. Morgan "The Big Labor of Love Episode"
Celebrity Poker Showdown herself Two episodes, third tournament
2001-2004 Hollywood Squares herself Eighty-six episodes
2005 Cheap Shots Rae "1995 SuperDogs! Superjocks!"
Days of our Lives Limo driver
2006 Gameshow Marathon herself "Match Game"
2007 Ugly Betty Fashion TV anchor "In or Out"
Loose Women herself
2008 Rosie Live herself Pilot
2009 Privileged Olivia "All About a Brand New You"
Paris Hilton's My New BFF herself Special guest
2008-2009 Larry King Live herself Five episodes
2009 The Roast Of Joan Rivers herself Roast Master
The Celebrity Apprentice 2 herself Special guest
2005-present Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List herself Forty episodes

Gracie Allen Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series


Stand-Up Specials

  • HBO Comedy Half-Hour (1996)
  • Kathy Griffin: Hot Cup of Talk (1998)
  • Kathy Griffin: The D-List (2004)
  • Kathy Griffin: Allegedly (2004)
  • Kathy Griffin Is... Not Nicole Kidman (2005)
  • Kathy Griffin: Strong Black Woman (2006)
  • Kathy Griffin: Everybody Can Suck It (2007)
  • Kathy Griffin: Straight To Hell (2007)
  • Kathy Griffin: She'll Cut A Bitch (2009) (Will Be released on DVD January 12th, 2010)
  • Kathy Griffin: Balls Of Steel (2009)


Discography

On June 10, 2008, Griffin released a comedy CD titled For Your Consideration. It is Griffin's first audio-only release of her stand-up material. The disc was recorded at the ETK Theatre at the Grand Theatre Center For The Arts in Tracymarker, Californiamarker on February 17, 2008. Included on the disc are her takes on various celebrities and her personal life. Griffin stated that she decided to release this CD to try to win a Grammy award. On December 3, 2008, Griffin was nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album. However. she lost to George Carlin's It's Bad for Ya. On August 25, 2009, Griffin released a second comedy album, Suckin' It for the Holidays, in another bid for a Grammy. The album was initially released as a digital download and will retail release on November 3, 2009. Despite the album's holiday title, it contains little holiday-related content, and it just barely made the nominations cut-off. It remains to be seen whether it will be nominated.

References

  1. The Girl Can't Help It
  2. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary-print.aspx?n=john-patrick-griffin&pid=86565546
  3. Friday 2 October 2009 episode of The Joy Behar Show" on HLN
  4. http://www.shoutfactorystore.com/prod.aspx?pfid=5257079
  5. http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/abc/2009_Nov_11_lets_dance_najimy_january
  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_H5KbxrQYg&feature=channel_page
  7. http://www.post-trib.com/lifestyles/1683848,tvhighlights0726.article
  8. http://www.afterelton.com/blog/snicks/kathy-imho-7-27-2009
  9. http://www.akawilliam.com/kathy-griffin-goes-door-to-door-for-gay-rights/
  10. The Insider interview. November 6, 2009."[1]"
  11. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1047887/board/nest/77206653
  12. http://www.mediaite.com/online/sarah-palins-nightmare-kathy-griffin-levi-johnston-work-the-red-carpet/
  13. http://www.mediaite.com/online/kathy-griffin-and-levi-johnsons-love-story-goes-late-night-on-larry-king/
  14. Kathy Griffin Twitter Post from August 10, 2009, 11:52 AM
  15. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0251512/episodes
  16. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0234018/


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