Emmy Award-winning actress Lisa Kudrow—creator, executive producer, and, as Valerie, star of The Comeback—is distinctively different from Phoebe Buffay, the character she brilliantly portrayed on the hit comedy series Friends for ten seasons. Five times nominated (one win) by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Kudrow has also received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Female Performer in a Television Series and a Golden Globe Award nomination.
In addition to Kudrow's success on television, she has received rave reviews for her feature film roles. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award from the New York Film Critics, an Independent Spirit Award nomination and a Chicago Film Critics Award nomination for her role in the Don Roos scripted and directed film The Opposite of Sex. She also won a Blockbuster Award and received a nomination for an American Comedy Award for her starring role opposite Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro in the Warner Bros. box office hit Analyze This from director Harold Ramis.
Her recent film credits include starring roles in Wonderland, with Val Kilmer, in which she portrayed Sharon Holmes, wife of porn star John Holmes, in the film based on the infamous Wonderland Avenue murders; the Warner Bros. film Analyze That, the sequel to Analyze This; Hanging Up, opposite Meg Ryan and Diane Keaton; Lucky Numbers, with John Travolta; the critically acclaimed hit comedy Romy & Michele's High School Reunion, with Mira Sorvino; Clockwatchers, in which she starred opposite Toni Collette and Parker Posey; and Albert Brooks' comedy Mother. Audiences can also see Kudrow star in the Don Roos written and directed film Happy Endings, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Kudrow has always been passionate about acting but never thought of it as a career until after college. When she returned to California after receiving a degree in biology from Vassar College, her passion to act and perform resurfaced. Her brother's good friend, actor/comedian Jon Lovitz, inspired her to pursue her dream. She began studying with improvisational instructor Cynthia Szigeti and acting teacher Ian Tucker, and in 1989, her dream of becoming a performer became a reality when she was accepted as a member of the famed Los Angeles improv group The Groundlings.
Kudrow had the distinction of being in two outstanding television series simultaneously. Along with her role as Phoebe in Friends, she portrayed the loveable but waitressly challenged Ursula on the comedy Mad About You. The two characters were sisters, which provided opportunities for Kudrow to go back and forth between what at the time were two of the most popular series on television.
In the fall of 2003, Kudrow and writer/producer Dan Bucatinsky formed Is or Isn't Entertainment, which is based at Warner Bros. Studios.