Wanda Sykes

Comedian / Actor

Born: 7 March 1964
Birthplace: Portsmouth, New Jersey
Best known as:

The star of The Wanda Sykes Show on late-night TV

Wanda Sykes is the tart-tongued and exasperated stand-up comedian whose also hosted the late-night talk show The Wanda Sykes Show. The son of an Army colonel, Wanda Sykes earned a degree from Hampton University and was working as a purchasing agent for the National Security Agency when she began doing stand-up comedy in 1987. After a few years of club work around Washington, she moved to New York and was discovered by Chris Rock, who hired her as a writer for The Chris Rock Show in 1997. She and the show's other writers won a 1999 Emmy for their work, and she also appeared in front of the camera, where her sassy, squeaky-voiced persona made her a fast hit. Her acting career took off, and soon she was appearing on all kinds of TV shows. That included a recurring role in Curb Your Enthusiasm and a regular part on The New Adventures of Old Christine (she played Julia Louis-Dreyfus's friend Barb from 2006-10). Keeping busy, Sykes also landed her own sitcom, Wanda At Large (which ran for 14 episodes in 2003) and her own late-night talk show, The Wanda Sykes Show (which ran for one season from 2009-2010). She has appeared in movies including Pootie Tang (2001), Monster In Law (2005, with Jennifer Lopez) and Evan Almighty (2007, with Steve Carell); she also has done voice work in films including Over the Hedge (2005) and Rio (2011). Wanda Sykes married her wife, Alex, on 25 October 2008, the same year that she announced publicly that she was a lesbian. Sykes had both breasts removed in 2011 after being diagnosed with a form of breast cancer known as ductal carcinoma in situ, or DCIS.

Extra credit:

Wanda Sykes has never publicly revealed a last name or other personal details for Alex, her wife... The couple had twins on April 27, 2009: a son Lucas and a daughter Olivia. Alex gave birth to the children... Wanda Sykes was married to music producer David Hall from 1991 until their divorce in 1998... She hosted the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2009, Barack Obama's first year in office.

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More on Wanda Sykes from Fact Monster:

  • Over the Hedge - Starring Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, William Shatner, Wanda Sykes, Nick Nolte
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