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Wanda Sykes (1964)

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  Summary  

Wanda Sykes is an American writer, stand-up comedian, actress, and voice artist. She earned the 1999 Emmy Award for her writing on The Chris Rock Show. In 2004 Entertainment Weekly named Sykes as one of the 25 funniest people in America. She is well known for her role as Barbara Baran on The New Adventures of Old Christine and for her appearances on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In November 2009 The Wanda Sykes Show, her own late-night talkshow, premiered on Fox, airing Saturday nights, until it was cancelled in April 2010.

Sykes also had a successful career in film, appearing in Monster-in-Law, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Evan Almighty, and License to Wed, and voiced characters in Over the Hedge, Barnyard, Brother Bear 2, Rio, and Ice Age: Continental Drift.

  Biography  

 early life
Sykes was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, and raised in the Washington, D.C., area. Her father served as a US Army colonel employed at the Pentagon, and her mother worked as a banker. She attended Arundel High School in Gambrills, Maryland, and went on to graduate from Hampton University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. After college, her first job was as a procurement officer with the National Security Agency , where she worked for five years.

 career
Not completely satisfied with her role with the NSA, Sykes began her stand-up career at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington, DC, where she performed for the first time in front of a live audience in 1987.
She continued to hone her talents at local venues while at the NSA until 1992, when she moved to New York City.
Her first big break came when opening for Chris Rock at Caroline's Comedy Club. In 1997, she joined the writing team on The Chris Rock Show and also made many appearances on the show. The writing team was nominated for four Emmys, and in 1999, won for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Special. Since that time, she has appeared in such films as Pootie Tang and on TV shows such as Curb Your Enthusiasm. In 2003, she starred in her own short-lived Fox network sitcom, Wanda at Large. The same year, Sykes appeared in an hour-long Comedy Central special, Tongue Untied. That network also ranked her #70 on its list of the 100 greatest all-time stand ups. She served as a correspondent for HBO's Inside the NFL, hosted Comedy Central's popular show Premium Blend, and voiced a recurring character named Gladys on Comedy Central's puppet show Crank Yankers. She also had a short-lived show on Comedy Central called Wanda Does It.

In addition to her film and television work, she is also an author. She wrote Yeah, I Said It, a book of humorous observations on various topics, published in September 2004.

In 2006, she landed a recurring role on the sitcom The New Adventures of Old Christine; she became a series regular in the second season. She also guest starred in the Will & Grace episode "Buy, Buy Baby" in 2006. She provided voices for the 2006 films Over the Hedge, Barnyard, and Brother Bear 2. She had a part in My Super Ex-Girlfriend and after playing in Evan Almighty, had a bit part in License to Wed. Sykes' first HBO Comedy Special, entitled Wanda Sykes: Sick & Tired, premiered on October 14, 2006; it was nominated for a 2007 Emmy Award. In 2008, she performed as part of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour for LGBT rights.

In October 2008, Wanda Sykes appeared in a television ad for the Think Before You Speak Campaign, an advertising campaign by GLSEN aimed at curbing homophobic slang in youth communities. In the 30-second spot, she uses humor to scold a teenager for saying "that's so gay" when he really means "that is so bad."

In March 2009, it was announced that Sykes would be the host of a new late-night talk show on Saturdays on Fox, The Wanda Sykes Show which was scheduled to premiere November 7, 2009. In April 2009, she was named in Out magazine's "Annual Power 50 List", landing at number 35.

In May 2009, Sykes was the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, becoming both the first African American woman and the first openly LGBT person to get the role. Cedric the Entertainer had been the first African American to become the featured entertainer in 2005. At this event, Sykes made controversial headlines as she responded to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's comments regarding President Barack Obama. Limbaugh, in reference to Obama's presidential agenda, had said "I hope he fails". In response, Sykes quipped: "I hope his [Limbaugh's] kidneys fail."

Her third comedy special, Wanda Sykes: I'ma Be Me premiered on HBO in October 2009.
November 2009 saw the premier of The Wanda Sykes Show, which starts with a monologue and continues with a panel discussion in a similar format to Bill Maher's shows Real Time with Bill Maher and Politically Incorrect.

She appeared as Miss Hannigan in a professional theatre production of "Annie" at The Media Theatre in Media, PA, a suburb 25 minutes southwest of Philadelphia. Her first appearance in a musical, she played the role from November 23-December 12, 2010, and again from January 12–23, 2011.

 personal life
Sykes was married to record producer Dave Hall from 1991 to 1998. In November 2008, she publicly came out as lesbian while at a same-sex marriage rally in Las Vegas regarding Proposition 8, which forbids new marriages of same-sex couples in California.
After coming out, Sykes married her wife, Alex, whom she met in 2006. Alex gave birth to twins Olivia Lou and Lucas Claude on April 27, 2009.

During a September 19, 2011 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Sykes announced that she had been diagnosed earlier in the year with ductal carcinoma in situ . Although DCIS is a non-invasive "stage zero breast cancer", Sykes had elected to have a bilateral mastectomy in order to remove her chances of ever getting cancer.

 Activism
Sykes was "crushed" after California voters passed state Proposition 8. She has continued to be active in same-sex marriage issues hosting events and emceeing fundraisers.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Wanda Sykes", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.