Catherine O'Hara

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Catherine O'Hara
BornCatherine Anne O'Hara
(1954-03-04) March 4, 1954 (age 60)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OccupationComedian, actress
Years active1974–present
Notable work(s)Second City Television
Spouse(s)Bo Welch
ChildrenMatthew Welch
Luke Welch
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Catherine O'Hara
BornCatherine Anne O'Hara
(1954-03-04) March 4, 1954 (age 60)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OccupationComedian, actress
Years active1974–present
Notable work(s)Second City Television
Spouse(s)Bo Welch
ChildrenMatthew Welch
Luke Welch

Catherine Anne O'Hara (born March 4, 1954) is a Canadian-American actress, writer and comedian. She is well known for her comedy work on SCTV and her roles in the films After Hours (1985), Beetlejuice (1988), Home Alone (1990) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), and also in the mockumentary films written and directed by Christopher Guest, including Waiting for Guffman (1996), Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003), and For Your Consideration (2006). She won the Genie Award for Best Supporting Actress for the 1999 film The Life Before This, and received an Emmy Award nomination for the 2010 TV film Temple Grandin.

Early life[edit]

O'Hara was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Born into a large family of Irish descent,[1] she was raised Roman Catholic.[2] She is the sixth of seven children. She attended Burnhamthorpe Collegiate Institute, where she first met Robin Duke, who went on to her own comedy career.


Catherine started her comedy career in 1974 as a cast member of The Second City in her native Toronto.[3] She was an understudy for Gilda Radner until Radner left for Saturday Night Live. Two years later, this theatre troupe created the sketch comedy show SCTV, for which O'Hara became a regular performer. Her memorable characterizations on the show included Las Vegas scorcher Lola Heatherton, buzzer-happy game show contestant Margaret Meehan, raunchy nightclub comedian Dusty Towne, soap opera seductress Sue Ellen, and stage actress Sue Bopper Simpson.

In the late 1970s, O'Hara also provided voice-overs for a number of cartoons, which would continue throughout her career. During a short time in the early 1980s when SCTV was in between network deals, she was hired to replace Ann Risley when Saturday Night Live was being retooled in 1981. However, she quit the show without ever appearing on air, choosing to go back to SCTV when the show signed on with NBC.[4][5] Her SNL position was then given to fellow Canadian Robin Duke, who had also replaced O'Hara for a season on SCTV.

O'Hara began her career on television, apart from SCTV, in the mid-Seventies. She has appeared in the 1976 television film The Rimshots, the children's television series Coming Up Rosie for a year, and television specials, such as Witch's Night Out and Intergalactic Thanksgiving. But it was her performances on SCTV that earned her fame in Canada, which is why she returned to the show, not only as an actress, but as a writer for both SCTV and SCTV Network 90, which earned her an Emmy Award for outstanding writing and two Emmy Award nominations. She also has written for SCTV Channel. O'Hara has appeared in a number of television series and television films, and continues to work in television. During the Nineties, she made guest appearances on Tales from the Crypt, Oh Baby, Morton & Hayes and The Larry Sanders Show. She served as actress and director on Dream On and The Outer Limits, the revival of the Sixties series of the same name. In the past decade, O'Hara has guest-starred on top-rated television series including Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm. In May 2008, it was announced that she had signed on to star in the upcoming ABC dramedy Good Behavior.[6] Her role on the 2010 television film Temple Grandin earned her three award nominations: a Primetime Emmy Award, a Satellite Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

O'Hara's star on Canada's Walk of Fame

O'Hara has also had a successful career in film. She made her feature debut in the 1980 film Double Negative, which also starred her SCTV co-stars John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Joe Flaherty. Throughout the Eighties and Nineties, O'Hara appeared in many supporting roles, including Martin Scorsese's After Hours and Heartburn, with Meryl Streep. She had more notable roles in Beetlejuice, the blockbuster hit Home Alone and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. In 1992, O'Hara worked alongside Jeff Daniels in the comedy There Goes the Neighborhood. O'Hara continued to appear in many films during the Nineties and the beginning of the twenty-first century. She received roles in four of Christopher Guest's mockumentary films, three of which earned her awards and nominations: Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration. Her role in 1999's The Life Before This won her a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. She also appeared in episodes 6, 10 and 11 on the tenth and final series of the UK Whose Line is it anyway? In 2006, she starred with Christina Ricci in the fantasy feature Penelope. O'Hara has served as a voice artist in a number of animated movies, including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Chicken Little, Over the Hedge, Monster House, Brother Bear 2, and Frankenweenie.

On June 9, 2007, O'Hara was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame. On February 28, 2010, she spoke at the Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.

Celebrities impersonated on SCTV[edit]

Personal life[edit]

A naturalized U.S. citizen,[7] O'Hara married production designer Bo Welch in 1992, with whom she has two sons, Matthew (b. 1994) and Luke (b. 1997).[2] She is the sister of critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Margaret O'Hara, though she is a singer-songwriter in her own right, having written and performed songs in Guest's film A Mighty Wind.


1980Double NegativeJudithAlso known as Deadly Companion
1980Nothing PersonalAudrey
1983Rock & RuleAunt EdithVoice
1985After HoursGail
1988BeetlejuiceDelia Deetz
1990Little VegasLexie
1990Dick TracyTexie Garcia
1990Betsy's WeddingGloria Henner
1990Home AloneKate McCallister
1992There Goes the NeighborhoodJessica LodgeAlso known as – Paydirt
1992Home Alone 2: Lost in New YorkKate McCallister
1993The Nightmare Before ChristmasSally & ShockVoice
1994The PaperSusan
1994Wyatt EarpAllie Earp
1994A Simple Twist of FateApril Simon
1995Tall TaleCalamity Jane
1996Waiting for GuffmanSheila Albertson
1996The Last of the High KingsCathleen
1997Pippi LongstockingMrs. PrysseliusVoice
1998Home FriesBeatrice Lever
1999The Life Before ThisSheenaGenie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
1999Bartok the MagnificentLudmillaVoice; direct to video
2000Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed BigVoice; short film
2000Best in ShowCookie FleckAmerican Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Canadian Comedy Award for Film – Pretty Funny Female Performance
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
2001Speaking of SexConnie Barker
2002Orange CountyCindy Beugler
2003A Mighty WindMickey CrabbeFlorida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Seattle Film Critics Award for Best Music
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
2004Surviving ChristmasChristine Valco
2004Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate EventsJustice Strauss
2005Game 6Lillian Rogan
2005Chicken LittleTinaVoice
2006Over the HedgePennyVoice
2006Monster HouseMomVoice
2006Brother Bear 2KataVoice; direct-to-Video
2006PenelopeJessica Wilhern
2006For Your ConsiderationMarilyn HackKansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Supporting Actress (tied with Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls)
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated — Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
2006Barbie in the 12 Dancing PrincessesRowenaVoice; direct-to-video
2009Away We GoGloria Farlander
2009Where the Wild Things Are[8]JudithVoice
2010KillersMrs. Koenfeldt
2010Winx Club 3D: Magical AdventureRoxy
2011Un monstre à ParisMadame CarlottaVoice
2012FrankenweenieSusan Frankenstein / Gym Teacher / Weird GirlVoice
2013The Right Kind of WrongTessPost-prduction
1976The RimshotsTelevision film
1976–1977Coming Up RosieMyrna Wallbacker
1978Witch's Night OutMaliciousVoice; television film/television special
1976–1979SCTVVarious50 episodes
1979Intergalactic ThanksgivingMa SpademinderVoice; television short
1980You've Come a Long Way, KatieMini-series
1980Easter FeverScarlett O'HareVoice
1980From ClevelandVariousTelevision film
1981The Steve Allen Comedy HourVarious1 episode
1981–1982SCTV Network 90Various27 episodes
1984The New ShowVarious3 episodes
1983–1984SCTV ChannelVarious5 episodes
1985The Last PolkaLemon TwinTelevision film
1985George Burns Comedy WeekEpisode: "The Dynamite Girl"
1986Dave Thomas: The Incredible Time Travels of Henry OsgoodMarie AntoinetteTelevision film
1987Really Weird TalesTheresa SharpeSegment: "I'll Die Loving"
1987Trying TimesRebeccaEpisode: "Get a Job"
1988The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed GrimleyMiss Malone13 episodes
1989I, Martin Short, Goes HollywoodNancy MaeTelevision film
1989Andrea Martin... Together AgainDee Lee
Holly Faun
Television film
1990The Dave Thomas Comedy Show1 episode
1990Dream OnIrmaEpisode: "555-HELL"
1991Morton & HayesAmelia Von Astor
Mimi Von Astor
Episode: "Daffy Dicks"
1991–1992Saturday Night LiveHostEpisode: 16.17(Musical Guest R.E.M) 18.5(Musical Guest 10,000 Maniacs)
1992The Larry Sanders ShowHerselfEpisode: "Talk Show"
1993The Hidden RoomLaurel BrodyEpisode: "The First Battle"
1994Tales from the CryptGearldine FerrettEpisode: "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime"
1997The Outer LimitsBecka PaulsonEpisode: "The Revelations of 'Becka Paulson"
Nominated — Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role in a Dramatic Series
1997HopeMuriel MacswainTelevision film
1998Whose Line Is It Anyway?HerselfImprov comedy game show. Episodes six, ten and eleven of series ten.
1999Oh BabyRoberta HunterEpisode: "Discrimination"
1999Late Last NightShrinkTelevision film
2000MADtvWoman on Blind Date1 episode
2001CommittedLiz Larsen
2002Bram & AliceMs. O'ConnorEpisode: "Pilot"
2003Odd Job JackClaudia JohnsonEpisode: "Broke & Broker"
2004The Wool CapGloriaTelevision film
2003–2005Six Feet UnderCarol Ward4 episodes
2008Good BehaviorJackie WestTelevision film
2009Curb Your EnthusiasmBam BamEpisode: "Funkhouser's Crazy Sister"
2009Made in HollywoodHerselfEpisode: #5.4
2010Temple GrandinAunt AnnTelevision film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2011Producing ParkerIrene KovakGuest role, 1 episode.
2009–2011Glenn Martin, DDSJackie Martin38 episodes
201230 RockMrs. ParcellGuest role
2012LeslieLeslieEpisodes: "New York, 1995 – Part 1"; "New York, 1995 – Part 2"
2012–2013Jake and the Never Land PiratesMiss JacquesVoice role
2013To My Future AssistantMagdaTelevision film
2015Schitt's CreekMoira RoseLead role
1991Dream OnEpisode: "And Your Little Dog, Too"
1998The Outer LimitsEpisode: "Glyphic"
1976–1979SCTV52 episodes
1980From ClevelandTelevision film
1981–1982SCTV Network 9028 episodes
Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Show (SCTV Network 90)
Nominated — Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program (SCTV Network 90)
1983–1984SCTV Channel3 episodes
1987Really Weird TalesTelevision film; segment: "I'll Die Loving You"
1988The Best of SCTV
1989Andrea Martin... Together AgainTelevision film; special material

Awards and nominations[edit]




  1. ^ Onstad, Katrina (April 12, 2005)"Inductee: Mary Margaret O'Hara". CBC News. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Catherine O'Hara". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  3. ^ Second City Toronto Alumni "The Second City". Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Catherine The Great". Toronto: June 2, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ "SCTV Shoots For First". Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ Waldman, Allison (May 2, 2008) "Oh, good! Catherine O'Hara to star in ABC pilot". Retrieved October 14, 2011.  Catherine O'Hara to star in ABC pilot
  7. ^ Catherine O'Hara Biography (1954–)
  8. ^ "O'Hara calls up her inner Wild Thing". CBC News. October 16, 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 

External links[edit]