At the Daryl Roth Theater (NYC), 2006
June 6, 1955|
Flint, Michigan, United States
Sandra Bernhard (born June 6, 1955) is an American comedian, singer, actress and author. She first gained attention in the late 1970s with her stand-up comedy in which she often bitterly critiques celebrity culture and political figures. Bernhard is number 97 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest standups of all time.
Bernhard was born in Flint, Michigan, the daughter of Jeanette (née LaZebnik) and Jerome Bernhard. Her parents raised her as a Conservative Jew. She has three older brothers. Her family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, when she was 10.
She has often addressed her childhood in interviews and within the context of her stand-up comedy. Of her family, Bernhard stated in her show Without You I'm Nothing: "My father was a proctologist and my mother was an abstract artist. That's how I view the world." In the documentary program Girls Who Do: Comedy, she discusses being a funny teenager. After graduating from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, she went to live and volunteer on a kibbutz in Israel. She moved to Los Angeles at the age of 19. During that time she paid her bills by working as a manicurist in a high-end salon.
Bernhard became a staple at The Comedy Store. As her popularity as a comedian grew she was cast as a supporting player on The Richard Pryor Show in 1977. Guest appearances on evening talk shows followed. Her big break came in 1983 when she was cast by Martin Scorsese to star as stalker and kidnapper Masha in the film The King of Comedy for which she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.
She began performing her first one-woman show called I'm Your Woman in 1985, and an album version was released. Bernhard appeared in a variety of tiny film and television roles throughout the 1980s while crafting her stand-up routine into a more performance art oriented show. She launched an Off-Broadway one woman show called Without You I'm Nothing, with You I'm Not Much Better in 1988 which played at the Orpheum Theatre. In 1990 it was turned into a film and a double album of the same name. The film was mostly shot on location in 1989 in the coconut grove at the Ambassador Hotel. A frequent guest on David Letterman's NBC program, it was during the run of 'Without You I'm Nothing, With You I'm Not Much Better' that she appeared with her then-good friend (and rumored lover) Madonna on the show. The two alluded to their romantic relationship and staged a sexy confrontation. They would continue to be friends for several years, with Bernhard even making an appearance in Madonna's movie Truth or Dare.
In 1991, Bernhard began playing the role of Nancy Bartlett on the hit sitcom Roseanne. She appeared in 33 episodes between 1991 and 1997, and was one of the first actresses to portray an openly lesbian recurring character on American television. The role is one of her best known, something she has lamented in her stand-up as being both a blessing and a curse.
In September 1992, Bernhard did a nude pictorial for Playboy. She hosted the USA Network's Reel Wild Cinema for two seasons beginning in 1995. Bernhard continued acting in mostly independent films and TV guest roles and forays into mainstream films such as Hudson Hawk and Dallas Doll. In 1991 she released her first studio album, entitled Excuses For Bad Behavior (Part One).
In 1995, she briefly appeared as a guest in the animated talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast, in an episode titled "Jerk". In 1996, she guest-starred on an episode of Highlander: The Series called "Dramatic License" in which she played a romance novelist writing about the life of the main character. She also appeared (as herself) on Will and Grace in an episode dealing with Will and Grace's spuriously bidding on Bernhard's Manhattan apartment in order to become friendly with her and culminates in a diatribe from Bernhard when their ruse is exposed, with obfuscating sounds of a blender (she was having a smoothie made) blotting out supposed obscenities. She returned as herself briefly, two years later.
Bernhard returned to Broadway in 1998 with the show I'm Still Here... Damn It!, recorded for a live comedy album. At that time of the show Bernhard was pregnant. She gave birth to daughter Cicely Yasin Bernhard on July 4, 1998. For the next several years she would self-record all of her live shows and release cheaply made CD-R versions which were sold in the lobby of her shows. She continued touring and making smaller films and TV guest appearances.
She returned to New York in 2006 with the Off-Broadway show Everything Bad & Beautiful. The CD Everything Bad & Beautiful was critically lauded as one of her best, released by indie label Breaking Records. The year 2007 saw the creation of Bernhard's show Plan B from Outer Space as well as Indie label upstart Breaking Records release of the compilation "Breaking For the Holidays" where Bernhard co-penned Miracle of Lights with Mitchell Kaplan. She toured "Plan B" through 2008, and performed Miracle of Lights on some morning shows in New York.
Bernhard was a featured guest singer with children's artist Dan Zanes on the Family Dance album's "Thrift Shop".
In an interview with Howard Stern, the comedian revealed that she was originally offered the role of Miranda Hobbes of TV show Sex and the City, but opted out due to the "terrible" original script and low paycheck.
In 2013, the media announced that Sandra Bernhard would be joining the cast of ABC Family's Switched at Birth along with Glee's Max Adler. Sandra would assume the role of an art professor on the Season 3 Opener in January 2014.
- Confessions of a Pretty Lady, an autobiography (HarperCollins October 1989 ISBN 978-0-06-091620-6)
- Love, Love and Love, essay collection (HarperCollins June 1993 ISBN 978-0-06-016615-1)
- May I Kiss You On The Lips, Miss Sandra?, semi-autobiography (HarperCollins October 1999 ISBN 978-0-68-817163-6)
|1980||Shogun Assassin||Voice-over in English dub|
|1981||Cheech & Chong's Nice Dreams||Girl Nut|
|1983||The King of Comedy||Masha||National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress|
|1984||The House of God||Angel Dutton|
|1985||Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird||Grouch Diner Waitress||Cameo appearance|
|1986||The Whoopee Boys||Extra (uncredited)|
|1988||Casual Sex?||Extra (uncredited)|
|Track 29||Nurse Stein|
|1990||Without You I'm Nothing||Herself (also writer)|
|1991||Madonna: Truth or Dare||Herself||Documentary|
|Hudson Hawk||Minerva Mayflower|
|1992||Inside Monkey Zetterland||Imogene|
|1994||Sandra Bernhard: Confessions of a Pretty Lady||Herself|
|Dallas Doll||Dallas Adair|
|One Hundred and One Nights||La première quêteuse|
|The Reggae Movie||Herself||Documentary|
|1997||Lover Girl||Marci Guerra/'Angel'|
|The Apocalypse||J.T. Wayne|
|Plump Fiction||Bunny Roberts|
|1998||An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn||Ann Glover|
|Wrongfully Accused||Dr. Fridley|
|Somewhere in the City||Betty|
|I Woke Up Early The Day I Died||Sandy Sands/Professional Mourner and Stripper|
|1999||Hercules: Zero to Hero||Cassandra (voice only)|
|2000||One Hell of a Guy||God (voice only)|
|Playing Mona Lisa||Bibi Carlson||Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Stony Brook Film Festival|
|Dinner Rush||Jennifer Freely|
|The Easter Egg Adventure||Claralyne Cluck (voice only)|
|2005||Searching for Bobby D||Sherri Dansen|
|2009||Dare||Dr. Serena Mohr|
|2010||See You in September||Charlotte|
|2011||Looking for Lenny||Herself||Documentary|
|1977||The Richard Pryor Show||Featured Performer||Canceled after 4 episodes|
|1991-1997||Roseanne||Nancy Bartlett||Recurring role (33 episodes)|
|1992||Sandra After Dark, with Your Hostess, Sandra Bernhard||Herself (also co-executive producer)||TV film|
|1992-93||The A-List||Herself/Host||1 episode|
|1994-96||Reel Wild Cinema||Herself/Host||22 episodes|
|1995||Space Ghost Coast to Coast||Herself||1 episode|
|Freaky Friday||Frieda Debny||TV film|
|The Larry Sanders Show||Herself||2 episodes|
|1996||Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist||Herself||1 episode|
|The Late Shift||Herself||TV film|
|1997||Superman: The Animated Series||Gsptlsnz||1 episode|
|Ally McBeal||Caroline Poop||2 episodes|
|1998-99||Hercules||Cassandra (voice only)||45 episodes|
|1999||Sandra Bernhard - I'm Still Here..Damn It!||Herself (also writer)||TV film|
|2000||The Sopranos||Herself as Gina||1 episode:"D-Girl"|
|2001-02||Will and Grace||Herself||2 episodes|
|2001||Sandra Bernhard: Giving Them Lip||Herself||TV movie|
|2001-03||The Sandra Bernhard Experience||Herself/Host||unknown episodes|
|2003||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Priscilla Chaney||1 episode|
|2004||Silver Lake||Sheila Fontana||Unsold pilot|
|2005||Crossing Jordan||Roz Framus||2 episodes|
|The L Word||Charlotte Birch||5 episodes|
|2005-06||The Queer Edge||Herself/Co-Host||26 episodes|
|2007||Las Vegas||Margo Poon||1 episode|
|The New Adventures of Old Christine||Audrey||1 episode|
|2009||Head Case||Herself||1 episode|
|2011||Roseanne's Nuts||Herself||1 episode|
|Hot in Cleveland||Nan||1 episode|
|2012||GCB||Debby Horowitz||1 episode|
|2013||The Neighbors||Ms. Porsche||1 episode|
|2014||Switched at Birth||Prof. Teresa Ledarsky||4 episodes|
|You're the Worst||Herself||1 episode|
|2014-15||Brooklyn Nine-Nine||Darlene Linetti||3 episodes|
|2015||2 Broke Girls||Joedth||5 episodes|
|1996||Museum of Love||Kitty|
|2003||The Third Date||Ola|
|2006||Twenty Dollar Drinks||Star|
|1983||The King of Comedy||NSFC Awards||Won|
|1991||Hudson Hawk||Golden Raspberry Awards||Nominated|
|1997||Highlander: The Series||OFTA Awards||
|2002||Herself||GLAAD Media Awards||Won|
|2006||Philadelphia QFest Awards||
- "Comedy Central 100 Greatest Standups of all Time". listology.com.
- "Sandra Bernhard Biography (1955-)". filmreference.com.
- "Jeanette (LaZebnik) Bernhard".
- Iovine, Julie V. (October 22, 1998). "At Home With: Sandra Bernhard; When Baby Talk Makes Good Material". The New York Times., The New York Times. October 22, 1998
- Bernhard Goes Maternal, CBS News, July 8, 1998, last accessed July 1, 2008.
- Sandra Bernhard a mom at 42, CNN, July 8, 1998, last accessed July 1, 2008.
- "Breaking Records Music". Breaking Records Music.
- amazon.com, Thrift Shop
- "Sandra Bernhard Turned Down 'Sex And The City' Role Due To 'Terrible' Script And Low Paycheck". The Huffington Post.
- "Switched at Birth Adds Max Adler and Sandra Bernhard"., TV Fanatic. October 11, 2013
- "Sandra Bernhard: Bisexuality and savage wit". The Independent. London. 22 October 2007. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- Feminist.com, Interview with Sandra Bernhard by Marianne Schnall. Retrieved October 16, 2012.
- Iovine, Julie V. (October 22, 1998), At Home with: Sandra Bernhard When Baby Talk Makes Good Material, retrieved October 29, 2015
- Anna Holmes. "Sandra Bernhard, Daughter, Are A Duo Of Dames With Rebel Red". Jezebel.
- "Sandra Bernhard on today's young actors: 'They don't have personalities'".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sandra Bernhard.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Sandra Bernhard|
- Official website
- Sandra Bernhard at the Internet Movie Database
- Sandra Bernhard at the Internet Broadway Database
- Sandra Bernhard at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Sandra Bernhard at AllMovie
- Bernhard's brief appearance in Philadelphia (video)