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Cecily Strong
Cecily Strong in 2020 (cropped).jpg
Strong in 2020
Cecily Legler Strong

(1984-02-08) February 8, 1984 (age 40)
Alma mater California Institute of the Arts (BFA)
Occupation Actress, comedian
Years active 2012–present
Known for Saturday Night Live (2012–2022)
Schmigadoon! (2021–present)

Cecily Legler Strong (born February 8, 1984) is an American actress and comedian. Strong is most notable for being a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 2012 to 2022.

Strong has a starring role in the Apple TV+ musical comedy series Schmigadoon! (2021–2023), which she also co-produced. Her other roles include voice work on The Awesomes (2013–2015), supporting roles in films like Ghostbusters, The Meddler, and The Female Brain. She hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner in 2015. Her first book, the memoir This Will All Be Over Soon, was published in 2021.

For her work on Saturday Night Live, Strong was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 72nd and 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards.

Early life

Cecily Legler Strong was born in Springfield, Illinois, and was raised in Oak Park, Illinois, an inner ring suburb of Chicago. She is the daughter of Penelope and William "Bill" Strong, who worked as an Associated Press bureau chief and now runs his own public relations firm. Penny Legler Strong is a nurse practitioner, having worked extensively at area hospitals. Strong's parents are divorced. Strong grew up adoring SNL as a child, reenacting sketches with her friend and watching old SNL commercials on VHS. "I had a tape of the best commercials, and I wore it out, every day." She has stated that she was inspired by Phil Hartman.

In a 2021 interview with Terry Gross on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air, Strong said that because her uncle is a Broadway producer, as a child she often got to attend Broadway shows and sometimes go back stage to meet their casts.

..... She then attended a private Catholic school until transferring for her senior year to the Chicago Academy for the Arts, where she graduated in 2002. She then studied acting at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), graduating in 2006 with a BFA in theatre. After graduating, Strong returned to Chicago where she studied at the Second City Conservatory and iO Chicago.


Strong performed regularly at The Second City and iO Chicago. Strong performed on a cruise ship with other Second City members for four months. She appeared at the Chicago Sketch Fest, Chicago Just for Laughs, the New York Sketchfest, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Goodman Theater, the Bailiwick Theater, the Mercury Theater, and with the all-female improv troupe Virgin Daiquiri.

Saturday Night Live

Strong debuted as a featured player on Saturday Night Live on September 15, 2012. The next season, Strong became a repertory player and co-anchored the recurring Weekend Update segment with Seth Meyers, beginning with the season 39 premiere. Strong later co-anchored with Colin Jost, and was replaced on Weekend Update with writer Michael Che, beginning with the season 40 premiere in September 2014, partly at her own request to focus on doing sketches as a part of the regular cast. In 2020, Strong was nominated for her first Primetime Emmy award for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series for her work on the show. She was nominated again in 2021. She was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series at the 12th Critics' Choice Television Awards.

..... The sketch followed U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments in two cases relating to the Texas Heartbeat Act. .....

Strong returned to SNL for season 48, and passed former castmate Kate McKinnon as the longest-running female cast member in the show's history, though she missed the first three shows of the season reprising her role in the play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe in Los Angeles. She returned on the October 29, 2022, episode. Strong passed McKinnon's record with the December 17, 2022, episode, her last.

Recurring characters

  • The Girl You Wish You Hadn't Started a Conversation with at a Party, an unintelligent, unnamed pseudo-activist,
  • Dana, a loud-mouthed, unfriendly retail employee who along with Niff (played by Bobby Moynihan) always insults her coworkers out of fear of being fired,
  • Donna Fingerneck, The Art of the Encounter and Women in the Workplace co-host with Jodi Cork (played by Kate McKinnon),
  • Heather, a one-dimensional female character from a male-driven comedy,
  • Kyra, co-host of The Girlfriends Talk Show, alongside Morgan (played by Aidy Bryant),
  • Gemma, an aspiring British singer with various boyfriends,
  • Gracelynn Chisholm, co-host of morning show Right Side of the Bed with her husband Cory (played by Taran Killam),
  • Joelle LaRue, one of the two French animal-based video clip show presenters, alongside Noelle LeSoup (played by Kate McKinnon),
  • Lonnie, one of the two unintelligent kids (the other being Josh, played by Mikey Day) in the Science Room sketches.

Celebrity impersonations

Other work

Strong was the featured entertainer at the 2015 White House Correspondents' Association dinner. She took digs at the various news organizations in attendance, politicians of all persuasions, and President Obama. She also took shots at the U.S. Secret Service, host location the Washington Hilton, Brian Williams, Sarah Koenig and the state of Indiana.

In 2016, she appeared in a commercial for Old Navy, alongside other SNL cast members Nasim Pedrad and Jay Pharoah. That year, Strong also joined the climate change documentary show Years of Living Dangerously as a celebrity correspondent. In 2016, she guest starred as Samantha Stevens in TBS's Angie Tribeca and Catherine Hobart in Fox's Scream Queens. She has appeared in a series of commercials for Triscuit since 2017. Starting in 2020 she starred in a series of Prego Spaghetti sauce commercials and in 2022 she was in several Verizon commercials featuring Apple+ TV with several co-stars including Adam Scott and Julian Edelman.

Her first book, a memoir titled This Will All Be Over Soon, was published on August 10, 2021. The book addresses "the challenges of beginning in a relationship during the pandemic; the pain of losing family and friends; the pivotal events of her life that shaped her; and the importance of gratitude for each passing day." It developed from an essay she wrote about grieving the loss of her cousin Owen to brain cancer in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that was first published on in 2020.

..... The same year, she starred in, and was a producer for, Schmigadoon!, a musical parody series on Apple TV+. Developed by Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, and produced by SNL's Lorne Michaels, the series centers around a couple (played by Strong and Keegan-Michael Key) stuck in a 1940s studio musical town until they find "true love".

It was announced in October 2021 that Strong would make her New York stage debut at the end of the year in an Off Broadway revival of Jane Wagner's one-woman play The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, which starred Lily Tomlin in 1985. Directed by Leigh Silverman, the show opened at The Shed on January 11, 2022.



Year Title Role Other notes
2012 How to Sponsor a Uterus Karen Rigsby Short film
2015 The Bronze Janice Townsend
2015 Slow Learners Amber the ex
2015 The Meddler Jillian
2015 Staten Island Summer Mary Ellen
2016 The Boss Dana Dandridge
2016 Ghostbusters Jennifer Lynch
2018 The Female Brain Zoe
2022 Sparring Partner Woman Short film
2023 Leo Virginia Malkin (voice)
2024 The Garfield Movie (voice) In production


Year Title Role Other notes
2012–2022, 2023 Saturday Night Live Herself, Various 213 episodes
2012 Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday Various 2 episodes
2013–2015 The Awesomes Various Voices 13 episodes
2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner Herself (host) Featured entertainer
2016 Angie Tribeca Samantha Stevens Episode: "Tribeca's Day Off"
2016 Years of Living Dangerously Herself Episode: "A Race Against Time"
2016 Netflix Presents: The Characters Herself Episode: "Natasha Rothwell"
2016 Superstore Missy Jones Episode: "Olympics"
2016 Maya & Marty Various Episode: "Ricky Gervais and Cecily Strong"
2016 Scream Queens Catherine Hobart Episode: "Scream Again"
2017 Man Seeking Woman CCN Reporter Episode: "Horse"
2017 Detroiters Roz Chunks Episode: "Dream Cruise"
2017 Great News Jessica Episode: "Night of the Living Screen"
2018 The Simpsons Megan Matheson (voice) Episode: "Homer Is Where the Art Isn't"
2018 Nature Cat Petunia (voice) Episode: "Garden Impossible"
2019 RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars Herself (guest judge) Episode: "Roast in Peace"
2019 I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson Brenda Episode: "It's the Cigars You Smoke That Is Going to Give You Cancer"
2020 Loafy Becca Main cast
2021 That ... Michael Che Woman in elevator Episode: "Policin'"
2021–present Schmigadoon! Melissa Gimble Main cast; also producer

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Title Result Notes
2022 Drama League Awards Distinguished Performance Award The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Nominated
Grammy Awards Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Schmigadoon! Nominated
2021 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Saturday Night Live Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2020 Nominated
Online Film & Television

Association Awards

Best Female Performance

in a Variety Program

2019 Nominated
2014 Online Film & Television

Association Awards

Best Female Performance

in a Fiction Program


See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cecily Strong para niños

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