Kudrow graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., with a B.S. degree in biology. Intending to pursue a career in research, she returned to Los Angeles and began working with her father, a world-renowned headache specialist. In all likelihood, Kudrow would be a researcher today if she had not been inspired to perform by one of her brother's friends, actor/comedian Jon Lovitz (NBC's "Saturday Night Live").
In hopes of achieving her dream of becoming a writer and performer, she auditioned for the famous improvisational theater group The Groundlings in Los Angeles. Although she initially was not accepted into the program, The Groundlings referred her to Cynthia Szigeti, a well-known improvisation teacher based in Los Angeles. In that class she met and became close friends with then-unknown Conan O'Brien (NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien"). In 1989 her dream became a reality when she became a full-fledged member of The Groundlings.
In addition to her role on "Friends," Kudrow portrays Ursula, the ditzy waitress on NBC's comedy series "Mad About You." Her other television-series credits include a recurring role on "Bob" and guest-starring parts on "Cheers," "Coach," "Newhart," "Flying Blind" and "Hope & Gloria."
Since starting work on "Friends," Kudrow has earned roles in the upcoming feature films "Mother," written by and starring Albert Brooks; "Romy & Michele's High School Reunion," starring opposite Mira Sorvino; and "Clockwatchers" with Toni Collette ("Muriel's Wedding").
In her free time she performs with the improv group The Transformers and teaches and performs at The Groundlings.
Kudrow played varsity-level tennis in high school and college and is a pool shark who has mastered some of the more difficult trick shots.
Recently married, Kudrow and her husband live in
Los Angeles. A native Californian, she was born in Encino and raised in
Tarzana, Calif. Her birthday is July 30.