GREENWICH, Conn. -- Happy Birthday To Greenwich’s Wanda Sykes!
Sykes, who has owned a home in Greenwich, turns 51 on Saturday. The writer, comedian, actress and voice artist was born March 7, 1964, in Portsmouth, Va.
Her first job was as a contracting specialist at the National Security Agency, where she worked for five years.
Not completely satisfied with her role with the NSA, she began her stand-up career at a Coors Light Super Talent Showcase in Washington, D.C., where she performed for the first time in front of a live audience in 1987.
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.
In 2003, she starred in her own short-lived Fox network sitcom, "Wanda at Large." and the same year, she appeared in an hour-long Comedy Central special, "Tongue Untied." That network also ranked her No. 70 on its list of the 100 greatest all-time stand-ups.
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 addition to her film and television work, she wrote "Yeah, I Said It," published in September 2004.
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 has 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."
In May 2009, she 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.
In 2001, she won the American Comedy Award for "Outstanding Female Stand Up Comic" and also won a GLAAD award for promoting a good image of equal rights for gays and lesbians in 2010.
In May 2013, she was a featured entertainer at Olivia Travel’s 40th anniversary Music & Comedy Festival in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.