Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Julie Brown (born August 31, 1958 in Van Nuys, California) is an actress, comedienne, singer and screenwriter. The daughter of a longtime NBC employee, she attended school first at Saint Elizabeth's School in Van Nuys and then Van Nuys High School , graduating in 1977, and then attended Los Angeles Valley College before relocating to San Francisco, California in 1979. (She relocated back to Los Angeles, California in 1982.)
In the early 1980s she represented the quintessential valley girl character, and used this to great effect in various movie roles as well as in her stand-up comedy. Comedienne Lily Tomlin saw Brown at a comedy club and gave her a part in her 1981 film "The Incredible Shrinking Woman ." A series of poorly received B-movies followed.
In 1985 she released her first E.P., a five song album called "Goddess in Progress ." The album, parodies of popular eighties music combined with her valley girl personality, was quickly discovered by the Dr. Demento Show. The songs "'Cause I'm a Blonde" and "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun" were given huge radio airplay across the world. The latter was a witty spoof on traditional 1950s songs about teen romance, à la "It's My Party", with cheerleaders' heads and pom-poms being blown to pieces by bullets and, finally, the homecoming queen cryptically explaining herself, "I did it for Johnny" before dying herself.
In 1987 Brown released her first full length album, called "Trapped in the Body of a White Girl." The album highlighted her comedic talent and valley girl personality, but made it clear she was not necessarily a gifted singer. (This was actually part of the joke, as Brown felt that a lot of female singers at fame in the era were not particularly gifted ones.) The album's highlights were "Homecoming Queen..." and "I Like 'Em Big and Stupid." Music videos were recorded and received heavy airplay on MTV.
In 1989 Brown was given her own music video and comedy show on MTV, called "Just Say Julie ." On the show she played the "part" of a demanding, controlling and pessimistic glamour-puss from the valley. She made fun of popular music acts from the era. (EX: ((a death scene)) Oh. I think I'm dying! Oh my God! I can see my family reaching out to me from the great beyond. Wait. What's that? A Wilson Phillips video? Oh no, I'm goin' to hell!)
Brown's career hit its peak in late 1989 with the release of the film "Earth Girls Are Easy." Written and produced and starring Brown, it was based loosely on a song by the same name from her debut E.P. The film featured superstars Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. (Brown, in an attempt to show the same goodwill she was shown by Tomlin years before, cast unknown comedians Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans in the film. They later became superstars themselves.) At the end of 1989, she divorced husband McNally.
In 1992 Brown was given her own sketch comedy show on Fox called "The Edge," but unfortunately its quirky humor didn't have a mass appeal and it was soon cancelled. That same year she released the Showtime television movie "Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful." A scathing satire of celebrity Madonna and her documentary film "Truth or Dare," it was hailed by critics as a comedic triumph. She followed its success with another satire film, "Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 Women ," which lampooned Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan, as well as Lorena Bobbitt. (She continued to make television guest appearances and contributed voices to various cartoons including "Animaniacs".) She married her current husband, Ken Rathjen in 1994, the year "Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 Women" was produced.
In 1995 Brown collaborated on the production of a script she had co-written with director Amy Heckerling called "Clueless." The film was a smash hit, and a TV series spinoff produced and directed by Brown was also popular. She focused on this show until its cancellation in 1999. In the year 2000 another series conceptualized, written and produced by Brown came into fruition. Called "Strip Mall ," it debuted on the Comedy Central network. However, like many series on said network, it only lasted two years before being cancelled.
Since 2004 Brown has been a frequent commentator on several E! shows, including 101 Reasons the '90s Ruled , 101 Most Starlicious Makeovers , 101 Most Awesome Moments in Entertainment , and 50 Most Outrageous TV Moments .
As of 2005 Brown continues to make appearances in films, as well as working as a Hollywood producer, director and writer.
On the E! show, 50 Most Outrageous TV Moments , shown that year, she declared that Paris Hilton was a "(expletive)" but that at the same time Hilton was also her hero.
- "I Like 'Em Big and Stupid"
- "Goddess in Progress"
- "Trapped in the Body of a White Girl"
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