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Ellen Cleghorne
Born November 29, 1965
Brooklyn, New York

Ellen Cleghorne (born November 29, 1965) is an American actress and comedian, best known for being a cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1991 to 1995.

Life and career

A native of Red Hook Projects, Brooklyn, NY, she first established her talents in New York City comedy clubs. In 1991, she landed minor roles in season two of In Living Color, where was discovered by producers of Saturday Night Live. Cleghorne joined Saturday Night Live in 1991, and remained on the show for four seasons.

Her former SNL costar Jay Mohr's book "Gasping for Airtime" notes that Cleghorne did not get along well with some of the other cast members during her time on the show and he mentions a tiff with host Sally Field during a pitch meeting. In 1995, she left SNL to star as single mother Ellen Carlson on Cleghorne!, a sitcom that aired for one season on The WB network.

Cleghorne also appeared, off and on, on the cult TV show The Adventures of Pete and Pete, which aired on Nickelodeon. Cleghorne played a bus driver whose main function was as the love interest of Pete's regular bus driver. One bit of subtle humor from the show was that, in contrast to her SNL personas as outspoken and/or Afro-centric persons, her role consisted of her acting almost exactly the same as her white male love interest on the show, and their personalities could be best described as "plastic."

Although Cleghorne has appeared in independent films and comedy segments since the cancellation of Cleghorne!, she has largely faded from mainstream entertainment, making only brief cameos in the films Armageddon, Coyote Ugly, Little Nicky, and Old School.

She has had a series of skits played recently on XM radio's channel 150, which features uncensored comedy.

Saturday Night Live characters and impersonations

  • Queen Shenequa, an Afrocentric social critic who dressed in African garb, observed Kwanzaa, and made commentaries on race.
  • Zoraida, an exuberant but short-tempered NBC page who pesters the celebrity hosts of the show as they prepare backstage. Usually, when the celebrity grew tired of her bothering them and would try to leave, she would suddenly become angry and threaten them.

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