The Info List - Catherine O'Hara

Catherine Anne O'Hara OC (born March 4, 1954) is a Canadian-American actress, writer, and comedian. She first drew notice as an actress in 1974 as a member of The Second City improvisational comedy troupe in Toronto. She landed her first significant television role in 1975 starring opposite John Candy and Dan Aykroyd in the main cast of the Canadian sitcom Coming Up Rosie (1975-1978). The following year she and Candy began work on Second City Television (1976–84) where she drew acclaim for both her work as a comedic actress and writer, notably winning a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series in 1981. Candy was also her costar in her first feature film, the 1980 comedy Deadly Companion. Her other early film work includes the 1983 cult animated film Rock & Rule, the black comedy After Hours (1985), and the comedy Heartburn (1986) with Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and Kevin Spacey.

O'Hara has appeared in several films directed by Tim Burton, beginning with the role of Delia Deetz in the 1988 film Beetlejuice. Other roles she has portrayed in Burton films include the voices of Sally/Shock in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Susan Frankenstein in Frankenweenie (2012). She has also frequently collaborated with director and writer Christopher Guest, appearing in the mockumentary films Waiting for Guffman (1996), Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003), and For Your Consideration (2006). In 2000 she won a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for the film The Life Before This. She is also known to audiences as Kate McCallister, the mother of Kevin, in both Home Alone (1990) and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), and for her voice work in multiple animated films like Pippi Longstocking (1997), Bartok the Magnificent (1999), Chicken Little (2005), Over the Hedge (2006), Monster House (2006), Brother Bear 2 (2006), Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses (2006), Where the Wild Things Are (2009), A Monster in Paris (2011), and When Marnie Was There (2014). Her other film credits include Dick Tracy (1990), The Paper (1994), Wyatt Earp (1994), Tall Tale (1995), Home Fries (1998), Surviving Christmas (2004), Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), Penelope (2006), Killers (2010), and A.C.O.D. (2013).

In 2010 O'Hara was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film for her portrayal of Aunt Ann in Temple Grandin opposite Claire Danes. For her work on the television series Schitt's Creek (2015–present), O'Hara has won two Canadian Screen Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, at the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016 and the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017.[1] Her other notable television appearances include the recurring roles of Dr. Georgina Orwell in the Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events and Carol Ward in Six Feet Under, and the voices of Jackie Martin in Glenn Martin, DDS, Miss Malone in The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, Kaossandra in Skylanders Academy and Liz Larsen in Committed. She has also hosted Saturday Night Live twice during her career, and made numerous guest appearances on sitcoms, variety shows, and late night television.

Early life

O'Hara was born in Toronto, Ontario, into a large family of Irish descent.[2] She was raised Catholic and is the sixth of seven children.[3] She attended Burnhamthorpe Collegiate Institute, where she first met fellow comedian Robin Duke.[citation needed]


Catherine started her comedy career in 1974 as a cast member of The Second City in her native Toronto.[4] She was an understudy for Gilda Radner until Radner left for Saturday Night Live. Two years later, this theater troupe created the sketch comedy show SCTV, for which O'Hara became a regular performer. Her memorable characterizations on the show included Las Vegas scorcher Lola Heatherton, buzzer-happy game show contestant Margaret Meehan, raunchy nightclub comedian Dusty Towne, soap opera seductress Sue Ellen, and stage actress Sue Bopper Simpson.[citation needed]

In the late 1970s, she provided voice-overs for a number of cartoons, work which would continue throughout her career. During a short time in the early 1980s when SCTV was in between network deals, she was hired to replace Ann Risley when Saturday Night Live was being retooled in 1981. However, she quit the show without ever appearing on air, choosing to go back to SCTV when the show signed on with NBC.[5][6] Her SNL position was then given to fellow Canadian Robin Duke, who had also replaced O'Hara for a season on SCTV.[citation needed] . Catherine O'Hara also starred in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

O'Hara began her career on television, apart from SCTV, in the mid-1970s. She appeared in the 1976 television film The Rimshots, the children's television series Coming Up Rosie for a year, and television specials, such as Witch's Night Out and Intergalactic Thanksgiving. But it was her performances on SCTV that earned her fame in Canada, which is why she returned to the show, not only as an actress but as a writer for both SCTV and SCTV Network 90, which earned her an Emmy Award for outstanding writing and two Emmy Award nominations. She also has written for SCTV Channel.

O'Hara has appeared in a number of television series and television films and continues to work in television. During the '90s, she made guest appearances on Tales from the Crypt, Oh Baby, Morton & Hayes and The Larry Sanders Show. She served as actress and director on Dream On and The Outer Limits, the revival of the '60s series of the same name. In the past decade, O'Hara has guest-starred on top-rated television series including Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm. In May 2008, it was announced that she had signed on to star in the upcoming ABC dramedy Good Behavior.[7] Her role in the 2010 television film Temple Grandin earned her three award nominations: a Primetime Emmy Award, a Satellite Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

O'Hara's star on Canada's Walk of Fame

O'Hara has also had a successful career in film. She made her feature debut in the 1980 film Double Negative, which also starred her SCTV co-stars John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Joe Flaherty. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, O'Hara appeared in many supporting roles, including Martin Scorsese's After Hours and Heartburn, with Meryl Streep. She had more notable roles in Beetlejuice, the blockbuster hit Home Alone and its sequel Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. In 1992, O'Hara worked alongside Jeff Daniels in the comedy There Goes the Neighborhood. O'Hara continued to appear in many films during the 1990s and the beginning of the 21st century. She received roles in four of Christopher Guest's mockumentary films, three of which earned her awards and nominations: Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind and For Your Consideration. Her role in 1999's The Life Before This won her a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. She also appeared in episodes 6, 10 and 11 on the tenth and final series of the UK Whose Line Is It Anyway? In 2006, she starred with Christina Ricci in the fantasy feature Penelope. O'Hara has served as a voice artist in a number of animated movies, including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Chicken Little, Over the Hedge, Monster House, Brother Bear 2 and Frankenweenie.

O'Hara is currently starring alongside fellow SCTV alumnus Eugene Levy as Moira Rose in the CBC sitcom Schitt's Creek. Her role has earned her two Canadian Screen Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, at the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016 and the 5th Canadian Screen Awards in 2017.[1]

Celebrities impersonated on SCTV

Personal life

O'Hara met production designer Bo Welch on the set of Beetlejuice.[8] They were married in 1992, and together have two sons, Matthew (b. 1994) and Luke (b. 1997).[9] She is the sister of critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Margaret O'Hara, and is a singer-songwriter in her own right, having written and performed songs in Christopher Guest's film A Mighty Wind. She is a naturalized U.S. citizen. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and children.[10]

O'Hara has situs inversus, a rare congenital condition in which all of an individual’s internal organs in the thorax and abdomen are positioned on the opposite side to where they should be.[11][12]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 Double Negative Audrey
1980 Nothing Personal Judith
1983 Rock & Rule Aunt Edith (voice)
1985 After Hours Gail
1986 Heartburn Betty
1988 Beetlejuice Delia Deetz
1990 Dick Tracy Texie Garcia
1990 Betsy's Wedding Gloria Henner
1990 Home Alone Kate McCallister
1990 Little Vegas Lexie
1992 There Goes the Neighborhood Jessica Lodge Internationally re-titled "Paydirt"
1992 Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Kate McCallister
1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas Sally/Shock (voice)
1994 The Paper Susan
1994 Wyatt Earp Allie Earp
1994 A Simple Twist of Fate April Simon
1995 Tall Tale Calamity Jane
1996 Waiting for Guffman Sheila Albertson
1996 The Last of the High Kings Cathleen
1997 Pippi Longstocking Mrs. Prysselius (voice)
1998 Home Fries Beatrice Lever
1999 The Life Before This Sheena
1999 Bartok the Magnificent Ludmilla (voice) Direct-to-video
2000 Best in Show Cookie Fleck
2001 Speaking of Sex Connie Barker
2002 Orange County Cindy Beugler
2003 A Mighty Wind Mickey Crabbe
2004 Surviving Christmas Christine Valco
2004 Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Justice Strauss
2005 Game 6 Lillian Rogan
2005 Chicken Little Tina (voice)
2006 Over the Hedge Penny (voice)
2006 Monster House Mrs. Walters (voice)
2006 Brother Bear 2 Kate (voice) Direct-to-video
2006 Penelope Jessica Wilhern
2006 For Your Consideration Marilyn Heck
2006 Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses Rowena (voice) Direct-to-video
2009 Away We Go Gloria Farlander
2009 Where the Wild Things Are Judith (voice)
2010 Killers Mrs. Kornfeldt
2011 A Monster in Paris Madame Carlotta (voice) English dub version
2012 Frankenweenie Susan Frankenstein / Gym Teacher / Weird Girl (voice)
2013 A.C.O.D. Melissa
2013 The Right Kind of Wrong Tess
2014 When Marnie Was There Old Woman (voice) From Studio Ghibli; English dub


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Wayne and Shuster Various 1975 Show #2
1975–77 Coming Up Rosie Marna Wallbacker
1976–84 SCTV Various Main; Seasons 1 & 2 - 50 episodes
Main; Season 4 - 27 episodes (renamed SCTV Network 90)
Guest; Season 6 - 5 episodes (renamed SCTV Channel)
Also served as writer for seasons 1, 2, 4 & 6
Served as writer for The Best of SCTV
1978 Witch's Night Out Malicious (voice) CBC/NBC television special
1979 Please Don't Eat The Planet Ma Spademinder (voice) Television short
1980 Easter Fever Scarlett O'Hare CBC television special
1980 From Cleveland Various "Pilot", series not picked up
Also served as writer
1980 You've Come a Long Way, Katie' TV mini-series
1981 The Steve Allen Comedy Hour Various 1 episode - 29 May 1981
1984 The New Show Various Season 1 - 3 episodes
1985 George Burns Comedy Week Episode: "The Dynamite Girl"
1987 Trying Times Rebecca Episode: "Get a Job"
1988 The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley Miss Malone (voice) Main role, season 1 - 13 episodes
1988 Saturday Night Live Cameo as herself Season 14, episode 2
1989 I, Martin Short, Goes Hollywood Nancy Mae HBO television special
1989 Andrea Martin... Together Again Various Television special
Also served as writer for special material
1990 The Dave Thomas Comedy Show Season 1, episode 5
1990 Dream On Irma Episode: "555-HELL"
Director for season 2, episode 3 "And Your Little Dog, Too"
1991 Morton & Hayes Amelia von Astor Episode: "Daffy Dicks"
1991 Saturday Night Live Herself Season 16, episode 17, Host
1992 The Larry Sanders Show Herself Episode: "The Talk Show Episode"
1992 Saturday Night Live Herself Season 18, episode 5, Host
1993 The Hidden Room Laurel Brody Episode: "The First Battle"
1994 Tales from the Crypt Geraldine Ferrett Episode: "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime"
1997 The Outer Limits Becka Paulson Episode: "The Revelations of Becka Paulson"
Served as director for Season 4, Episode 9 "Glyphic"
1999 Oh Baby Roberta Hunter Episode: "Discrimination"
2000 MADtv Woman on Blind Date Season 5, episode 24
2001 Committed Liz Larsen Main role; season 1
2002 Bram & Alice Ms. O'Connor Episode: "Pilot"
2003 Odd Job Jack Claudia Johnson Episode: "Broke & Broker"
2003–05 Six Feet Under Carol Ward 4 episodes
2009 Curb Your Enthusiasm Bam Bam Episode: "Funkhouser's Crazy Sister"
2009–11 Glenn Martin, DDS Jackie Martin (voice) Main role; 39 episodes
2012 Leslie Leslie 2 webisodes from the first season of web channel WIGS
"New York, 1995" (2 webisodes)
2012 30 Rock Pearline Episode: "Governor Dunston"
2013 The Greatest Event in Television History Muriel Rush Adult Swim special
Episode: "Too Close for Comfort"
2015 What Lives Inside Sarah Delaney TV mini-series, 4 episodes
2015–present Schitt's Creek Moira Rose Main role, 39 episodes
2015 Modern Family Dr. Debra Radcliffe Episode: "Clean Out Your Junk Drawer"
2016 Harvey Beaks Miley (voice) Episode: "The New Bugaboo/The Case of the Missing Pancake"
2016 Sofia the First Morgana (voice) Episode: "Gone With the Wand"
2016 Skylanders Academy Kaossandra (voice) 12 episodes
2017 A Series of Unfortunate Events Dr. Georgina Orwell 3 episodes

Television film

Title Year Role Notes
1976 The Rimshots
1985 The Last Polka Lemon Twin HBO television film
1986 Dave Thomas: The Incredible Time Travels of Henry Osgood Marie Antoinette
1987 Really Weird Tales Theresa Sharpe Segment: "I'll Die Loving"
Also served as writer
1997 Hope Muriel Macswain
1999 Late Last Night Shrink
2004 The Wool Cap Gloria TNT television film
2008 Good Behavior Jackie West ABC television film
2010 Temple Grandin Aunt Ann HBO television film
2013 To My Future Assistant Magda

Awards and nominations




  1. ^ a b "The Canadian Screen Awards: Call 'Em The 'Candys' From Now On". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-12-02. 
  2. ^ Onstad, Katrina (April 12, 2005)"Inductee: Mary Margaret O'Hara". CBC News. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Proust Questionnaire: Catherine O'Hara". Vanity Fair. Retrieved November 20, 2016. 
  4. ^ "The Second City". secondcity.com. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Catherine The Great". Toronto: thestar.com. June 2, 2007. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ "SCTV Shoots For First". rickmoranisfanpage.com. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ Waldman, Allison (May 2, 2008) "Oh, good! Catherine O'Hara to star in ABC pilot". aoltv.com. Retrieved October 14, 2011.  Catherine O'Hara to star in ABC pilot
  8. ^ "How The Creative And Unusual World Of Tim Burton's 'Beetlejuice' Became A Beautiful Reality". UPROXX. 2015-05-04. Retrieved 2017-09-08. 
  9. ^ "Catherine O'Hara". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved August 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Catherine O'Hara Biography (1954-)". 
  11. ^ "Jeremy the Lefty Snail Is Dead. His Offspring Are All Right". NYT. Retrieved October 15, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Situs inversus and my 'through the looking glass' body". The Guardian. Retrieved October 15, 2017. 

External links