Some of Julia Louis-Dreyfus career highlights

“Saturday Night Live ” – Guest Host: George Carlin
Nov. 10, 1984

Louis-Dreyfus and fellow Practical Theatre Co. alumnus Gary Kroeger herald the end of free love and the arrival of the Reagan era with this faux commercial for a new contraceptive developed by NORAD gynecologists that uses “a new heat-seeking process to destroy invaders before they violate your personal airspace.”

photos/_storypics/moments_seinfeld.jpg” align=”left” vspace=”3″ hspace=”3″>“Seinfeld” – “The Contest”
Nov. 18, 1992

Louis-Dreyfus does it all in the most famous episode of the series, as John Kennedy Jr. puts Elaine’s willpower to the ultimate test and finds it wanting. From hyperventilating excitement, the confident “Queen of the Castle” submits to a near-wordless walk of shame as she loses the bet.

“Seinfeld” – “The Pick”
Dec. 16, 1992

No one does soul-gnashing regret and embarrassment turned to comedic rage as well as Louis-Dreyfus does when Elaine discovers her nipple is exposed in a Christmas card that gets plastered all over her office, earning her the nickname “Nip.”

“Seinfeld” – “The Sponge”
Dec. 17, 1995

Elaine’s desperation to corner the market on the disappearing contraceptive sponge, followed by her clinical manner in evaluating a potential overnight companion as “spongeworthy,” is priceless.

“Seinfeld” – “The Little Kicks”
Oct. 10, 1996

This script called for Elaine to dance in such an unforgettably horrifying manner that George can convincingly describe it as “a full-bodied dry heave set to music.” Sweet fancy Moses! Louis-Dreyfus more than delivers.

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” – “The Shrimp Incident”
Nov. 4, 2001

Playing herself, Louis-Dreyfus decides the ability to say the F-word makes HBO the best network to pitch Larry David’s new series. But when David’s grudge over pilfered Chinese food sabotages the whole thing, Louis-Dreyfus’ knack for comic exasperation finds voice as she screams at him: “Everybody steals shrimp, and everybody lies about it. It’s Hollywood!”

“Arrested Development” – “Justice is Blind”
March 21, 2004

Louis-Dreyfus’ role as a lawyer who pretends to be blind reaches a comic climax as David Cross’s Tobias Funke breaks into her house to steal a file and tries to avoid her with his “cat-like”

reflexes. Her nonchalant response of walking around Cross heaving a baseball bat leads to the only result possible when he escapes by spraying her in the eyes with perfume and blinding her for real.

“The New Adventures of Old Christine” – “Supertramp”
March 16, 2006

This early episode from season one showed the earnest and less cynical nature of Louis-Dreyfus new character — even as she seeks out a one-night stand and lands in bed with Andy Richter’s “Sad Dad.” This episode won Louis-Dreyfus her second career Emmy Award.

“The New Adventures of Old Christine” – “One and a Half Men”
March 31, 2008

Louis-Dreyfus’ talent for character and physical comedy reaches another peak when a hormonal roller coaster has Christine reeling from weeping hysterics to manly aggression. Another Emmy-nominated turn.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more