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Susie Essman ’77

Susie Essman ’77 delivered a profane and hilarious roast of legendary actor Jerry Stiller at New York City’s Friar’s Club. Seinfeld-creator Larry David found it “filthy, profane, and hilarious,” and cast her in his new HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, set to debut the following year in 2000.

Twelve Seasons Later

Essman turned what was supposed to be a small role into the now iconic character Susie Green, with strangers stopping her on the street to scream obscenities at their husbands over the phone.

The 12th and final season debuted on February 4, 2024.

Read more from the New York Times’ recent piece, “Susie Essman, the Scene-Stealer Who Makes Larry David Lose It.”

Born in the Bronx and raised in Mt. Vernon, NY, Essman is a stand-up comedian, actress, writer, and television producer, best known for her role as Susie Greene in all 12 seasons of the critically acclaimed HBO comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm. 

A veteran of the stand-up comedy world, Essman first met Larry David in New York’s comedy clubs in the mid-80s. A friendship formed that eventually led to twenty-plus years playing the role of Susie Greene.

Essman was drawn to Purchase for its artistic bent and once here, she surrounded herself with dancers, visual artists, and actors. She had a feeling she might want to give acting a try, but was too intimated. In a 2011 PURCHASE magazine article, she says, “I kept wishing it was me up there. I was insecure and had no faith in myself.”

She turned to stand-up comedy in her late 20s and realized how far she’d come when she returned to Purchase to open for the singer Melissa Manchester at The Performing Arts Center in the 1990s.

“The most lyrical purveyor of profanity on television. She makes the entire cast of The Sopranos look like rank amateurs. It really is a gift.”

—The Los Angeles Times on Essman’s Susie Green

 “…one of the most vivid characters in the show, whose off-color tantrums have become an audience favorite the way Kramer’s clumsy entrances once were.”

—The New York Times 

Essman has appeared in her own half-hour HBO comedy special, made numerous appearances on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The View, and Crank Yankers. 

She’s performed recurring roles on HBO’s Hacks, ABC’s Bless This Mess, Comedy Central’s Broad City; Tru TV’s Those Who Can’t, and NBC’s Law & Order: SVU.

She’s the voice of Mittens the Cat in the Disney animated movie Bolt, costarring with John Travolta, and Esther Lonstein in American Dad.

What Would Susie Say—Bullshit Wisdom About Love, Life and Comedy, Essman’s humorous memoir, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2009.

Fun Fact: Essman’s stepdaughter followed in her footsteps—Cyndi Harder ’15 graduated from Purchase with a degree in journalism.