Joined The Second City in 1979
Mainstage cast mates included George Wendt and Tim Kazurinsky
SNL cast member from 1981-1985
Chicago native Mary Gross attended Madonna High School before coming to The Second City in 1979, where her Mainstage cast mates included Tim Kazurinsky and George Wendt in I Remember Dada or Won’t You Come Home, Saul Bellow? She won a Joseph Jefferson Award in 1981 for her performance in Second City’s 60th revue Well, I’m Off to the Thirty Years’ War. Making her first TV appearance on the Avery Schreiber Live from the Second City special in 1980, Gross was soon hired by Saturday Night Live for the 7th season, where her cast mates included Kazurinsky, Robin Duke, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. In addition to co-anchoring “Weekend Update” with Brian Doyle-Murray (the segment was called “SNL Newsbreak” then), some of Gross’ memorable celebrity impressions included Mary Tyler Moore, Pee-Wee Herman, and Geraldine Ferraro. She left the show after four years in 1985 when executive producer Dick Ebersol exited and the entire cast was replaced.
After SNL, Gross, the sister of Family Ties’ Michael Gross, went on to do movie, television, and voice over work. Her film credits include roles in Baby Boom, Hot to Trot, Troop Beverly Hills (with Betty Thomas and Shelley Long) and The Santa Clause. She appeared in Christopher Guest’s A Mighty Wind along with several Second City alums. Her more notable TV roles include recurring roles in General Hospital, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Disney’s That’s So Raven.
“Comedy is not considered a feminine thing. Most women who grow up being funny do so to make up for something else, to try to get some kind of attention. The homecoming queen was never a comedienne.” -Mary Gross