Famous Migraineur: Lisa Kudrow

by Nancy Harris Bonk Patient Expert

Lisa Kudrow, the Emmy award winning actress, wife, and mother, has also had her share of Migraines . Lisa Marie Diane Kudrow was born in Encino, California on July 30, 1963. Her parents, Nedra and Lee, travel agent and Migraine specialist respectively, have three other children - Helene Sherman an artist; David Kudrow, a neurologist; and Derrick Kudrow. Ms. Kudrow was raised in Tarzana, California, where she played tennis at the varsity level in high school.
During this time, she also suffered miserably from Migraines as did her father and siblings. Her father, Dr. Lee Kudrow suffered from cluster headaches
as well. Clearly, there is a genetic component in this family. But it seems that as Ms. Kudrow grew older, her Migraines have disappeared.

Ms. Kudrow attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology. After graduation, she thought about entering the research field and returned home to begin working with her father. That didn't last very long because she was motivated by one of her brother's friends, Jon Lovitz, a comedian. She was enthralled by comedy and auditioned for The Groundlings ,
an improvisational theater and school based in Los Angeles. Ms. Kudrow graduated with honors from The Groundlings (1989) and became an official member of the group. It was during this time she became friends with and dated Conan O'Brien.

In 1992, Ms. Kudrow received her first big break in television when she landed the returning role of Ursula, the scatterbrained waitress in "Mad About You," a comedy with Paul Reiser and Helen Hunt. This role helped launch her into her starring role in the hit comedy series "Friends," which began in 1994. In fact, during the premiere season of "Friends" Ms. Kudrow was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a comedy series. She finally won the Emmy in 1998 and has been nominated for many prestigious awards such as the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award and American Comedy Award.

She has been married to Michel Stern since 1995.

Making the transition from television to the big screen was easy for Ms. Kudrow.
She starred with Mira Sorvino in "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" (1997) and received high marks when she accepted the New York Film Critics Award for her role in "The Opposite Sex" in 1998. She is currently working on a project that started out on the internet, but Showtime recently picked up. "Web Therapy" is an improvisational look at therapist Fiona Wallice, played by Ms. Kudrow, who has no patience for her patients and uses them both literally and figuratively, for her own gain.

Living with a Migraine specialist may have made it easier to get an accurate diagnosis and access to better treatment for Ms. Kudrow and her siblings. But the debilitating pain they went through couldn't be fixed by their dad. She remembers many family outings where she would come home with a "horrible headache ." Dr. Kudrow, along with his son Dr. David Kudrow, were on the cutting edge of Migraine treatment when they found that lidocaine nasal drops helped 60 out of the 39 patients they tried it on. This came about after Dr. David Kudrow read a report on the striking effects the cheap sunburn remedy lidocaine had when given as nasal drops to cluster headaches patients. It became so much bigger. Clinical trials were run and their results published in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association in July of 1994. To say the least, Ms. Kudrow is very proud of her father and brother and told People Magazine, "My dad is sooooo cool."

Nancy Harris Bonk
Meet Our Writer
Nancy Harris Bonk

Nancy wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Migraine.