Catherine O'Hara, actor, writer, singer (born 4 March 1954 in Toronto, ON). O’Hara is known for her work on SCTV, as well as her roles in films such as Beetlejuice, Home Alone, Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show. She has received many awards, including an Emmy, Gemini and Genie, and has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Second City

Catherine O'Hara attended high school at Burnhamthorpe Collegiate in Etobicoke, Ontario. After waitressing at Second City Theatre in Toronto for a year, she replaced departed cast member Gilda Radner in 1974. Her acting career continued with a guest spot on the CBC sitcom Coming up Rosie in 1975, and as part of the first cast of the television version of Second City, SCTV, in 1976. Her characters on the show remain some of the most beloved: boozy, washed-up lounge singer Lola Heatherton, clueless comedian Dusty Towne, and a particularly spot-on impersonation of Meryl Streep.

O'Hara left the show in 1980 for a spot on the newly retooled Saturday Night Live, but left a week into it without appearing on any episodes.


Catherine O’Hara rejoined SCTV for the 1981–82 season, but left for a series of small roles in such films as Rock and Rule (1983), After Hours (1985) and Heartburn (1986) with Meryl Streep, the subject of her finest impersonation. She also appeared as Delia Deitz, the mother in Beetlejuice (1988), and in Home Alone (1990) and its sequel as the mother of a burglar-confounding boy. Her work as a member of actor/director Christopher Guest's ensemble on films Waiting for Guffman (1996), Best in Show (2001), A Mighty Wind (2003) and For Your Consideration (2006) best demonstrates her range as a comedian and actress. She appeared in the films Good Behavior (2008), Away We Go (2009), Killers (2010) and Temple Grandin (2010).

Like many other SCTV alumni, she's done a great deal of voice work for animated films, including Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), Chicken Little (2005), Monster House (2006) and Where the Wild Things Are (2009).

Television and Music

Catherine O’Hara appears occasionally on television, notably on episodes of Six Feet Under, Tales From the Crypt and Curb Your Enthusiasm. For TV series she has lent her voice to 25 episodes of Glenn Martin DDS (2009–10).

O'Hara is also a singer and songwriter — she sang on the Grammy-nominated A Mighty Wind album, wrote songs for her appearance on fellow SCTV star John Candy's Last Polka TV special in 1985, and was part of the Northern Lights group to sing Tears Are Not Enough on the We Are the World album.

Honours and Awards

Catherine O'Hara was one of the SCTV cast who shared an outstanding writing Emmy Award with the show's writers in 1982 and 1983, and she was nominated for a Gemini Award in 1995 for her guest role in an episode of The Outer Limits. Along with her SCTV co-stars she received the Earle Grey Award in 1995. She won a Genie Award in 2000 for best supporting actress in The Life Before This. She was also recognized by both the Canadian Comedy Awards and American Comedy Awards in 2001 for her performance in Best in Show. In 2007 she was inducted with a star onto Canada's Walk of Fame.