Natasha Bianca Lyonne Braunstein
April 4, 1979 (age 36) (
New York City, New York, U.S.
Aaron Braunstein, Yvette Braunstein
Movies and TV shows
Orange Is the New Black, American Pie, But I'm a Cheerleader, Slums of Beverly Hills, American Reunion
Taryn Manning, Taylor Schilling, Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, Laura Prepon
How Maya Rudolph & Fred Armisen Were Brought Together on 'Forever' by Natasha Lyonne | Close Up
Natasha Bianca Lyonne Braunstein (born April 4, 1979), better known as Natasha Lyonne, is an American actress. She is best known for her role as Jessica in the American Pie film series. Her other films include Everyone Says I Love You, Slums of Beverly Hills, and But I'm a Cheerleader. She portrays Nicky Nichols in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, for which she received a nomination for the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.
- How Maya Rudolph Fred Armisen Were Brought Together on Forever by Natasha Lyonne Close Up
- Natasha lyonne presents taylor schilling with best actress at the 18th annual webby awards
- Early life
- Personal life
Natasha lyonne presents taylor schilling with best actress at the 18th annual webby awards
Lyonne's parents were both from Orthodox Jewish families, and she herself was raised Orthodox. Her mother was born in Paris, France, to Hungarian Jewish parents who were Holocaust survivors. Lyonne sometimes makes darkly humorous jokes that her family consists of Jewish ancestry, such as; "my father's side, Flatbush, and my mother's side, Auschwitz." Her grandmother Ella came from a large family, but only she and her two sisters and two brothers survived, which Lyonne credits to their blond hair and blue eyes. Lyonne's grandfather, Morris Buchinger, operated a watch company in Los Angeles. During the war, he hid in Budapest as a non-Jew working in a leather factory.
Lyonne spent the first eight years of her life living in Great Neck, New York. Then she and her parents moved to Israel, where Lyonne spent a year and a half. During her stay in Israel, Lyonne participated in the production of the Israeli children's film April Fool, which began her interest in being an actress. Her parents divorced, and Lyonne and her older brother Adam returned to America with their mother. After moving back to New York City, Lyonne attended Ramaz School, also known as The Rabbi Joseph H. Lookstein Upper School of Ramaz, a private Jewish school, where Lyonne said she was a scholarship kid who took honors Talmud classes and read Aramaic. She was expelled for selling marijuana at school. Lyonne grew up on the Upper East Side, where she felt she was an outcast. Her mother then moved their family to Miami, where Lyonne graduated from Miami Country Day School. Lyonne was estranged from her father, who lived on the Upper West Side until his death in October 2014 and in 2013 was a Republican candidate for City Council for the sixth District of Manhattan. Lyonne has said she is not close with her mother and has essentially lived independently of her family since age 16.
As a young child, Lyonne was signed by the Ford Modeling Agency. At the age of six, she was cast as Opal on Pee-wee's Playhouse, followed by film appearances in Heartburn, A Man Called Sarge, and Dennis the Menace. On working as a very young child actor, Lyonne said: "I didn’t have the best parents. I don’t think they are bad people. Even if they were ready to have children, it is kind of a wacky idea to put your child in business at six years old."
When she was 16, Woody Allen cast her in Everyone Says I Love You, which led to appearances in almost 30 films over the next 10 years, including starring roles in the independent films Slums of Beverly Hills and But I'm a Cheerleader. Lyonne's other films include Detroit Rock City, Scary Movie 2, The Grey Zone, Kate & Leopold, Party Monster, and Blade: Trinity. She has also made television appearances on shows such as NBC's Will and Grace. In what is perhaps her most well known role, she appeared as Jessica in the American Pie film series.
When she was 18 years old, Lyonne used the paycheck from her work on the Woody Allen film Everyone Says I Love You to buy a small apartment near Gramercy Park. She attended New York University for a very short time, studying film and philosophy.
Since then, Lyonne has worked steadily in the New York theatre scene, as well as in film and television. Her newer film appearances include All About Evil, 4:44 - Last Day on Earth, Girl Most Likely, The Rambler, and Clutter.
Lyonne made her New York stage debut in the award-winning New Group production of Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years. Lyonne was in the original cast of the award-winning Love, Loss, and What I Wore, a play written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman. She received positive reviews for her performance in Kim Rosenstock’s comedy,Tigers Be Still at the Roundabout Theatre Company: "a thorough delight in the flat-out funniest role, the grief-crazed Grace, so deeply immersed in self-pity that she has cast aside any attempts at decorum."
In 2011, Lyonne was in Tommy Nohilly's Blood From a Stone, from the New Group. Lyonne participated in New Group's benefit performance of Women Behind Bars in 2012.
On working in the theater: "There’s something about theater that squashes the self-critical voices because you have to be in the moment. I’m glad that I didn’t do this before I was ready, before I was capable of showing up every day. That is not a skill set I had before."
In late 2012, Lyonne was reported to be developing a TV series for Fox Television about a young girl, who, fresh out of rehab and committed to starting a new life as a sober, responsible adult, is forced to move in with her conservative brother and young family.
She starred as Nicky Nichols in the critically acclaimed Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, for which she received positive reviews. The role was Lyonne's first television show as a series regular. She received her first Primetime Emmy nomination for the role in 2014.
Lyonne can also be seen in the new Netflix movie Handsome with Jeff Garlin.
Lyonne lives in New York City.
During the early 2000s, Lyonne experienced legal problems and was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and for incidents involving her neighbors. In 2005, she was evicted by her landlord, actor Michael Rapaport, following complaints by other tenants about her behavior.
In 2005, Lyonne was admitted to Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan under a pseudonym, suffering from hepatitis C, a heart infection, and a collapsed lung; she was also undergoing methadone treatment. In January 2006, an arrest warrant was issued for her after she missed a court hearing relating to her prior problems. Her lawyer said an emergency had arisen, but did not give details. Later that year, Lyonne was admitted to the Caron Foundation, a drug and alcohol treatment center, and appeared in court afterwards. A judge sentenced her to conditional discharge.
Lyonne underwent open heart surgery to correct damage caused by her heart infection. She recovered from the surgery, and discussed her past health problems on The Rosie Show in March 2012.