SNL 1975 Movie Cast Members: Launching a Comedy Empire
Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night. This famous catchphrase has been the introduction to NBC’s hit sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL) since its premiere in 1975. That first season featured a talented cast of comedians who would go on to become household names and movie stars. Looking back at the original SNL movie cast members provides a glimpse into the early days of one of television’s most influential shows.
SNL 1975 movie cast members
That first SNL cast was made up of relatively unknown players at the time. But the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players included soon-to-be stars like Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, and Laraine Newman. The blend of their comedic talents, paired with cutting social and political satire, made audiences take notice. Over the years, this initial cast opened the door to major film and TV opportunities.
Becoming Movie Stars
Chevy Chase led the charge from the small screen to box office sensation. While still on SNL in 1978, he appeared in the hit comedy Foul Play along with Goldie Hawn. The following year he starred in the cult classic Caddyshack. Chase parlayed his early movie success into leading roles during the 80s in popular comedies like National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise, Fletch, Spies Like Us, and Three Amigos.
Like Chase, John Belushi’s fiery energy and outrageous antics made him an instant film star. In 1978, he and fellow SNL cast member Dan Aykroyd appeared in Steven Spielberg’s 1941. Then Belushi hit the big time portraying “Bluto” Blutarsky in the popular college romp Animal House. More movie roles followed for Belushi with The Blues Brothers and Neighbors, cementing his reputation as one of the most iconic personalities from SNL’s original cast.
Aykroyd followed Belushi’s lead to become a comedy sensation on the large and small screens soon after leaving SNL. Ghostbusters, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Driving Miss Daisy, and the early seasons of Saturday Night Live built his cred as a versatile and talented funny man.
Lasting Comedic Legends
The original SNL ladies more than held their own amidst all the male humor dominating the show those first years. Gilda Radner brought her quirky characterizations from The National Lampoon Radio Hour to SNL sketches as Roseanne Roseannadanna and Emily Litella. After leaving SNL in 1980, Radner starred in several movies and became a bestselling author before her early death from cancer in 1989.
Jane Curtin broke new ground as SNL’s first female anchor on Weekend Update. Later, her dry wit and willingness to take on any comedic role made Curtin an audience favorite on the hit sitcoms Kate & Allie and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Although they may not be household names like Belushi or Chase, the rest of that inaugural SNL cast still made a lasting impact in both film and television. Garrett Morris earned an Emmy nomination for his seven years on SNL before going on to act in dozens of TV shows and movies over the past 30 years. Newman still acts while also pursuing her passion as an artist and living on a California ranch.
Launching an Empire
That original ensemble of multi-talented, risk-taking comedians put Saturday Night Live on the map in the mid-1970s. Their fresh approach to sketch comedy and satire resonated with American audiences looking for irreverent humor to make sense of turbulent times.
Within four years SNL proved it not only had staying power but became a stepping stone for movies and television. The Not Ready for Prime Time Players launched a show and sparked individual careers still influencing comedy today. Their work enriched American culture with political criticism couched in hilarity, giving audiences an accessible way to laugh at the absurdity all around them.
Nearly 50 years later, SNL remains must-see late night television, providing an early career boost to each new generation of comedic performers seeking to follow in the sizable footsteps of the talented snl 1975 movie cast members who started it all.