Who are Maya Rudolph’s Parents?

If Joe Biden is elected president, Saturday Night Live fans hope to get four years of hilarious Kamala Harris skits, thanks to Maya Rudolph. While Harris was in the presidential primary, Maya’s impersonation was the highlight of the show. Maya is no longer on SNL as a regular cast member.

She was on the show from 2000 to 2007, and then went on to the big screen. Although Maya takes the occasional role in television, she’s been in some of the funniest movies of the last decade, including Bridesmaids, and Grown-Ups. Maya is a talented actor, probably thanks to her parents. They were both in the arts themselves, according to Biography.

Maya Rudolph’s parents were artistic 

Maya’s dad, Richard Rudolph, is a music writer and producer. His career took off in the 1970s and had a fair amount of commercial success. He has composed all kinds of music, from reggae to movie soundtracks. In 2004, Richard composed the soundtrack for Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. His more recent composition credit includes a variety of big names, including Sister Sledge and Snoop Dogg. 

Richard’s musical talent was only matched by that of Maya’s mom, Minnie Riperton. She was also a shining star in the 1970s music scene, according to All Music. One of her songs, “Lovin’ You,” hit the top of the pop charts in 1974. She has a composition credit on Hank Crawford’s “I Hear a Symphony” album, and worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones. Maya undoubtedly inherited her love of performing from her parents. Riperton was on her way to music stardom, but her life was cut short too soon. 

Maya Rudolph smiling in front of a blurred background
Maya Rudolph | Michael Tran/Getty Images

Maya Rudolph faced tragedy early on in her life 

Maya’s young life was marred by tragedy. When she was only 6 years old, her mother passed away from breast cancer. But Maya proved right away that her mother had a big influence on her, even though they hadn’t spent as many years together as they deserved. Shortly after her mother’s passing, Maya began singing and acting in local theater. 

RELATED: Maya Rudolph’s Best ‘Saturday Night Live’ Impressions (Including Kamala Harris)

But overcoming her mother’s death wasn’t easy for Maya, especially since her mom had been in the public eye. According to Fabiosa, Maya opened up about it, “It really didn’t help that it was a public experience. It was weird to grow up that way, thinking, I’m the kid whose mom died, and everybody knows it — or at least you feel like everybody knows it.”

Growing up without a mom isn’t easy for any kid, but things were even more complicated for a young Maya. Her mother was Black, and her father was white. She was the only mixed-race kid at her school, and she didn’t have a mom to help her understand her identity. So Maya turned to comedy to get her through.

“I know that part of owning being funny was an armor, and was, like, to literally not cry. It’s a protection. Just be like: ‘Oh, yeah! I’m the lady with the crazy hair! So much of my childhood was dealing with my hair and being super embarrassed by it, mainly because I grew up being the only mixed kid.”

If she hadn’t been an actor, Maya Rudolph would be in music 

Although Maya has become a talented actor, there was a time when she actually wanted to follow her mother’s footsteps. Maya is very musical. In college, she formed a band called Super Sauce. When that one wasn’t working for her anymore, she moved on to another band. She played keyboard for a Weezer spinoff band and then formed her own cover band. Princess covered songs written by the late, great Prince. 

At some point, Maya stopped making music and focused on her comedy career. She joined a comedy troupe and grew her career from there. She has nowhere to go but up. Even though Maya didn’t go into music, her mom would definitely be proud of where she is today.