Kismet happens when you least expect it. Take the case of Cheryl Hines.
Ms. Hines was one of several actors asked to come in and audition with Larry David for a one-hour special the comedian was doing for HBO. But on the day of the audition, Ms. Hines got a call from her agent telling her the audition was postponed because the show’s producers were way behind. “Well, in Hollywood speak, you know that means that they’ll probably never call back and reschedule,” Ms. Hines said.
She went on to perform on stage that night in her sketch comedy revue, One Woman Show, and as fate would have it Robert Weide was in the audience. Mr. Weide, the co-executive producer of Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm (the one-hour special and the ensuing series Curb Your Enthusiasm), saw Ms. Hines and felt that she would be a good fit in the role of David’s wife.
So Ms. Hines went in the next day and four hours after she met Mr. David and improvised a scene with him, she got the part. “I had never met Larry up to that point, but we really hit it off,” Ms. left, Hines said “It’s like when you go to a party and you meet someone you’ve never met before and even though the party may be horrible you still are having a great time because of that other person. It’s kind of like that.”
Raised in Miami Beach, Fla., Ms. Hines knew early on that she wanted to be a performer. After getting a degree in radio and television, she landed her first professional acting job at Universal Studios Florida, playing the part of Janet Leigh in the infamous shower scene in Psycho. “I was killed several times a day,” she said. “And I knew that if I was serious about my acting, I had to leave Florida.”
In 1993 she moved to Los Angeles and while working as a bartender managed to pull the money together-friends and coworkers helped-to attend classes at The Groundlings Theater. “All of my training up to that point had been concentrated on drama,” she said. “It was all about knowing your character, doing your research, thinking about every word you said. Attending The Groundlings felt like a grad program in comedy. I learned to just let go.”
Now in the midst of shooting the fourth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Ms. Hines, 37, has found that playing Mr. David’s no-nonsense wife has not only honed her skills as an improvisational comedian-the show is completely improvised-it’s also given her the kind of high-profile visibility she’s never experienced before.
“When the show was first on, people would see me in the street and say, `Aren’t you the woman from that show on HBO?’ Then as the show got more popular, people would say, `Oh my gosh, you’re the woman married to Larry David.’ And now people come up and say, `Aren’t you Cheryl Hines?”’