Joan Rivers Press

The Press Loves Ellie as Joan Rivers and So Will You!

PIONEER PRESS
         A MODEL ACTRESS:  HIGHLAND PARK ACTRESS ELLIE WEINGARDT, ONE OF THE TOP JOAN RIVERS IMPERSONATORS IN THE COUNTRY, WAS CALLED ON LESS THAN 12 HOURS NOTICE TO INTERVIEW CONTESTANTS WAITING TO BE SELECTED AS THE NEXT TOP RUNWAY MODEL OVER AGE 35 FOR YET ANOTHER REALITY SHOW. "THERE WERE LINES FOR BLOCKS". WEINGARDT SAID. "EVERY AGENCY IN TOWN MUST HAVE SENT THEIR TALENT. " SHE WAS TAPED AS RIVERS AND THEN, AS A JOKE ON THE JUDGES, WAS ENCOURAGED TO POSE AS A CONTESTANT . "I WALKED IN LOOKING FRO MY LOST DOG SPIKE, AND THEN ASKED IF THIS WAS THE NEXT BEST THING." SHE SAID, "I ALMOST FOOLED THEM. HOWEVER, THE THREE  JUDGES DECLARED THAT SHE WASN'T MODEL MATERIAL WHICH WAS FINE WITH HER. "I GUESS MY CAREER AS AN ACTRESS IS SAFE." SHE CONCLUDED.
PIONEER PRESS  TREND SETTERS   
CONDELL'S AUXILIARY'S PARTY IS AWARD WINNER
"Adding to the Academy Awards theme, a Joan Rivers Impersonator (Ellie Weingardt) greeted guests at the door, commenting on their attire with her trademark humor and sarcasm...."

CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Benefit helps needy workers cross finish line 
By Anthony DeBartolo
The hours are long, the pay is low, the benefits are few. Life on the backstretch isn't easy. But for the few thousand people who both live and work at Illinois' seven racetracks each season, without the Racing Industry Charitable Foundation Inc., things would be a lot worse...
To help pick up the slack, nearly 300 people turned out Friday night at the Neiman Marcus store in Oak Brook for the Arlington International Million Ball.
The $200-per-plate, black-tie fete, along with a 32-item auction that included a trip to Paris, was expected to raise more than $50,000.
When guests took the escalator up one flight, they discovered the shoe department was transformed into a dance hall, and orchid and rose-adorned dinner tables set up near $12,000 minks.
They also couldn't miss Ellie Weingardt, a Joan Rivers look-alike hired to liven things up. "There was a horse missing in the fourth race today," she declared while digesting her filet of beef. "I think I just found it."
Hollywood glamor lights State Street
By Lucinda Hahn
Klieg lights, a 5-foot-long red carpet, and glammed-up guests brought a glimmer of Hollywood to State Street's Gene Siskel Film Center, which held its Oscar Night America Party on Sunday. Joan Rivers impersonator Ellie Weingart joked with the glitziest guests (suggested dress code: "Awards Glam"). Inside, some 300 film buffs watched the show in the center's two theaters. Proceeds benefited education at the film center and also Chicago Academy of Arts' scholarship fund.
Joan Rivers impersonator Ellie Weingardt (right) with Betty Brown. "I want to tell you about my dress," Weingardt said. "It's a Oscar de la Yenta."
ELLIE WEINGARDT A.K.A. JOAN RIVERS PREDICTS LOTS OF CLEAVAGE SUNDAY NIGHT.
FULL FRONT PAGE STORY  OF WOMEN'S NEWS SECTION...." A PEEK AT OSCAR CHIC"

UR Chicago
Local Yokel: Ellie Weingardt
Another year, another night at the Oscars. This venerable awards show may not be the most action-packed television spectacle on the tube these days, but its pre-show sure is. Thanks to Joan Rivers, a gravelly-voiced, hyperactive septuagenarian both adored and reviled by actors and audiences alike, the hour leading up to the Academy Awards is chaotic, over the-top and shameless exercise in celebrity ass-kissing and bungled interview attempts. Rivers has no shortage of admirers here in Chicago, however; one Ellie Weingardt, a local film and stage actor, does a dead-on impersonation of the famous Joan. Keep an eye peeled for Weingardt (gussied up in a brassy blonde wig and sequined dress) trundling up and down the red carpet at Chicago's official Oscars party later this month.
UR Chicago: Why Joan Rivers? What is it about her that appeals to your comic side? 
 
Ellie Weingardt: I love being Joan because I admire her as a fighter. She's colorful and full of fun-filled conversation: Can we talk?"
When did you realize you had It in you to be Joan Rivers? You must have been quite ham as a child.

Yes, I loved to entertain as a child. I was a real kosher ham. People used to say I looked like Joan, so I tried acting like her. But that was before five face-lifts, two tummy tucks, super-reduction, liposuction, and Botox, Botox, Botox! (By the way. I heard Joan also had some work done!)
Have you ever met her in person? What does she think about what you do?

I met Joan about a year after I appeared as a look-alike winner on her TV show. She couldn't make it to the show that night. With a hundred Joans in the audience, I'd be sick, too! She likes the fact that people imitate her. I have a lovely letter from her on my website www.ellieweingardt.com
What's the strangest thing someone has said to you?

The strangest thing anyone ever said to me was, "Joan, now I want you to pretend you don't know my husband."
Do people get offended when you approach them and talk about their clothing?

They feel like stars on the red carpet. Women show up wearing everything from the sub lime to the outrageous but when they see me they glow as if they were wearing the Hope Diamond. Men are flirtatious at any age.
Where's your Melissa Rivers?

My Melissa Rivers is living in Lincoln Park and enjoys playing bass guitar in a rock band called the Paper Bullets and film editing at Cutters, Inc. Her evil twin also lives in the city with her "newish" husband. She's a first grade teacher in the suburbs. So where are my grandchildren already?
Are there any strange similarities between yourself and Joan?

We both don't want to grow old gracefully. And we're both into clothes. (You wouldn't want to see either of us any other way.)
Any other impersonations we should know of? Any other celeb you'd like to try your hand at?

I also perform as Mae West, and Katherine Hepburn. I guess you could say that I'm a female female impersonator! But I'll never be a really great wannabe until I can do Judy Gardland, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Marilyn, Barbara, Cher and the sensational Vicki Spike.
Weingardt hams it up at Chicago's Oscars Party on March 23 at the Gene Siskel Film center.

P I O N E E R  P R E S S
Film Center party raises $45,000

Three hundred guests came to the Oscar Night America - Chicago celebration the evening of Feb. 29 at the Gen Siskel Film Center on State Street. A red carpet and klieg lights greeted the throng, some of whom were decked out in Hollywood-style gowns, complete with feather boas. Ellie Weingardt of Highland park did her incomparable impersonation of Joan Rivers, and guests received the same Oscar program as those who were attending the presentation at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. 
She loves Lucy
By Weiss, Gerst & Bonesteel

Highland Park actress Ellie Weingardt, who often is told she resembles Lucille Ball, is back from Los Angeles, where she was one of several hundred other look-alikes auditioning for a CBS-TV movie about Lucy and Desi. Unlike most of the others, however, Weingardt made it onto NBC-TV Nightly News and was interviewed by several newspapers. Despite initial success, Weingardt is realistic about her chances. Auditions also were held in Miami and New York, making for stiff competition.
Weingardt is on the carpet
By Ingram & Andries

Ellie Weingardt of Highland Park, our own local Joan Rivers impersonator, will greet guests at Oscar Night America to be held at the Gene Siskel Film Center the evening of the Feb. 29. This is one of 40 parties throughout the country, officially sanctioned by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Science and the Chicago fete will be a benefit for the film center and the Chicago Academy for the Arts. You haven't lived until you've heard Weingardt say "And who are you?" An actress and much-in-demand voice-over artist, she has had particular fun doing Rivers in numerous cities. The special Leap Year event includes the Oscar telecast on a big screen, along with light refreshments and a silent auction. Call (312) 846-2072. Tell them Ellie sent you.
Weingardt brings Rivers to Oscar Night Party
By Dorothy Andries
The first thing you notice is the dress, which is skin tight and sparkles plenty; But the first thing you hear is the voice. When Ellie Weingardt of Highland Park does her Joan Rivers imitation, her vocal chords just reverberate with scorn. "Who are you?" she exhales, as she shoves her mike into the face of an unwary guest on the red carpet where the Rivers character is inevitable installed. Weingardt has been bringing her interpretation of that larger-than-life character to parties and events throughout the country since she won a Joan Rivers look-alike contest on Fox TV. Her commercial and corporate jobs as Joan have taken her throughout the country and in June of last year she greeted guests arriving at the Gorton Community Center benefit in Lake Forest. A year ago she was on duty during an Oscar night party at Spago. This year she brings La Joan to Chicago's only Academy-sanctioned Oscar Night America party at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Gene Siskel Film Center at 164 N. State St The Chicago party; one of 40 official parties through out the country; benefits educational programs of the Gene Siskel Film Center and scholarships at The Chicago Academy for the Arts. "Doing Joan is a real kick," insisted Weingardt "When I start to talk to people, they buy into it and start answering me back." Weingardt was born and raised on Chicago's South Side and now lives in a gracious house on a tree-lined street in Highland Park where she and her husband of 39 years, Ron Weingardt, raised their four children. One room on the first floor is filled with brightly colored children's furniture and toys. "For my three grandchildren," she says fondly, with not a trace of that Rivers' voice. In fact, Weingardt at home, attractive and smiling, looks nothing like the over-the-top Rivers. She is, however, an actress. She's appeared in movies, including "A League of Their Own," and can evoke a character just by changing a facial expression or adjusting her tone of voice. Her voice is a precious asset. She is particularly proud of winning WNUA's Windy Award for Best Chicago Voice-Over Actress and has done a great deal of voice-over work. Sunday night, however, she'll be on the red carpet giving arriving notables the once-over. Tickets to Chicago's Oscar Night America benefit are $75. The party includes a silent auction, raffle and light buffet. The telecast of the 75th Annual Academy Awards begins at 7:30. Dress is business casual or Oscar Chic. Never one to be outdone, Ellie's Joan Rivers will be wearing her own mink.

MONTAGE 
By Marilyn Soltis

Marilyn Monroe, Mae West and Zsa Zsa Gabor are only a few of Ellie Weingardt's impersonations-voice, that is. Recently, she placed fifth in the "Joan Rivers Look-Alike Contest on the Late Show" a slight aberration from the aforementioned stars. But impersonations are only a small part of Weingardt's repertoire. Her industrial film and commercial work covers characters ranging from housewives to anchor Her calling card reads, "When it comes to spots, Scotch gard and StainGard can't hold a candle to Weingardt!" Weingardt's career began 10 years ago when a friend asked her to accompany her to an acting class because she didn't want to go alone. "I was in my thirties and from the suburbs. The class was in a dingy basement where everybody was swearing. You had to stand up and say #!x@. It took me a while to understand the method but I stuck with it after my friend dropped out. Everyone made a voice tape to get into commercials and so I've been in the business ever since." When she first started out, Weingardt won a trip to the Academy Awards. Upon deciding that she didn't look any different than anybody else in the audience, she decided that acting would be her chosen profession. After 10 years she believes anything is possible. Says Weingardt, "Why set limits? Why not win an Academy Award?"
SKYLINE 
Red Carpet Caper At Spago

Not to be outdone by mere Hollywood stars, the Red Carpet Oscar party at Spago offered beautiful people, a Joan Rivers (Ellie Weingardt) look-alike, auction, prizes and every guest felt like a winner. Proceeds benefited the Chicago International Film Festival outreach programs. A Red Carpet Cosmo and a Golden Trophy martini were the most popular drinks of this special evening.
Content copyright 2015. Ellie Weingardt. All rights reserved.
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