Doumanian was born to Greek immigrant restaurant owners, who raised her in Chicago with Greek Orthodox beliefs. She received her last name from her ex-husband, Armenian-American John Doumanian.
Show creator Lorne Michaels resigned as producer of SNL at the end of its fifth season and the entire cast and writing staff followed. Doumanian, who had been an associate producer during the first five seasons of the show and produced a special for Michaels in 1978, was one of the few who remained. She was offered Michaels' job running SNL and took over the show for the 1980 season, hiring a completely new cast and new writers.
After leaving SNL, she was a producer for several of Woody Allen's films:
During production of The Curse of the Jade Scorpion in 2000, Doumanian shocked Allen with an announcement that he had but 48 hours to find alternative funding for the film. In May 2001, on the advice of his financiers, Allen filed a lawsuit against Doumanian and her partner Jacqui Safra, claiming their production company had skimmed profits off of the movies. The lawsuit was settled in 2002 for an undisclosed amount
Her other films include The Spanish Prisoner, All the Real Girls, Neal Cassady and August: Osage County, as well as The Ox, which was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film) in 1992.
In 2002, Doumanian was a producer for a Broadway revival of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, which was nominated for a Tony Award. In 2004, Doumanian was a producer of the Broadway premiere of the play Democracy by Michael Frayn.
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