The incredibly versatile Allison Janney has taken her place among a select group of actors who combine a leading lady’s profile with a character actor’s art of performance. Janney received her first Emmy Award in 2014 for her role as Bonnie Plunket in MOM, on the Network. Remarkably, she was awarded a second Emmy that same night for her role in Showtime’s groundbreaking drama “Masters of Sex,” a feat that has only been done twice before in television history. She won another Emmy for MOM the following year, bringing her total number Emmy statues to seven.
Janney has continually balanced television roles with memorable feature film projects, culminating in an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her unforgettable portrayal of Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden, in the acclaimed film “I, Tonya” opposite Margot Robbie.
Recently, Janney has received attention for her 2020 co-starring role in HBO’s “Bad Education,” opposite Hugh Jackman. The crime drama, from director Cory Finley, tells a true story of conspiracy that occurred in a Long Island school district in the early 2000s. The movie had its world premiere at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Also, she starred in Amazon Studios’ “Troop Zero” from female directors Bert and Bertie, which had its world premiere at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Janney will be seen next in “Breaking News in Yuba County” directed by Tate Taylor. In the small town crime caper, Janney’s character, Sue Bottoms, finds herself at the center of a national news story after her husband goes missing. The film will be screening at the virtual Cannes market, with a likely 2021 release.
Other credits include Lionsgate’s drama “Bombshell,” in which she appeared as famed lawyer and political operative Susan Estrich, alongside Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron, and the 2011 Oscar-nominated film “The Help,” based on the best-selling novel, in which she appeared alongside Emmy Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain. For their extraordinary performances, the cast of “The Help” won Ensemble awards from the Screen Actors Guild, National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Also, she has delighted audiences with outstanding performances in the Oscar-winning ensemble hit “Juno” and in the movie version of the Tony Award winning play “Hairspray.” For her role in Todd Solondz’s film “Life During Wartime,” she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress. She received another Independent Spirit Award nomination for her work in the feature “Our Very Own,” and co-starred in such memorable films as “American Beauty” and “The Hours.”
Janney’s vocal talent has led to roles in the animated features “Finding Nemo,” “The Addams Family,” “Minions” and “Over the Hedge,” as well as numerous commercial campaigns and documentaries.
Throughout her career, Janney has made a handful of memorable guest appearances on television, but she was first widely known to audiences for her co-starring role as White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg in the award-winning series “The West Wing,” for which she won an impressive four Emmy Awards and four SAG Awards.
While a Freshman studying acting at Kenyon College in Ohio, Janney auditioned for a play that Paul Newman was directing and landed her first part. Soon after, Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, suggested she study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. Following their advice, and after many off Broadway productions, she made her Broadway debut in Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter,” for which she earned the Outer Critics Circle Award and Clarence Derwent Award. Subsequently, she starred in Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge,” receiving her first Tony Award nomination and winning the Outer Critics Circle Award. After launching a television and film career, she later returned to Broadway in the musical “9 to 5,” for which she earned another Tony nomination and won the Drama Desk Award. Janney returned to Broadway again in 2017 in the revival of John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation,” alongside John Benjamin Hickey and Corey Hawkins.
On Oct. 17, 2016, Janney fulfilled another childhood dream in her illustrious career by being honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Janney grew up in Dayton, Ohio and currently lives in Los Angeles. Her birthday is Nov. 19. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonBJanney and Instagram at @allisonbjanney.