Allison Janney - Rotten Tomatoes

Allison Janney



One of the most talented -- and often underappreciated -- character actresses of the late 1990s, Allison Janney first began courting critical attention with roles in such acclaimed films as Big Night (1996) and American Beauty (1998). Able to play characters ranging from a name-dropping Manhattan socialite to a withdrawn, abused wife, the 6'0" Janney infuses all of her portrayals with equal parts poignancy and unforced gusto.



A product of Dayton, Ohio, where she was born November 19, 1959, Janney was raised as the daughter of a homemaker and the president of a real estate firm. She aspired to be a champion figure skater from a young age, but any hopes of pursuing a skating career were halted by a freak accident that badly damaged Janney's leg when she was in her mid-teens. As a student at Kenyon College, she became interested in acting, and got her first break when she successfully auditioned for a play being directed by Kenyon alum Paul Newman. After impressing Newman, a racing enthusiast, with both her acting skills and her love of fast cars, Janney went on to impress his wife, Joanne Woodward, who directed her in a number of off-off-Broadway plays during the early 1980s.



Although she enjoyed early stage success, Janney had difficulty starting her career, something that was hindered by her height: one disparaging casting agent went so far as to tell her that the only roles she was suitable for were lesbians and aliens. Thankfully, the actress pressed on in the face of such idiocy, waitressing and scooping ice cream to support herself during dry spells. Her luck began to change for the better in the late 1990s, when she started garnering luminous reviews for her work both on Broadway -- where she earned a Tony nomination for her role in 1998's A View from the Bridge -- and onscreen in such films as Big Night (1996) and Mike Nichols' Primary Colors (1998). In the former film, she appeared as the quiet, capable love interest of Tony Shalhoub's struggling Italian chef, while the latter featured the actress in the minor but poignant role of a painfully-awkward schoolteacher who is seduced by John Travolta's libidinous Presidential candidate.



Janney, who had been appearing on television and in films since the early '90s, went on to do reliably excellent work in a variety of films that ranged from The Object of My Affection (1998), in which she played the supercilious, name-dropping wife of a high-powered literary agent (Alan Alda); to Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), which featured her as a beehived, chain-smoking trailer park resident; to American Beauty (1999), in which she gave a quietly powerful portrayal of the abused wife of a tyrannical ex-Marine (Chris Cooper). Janney's talents have also been put on ample display on the small screen: in 1999, she joined the cast of the acclaimed NBC White House drama The West Wing, originating the role of tough press secretary C.J. Cregg.



In addition to continuing her work on The West Wing, Janney played a supporting role in the award winning psychological drama The Hours (2002), and voiced Peach the Starfish in Pixar's wildly successful Finding Nemo (2003). The actress' would play the neighbor of protagonist Jim Winters (Anthony LaPaglia) in 2004's drama Winter Solstice, and continued to play small, yet meaty roles throughout the coming years (among them include On Our Very Own and Hairspray), she earned mainstream attention and critical praise for her role as the parent of a pregnant teen (Ellen Page) in Juno. Ironically, in light of her Juno success, Janney was also critically recognized for her performance as an emotionally detached mother in Sam Mendes' bittersweet comedy Away We Go (2009).

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Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
43% The Girl on the Train
  • Detective Riley
2016
64% Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
  • Dr. Golan
2016
84% Tallulah
  • Margo
2016
94% Finding Dory
  • Peach
2016
No Score Yet A Happening of Monumental Proportions
  • Actor
2016
56% Minions
  • Madge Nelson
2015
94% Spy
  • Elaine Crocker
2015
64% The Rewrite
  • Professor Weldon
2015
0% Days and Nights
  • Elizabeth
2014
80% Get On Up
  • Kathy
2014
23% Tammy
  • Deb
2014
54% Trust Me
  • Meg
2014
66% Bad Words
  • Dr. Bernice Deagan
2014
80% Mr. Peabody & Sherman
  • Ms. Grunion
2014
13% Brightest Star
  • The Astronomer
2014
No Score Yet Letters to Jackie: Remembering President Kennedy
  • Actor
2013
36% Touchy Feely
  • Bronwyn
2013
85% The Way Way Back
  • Betty
2013
27% Struck by Lightning
  • Sheryl
2013
34% The Oranges
  • Cathy
2012
70% Liberal Arts
  • Professor Judith Fairfield
2012
0% A Thousand Words
  • Samantha Davis
2012
74% Margaret
  • Monica Patterson
2011
75% The Help
  • Charlotte Phelan
2011
69% Life During Wartime
  • Trish
2010
67% Away We Go
  • Lily
2009
No Score Yet Farlanders
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Pretty Ugly People
  • Suzanna
2008
94% Juno
  • Bren MacGuff
2007
91% Hairspray
  • Prudy Pingleton
2007
75% Over the Hedge
  • Gladys
2006
35% The Chumscrubber
  • Mrs. Stiffle
2005
No Score Yet Our Very Own
  • Joan Whirfield
2005
60% Winter Solstice
  • Molly Ripkin
2005
52% Strangers with Candy
  • Alice
2005
No Score Yet Piccadilly Jim
  • Eugenia Crocker
2005
No Score Yet Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde
  • Actor
2004
28% How to Deal
  • Lydia Martin
2003
99% Finding Nemo
  • Peach
2003
81% The Hours
  • Sally Lester
2002
No Score Yet Rooftop Kisses
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet A Girl Thing
  • Kathy McCormack
2001
84% Nurse Betty
  • Lyla
2000
No Score Yet Auto Motives
  • Actor
2000
88% American Beauty
  • Barbara Fitts
1999
44% Drop Dead Gorgeous
  • Loretta
1999
62% The Impostors
  • Maxi
1999
61% 10 Things I Hate About You
  • Ms. Perky
1999
41% Celebrity
  • Evelyn Issacs
1998
No Score Yet David y Lisa
  • Alix
1998
36% Six Days, Seven Nights
  • Marjorie
1998
49% The Object of My Affection
  • Constance Miller
1998
80% Primary Colors
  • Miss Walsh
1998
84% The Ice Storm
  • Dot Halford
1997
No Score Yet Julian Po
  • Lilah
1997
No Score Yet Path to Paradise: World Trade Center Bombing
  • Assistant D.A.
1997
80% Private Parts
  • Dee Dee
1997
No Score Yet Jamás Causaré Daño
  • Dr. Melanie Abbasac
1997
28% The Associate
  • Sandy
1996
96% Big Night
  • Ann
1996
86% Walking and Talking
  • Amelia's Neighbor
1996
7% Faithful
  • Saleslady
1996
No Score Yet Dead Funny
  • Jennifer
1995
No Score Yet Heading Home
  • Linda Polanski
1995
61% Miracle on 34th Street
  • The Woman
1994
60% Wolf
  • Young Business Person
1994
15% The Cowboy Way
  • Lady Cop
1994

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet In Plain Sight
2008-2012
  • Actor
No Score Yet The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson
2005-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet CBS This Morning
2012
  • Guest
90% Veep
2012-2016
  • Janet Ryland
No Score Yet Law & Order
1990-2010
  • Nora Ann Madsen
No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live
2003
  • Guest
83% Masters of Sex
2013
  • Margaret Scully
No Score Yet The Tonight Show With Jay Leno
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Phineas and Ferb
2007-2014
  • Voice
No Score Yet The West Wing
1999-2006
  • C.J. Cregg Claudia Jean "C.J." Cregg
No Score Yet Comedy Bang! Bang!
2012
  • Guest
No Score Yet Family Guy
1999
  • Voice
No Score Yet Late Night With Seth Meyers
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Web Therapy
2011-2014
  • Client
77% Weeds
2005-2012
  • Attorney
69% The Big C
2010-2013
  • Rita
No Score Yet The Chew
2011
  • Guest
No Score Yet Conan
2010
  • Guest
No Score Yet Sunday Morning
2011
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Late Show With David Letterman
1993-2015
  • Guest
No Score Yet Two and a Half Men
2003-2015
  • Beverly
No Score Yet The Simpsons
1989
  • Voice
47% Mr. Sunshine
2011
  • Crystal
No Score Yet Hollywood Game Night
2013
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Frasier
1993-2004
  • Guest
  • Susanna
No Score Yet The Talk
2010
  • Guest
No Score Yet Mom
2013
  • Bonnie
No Score Yet The Late Late Show With James Corden
2015
  • Guest
89% Lost
2004-2010
  • Woman
27% Chelsea
2016
  • Guest
Mom
  • Bonnie
91% The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
2015
  • Guest

Quotes from Allison Janney's Characters