Displaying astonishing versatility with a wide range of roles, 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 was seen this summer in the feature film “The Help,” based on the best selling novel of the same name. For her role in Todd Solondz’s film “Life During Wartime” she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress from the 2011 IFP/Independent Spirit Awards.
Throughout her career, Janney has made a handful of memorable guest-star appearances on television, but she is renowned for her starring role in the acclaimed NBC series “The West Wing,” where she won a remarkable four Emmy Awards and four SAG Awards for her portrayal of White House Press Secretary CJ Cregg. Janney has delighted film audiences with outstanding performances in the Oscar-winning ensemble hit “Juno,” and in the movie version of the Tony Award-winning play “Hairspray.” Additionally, she appeared in Sam Mendes’ “Away We Go,” the comedy “Strangers with Candy,” and was heard as the voice of Gladys in Dreamworks’ animated film “Over the Hedge,” as well as Peach in “Finding Nemo.”
Janney received a Spirit Award nomination for her work in the independent feature “Our Very Own,” and starred opposite Meryl Streep in “The Hours,” which received a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture. Other feature credits include the Academy Award winning film “American Beauty” (for which she won a SAG Award for Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture) as well as “Nurse Betty,” “How to Deal,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “10 Things I Hate About You,” “Primary Colors,” “The Ice Storm,” “Six Days Seven Nights,” “The Object of My Affection,” and “Big Night.”
While a freshman studying acting at Kenyon College in Ohio, Janney auditioned for Kenyon alum Paul Newman and got the part in the on-campus play. Soon after, Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward suggested she study at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. She followed their advice and went on to make her Broadway debut in Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter” for which she earned the Outer Critics Circle Award and Clarence Derwent Award. She also appeared in Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge,” receiving her first Tony Award nomination and winning the Outer Critics Circle Award. Janney was last seen on Broadway in the musical “9 to 5,” for which she earned a Tony nomination and won the Drama Desk Award.