Allison Janney

Allison Brooks Janney (born November 19, 1959)[3] is an American actress. A prolific character actress, Janney has received many accolades, including an Academy Award, seven Primetime Emmy Awards, a BAFTA Award, and a Golden Globe Award.

Allison Janney
Janney in 2008
Allison Brooks Janney[1]

(1959-11-19) November 19, 1959
ResidenceHollywood, California, U.S.
EducationKenyon College (BA)
Years active1984–present
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[2]
AwardsFull list

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in two cities in Ohio, Janney won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the summer of 1984, following her graduation from Kenyon College. After years of minor and uncredited film and television appearances, Janney's breakthrough came with the role of C. J. Cregg in the NBC political drama The West Wing (1999–2006), for which she received four Primetime Emmy Awards. The character was widely popular during the airing of the series and was later recognized as one of the greatest female characters on American television. In 2014, she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Margaret Scully on the Showtime period drama Masters of Sex. Since 2013, she has starred as a cynical recovering addict in the CBS sitcom Mom. Her performance on the show has gained her five consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won her two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

Janney made her professional stage debut with the Off-Broadway production Ladies and followed with numerous bit parts in various similar productions, before making her Broadway debut in the 1996 revival of Present Laughter. She won Drama Desk Awards and received Tony Award nominations for her performances in the 1997 Broadway revival of A View from the Bridge, and the 2009 original Broadway production of the musical 9 to 5.

Her film roles include Private Parts (1997), Primary Colors (1998), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), American Beauty (1999), The Hours (2002), Hairspray (2007), Juno (2007), The Help (2011), The Way, Way Back (2013), Tammy (2014), Spy (2015), Tallulah (2016), and The Girl on the Train (2016), Bad Education (2019), and The Addams Family (2019). In 2017, for her performance as LaVona Golden in the black comedy I, Tonya, Janney won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Early life and education

Janney was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in the Ohio cities of Cincinnati and Dayton.[4] She is the daughter of Macy Brooks Janney (née Putnam), a former actress, and Jervis Spencer Janney, Jr., a real estate developer and jazz musician.[5][6][7] She has two brothers,[4] Hal and Jay.[8] Janney attended the Miami Valley School in Dayton, where she was named a distinguished alumna in 2005,[9] and the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, where she was named Alumna of the Year in 2016.[9] She then attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.[8] At Kenyon, she studied with Paul Newman, an alumnus of Kenyon. He directed her in a play as the inaugural event of the school's newly dedicated Bolton Theater. Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, encouraged Janney to continue acting. She then went on to train at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York and did summer programs at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.[10] She attended The Neighborhood Playhouse the same years as actor Dylan McDermott. She completed two years at the Neighborhood Playhouse along with Steven Rogers.[9]



Janney's first role on television was in the short-lived black-and-white faux-1940s comedy Morton & Hayes; she appeared in two episodes of the 1991 CBS series as Eddie Hayes' wife. She then moved on to soap operas; she first played Vi Kaminski for a short time on As the World Turns, following up with a two-year role as Ginger, one of the Spaulding maids, on Guiding Light. In the spring of 1994, she appeared in the season-four finale of Law & Order, entitled "Old Friends", as a reluctant witness against a member of the Russian mob. She was also a cast member on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion.

In 1999, she was cast in the role of presidential press secretary C. J. Cregg on the political drama The West Wing, for which she eventually won four Primetime Emmy Awards.[11] Two of them were for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2000 and 2001, and the other two were for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2002 and 2004.[9] She received two more nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in 2003 and 2006.[9] Janney also won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series in 2001 and 2002,[9] while the cast of The West Wing won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series the same two years, as well.[9] Additional nominations for Janney's work in The West Wing include four Golden Globe Award nominations (2001–2004) and the AFI Award for Actor of the Year – Female – TV Series (2001). In 2001, she won the Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama. She also guest starred on the hit television show Frasier in a 2002 episode Three Blind Dates.

Janney appeared in the short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in a guest appearance as herself in the episode "The Disaster Show". In 2010, she appeared as Allison Pearson in In Plain Sight. In May 2010, she appeared in the antepenultimate episode of the ABC television series Lost as the adoptive mother of the show's two mythological opponents, Jacob and The Man in Black. She starred in the ABC network comedy Mr. Sunshine. The series, which was created by Matthew Perry, was a mid-season replacement for the 2010–11 television season.[12][13]

For her role in the sitcom Mom, opposite Anna Faris, she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2014 and 2015. She was nominated for the Emmy Award, Supporting Actress for Mom in 2016 to 2018.[11] In 2014, she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her recurring role in the period drama Masters of Sex.[11]

On the Disney Channel animated show Phineas and Ferb, Janney voiced Charlene.

Janney appears as herself, playing an Oscar-winning actress, in an episode of the second season of the Netflix series The Kominsky Method.[14][15]


Janney has appeared in numerous films, including the 1990s films American Beauty, The Object of My Affection, Big Night, The Impostors, Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Ice Storm, Primary Colors, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Private Parts, and the early 2000s films Nurse Betty, The Hours, The Chumscrubber, How to Deal, Winter Solstice, and a considerable voice role in the animated movie Finding Nemo, voicing Peach, the starfish.

In 2006, she had roles in the feature films Margaret and Over the Hedge. That same year, Janney was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female for her performance in the film Our Very Own. In 2007, she appeared in Juno, playing the part of Bren MacGuff, the title character's stepmother, for which she won the Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress. In the same year, Janney appeared in the Golden Globe Award-nominated film Hairspray as Prudy Pingleton, Penny's (Amanda Bynes) strict and religious mother. She appeared in such films as The Help (2011), Struck by Lightning (2012), and Liberal Arts (2012). Janney appeared in the 2015 films Spy and The DUFF. She then co-starred in the fantasy film Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children,[16] and portrayed a homicide detective in the mystery thriller The Girl on the Train.[17]

In 2017, Janney starred in the biographical black comedy I, Tonya, portraying LaVona Golden, volatile mother of the titular Tonya Harding.[18] Her performance received wide critical acclaim, with various critics and publications citing her performance as the film's highlight and one of the best of her career. Janney received various accolades for her performance including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress, Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actress, Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female, and BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Following the success of I, Tonya, Janney was cast in Troop Zero, The Addams Family, and Bad Education, all of which premiered in 2019, as well as in the upcoming Bombshell.[19][20][21][22] Additionally, Janney will film lead roles in Breaking News in Yuba County, as well as in Lou.[23][24]


Janney has remained active in theater. Her first Broadway role was in the 1996 revival of Present Laughter, opposite Frank Langella. In 1998, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge.[25] In 2007, she participated in a workshop for a new musical of the film 9 to 5.[26] In late 2008, Janney joined Broadway stars Stephanie J. Block, Megan Hilty, and Marc Kudisch in 9 to 5. Based on the film of the same name, Janney starred as Violet Newstead, the super-efficient office manager, played by Lily Tomlin in the original film. She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical[27] and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for the role.[28] In 2017, Janney returned to Broadway to play the leading role of Ouisa Kittredge in John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation.[29]

Other interests

In 2004, she began lending her voice to television and radio spots created by Kaiser Permanente in the health maintenance organization's broad "Thrive" media campaign, and in a radio campaign for the American Institute of Architects.[30] In September 2010, it was announced that Janney would be the voice of the Aly San San spokesdroid in the Disney attraction Star Tours – The Adventures Continue.[31] The attraction later opened at Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland. In October 2016, Janney became the first woman to receive the Alumni Award of The Hotchkiss School[32] and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in the television industry, located at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard.[33][34]

Personal life

In interviews related to her role on Mom, Janney discussed her brother, Hal, who fought addiction for years before committing suicide.[35] On March 4, 2018, Janney dedicated her Academy Award win to him during her acceptance speech.[36]



Year Title Role Notes
1989Who Shot Patakango?Miss Penny
1994Dead FunnyJennifer
1994The Cowboy WayNYPD computer operator
1994WolfParty Guest
1994Miracle on 34th StreetWoman in Christmas Shop
1995Heading HomeMary Polanski
1996Rescuing DesireBetsy
1996Walking and TalkingGum Puller
1996Big NightAnn
1996The AssociateSandy
1997Anita LibertyGynecologistShort film
1997Private PartsDee Dee
1997The Ice StormDot Halford
1997Julian PoLilah Leech
1998Primary ColorsMiss Walsh
1998The Object of My AffectionConstance Miller
1998The ImpostorsMaxine
1998Six Days, Seven NightsMarjorie, Robin's boss
1998CelebrityEvelyn Isaacs
199910 Things I Hate About YouMs. Perky
1999Drop Dead GorgeousLoretta
1999American BeautyBarbara Fitts
1999The Debtors
2000Leaving DrewPaulaShort film
2000Auto MotivesGretchenShort film
2000Nurse BettyLyla Branch
2000Rooftop KissesMelissaShort film
2002The HoursSally Lester
2003Finding NemoPeach (voice)
2003How to DealLydia Martin
2003Chicken PartyBarbara StrasserShort film
2004Piccadilly JimEugenia Crocker
2004Winter SolsticeMolly Ripkin
2005Strangers with CandyAlice
2005The ChumscrubberAllie Stifle
2005Our Very OwnJoan Whitfield
2006Over the HedgeGladys Sharp (voice)
2007HairsprayPrudy Pingleton
2007JunoBrenda "Bren" MacGuff
2008Pretty Ugly PeopleSuzanna
2008Prop 8: The MusicalProp 8 leader's wife
2009Away We GoLily
2009Life During WartimeTrish Maplewood
2011MargaretWounded woman / Monica Patterson
2011A Thousand WordsSamantha Davis
2011The HelpCharlotte Phelan
2012The OrangesCathy Ostroff
2012Struck by LightningSheryl Phillips
2012Liberal ArtsProf. Judith Fairfield
2013The Way, Way BackBetty Thompson
2013Days and NightsElizabeth
2013Bad WordsDr. Bernice Deagan
2013Trust MeMeg
2013Brightest StarThe Astronomer
2014Mr. Peabody & ShermanMrs. Grunion (voice)
2014The RewriteProf. Mary Weldon
2014Get on UpKathy
2015The DUFFDottie Piper
2015SpyElaine Crocker
2015MinionsMadge Nelson (voice)
2016TallulahMargaret "Margo" Mooney
2016Finding DoryPeach (voice)Cameo
2016Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenDr. Nancy Golan / Mr. Barron
2016The Girl on the TrainDetective Riley
2017A Happening of Monumental ProportionsPrincipal Nichols
2017Sun DogsRose Chipley
2017I, TonyaLaVona Golden
2019Troop ZeroMiss Massey
2019MaDr. Brooks
2019Bad EducationPam Gluckin
2019The Addams FamilyMargaux Needler (voice)
2019BombshellSusan Estrich
TBABreaking News in Yuba CountySue BottomsPost-production


Year Title Role Notes
1991Morton & HayesBeatrice Caldicott-Hayes2 episodes
1992Law & OrderNoraEpisode: "Star Struck"
1993Blind SpotDoreenTelevision film
1993–1995Guiding LightGingerUnknown episodes
1994Law & OrderAnn MadsenEpisode: "Old Friends"
1995The Wright VerdictsAlice KleinEpisode: "Sins of the Father"
1995New York UndercoverVivianEpisode: "Digital Underground"
1996Aliens in the FamilyPrincipal ShermanEpisode: "A Very Brody Tweeznax"
1996CosbyPodiatric NurseEpisode: "Happily Ever Hilton"
1997...First Do No HarmDr. Melanie AbbasacTelevision film
1997Path to Paradise: The Untold Story of the World Trade Center BombingAssistant District AttorneyTelevision film
1998David and LisaAlixTelevision film
1999LateLineHelen MarschantEpisode: "The Minister of Television"
1999–2006The West WingC. J. Cregg145 episodes
2000A Girl ThingKathy McCormackTelevision film
2000–2003ScruffHolly (voice)
2001–2002FrasierPhyllis (voice) / Susanna2 episodes
2003King of the HillLauraEpisode: "Full Metal Dust Jacket"
2005WeedsMs. GreensteinEpisode: "Lude Awakening"
2007Two and a Half MenBeverlyEpisode: "My Damn Stalker"
2007Studio 60 on the Sunset StripHerselfEpisode: "The Disaster Show"
2008–2013Phineas and FerbCharlene Doofenshmirtz (voice)9 episodes
2010–2015Family GuyMistress Vita / Crystal Quagmire / Teen People Editor (voice)3 episodes
2010Lost"Mother"Episode: "Across the Sea"
2010In Plain SightAllison Pearson2 episodes
2011Glenn Martin, DDSMarciaEpisode: "GlennHog Day"
2011Mr. SunshineCrystal Cohen13 episodes
2012The Big CRita StraussEpisode: "Life Rights"
2012Robot ChickenGrammi Gummi / Woman (voice)Episode: "In Bed Surrounded by Loved Ones"
2013VeepJanet RylandEpisode: "First Response"
2013–2015Masters of SexMargaret Scully9 episodes
2013–presentMomBonnie PlunkettMain role; 132 episodes
2014Web TherapyJudith Frick2 episodes
2016The SimpsonsJulia (voice)Episode: "Friends and Family"
2016Comedy Bang! Bang!HerselfEpisode: "Allison Janney Wears a Chambray Western Shirt and Suede Fringe Boots"
2017F Is for FamilyHenrietta Van Horne (voice)3 episodes[37]
2017NobodiesHerself2 episodes
2017American Dad!Jessie (voice)Episode: "Family Plan"
2018–presentDuckTalesGoldie O'Gilt (voice)2 episodes
2019The Kominsky MethodHerselfEpisode: "Chapter 16. A Thetan Arrives"

Music video

2016Let Me Be Your Girl[38]ClownArtist: Rachael Yamagata; Director: Josh Radnor

Awards and nominations

See also


  2. "Allison Janney On Sex, Sorkin And Being The Tallest Woman In The Room : NPR". NPR. August 4, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  3. "Allison Janney Biography (1959–)". Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  4. Janney in "A Life in Pictures: Allison Janney". BAFTA. December 14, 2017. Archived from the original on September 9, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, with two brothers and a lot of animals. Note: Sources including,, and The Broadway League's Internet Broadway Database list birthplace as Dayton, Ohio.
  5. Allison Janney profile at; accessed February 25, 2014.
  6. "Macy B. Putnam Engaged to Wed; Bennett Alumna Is Fiancee of Jervis S. Janney Jr., a Graduate of Princeton". The New York Times. December 15, 1956. Photo caption: "Miss Macy Brooks Putnam". (subscription required)
  8. "Allison Janney Biography". Archived from the original on July 30, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  9. "The Miami Valley School - Awards & Honors - Distinguished Alumni Award". The Miami Valley School. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Allison Janney Emmy", retrieved May 9, 2019
  12. Andreeva, Nellie (January 12, 2010). "Matthew Perry project a go at ABC". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  13. Hibberd, James (May 18, 2010). "ABC's new fall schedule". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 20, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
  16. "Allison Janney Heads to Therapy in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Dread Central". Dread Central.
  17. Kroll, Justin (October 28, 2015). "Allison Janney Boards 'Girl on the Train' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  18. Kroll, Justin (December 15, 2016). "Allison Janney to Play Tonya Harding's Mother in 'I, Tonya' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  19. N'Duka, Amanda (April 24, 2018). "Allison Janney & Jim Gaffigan To Co-Star In Amazon's 'Troupe Zero'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  20. ‘Addams Family’ Movie Scares Up Charlize Theron, Bette Midler, Allison Janney & More For Voice Cast
  21. McNary, Dave (June 15, 2018). "Film News Roundup: Allison Janney Joins Hugh Jackman in 'Bad Education'". Variety. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  22. Wiseman, Andreas (September 20, 2018). "Allison Janney To Play Attorney Susan Estrich In Annapurna's Movie About The Roger Ailes Fox News Harassment Scandal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  23. Allison Janney, Laura Dern to Star in Dark Comedy Directed by Tate Taylor
  24. Allison Janney to Star in Bad Robot Thriller 'Lou' (Exclusive)
  25. "Allison Janney: Biography". Tv Guide. Retrieved April 19, 2013.
  26. Jones, Kenneth (August 29, 2007). "Dolly Parton Says 9 to 5 Will Play Broadway in 2009". Archived from the original on January 25, 2008. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
  27. Doug George. "Theater Loop - Chicago Tribune".
  28. Billy Elliot Leads Winners of 2009 Drama Desk Awards,; accessed November 18, 2014.
  29. "Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey Return to Broadway as Six Degrees of Separation Begins".
  30. "A Breath of Fresh Air for Health Care",; December 13, 2009.
  31. "Allison Janney Joining New Star Tours plus AC-38 Droid to Pilot Starspeeder 1000 in 2011". September 24, 2010. Archived from the original on September 28, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  32. "Alumni Award". The Hotchkiss School. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  33. "Allison Janney | Hollywood Walk of Fame". Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  34. Times, Los Angeles. "'Mom' actress Allison Janney receives star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame". Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  35. Fussman, Calt (January 4, 2012). "Alison Janney: What I've Learned". Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  36. McBride, Jessica (March 4, 2018). "Allison Janney's Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".
  37. Perkins, Dennis (June 11, 2017). "F Is For Family knows that all family debts come due sometime". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  38. Nicole Evatt (October 10, 2016). "Allison Janney clowns around in Rachael Yamagata's new video". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
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