Jane Krakowski

Active - 1983 - 2021  |   Born - Oct 11, 1968 in Parsippany, New Jersey, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Lucia Bozzola

A musical theater veteran, Jane Krakowski is best known for her Emmy-nominated portrayal of scheming law secretary Elaine on the Fox TV hit Ally McBeal. Raised in Parsippany, NJ, Krakowski began taking dance lessons at age three. After making her movie debut as an orally skilled teenager in National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), she garnered two Emmy nominations during her 1984-1986 stint on the serial Search for Tomorrow. Though she acted in several TV productions, including Men and Women II (1991) and Queen (1993), and had small feature film parts in Fatal Attraction (1987) and Stepping Out (1991), Krakowski found more success on Broadway in the first half of the 1990s. After she earned a Tony nomination for her work in the 1990 musical Grand Hotel, the actress was featured in several shows, including the revival of Once Upon a Mattress starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Krakowski became a TV star, however, when she was cast in Ally McBeal in 1997. As ambitious busybody Elaine, Krakowski became a bombshell comic foil to Calista Flockhart's neurotic Ally, asserting her power over the series' law office with her well-honed observational skills. The actress also displayed her versatile talents in the show's whimsical song-and-dance interludes. Bolstered by her TV success, Krakowski played a supporting role in the dance romance Dance With Me (1998), appeared as the seemingly lascivious wife of William Fichtner's bizarre narc in Go (1999), and starred as Betty in the sequel The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000). After Ally McBeal went off the air in 2002, Krakowski continued to divide her time between TV, features and the stage. Along with voicing one of the female sloths in the hit animated movie Ice Age (2002), Krakowski starred in the made for TV romantic comedy Just a Walk in the Park (2002) and played a supporting role in the Lisa Kudrow comic vehicle Marci X (2003). As in the early 1990s, though, Krakowski wound up attracting more attention on Broadway. Drawing positive notice for her acrobatic entrance via a bed sheet as well as her musical gifts, Krakowski earned another Tony nomination for her sexy supporting performance as Antonio Banderas's mistress in the acclaimed revival of Nine, the musical version of Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963).

She was one of the female conquests for Jude Law in the remake of Alfie in 2004, and had a great success starting in 2006 when she was cast as Jenna Maroney, the oversexed, undereducated, deeply vain, and paranoid actress at the center of the fictional show within the show on the highly-respected sitcom 30 Rock. She provided a voice for the animated flim Open Season, and its sequel.

Movie Highlights

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  • Attended the Professional Children's School in New York, which counts numerous actors among its alumni, including Uma Thurman and Christopher Walken.
  • Reportedly turned down a role in the 1983 slasher film Sleepaway Camp because her character's death was too violent.
  • Made her film debut as Cousin Vicki in the 1983 Chevy Chase comedy National Lampoon's Vacation.
  • At 18, learned how to skate for her role in the Broadway production of Starlight Express
  • Nominated for a Daytime Emmy in 1987 for Outstanding Ingenue for her work on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow.
  • Sang "The Look of Love" on the 1998 tribute record The Burt Bacharach Album: Broadway Sings the Best of Burt Bacharach.
  • Won the 2006 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls.