Jennifer Coolidge

Active - 1997 - 2017  |   Born - Aug 28, 1963 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States  |   Genres - Comedy

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A character actress who has used her blond, voluptuous features to shrewd comic effect, Jennifer Coolidge appeared in some of the most celebrated film and TV comedies of the 1990s. Perhaps best known by mainstream audiences for her role as Stifler's mom in American Pie (1999), she has also done equally memorable work in films like Christopher Guest's Best in Show (2000), which cast her as the lesbian trophy-wife of a frail and oblivious old multimillionaire.

Originally hailing from Boston, Coolidge began her professional acting career when she moved to New York, where she became a member of the Gotham City Improv group. Work with the group led her to Los Angeles, where she continued to nurture a career in improvisational acting as a member of the Groundlings, the city's legendary improv troupe. In the early '90s, Coolidge broke into television-acting through spots on various shows, including Seinfeld and the animated King of the Hill, and segued into films with her debut in the forgettable 1997 comedy Trial and Error.

The actress earned her first dose of recognition for her scene-stealing cameo as a high school student's seductive mother in the blockbuster comedy American Pie. The breakout role made Coolidge a mainstay in the realm of comedy, and she would henceforth appear in numerous projects a year, most memorably in Best in Show, Zoolander, Legally Blonde, A Cinderella Story, For Your Consideration, and on shows like 2 Broke Girls and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Movie Highlights

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Factsheet

  • Was obsessed with Meryl Streep in college and wanted to be a dramatic actress, but that changed when she moved to L.A. and a friend suggested she audition for the sketch-comedy troupe the Groundlings.
  • First TV appearance was on Seinfeld in 1993, playing a masseuse who refused boyfriend Jerry's pleas to give him a massage.
  • Was featured in a couple of Roger Corman cable flicks (Not of This Earth; A Bucket of Blood) before making her big-screen debut in the courtroom comedy Trial and Error.
  • Big break came when cast as a sexy, boozed-up mom in the film American Pie, a role she reprised in the film's sequels.
  • Has been featured in three Christopher Guest films: Best in Show; A Mighty Wind; For Your Consideration.
  • Appeared on Broadway in 2001's The Women and earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress.
  • A 2003 appearance on Friends led to a recurring role on the spin-off Joey; also had a recurring role on The Secret Life of an American Teenager.