Birth Date: November 19 1960
Birth Place: N/A
A tall and lanky brunette character player with proven versatility on both stage and screen, Allison Janney spent several years in bit parts and minor roles before breaking through as the shy florist courted by an Italian chef (Tony Shalhoub) in "Big Night" (1996) and later reaching household name status with a regular role on the critically acclaimed NBC drama "The West Wing" (1999- ).
She was raised in Ohio and harbored dreams of Olympic skating medals before a accident in her senior year of high school dashed her plans. Attending a dance in a strapless gown, someone stepped on her skirt, tearing the dress. In an effort to preserve her dignity, Janney blindly ran--through a glass door. She was severely injured, losing a lot of blood. After recovering, Janney attended Kenyon College and landed a role in a play directed by alumnus Paul Newman. Newman's wife, Joanne Woodward, encouraged the young actress and suggested she consider studying at NYC's Neighborhood Playhouse. Despite her credentials (including a stint at London's RADA and work Off-Off-Broadway and in regional theater), Janney had trouble finding an agent due to her height.
The actress eventually landed representation and by the mid-90s, her career began to blossom. In 1994 alone, she appeared in small roles in several films, including "The Cowboy Way" and "Wolf", was featured in the Off-Broadway play "Fat Men in Skirts" and landed a recurring role as a wisecracking maid on the CBS soap "Guiding Light".
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