Allison Brooks Janney
November 19, 1959
|Education||Kenyon College (BA)|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Richard Jenik |
Allison Brooks Janney (born November 19, 1959) is an American actress. In a career spanning across film, television and theatre, Janney is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, six Critics' Choice Awards, a Golden Globe Award, seven Primetime Emmy Awards, seven Screen Actors Guild Awards, in addition to nominations for two Tony Awards.
Born in Boston and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Janney received a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts 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. 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. For her portrayal of Bonnie Plunkett, a cynical recovering addict on the CBS sitcom Mom (2013-2021), Janney received six Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won twice for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Janney made her professional stage debut with the Off-Broadway production Ladies (1989), and followed with numerous bit parts in various similar productions, before making her Broadway debut with the 1996 revival of Present Laughter. She won two Drama Desk Awards and has been nominated for two Tony Awards for Best Featured Actress in a Play her performance in the Broadway revival of A View from the Bridge (1997), and for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in the original Broadway production of the musical 9 to 5 (2009).
Her film roles include Private Parts (1997), Primary Colors (1998), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), American Beauty (1999), Nurse Betty (2000), The Hours (2002), Hairspray (2007), Juno (2007), The Help (2011), The Way, Way Back (2013), Tammy (2014), Spy (2015), Tallulah (2016), The Girl on the Train (2016), Bad Education (2019) and Bombshell (2019). She voiced roles in Finding Nemo (2003), Over the Hedge (2006), Minions (2015), and The Addams Family (2019). In 2017, for her portrayal of LaVona Golden in the black comedy I, Tonya, Janney won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Janney was born on November 19, 1959, in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in Dayton, Ohio. 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. She has two brothers--Hal and Jay.
She attended the Miami Valley School in Dayton, where she was named a distinguished alumna in 2005, and the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, where she was named Alumna of the Year in 2016. Janney initially aspired to a career in figure skating, but her tall stature and a freak accident when she was a teenager put an end to that dream. She attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where she majored in theatre. During her freshman year, Janney met actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward at a play for the inaugural event of the college's newly built Bolton Theater, which Newman was directing. The couple encouraged her to continue acting and offered her guidance during the early days in her career. She went on to train at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York and then received a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in mid-1984.
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, titled "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.
After a decade of small and uncredited parts, Janney had her breakthrough when she was cast as White House Press Secretary C. J. Cregg in the NBC political drama The West Wing. Creator Aaron Sorkin called Janney to audition for the role after seeing her in the film Primary Colors. Loosely based on Dee Dee Myers, the press secretary during Clinton administration, C. J. is a National Merit Scholar, who succeeds Leo McGarry as White House Chief of Staff. Writing for The Atlantic, John Reid says that "her capability and combination of strength and simple compassion represented the fantasy of the Bartlet White House better than anyone." The publication also ranks her as the best character from the series. In their ranking of the best characters from all the television series created by Sorkin, Vulture, ranks C. J. at No. 2 and says; "If all the Sorkin women were as classy, self-assured, and legitimately funny (the turkey pardon!) as C. J., we'd never have had the Sorkin woman argument in the first place". For her portrayal of C. J. Cregg, Janney won four Primetime Emmy Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Award, a Satellite Award and four nominations for the Golden Globe Awards, making her the most awarded cast member of the series.
Janney guest starred on the sitcom Frasier in a 2002 episode Three Blind Dates and appeared in the short-lived Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip in a guest appearance as herself in the episode "The Disaster Show". In late 2009, she was chosen to play the role of Sheila Jackson in the pilot episode of Shameless, but when Showtime picked up the series, she was replaced after the pilot by Joan Cusack. In 2010, Janney 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.
Following few short-lived shows and a brief sabbatical from television, Janney returned to the small screen with the CBS sitcom Mom (2013-2021). Janney plays Bonnie Plunkett, a self-centered, cynical recovering addict who tries to regain the love and trust of her daughter (played by Anna Faris). She was influenced to take on the role following the death of her younger brother from drug addiction, as well as her longtime desire to work on multicam comedy. For her performance on the series, Janney has received critical acclaim and six Primetime Emmy Award nominations, winning twice as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, and six nominations at the Critics' Choice Television Awards winning twice for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
From 2014 to 2016, Janney guest-starred in Showtime's period drama Masters of Sex, portraying a sexually repressed homemaker in 1950s who struggles to understand the disintegration of her marriage. Her performance received praise with Janney receiving three consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series winning one in 2014, and winning the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series. 
Janney made her film debut with a minor part in Who Shot Patakango? (1989). This was followed by a series of minor roles in numerous films throughout the 90s, including; Wolf, The Object of My Affection, Big Night, The Impostors, Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Ice Storm, Primary Colors, 10 Things I Hate About You, Private Parts, and American Beauty. For the last of these she won the Screen Actors Guild Award and Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble. She also appeared in Nurse Betty (2000), The Hours (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), How to Deal (2003), The Chumscrubber (2005), Winter Solstice (2004), and Our Very Own (2005). For the last of these, she received a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.
In 2007, Janney starred in Jason Reitman's comedy-drama Juno, playing Bren MacGuff, the titular character's stepmother. In the same year, she appeared in the musical Hairspray, and won the Austin Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Critics' Choice Movie Awards for Best Acting Ensemble. In 2010, Janney earned praise for her performance in Todd Solondz's comedy-drama Life During Wartime.
In 2011, Janney appeared in Tate Taylor's period drama The Help, which won the Screen Actors Guild Award and Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble. She also appeared in Margaret (2011), Struck by Lightning (2012), Liberal Arts (2012), Spy (2015), The DUFF (2015), Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016), Tallulah (2016), and The Girl on the Train (2016).
In 2017, Janney starred in Craig Gillespie's black comedy I, Tonya, based on the life of figure skater Tonya Harding. Screenwriter Steven Rogers wrote the role of LaVona specifically for Janney and refused to sell his screenplay until Janney was cast in the film. Janney would consider the part as one of the most challenging of her career. Janney earned numerous accolades for her performance in the film including the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, Critics' Choice Movie Award, Independent Spirit Award, and BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Janney appeared in five movies in 2019. She had cameo appearances in the family comedy Troop Zero, the psychological thriller Ma, and Bombshell. For the last of these she received nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Award, and Critics' Choice Movie Award Best Acting Ensemble. Janney also voiced for the role of Margaux Needler in the animated version of The Addams Family. Janney also appeared in Bad Education.
Janney made her professional stage debut in 1989 with an uncredited part in the Off-Broadway production Ladies. Following minor roles in similar productions like; Prescribed Laughter In The Emergency Café, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress and Blue Window, Janney made her Broadway debut with the 1996 revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter. She played Liz Essendine, the estranged wife of the lead character (played by Frank Langella). Although a minor role, her performance garnered praise and attention with The New York Times calling it "The most fully accomplished performance on the stage". For her performance in the play, Janney won the Theatre World Award, Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Female, Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play and received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play.
Janney starred in the 1998 revival of Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge to positive reviews. For her performance, Janney won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, and received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play.
In 2009, Janney starred in the musical 9 to 5 alongside Stephanie J. Block and Megan Hilty. Her performance garnered positive reviews, and Janney earned the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical and a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
In 2017, Janney returned to Broadway with the revival of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation in the role of Ouisa Kittredge. Janney received nominations for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance and won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play.
Janney has never been married and has no children, of which she said: "I've never had that instinct to have kids, I'm at peace with it". She was romantically involved with computer programmer Dennis Gagomiros. The couple began dating in 1994, and were interested in getting married but ended their relationship after seven years together in 2001. In 2002, she met actor Richard Jenik (her co-star in Our Very Own). The couple got engaged in 2004 but broke up two years later in 2006. In 2012, Janney met production manager Philip Joncas. The two met on the set of The Way, Way Back and began dating soon after. The couple dated for five years before ending their relationship in 2017.
In interviews related to her role on Mom, Janney discussed her brother, Hal, who fought drug addiction for years before his suicide. She has credited playing her character on Mom to people fighting addiction. On March 4, 2018, Janney dedicated her Academy Award win to him during her acceptance speech.
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. 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. 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 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in the entertainment industry, located at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard.
Janney has campaigned for numerous issues like same-sex marriage, gay rights, women's rights, mental health, and addiction recovery. In 2018, Janney participated in the 2018 Women's March in Los Angeles, part of a larger national movement for women's rights, human rights, and social justice. She supports various charities including American Heart Association, American Stroke Association, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and GLAAD.
In 2016, Janney was honored at the White House at the event "Champions of Change", which honored 10 accomplished individuals from across the country who were being recognized for advancing addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery. She also participated in a panel discussion with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to talk about the portrayal of addiction and recovery in the media. In 2017, Janney donated $250,000 to Planned Parenthood. In 2020 with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Janney donated $10,000 to the Dayton Foodbank, an organisation providing the food supply to the homeless. She frequently promotes her charitable causes through her social media accounts.
Janney has also been an active supporter of voter registration, posting about voter ID issues and suggesting fans check VoteRiders for details. She and her West Wing costars were part of Michelle Obama's When We All Vote initiative. More recently, she participated in Divas for Democracy: United We Slay, a streaming variety show supporting voter registration.
|1989||Who Shot Patakango?||Miss Penny|
|1994||The Cowboy Way||NYPD computer operator|
|1994||Miracle on 34th Street||Woman in Christmas Shop|
|1994||Heading Home||Mary Polanski|
|1996||Walking and Talking||Gum Puller|
|1997||Anita Liberty||Gynecologist||Short film|
|1997||Private Parts||Dee Dee|
|1997||The Ice Storm||Dot Halford|
|1997||Julian Po||Lilah Leech|
|1998||Primary Colors||Miss Walsh|
|1998||The Object of My Affection||Constance Miller|
|1998||Six Days, Seven Nights||Marjorie, Robin's boss|
|1999||10 Things I Hate About You||Ms. Perky|
|1999||Drop Dead Gorgeous||Loretta|
|1999||American Beauty||Barbara Fitts|
|2000||Leaving Drew||Paula||Short film|
|2000||Auto Motives||Gretchen||Short film|
|2000||Nurse Betty||Lyla Branch|
|2000||Rooftop Kisses||Melissa||Short film|
|2002||The Hours||Sally Lester|
|2003||Finding Nemo||Peach (voice)|
|2003||How to Deal||Lydia Martin|
|2003||Chicken Party||Barbara Strasser||Short film|
|2004||Piccadilly Jim||Eugenia Crocker|
|2004||Winter Solstice||Molly Ripkin|
|2005||Strangers with Candy||Alice|
|2005||The Chumscrubber||Allie Stifle|
|2005||Our Very Own||Joan Whitfield|
|2006||Over the Hedge||Gladys Sharp (voice)|
|2007||Juno||Brenda "Bren" MacGuff|
|2008||Pretty Ugly People||Suzanna|
|2008||Prop 8: The Musical||Prop 8 leader's wife|
|2009||Away We Go||Lily|
|2009||Life During Wartime||Trish Maplewood|
|2011||Margaret||Wounded woman / Monica Patterson|
|2011||A Thousand Words||Samantha Davis|
|2011||The Help||Charlotte Phelan|
|2012||The Oranges||Cathy Ostroff|
|2012||Struck by Lightning||Sheryl Phillips|
|2012||Liberal Arts||Prof. Judith Fairfield|
|2013||The Way, Way Back||Betty Thompson|
|2013||Days and Nights||Elizabeth|
|2013||Bad Words||Dr. Bernice Deagan|
|2013||Brightest Star||The Astronomer|
|2014||Mr. Peabody & Sherman||Mrs. Grunion (voice)|
|2014||The Rewrite||Prof. Mary Weldon|
|2014||Get on Up||Kathy|
|2015||The DUFF||Dottie Piper|
|2015||Minions||Madge Nelson (voice)|
|2016||Tallulah||Margaret "Margo" Mooney|
|2016||Finding Dory||Peach (voice)||Cameo|
|2016||Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children||Dr. Nancy Golan / Mr. Barron|
|2016||The Girl on the Train||Detective Riley|
|2017||A Happening of Monumental Proportions||Principal Nichols|
|2017||Sun Dogs||Rose Chipley|
|2017||I, Tonya||LaVona Golden|
|2019||Troop Zero||Miss Massey|
|2019||Bad Education||Pamela "Pam" Gluckin|
|2019||The Addams Family||Margaux Needler (voice)|
|2020||Lazy Susan||Velvet Swensen|
|2021||Breaking News in Yuba County||Sue Buttons|
|1991||Morton & Hayes||Beatrice Caldicott-Hayes||2 episodes|
|1992||Law & Order||Nora||Episode: "Star Struck"|
|1993||Blind Spot||Doreen||Television film|
|1993-95||Guiding Light||Ginger||2 episodes|
|1994||Law & Order||Ann Madsen||Episode: "Old Friends"|
|1995||The Wright Verdicts||Alice Klein||Episode: "Sins of the Father"|
|1995||New York Undercover||Vivian||Episode: "Digital Underground"|
|1996||Aliens in the Family||Principal Sherman||Episode: "A Very Brody Tweeznax"|
|1996||Cosby||Podiatric Nurse||Episode: "Happily Ever Hilton"|
|1997||...First Do No Harm||Dr. Melanie Abbasac||Television film|
|1997||Path to Paradise||Assistant District Attorney||Television film|
|1998||David and Lisa||Alix||Television film|
|1999||LateLine||Helen Marschant||Episode: "The Minister of Television"|
|1999-06||The West Wing||C. J. Cregg||Main cast; 145 episodes|
|2000||A Girl Thing||Kathy McCormack||Television film|
|2001-02||Frasier||Phyllis (voice) / Susanna||2 episodes|
|2003||King of the Hill||Laura||Episode: "Full Metal Dust Jacket"|
|2005||Weeds||Ms. Greenstein||Episode: "Lude Awakening"|
|2007||Two and a Half Men||Beverly||Episode: "My Damn Stalker"|
|2007||Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip||Herself||Episode: "The Disaster Show"|
|2008-13||Phineas and Ferb||Charlene Doofenshmirtz (voice)||9 episodes|
|2010-15||Family Guy||Various (voice)||3 episodes|
|2010||Lost||"Mother"||Episode: "Across the Sea"|
|2010||In Plain Sight||Allison Pearson||2 episodes|
|2011||Glenn Martin, DDS||Marcia||Episode: "GlennHog Day"|
|2011||Mr. Sunshine||Crystal Cohen||Main cast; 13 episodes|
|2012||The Big C||Rita Strauss||Episode: "Life Rights"|
|2012||Robot Chicken||Grammi Gummi / Woman (voice)||Episode: "In Bed Surrounded by Loved Ones"|
|2013||Veep||Janet Ryland||Episode: "First Response"|
|2013-15||Masters of Sex||Margaret Scully||9 episodes|
|2013-21||Mom||Bonnie Plunkett||Main role; 170 episodes|
|2014||Web Therapy||Judith Frick||2 episodes|
|2015||Key and Peele||Various||"Key & Peele's Super Bowl Special"|
|2016||The Simpsons||Julia (voice)||Episode: "Friends and Family"|
|2016||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Herself||Episode: "Allison Janney Wears a Chambray Western Shirt and Suede Fringe Boots"|
|2017-18||F Is for Family||Henrietta Van Horne (voice)||5 episodes|
|2017||American Dad!||Jessie (voice)||Episode: "Family Plan"|
|2018-20||DuckTales||Goldie O'Gilt (voice)||5 episodes|
|2019||The Kominsky Method||Herself||Episode: "Chapter 16. A Thetan Arrives"|
|1991||Prescribed Laughter In The Emergency Café|
|1992||Making Book||Megan Chamber|
|1993||Five Women Wearing the Same Dress||Mindy||Manhattan Class Company, Off-Broadway|
|1993||Class One Acts||Performer||Off-Broadway|
|1993||Breaking Up||Alice||Delacorte Theater, Off-Broadway|
|1995||New England||Gemma Baker||New York Theatre Workshop, Off-Broadway|
|1996||Blue Window||Boo||Second Stage Theater, Off-Broadway|
|1996||Present Laughter||Liz Essendine||Playwrights Horizons, Broadway|
|1997||A View from the Bridge||Beatrice Carbone||Brooks Atkinson Theatre, Broadway|
|1999||The Taming of the Shrew||Katherina||Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Off-Broadway|
|2007||The Autumn Garden||Constance Tuckerman||Williamstown Theatre Festival|
|2009||9 to 5: The Musical||Violet Newstead||Marquis Theatre, Broadway|
|2017||Six Degrees of Separation||Ouisa Kittredge||Ethel Barrymore Theatre, Broadway|
|2016||Let Me Be Your Girl||Clown||Artist: Rachael Yamagata; Director: Josh Radnor|
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 Biography.com, TVGuide.com, and The Broadway League's Internet Broadway Database list birthplace as Dayton, Ohio.