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Allison Janney

Janney at The Heart Truth Fashion Show, 2008
Born Allison Brooks Janney
November 19, 1959 (1959-11-19) (age 50)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1989–present

Allison Brooks Janney (born November 19, 1959) is an American actress, best known for her role as C. J. Cregg on the television series The West Wing.


Personal life

Janney was born in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of Macy (née Putnam), a former actress and homemaker, and Jervis Spencer Janney, Jr., a real estate developer and jazz musician.[1] She has two older brothers, Jay and Hal.[2] She attended The Miami Valley School in Dayton, where she was named a distinguished alumna in 2004, and the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut. She then attended Kenyon College. At Kenyon, Janney studied under another Kenyon alum, Paul Newman. She went on to study drama at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She attended The Neighborhood Playhouse the same years as actor Dylan McDermott.


Janney's first roles on television were as comedic foils on soap operas: she first played Vi Kaminski for a short time on As the World Turns, following up with a two-year stint as one of the Spaulding maids, Ginger on Guiding Light. In the spring of 1994, she appeared in the season finale of Law & Order, as a reluctant witness against a member of the Russian mob.

Janney has appeared in a number of films with roles of various sizes, 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 2000s films Nurse Betty, The Hours, The Chumscrubber, How to Deal, Winter Solstice and a considerable role in the animated movie, Finding Nemo, voicing Peach, the starfish. In 2006, Janney carried notable roles in the movies, Margaret and Over the Hedge, an animated comedy.

In 1999, she was cast in the role of presidential press secretary C.J. Cregg on the television drama The West Wing, for which she eventually won four Emmy Awards. Two of the Emmys were for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Drama Series in 2000 and 2001, and two were for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Drama Series in the years 2002 and 2004. She was also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series in the 2003 and 2006 Primetime Emmys. She is one of six cast members from The West Wing to have won an Emmy for their work - however, Janney is the only one who has won more than once. Janney also won two Screen Actor's Guild awards for Best Actress in a dramatic series, in 2001 and 2002, for her portrayal of C.J Cregg. The cast of "The West Wing" won the Screen Actor's Guild award for Best Ensemble in a dramatic series the same two years. Additional accolades for Janney's work in "The West Wing" include four Golden Globe award nominations, and a nomination in 2002 for American Film Institute's Actor of the Year.

Weekend trips to Washington, D.C. were frequently a part of Janney's schedule, and for the rest of the cast as well, as many outdoor scenes on The West Wing were actually filmed in the nation's capital. Janney also met several times with former White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers who served in the Clinton Administration from 1993–1994. Janney met with Myers in New York City to help portray her character more authentically.

The West Wing concluded in January 2006, and the last episode aired in May of that year. Even though the latter seasons were plagued by declining ratings, the overall rating of Janney remained a relatively positive one, touted by Entertainment Weekly as "one to watch", "uncommonly beautiful and infinitely expressive".[3] In January 2006, West Wing's cast was also nominated by the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast. Janney, Martin Sheen, Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, and other members of the cast appeared at the SAG Awards to honor their late cast mate and friend, John Spencer.

In 2006, she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her performance in the film Our Very Own. Many of Janney's long time friends were involved with Our Very Own including its producer Shannon McMahon Lichte and cast member Allison Mackie. All three were in the same class at the Neighborhood Playhouse. The writer/director Cameron Watson, also a longtime friend, wrote the role of Joan for her.

In 2007, Janney appeared in the Academy-Award-nominated film, Juno playing the part of Bren MacGuff, the title character's stepmother, for which she won Best Supporting Actress in the Austin Film Critics Association Awards 2007. In the same year, Janney appeared in the Golden-Globe-nominated film, Hairspray, as Prudy Pingleton, Penny's (Amanda Bynes) strict and religious mother.

Janney has also appeared in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, also created by Aaron Sorkin. She made a guest appearance as herself in The Disaster Show, as the guest host of the week's episode of Studio 60. Many of the characters made references to her part in The West Wing, even those played by fellow West Wing actors.

Janney has remained active in theater. In 1998, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge. Her first Broadway role was in Present Laughter opposite Frank Langella. In 2007, she participated in a workshop for a new musical of the film 9 to 5.[4] In late 2008, Janney joined Broadway stars Stephanie J. Block, Megan Hilty and Marc Kudisch in the new musical, 9 to 5. Based on the film of the same name, Janney is starring as Violet Newstead, the super efficient office manager played by Lily Tomlin (a former cast mate from The West Wing) in the original film. Janney has signed on for a 1 year contract with the 9 to 5 production. She has since been nominated for a Tony Award for her work in 9 to 5. In May 2009, she won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical for the role of Violet Newstead. She also appeared alongside Jack Black and John C. Reilly in Prop 8 (The Musical), a satirical musical protesting the passing of California Proposition 8.

In 2004, Janney 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.


Year Film Role Notes
1989 Who Shot Patakango? Miss Penny
1994 Dead Funny Jennifer
The Cowboy Way NYPD computer operator
Wolf Party guest
Miracle on 34th Street Christmas shop woman
1995 Heading Home Unknown role
1996 Flux Heather
Rescuing Desire Betsy
Walking and Talking Gum Puller
Big Night Ann
Faithful Saleswoman
The Associate Sandy
1997 Anita Liberty Gynecologist
Private Parts Dee Dee
The Ice Storm Dot Halford
Julian Pro Lilah Leech
1998 Primary Colors (film) Miss Walsh
The Object of My Affection Constance Miller
The Impostors Maxine
Six Days Seven Nights Marjorie, Robin's boss
Celebrity Evelyn Isaacs
1999 10 Things I Hate About You Ms. Perky
Drop Dead Gorgeous Loretta
American Beauty Barbara Fitts
The Debtors
2000 Leaving Drew Paula
Auto Motives Gretchen
Nurse Betty Lyla Branch
2002 Rooftop Kisses Melissa
The Hours Sally Lester
2003 Finding Nemo Peach Voice
How to Deal Lydia Martin
Chicken Party Barbara Strasser
2004 Piccadilly Jim Eugenia Crocker
Winter Solstice Molly Ripkin
2005 Strangers with Candy Alice
The Chumscrubber Allie Stiffle
Our Very Own Joan Whitfield
2006 Over the Hedge Gladys Voice
2007 Hairspray Prudy Pingleton
Juno Brenda 'Bren' MacGuff
2008 Pretty Ugly People Suzanna
Prop 8: The Musical Prop 8 leader's wife
2009 Away We Go Lily
Life During Wartime Trish
2010 Margaret Wounded woman Waiting release
A Thousand Words Unknow role
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Morton & Hayes Beatrice Caldicott Episode: "Society Saps"
Episode: "Homes Buddies"
1993 Blind Spot Doreen TV movie
1993-1995 The Guiding Light Ginger Recurring role
1992-1994 Law & Order Ann Madsen/Nora Episode: "Star Truck"
Episode: "Old Friends"
1995 The Wright Verdicts Episode: "Sins of the Father"
New York Undercover Vivian Episode: "Digital Underground"
1996 Aliens in the Family Principal Sherman Episode: "A Very Brody Tweeznax"
Cosby Podiatric Nurse Episode: "Happily Ever Hilton"
1997 ...First Do No Harm Dr. Melanie Abbasac TV movie
Path to Paradise: The Untold Story of the World Trade Center Bombing Assistant District Attorney TV movie
1998 David and Lisa Alix TV movie
1999 LateLine Helen Marschant Episode: "The Minister of Television"
2000 A Girl Thing Kathy McCormack TV movie
2001-2002 Frasier Phyllis Episode: "The Two Hundredth
Episode: Three Blind Dates"
2003 King of the Hill Laura Episode: Full Metal Dust Jacket
2005 Weeds Ms. Greenstein - Attorney Episode: "Lude Awakening"
1999-2006 The West Wing Claudia Jean 'C.J.' Cregg 154 episodes
2007 Two and a Half Men Beverly Episode: "My Damn Stalker"
2008-2009 Phineas and Ferb Charlene Doofenshmirtz Episode: "I Scream, You Scream"
Episode: Out of Toon/Hail Doofania
Episode: "Thaddeus and Thor/De Plane! De Plane!"
Episode: "The Bully Code/Finding Mary McGuffin"
2010 Shameless Sheila Episode: "Pilot"
Family Guy Teen People Editor Episode: "Dial Meg for Murder"
Mr. Sunshine Unknown Pre-production


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