Allison Janney was born on Nov. 19, 1959, in Boston, Massachusetts, to actress Marcy Brooks and Jarvis Spencer Janney Jr., a real-estate developer and jazz musician. Her acting career was set into motion when she answered a casting call at Kenyon College, which she attended. The play, according to IMDb, was directed by Kenyon’s most famous alumnus, Paul Newman, who is also credited with discovering the actress, who, throughout her career, has always seemed to epitomize poise and grace. She subsequently won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London in the summer of 1984.
Because of her six-foot stature, she was also a well-performing athlete. In an interview with “Vanity Fair,” she lightheartedly said she loves hip hop music and making sangria, but admitted she is not the best at it. Moreover, she brags about her niece and nephew, who both attended and graduated from Harvard University. Excellence seems to run in their DNA.
The actress is best known for her role as C.J. Cregg in the Aaron Sorkin-created political drama “The West Wing.” It originally aired in September 1999 and ran until May 2006. Throughout her long career as an actress, she has won seven Emmy awards, many of which she received for her role on “The West Wing.”
More recently, Janney can be seen on the sitcom, “Mom,” which is now in its third season. The series is about a mother, Bonnie, who is played by Janney, and her daughter, played by Anna Faris, who are in recovery together. Rosie O’Donnell guest-starred on the television show on Feb. 4, 2016, as Jeanine, who had a romantic relationship with Bonnie, “back when she was drinking and drugging.” In the episode, O’Donnell says, “She is the best kisser ever.”
“The Hours,” a movie made in 2002, is about three women from different generations. It stars the iconic Meryl Streep, another actress who stands next to Janney as epitomizing poise and grace, as Janney’s lesbian lover, and won the award for the Best Cast Ensemble from the Awards Circuit Community Awards (ACCA).
According to NBC News, the actress, who played a press secretary on “The West Wing,” appeared at a White House press briefing in the place of Press Secretary Josh Earnest on April 29, 2016. She explained her appearance, saying: “Josh is out today. He has, I believe it’s a root canal.” She added, “But let’s be honest, I’m better at this than he is, anyway,” which was followed by laughter from the assembled reporters. A few moments later, shortly after Janney began to speak, Earnest appeared.
Her true intention when crashing the briefing was to bring up the problem of opioid addiction. Janney said, “I am here today to draw attention to the opioid epidemic and to celebrate those who are working to help others combat substance use disorder.” She added, “This is a disease that can touch anybody, and all of us can all help reduce drug abuse through evidence-based treatment, prevention and recovery — research shows it works.”
Although the warm and down-to-earth actress seems to be very approachable, in an interview with “Vanity Fair,” she says she is really quite shy when around strangers. Fans certainly cannot tell this by her on-screen acting, as Janney seems to be the epitome of poise and grace when she gives live interviews.
By Tracy Blake
Edited by Jennifer Pfalz
Vanity Fair Hollywood: Allison Janney on Mom, Her Seventh Emmy, and The Girl on the Train Movie
People: Mom Guest Star Rosie O’Donnell Calls Allison Janney ‘the Best Kisser’
NBC News: Allison Janney Shows Up at the White House Press Briefing as the ‘West Wing’s’ C.J. Cregg
Image Courtesy of Sarah Burris’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License