Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch at sneak "Beak" of Rio

Jane Marie Lynch (born July 14, 1960) is an American actress, comedian, and singer. She gained fame in Christopher Guest's improv mockumentary pictures such as Best in Show and is currently known for playing the role of Sue Sylvester in the television series Glee for which she has won both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award, and recurring role in the hit television series Two and a Half Men. She has also had notable roles in numerous mainstream comedies, such as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models, and The Three Stooges.

Early life

Lynch was born and raised in Dolton, Illinois, the daughter of a homemaker-secretary mother, Eileen (née Carney), and a banker father, Frank Lynch. Her father was of Irish descent and her mother was of Irish and Swedish ancestry. She was raised in a Catholic family and attended Thornridge High School. She received her bachelor's degree in theater from Illinois State University and her Master of Fine Arts in theater from Cornell University.


Early work

Lynch spent fifteen years in Chicago, acting in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and, at the time of her audition, was one of only two women picked to join The Second City comedy troupe. She then continued to hone her comical and improvisational skills at Annoyance Theater, playing Carol Brady in the theater's The Real Live Brady Bunch. Andy Richter played Mike Brady in the New York shows. He and Lynch became very good friends.


Lynch got her start in films in 1988, playing a small role in the film Vice Versa. In 1993, she had a secondary role as a doctor alongside Harrison Ford in The Fugitive.

During the 1990s, she made numerous television commercials, including one for Frosted Flakes for an adult audience, directed by Christopher Guest. A few years later, Guest would remember Lynch, as he cast actors for his dog show mockumentary, Best in Show (2000). Lynch played Christy Cummings, a butch lesbian personal dog handler to trophy wife Sheri Ann Cabot ([Jennifer Coolidge). Since then, she has been a staple part of Guest's casts, appearing in the director's A Mighty Wind (2003) as porn actress-turned-folk singer Laurie Bohner and in For Your Consideration (2006) as an entertainment reporter.

Audiences and critics took notice of Lynch for her turn in Judd Apatow's The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She told Fresh Air's Terry Gross the role was originally intended for a man but, at the urging of Steve Carell's wife Nancy Walls, was offered to Lynch instead. Since then, she has had supporting roles in a series of films including Role Models, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Space Chimps, The Rocker, The Hammer, Another Cinderella Story, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Spring Breakdown.

In Julie and Julia, she played the role of Dorothy McWilliams, Julia Child's sister. Entertainment Weekly dedicated an article on their website toward the possibility of her performance receiving an Academy Award nomination.


Lynch has appeared in television roles for over a decade, including work in L.A. Law, Judging Amy, The West Wing, 7th Heaven, Desperate Housewives, Friends, Dawson's Creek, Felicity, Arrested Development, Lovespring International, Two and a Half Men, Weeds, Boston Legal, The L Word, Criminal Minds, Help Me Help You, Gilmore Girls, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Psych, Monk, and Party Down. She also starred with John Hannah and William Fichtner in 2002's MDs and has appeared in the crime drama Criminal Minds as Spencer Reid's schizophrenic mother.

Beginning 2009, Lynch appeared on the Fox series Glee. She won glowing reviews for her role as the aggressive cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. Mary McNamara of the LA Times wrote, "Lynch alone makes Glee worth watching." Before her work with Glee, she was a series regular on the Starz comedy Party Down. Though the series was renewed for a second season, Lynch would not be returning, due to her work on Glee.

Lynch has garnered numerous accolades and awards throughout her career, particularly for her role as Sue Sylvester. In 2005, for example, Lynch was named as one of POWER UP's "10 Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz." On December 15, 2009, Lynch received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film for her role on Glee; she lost to Chloë Sevigny. The series itself also received nominations in three other categories. On August 29, 2010, Lynch won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress - Comedy Series. In January 2011, Lynch was awarded the Golden Globe in The Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film Category.

In addition to her current work on Glee, Lynch continues to pursue other projects. Lynch hosted Saturday Night Live on October 9, 2010; the news of her hosting was accidentally broken to her by her Glee boss, Ryan Murphy, by text message. Lynch also guest-starred on the Nickelodeon show iCarly as Pam Puckett, Sam Puckett's mother, in the episode "iSam's Mom".

Other work

Lynch wrote and starred in the award-winning play Oh Sister, My Sister. Originally produced in 1998, the play kicked off the Lesbians in Theater program at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in 2004.

She starred in Comcast's XFinity ads, mainly with two different laptops and two different colored Persian cats. She also stars in LG Corp.'s Text Ed campaign to educate drivers about the dangers of texting while driving.

Lynch's first experience hosting an awards show was in 2010 when she hosted the 2010 VH1 DoSomething Awards. It was announced that she will be hosting the 2011 VH1 DoSomething Awards, airing on VH1 on August 18. Lynch hosted the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards on September 18, 2011, only the third woman in Emmy history to host the awards show solo According to September 19's Hollywood Reporter Lynch hosting the Emmys did not help ratings, as viewing was down 8% year over year and eight million less people watched the Emmys as watched Michael Vick's return to Atlanta on Sunday Night Football on NBC (21.5 million for Eagles-Falcons, 13.5 million for the Emmys)

Happy Accidents, was released Fall 2011 by Hyperion Voice. Lynch was inspired to write the book after reflecting upon the successes of her past year and wishing she could have told her more anxious, younger self to not worry as much. The memoir also includes detail about her years as an alcoholic and her success in battling this addiction. Lynch is openly lesbian, and married Lara Embry in 2010. A self-proclaimed animal lover, Lynch has two dogs and a cat. She has recorded a Public service announcement for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals encouraging the adoption of shelter animals. On February 23, 2012, it was announced that she would be the commencement speaker for Smith College's class of 2012.

In March 2012, Lynch was featured with Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Brad Pitt in a performance of Dustin Lance Black's play, 8 — a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage — as Maggie Gallagher. The production was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and broadcast on YouTube to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Taxi Killer
1988 Vice Versa Ms. Linstrom
1992 In the Best Interest of the Children Gwen Hatcher TV Movie, as Jany Lynch
Straight Talk Gladys
1993 The Fugitive Dr. Kathy Wahlund
Fatal Instinct Prison Reporter
1997 Touch Me Counselor
2000 What Planet Are You From? Doreen
Red Lipstick Final TV Newscaster
Color Me Gay Executive / Do-Rag Lesbian Finalist at the 2nd Short Movie Awards
Best in Show Christy Cummings
2001 Nice Guys Finish Last Mom Comedy short
Martini Dr. Jane Short
2002 Hiding in Walls Diane Moffet Comedy short
Collateral Damage Agent Russo
The Big Time Miss Rush TV Movie
2003 A Mighty Wind Laurie Bohner Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Exposed Julie Gross
2004 Little Black Boot Grace Comedy short
Surviving Eden Maude Silver
Sleepover Gabby Corky
Memoirs of an Evil Stepmother Blanche Monroe Comedy short
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Realtor Uncredited role
The Aviator Amelia Earhart Scenes deleted from final cut
2005 Holly Hobbie and Friends: Surprise Party Joan Hobbie / Minnie Animated, voice actor
Promtroversy Mimi Nimby (Concerned Parent) Comedy short
The 40-Year-Old Virgin Paula
Bam Bam and Celeste Darlene
The Californians Sybill Platt
2006 The List Dr. Davina
Separated at Worth Jennifer TV Movie
Fifty Pills Doreen
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Lucy Bobby
For Your Consideration Cindy Nominated—Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast
The Frank Anderson Dr. Emily Brice Comedy short
Holly Hobbie and Friends: Christmas Wishes Joan Hobbie / Minnie Animated, voice actor
Eye of the Dolphin Glinton Lovespring International
2007 I Do & I Don't Nora Stelmack Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival Jury Award for Best Actress Comedy
Smiley Face Casting Director
Suffering Man's Charity Ingrid
Love is Love Reverend Greeley Comedy short
Holly Hobbie and Friends: Best Friends Forever Joan Hobbie / Minnie Animated, voice actor
Alvin and the Chipmunks Gail
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story News Interviewer Uncredited role
2008 The Toe Tactic Honey Strumpet
The Hammer Woman in hardware store
Adventures of Power Joni
Tru Loved Ms. Maple
Space Chimps Dr. Poole voice actor
The Rocker Lisa
Another Cinderella Story Dominique Blatt Direct-to-DVD
Role Models Gayle Sweeny
Man Maid Sabena
2009 Big Breaks M.J. Short
Spring Breakdown Senator Kay Bee Hartmann
Weather Girl J.D.
Mr. Troop Mom Ms. Hulka Nickelodeon film
Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Video Game/Voice Work
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Diatryma Mom Voice Work
Julie & Julia Dorothy McWilliams
Post Grad Carmella Malby
2010 Shrek Forever After Gretchen Voice Work
2011 Rio Alice Voice
Paul Pat Stevenson
2012 The Three Stooges Mother Superior
2012 Wreck-It Ralph Sergeant Calhoun voice
Year Title Role Notes
1993 Bakersfield P.D. Michelle Hathaway Episode: "Bakersfield Madam"
1993 Empty Nest Tammy Episode: "The Girl Who Cried Baby"
1994 Married... with Children Greta Episode: "Valentine's Day Massacre"
1994 Party of Five Dr. Pennant Episode: "Much Ado"
1994 The John Larroquette Show Evaluator Episode: "The Tutor"
1995 In The House Ruth Episode: "Female Trouble"
1995 NewsRadio Carol Episode: "The Cane"
1996 Cybill Mrs. Sweeney Episode: "Educating Zoey"
1996 3rd Rock from the Sun Mrs. Koppel Episode: "Dick, Smoker"
1996, 1998 Caroline in the City Hostess 2 Episodes: "Caroline and the Bad Date" and "Caroline and the First Date"
1996 Frasier Cynthia Episode: "A Lilith Thanksgiving"
1999 Dharma & Greg Sheryl Episode: "Play Lady Play"
1999–2000 Judging Amy ASA Perkins 3 Episodes: "Pilot", "Drawing the Line" & "Waterworld"
2000 JAG Episode: "The Witches of Gulfport"
2000 Gilmore Girls Nurse Episode: "Forgiveness and Stuff"
2000–2001 The West Wing}} Reporter 2 Episodes: "In The Shadow of Two Gunmen: Part 1" & "Two Cathedrals"
2001 Dawson's Creek Mrs. Witter Episode: "The Te of Pacey"
2001 Cursed Carla Episode: "...And Then Jack Had Two Dates"
2001 Popular Susie Klein Episode: "I Know What You Did Last Spring Break"
2001 The Division Episode: "The First Hit's Free, Baby"
2001 Arli$$ Episode: "Giving Something Back"
2001 Boston Public Jane Morrell Episode: "Chapter Twenty-Four"
2001 Family Law Cheryl Bowman Episode: "No Options"
2001 The X-Files Mrs. Anne T. Lokensgard Episode: "Lord of the Flies"
2001 The King of Queens Dr. Foreman Episode: "Ovary Action"
2001–2002 Family Guy Dotty Campbell, the nudist Voice actor, 4 Episodes
2001–2002 7th Heaven Nurse 4 Episodes
2002 Titus Prosecutor Episode: "The Trial"
2002 Felicity Professor Carnes 2 Episodes: "Ben Don't Leave" & "The Paper Chase"
2002 MDs Aileen Poole, Registered nurse, PhD Series regular
2003 Watching Ellie Roman Episode: "TV"
2003 {The Dead Zone Flo McMurtry Episode: "The Storm"
2003 Spider-Man: The New Animated Series Oscorp Executive Voice actor, Episode: "Heroes and Villains"
2003 According to Jim Janice Episode: "The Lemonade Stand"
2004 NYPD Blue Susanna Howe Episode: "You Da Bomb"
2004 Monk Dr. Julie Waterford Episode: "Mr. Monk Gets Married"
2004 Las Vegas Helen Putasca Episode: "You Can't Take It With You"
2004 Arrested Development Cindi Lightballoon 3 Episodes: "Altar Egos", "Shock and Aww" & "Justice is Blind"
2004 Friends Ellen the realtor Episode: "The One Where Estelle Dies"
2004 Veronica Mars Mrs. Donaldson Episode: "Return of the Kane"
2005 Unscripted Jane 2 Episodes: "Episode #1.6" & "Episode #1.7"
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Ranger Episode: "Unbearable"
2005 Blind Justice Dr. Taylor 2 Episodes: "Four Feet Under" & "Rub a Tub Tub"
2005 The Life and Times of Juniper Lee Madame Rothchild Voice actor, Episode: "Magic Takes a Holiday"
2005 Weeds The Candyman Episode: "Fashion of the Christ"
2005 Illeanarama Illeana Douglas project
2005–2006 Rodney Amy O'Brien 2 Episodes: "Rodney Moonlights" & "Rodney Gets a Leg Up"
2006 Desperate Housewives Maxine Bennett Episode: "Silly People"
2006 Night Stalker Scientist Episode: "Into Night", uncredited
2006 Lovespring International Victoria Ratchford Series regular
2006 Help Me Help You Raquel Janes Recurring role, 5 episodes
2006–2008 Criminal Minds Diana Reid 5 Episodes: "The Fisher King: Part 1", "The Fisher King: Part 2", "Revelations", "The Instincts" & "Memoriam"
2006–2008 Boston Legal Joanna Monroe 4 Episodes: "Can't We All Get A Lung?", "Dances with Wolves", "The Good Lawyer" & "The Verdict"
2007 Untitled Christine Taylor Project
2007 Campus Ladies Professor Episode: "Psych 101"
2007 The New Adventures of Old Christine Ms. Hammond 2 Episodes: "The Real Thing" & "Friends"
2007 American Dad! Various Voice actor, 2 Episodes: "Surro-Gate" & "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever"
2004–present Two and a Half Men Dr. Linda Freeman Recurring minor role; 13 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress – Comedy Series (2010)
2007–present Handy Manny Jackie Greenway Recurring role/voice work
2005–2009 The L Word Joyce Wischnia Recurring role
2008 My Name Is Earl Sissy Episode: "I Won't Die With a Little Help From My Friends"
2008 Psych Barbara Dunlap Episode: "There Might Be Blood"
2009 The Spectacular Spider-Man Joan Jameson Voice actor, Episode: "Gangland"
2009 Party Down Constance Carmell Series regular
2009 Reno 911 Counselor Episode: "Wiegel's Couple's Therapy"
2009–present Glee Sue Sylvester Series regular
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2010)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2010)
People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Comedy Actress (2011)
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2010)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2010)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2009)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2011)
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2011)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2010–2011)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2011)
Nominated – People's Choice Award]] for Favorite TV Comedy Actress (2012)
2010–2011 The Cleveland Show Ms. Eck/Sue Sylvester Episode: "Love Rollercoaster"/"How Do You Solve a Problem Like Roberta?"
2010 Neighbors from Hell Alex Episode: "Screw the EPA"
2010 iCarly Pam Puckett Season Four, Episode 2 (Episode 72) "iSam's Mom"
2010 VH1 Do Something Awards Herself Host
2010 Saturday Night Live Herself Host
2011 Phineas and Ferb Mrs. Johnson Episodes: "Run, Candace, Run", "Canderemy" and "Bad Hair Day"
2011 Web Therapy Claire Dudek Episode: "Public Relations"
2011 The Simpsons Roz Davis 1 Episode: Replaceable You
2012 Word Girl Miss Power 1 Episode: The Rise of Miss Power
2012 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Ellen DeGeneres' Wax Figure


  • 2003: A Mighty Wind
  • 2008: Another Cinderella Story
  • 2010: Glee: The Music, The Power of Madonna
  • 2010: Glee: The Music, Volume 3 Showstoppers
  • 2010: Ohio [Glee Cast Version] (Featuring Carol Burnett) – Single

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