Molly Shannon

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Molly Shannon
Molly Shannon by David Shankbone.jpg
Shannon at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
Birth name Molly Helen Shannon
Born (1964-09-16) September 16, 1964 (age 49)
Shaker Heights, Ohio
United States
Years active 1987–present
Spouse Fritz Chesnut (2004–present)
Children 2

Molly Helen Shannon (born September 16, 1964) is an American comic actress best known for her work as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2001 and for starring in the films Superstar and Year of the Dog. More recently, she starred in NBC's Kath & Kim from 2008 to 2009 and on the TBS animated series Neighbors from Hell. Throughout Shannon's career she has appeared in a number of films in supporting roles.

Early life[edit]

Shannon was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, on September 16, 1964, to an Irish American Catholic family.[1][2] Her mother, Mary Margaret "Peg" (née Keating), was a teacher, and her father, James Francis Shannon, was a sales manager.[3] Shannon was involved in a car accident when she was four years old which killed her mother, younger sister and cousin.[4][5] Shannon attended St. Dominic School in Shaker Heights for grade school, and Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio. She attended New York University, where she studied drama and graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 1987.[6]

Career[edit]

Before Saturday Night Live, Shannon had a struggling career in movies, her most notable being a supporting role as Meg in the 1989 horror film remake of The Phantom of the Opera with Robert Englund. In 1991, she had a brief appearance in the second season of Twin Peaks, and in 1993, she appeared with minor roles in two episodes of In Living Color, the first in a fake TV commercials with Chris Rock (played by Shawn Wayans), and the second in a sketch with Jim Carrey, playing LAPD Sergeant Stacey Koon.

Shannon's major break came in February 1995, when she was hired as a featured player on Saturday Night Live to replace Janeane Garofalo after Garofalo left mid-season due to creative differences. Shannon was one of the few cast members to be kept (along with David Spade, Norm Macdonald, Mark McKinney and Tim Meadows) when Lorne Michaels overhauled his cast and writers for season 21 (1995-1996).

She appeared in a 1997 episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Summer of George," where she played Sam, the co-worker who drove Elaine Benes crazy because she did not swing her arms while walking. She also appeared in Sheryl Crow's video for the song "A Change (Will Do You Good)" and played the recurring role of loony neighbor Val Bassett, Grace Adler's nemesis, on Will & Grace, appearing in five episodes over the sitcom's eight-season run. In 1998, she played the role of Emily Sanderson in the film A Night at the Roxbury, featuring Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan who were also cast members of SNL at the time.

In 1999, Shannon starred in Superstar, a feature film based on her most famous SNL character, Mary Katherine Gallagher, the awkward Catholic school student who aspires to be a musical superstar.

Shannon left SNL in 2001, surpassing Victoria Jackson as the show's longest-serving female cast member (she has since been surpassed by Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler). In 2003, she appeared in the romantic comedy My Boss's Daughter and the television remake of The Music Man.

Fritz Chesnut and Shannon in 2009.

In 2004, she starred in a short-lived Fox network television series Cracking Up with actor Jason Schwartzman. That same year, she guest starred in an episode of Scrubs and starred as Mrs. Baker in the film Good Boy!. In 2006, Shannon was featured in the Sofia Coppola directed movie Marie Antoinette as Aunt Victoire. The next year, Shannon guest starred on ABC's Pushing Daisies, and appeared in the film Evan Almighty. Shannon also made a rare move to drama, appearing in the critically acclaimed film Year of the Dog in 2007.

Shannon hosted Saturday Night Live on May 12, 2007, making her the second former female cast member to host (after Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and the first one to have been a cast member for Lorne Michaels (Louis-Dreyfus was a cast member under Dick Ebersol).

Shannon at the Orange County, California Children's Book Festival on October 2, 2011 promoting her first children's book, Tilly the Trickster.

In 2008, Shannon starred as Kath in the US version of the hit Australian sitcom Kath & Kim. Also in 2008, she starred in an episode of the comedy series Pushing Daisies and the TV movie More of Me.

In early 2010, Shannon was cast in a recurring role on the Fox television series Glee as Brenda Castle, an astronomy and badminton teacher who has a rivalry with main character Sue Sylvester.[7]

She returned to Saturday Night Live for a special Mother's Day episode on May 8, 2010,[8] and also the October 2010 reunion special "Women of SNL".

Shannon replaced Katie Finneran in the role of Marge McDougall in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises on 12 October 2010, and will remain through its closure on 2 January 2011 along with co-stars Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth.[9]

Shannon's first children's book, Tilly the Trickster, was released September 1, 2011.[10]

As of Spring, 2012, she has replaced Pauley Perrette as the spokesperson for Expedia.com.

Personal life[edit]

Shannon married artist Fritz Chesnut on May 29, 2004.[11] They have two children: daughter Stella (b. 2003), and son Nolan (b. 2005).[12]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1989 Phantom of the Opera, TheThe Phantom of the Opera Meg
1991 Twin Peaks Judy Swain 1 episode
1993 In Living Color Officer Trainee 1 episode
1993 General Hospital Surrogate Mother #2 1 episode
1994 John Larroquette Show, TheThe John Larroquette Show 1 episode
1994 Sister, Sister Cashier 1 episode
1994 Ellen Woman 1 episode
1995 Saturday Night Live Various 120 episodes (1995–2001)
1995 Return to Two Moon Junction Traci
1996 Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace Homeless Lady
1997 Dinner and Driving Arguing Woman in Café
1997 Single Guy, TheThe Single Guy Melody Pugh 1 episode
1997 Seinfeld Sam 1 episode ("The Summer of George")
1998 Thin Pink Line, TheThe Thin Pink Line Aanl
1998 Happiness Nancy
1998 Night at the Roxbury, AA Night at the Roxbury Emily Sanderson
1998 Daydream Believer Susan Bradley
1999 Analyze This Caroline
1999 Never Been Kissed Anita Olesky
1999 My Neighbors the Yamadas Matsuko Yamada Dubbed English Voice
1999 Superstar Mary Katherine Gallagher
1999 Will & Grace Val Bassett 5 episodes (1999–2004)
2000 SNL Fanatic Anna Nicole Smith TV
2000 My 5 Wives Barbara Van Dyke
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Betty Lou Who
2001 Wet Hot American Summer Gail von Kleinenstein
2001 Saturday Night Live Primetime Extra 1 Elizabeth Taylor TV
2001 Osmosis Jones Mrs. Boyd
2001 Serendipity Eve
2001 Shallow Hal Mrs Mary Larson Uncredited
2002 Sex and the City Lily Martin 3 episodes
2002 Santa Clause 2, TheThe Santa Clause 2 Tracy
2003 American Splendor Stage Actor Joyce
2003 Music Man, TheThe Music Man Mrs Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn TV
2003 Ed Linda Berringer 1 episode
2003 My Boss's Daughter Audrey Bennett
2003 Good Boy! Mrs. Baker
2004 Scrubs Denise Lemmon 1 episode
2004 Twelve Days of Christmas Eve, TheThe Twelve Days of Christmas Eve Angie TV
2004 Cracking Up Lesley Shackleton 7 episodes (2004–2006)
2005 Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie Jackie Frost Voice
2005 American Dad! Kristy 3 episodes (2005–2007)
2006 Shut Up and Sing Trish
2006 Scary Movie 4 Marilyn
2006 Marie Antoinette Aunt Victoire
2006 Little Man Soccer Mom
2006 Talladega Nights Mrs. Dennit
2006 My Gym Partner's a Monkey Pretties 1 episode
2006 Amazing Screw-On Head, TheThe Amazing Screw-On Head Patience the Vampire TV / Voice
2006 Gray Matters Carrie
2006 Air Buddies Molly Voice
2007 Mastersons of Manhattan, TheThe Mastersons of Manhattan Amanda Masterson
2007 Year of the Dog Peggy
2007 30 Rock Katherine Catherine Donaghy 1 episode
2007 Evan Almighty Eve Adams
2007 More of Me Alice McGowan TV
2007 Pushing Daisies Dilly Balsam 1 episode
2008 Snow Buddies Molly Voice
2008 Igor Eva Voice
2008 Kath & Kim Kath 18 episodes (2008–2009)
2009 What Goes Up Penelope Little
2009 New Adventures of Old Christine, TheThe New Adventures of Old Christine Jeannie 1 episode
2010 Glee Brenda Castle 2 episodes: "Bad Reputation" and "Dream On"
2010 Neighbors from Hell Tina Hellman Voice
2011 Bad Teacher Melody Tiara
2011, 2013 Middle, TheThe Middle Janet Minor character
2011 Up All Night Nancy 2 episodes: "Hiring and Firing" and "First Birthday"
2012 Casa de Mi Padre Sheila
2012 The Five-Year Engagement Onion Chef
2012 Hotel Transylvania Wanda Voice
2012 Web Therapy Kirsten Noble 2 episodes: "National Exposure" and "Adaptation"
2013 Scary Movie 5 Heather Daltry
2013 Happily Divorced Peggy 1 episode: "I Object"
2013 Enlightened Eileen Foliente TV
Nominated—Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
2013 Hannibal "mother" of a special family 1 episode: "Œuf" pulled from broadcast in USA (parts not containing "mother" shown as webseries); episode shown outside USA
2013 Jessie Col. Beverly Shannon 1 episode: "GI.Jessie"
2013 Bob's Burgers Millie 1 episode: "Fort Night"
2013 Raising Hope Maxine 1 episode: "Extreme Howdy's Makeover"
2014 Life After Beth Geenie Slocum Filming
2015 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 Filming

Saturday Night Live characters[edit]

Original characters[edit]

  • Mary Katherine Gallagher, Shannon's best known character. An odd, outcast student at a Catholic school who enjoyed performing in the choir and school plays. Shannon starred in a 1999 feature film based on the character.
  • Sally O'Malley, a proud 50-year old dancer with a bouffant hairdo, who wore tight red pants and proclaimed how much she loved to "kick, stretch and kick!"
  • Circe Nightshade, co-host of "Goth Talk" (with Chris Kattan).
  • Miss Colleen, co-host of "Dog Show" (with Will Ferrell).
  • Elizabeth, one of the "Southern Gals".
  • Helen Madden, an overly exuberant self-proclaimed "Joyologist", who appeared on talk shows with the trademark catchphrase "I love it, I love it, I love it!"
  • Veronica Kilvere, an airhead fashion model who hosts the "Veronica & Co." talk show.
  • Janette Blow, wife of Joe Blow (played by Colin Quinn) on "The Local News" public-access television cable TV talk show.
  • Terri Rialto, co-host of the NPR radio show "Delicious Dish" (with Ana Gasteyer).
  • Margaret Healy, a woman who enjoys doing lots of voices and accents.
  • Jeannie Darcy, an unfunny mullet-haired stand-up comedian, who ended almost every joke with the phrase "Don't get me started, don't even get me started!"

Celebrity impressions[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]