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Jane Anderson

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Jane Anderson
Bornc. 1954 (age 69–70)
Occupation(s)Actress, playwright, screenwriter, director
Years active1982–present
SpouseTess Ayers

Jane Anderson (born c. 1954 in California) is an American actress, playwright, screenwriter and director. She wrote and directed the feature film The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio (2005), and wrote the film It Could Happen to You (1994), starring Nicolas Cage. She won an Emmy Award for writing the screenplay for the miniseries Olive Kitteridge (2014).


Jane Anderson got her start as an actress, before getting her first writing job as a writer and consultant on the sitcom The Facts of Life (on which she had also appeared). She followed this up by creating the short-lived sitcom Raising Miranda, which was cancelled in its first season. She then had several other TV series gigs, and wrote her first play, The Baby Dance (1989).

Her first film experience was writing the 1993 HBO film The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, starring Holly Hunter; the film was critically acclaimed, and TV critics Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall in their 2016 book TV (The Book) named it the 2nd greatest American TV movie of all time, behind Steven Spielberg's Duel.[1] She later wrote and directed several other critically acclaimed television movies, including The Baby Dance (1998), based on her play and starring Stockard Channing and Laura Dern; When Billie Beat Bobby (2001) starring Holly Hunter and Ron Silver; and Normal (2003), based on her play Looking for Normal and starring Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson. She also wrote the segment "1961" of the 2000 HBO film If These Walls Could Talk 2, which won Vanessa Redgrave an Emmy Award for her portrayal of an elderly lesbian prevented from hospital visitation with her dying long-time companion.

She became a writer for the AMC television drama Mad Men for the show's second season in 2008. She was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series for her work on the second season.[2]

In 2015, Anderson wrote the documentary Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson about her great aunt, Edith Lake Wilkinson, a lesbian and painter who was institutionalized in the 1920s and spent the rest of her life in an asylum for the mentally ill.[3] Anderson cites Wilkinson as an inspiration for own drawing.[3]

In 2017, Anderson wrote the Glenn Close-starring The Wife.


As writer / director[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1986 The Facts of Life Writer "The Apartment", "Ready or Not", "Write and Wrong"
1988 Raising Miranda Writer "Black Monday", "Home for the Holidays"
1989 The Wonder Years Writer "How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation"
1991 The Hidden Room Writer "Dream Child", "A Type of Love Story"
1993 The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom Writer TV film
1994 It Could Happen to You Writer
1995 How to Make an American Quilt Writer
1998 The Baby Dance Writer & director TV film
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 Writer & director TV film, segment "1961"
2001 When Billie Beat Bobby Writer & director TV film
2003 Normal Writer & director TV film
2005 The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio Writer & director
2008 Mad Men Writer "The Gold Violin"
2014 Olive Kitteridge Writer TV miniseries
2015 Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson Writer Documentary
2017 The Wife Writer

As producer[edit]

Year Title Notes
1988 Raising Miranda 9 episodes
2008 Mad Men "The Gold Violin", "A Night to Remember"
2014 Olive Kitteridge TV miniseries
2015 Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson Documentary

As actress[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1978 The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour Regular performer TV series
1978 Girlfriends Omega Receptionist Film
1984 P.O.P. Dana McNeil TV film
1984 E/R Mrs. Grettie "Only a Nurse"
1985 The Facts of Life Karen "We Get Letters"

Other work[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1985–86 The Facts of Life Program consultant 5 episodes
1986 Who's the Boss? Program consultant "Charmed Lives"
1989 The Wonder Years Executive story editor 7 episodes


  • The Baby Dance (1989)
  • Looking for Normal (2001)[4]
  • The Quality of Life (2007)[5]
  • The Escort: An Explicit Play for Discriminating People (2011)[6]
  • The Baby Dance: Mixed (2018; revised version of The Baby Dance)[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sepinwall, Alan; Seitz, Matt Zoller (September 2016). TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time (1st ed.). New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing. p. 372. ISBN 9781455588190.
  2. ^ a b "2009 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". WGA. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  3. ^ a b "A Heartfelt Documentary Unpacks the Work of a Forgotten Lesbian Artist | Bitch Media". Bitch Media. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  4. ^ Hirschorn, Joel (April 15, 2001). "Looking for Normal". Variety.
  5. ^ Guthmann, Edward (October 29, 2008). "Jane Anderson's 'Quality of Life' at ACT". San Francisco Chronicle.
  6. ^ Fernandez, Maria Elena (March 6, 2011). "Jane Anderson explores sexual conflict in 'The Escort'". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Grigware, Don (May 7, 2018). "Interview: Playwright Jane Anderson Discusses the Relevance of THE BABY DANCE: MIXED a the Rubicon". Broadway World.
  8. ^ "Past Recipients". Archived from the original on 2011-08-30. Retrieved 2011-05-09.
  9. ^ "Brown, Guirgis, Letscher, Metcalf, et al. Win LADCC Awards". 18 March 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  10. ^ "2008 Ovation Award Winners Announced". Retrieved 18 October 2015.

External links[edit]