Kathy Najimy

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Kathy Najimy
Kathy Najimy 2011.jpg
Najimy at the 2011 Bel Air Film Festival
Kathy Ann Najimy

(1957-02-06) February 6, 1957 (age 63)
OccupationActress, director, writer, producer, activist
Years active1985–present
Known forVeronica's Closet
King of the Hill
Dan Finnerty (m. 1998)

Kathy Ann Najimy (/nəˈɪmi/ nə-JIM-ee; born February 6, 1957)[1] is an American actress, director, writer, producer and activist. She is best known for her roles in the films Sister Act (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), and Rat Race (2001), as well as her portrayal of Olive Massery on the NBC sitcom Veronica's Closet (1997–2000) and for voicing Peggy Hill on the animated television series King of the Hill (1997–2010). She was first nationally known for her feminist play The Kathy and Mo Show, which she wrote and performed with Mo Gaffney.

Early life[edit]

Najimy was born on February 6, 1957, in San Diego, California, the daughter of Lebanese American parents Samia (née Massery) and Fred Najimy, a postal worker.[2][3] She was raised Catholic[4] and attended Crawford High School.[5]


Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney's feminist comedy play The Kathy and Mo Show premiered in 1986 and had three long term New York City runs[6][7][8] and generated two HBO specials, Parallel Lives and The Dark Side.

Najimy's film career began in the early 1990s, with a number of offbeat minor roles in The Fisher King, Soapdish, This Is My Life, The Hard Way. Her first major role was as Sister Mary Patrick in the 1992 comedy Sister Act. She reprised this role in 1993 in Sister Act 2. She also starred in Hocus Pocus as Mary Sanderson, alongside Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker. Premiering in August 2015, Najimy appeared in Disney's Descendants as the Evil Queen. In 1999, she played the Stepmother in CinderElmo, a primetime special for Sesame Street. In 2001, she co-starred in the hit comedy film Rat Race alongside John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz and Seth Green. She has made four movies with Goldberg (Soapdish, Sister Act 1 and 2, and Rat Race). Najimy starred in Pixar's Academy Award winning film WALL-E and Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas. She appeared in Netflix's 2018 film Dumplin' alongside Jennifer Aniston.

From film, Najimy expanded into television roles, including a dramatic recurring role on Chicago Hope, She was part of the cast of Veronica's Closet from 1997 to 2000. She played Wendy Keegan in HBO's VEEP for four seasons. She appeared with Ellen DeGeneres in three episodes of her sitcom Ellen, playing a different character each time (including a non-speaking cameo in the iconic "Puppy Episode") and in the TV movie If These Walls Could Talk 2. Najimy was a series regular season 4 of Unforgettable, season 4 of The Big C, and season 3 of Numbers. She guest starred on That's So Raven, Drop Dead Diva, Desperate Housewives,[9] Ugly Betty, and Franklin & Bash. She starred in TNT's In Search of Dr. Seuss.

Najimy starred as Mae West in the Broadway hit Dirty Blonde. She appeared in V'Day's Vagina Monologues on Broadway[10] and in Nassim Soleimanpour's plays White Rabbit Red Rabbit and Nassim. She is the co-creator and director of the musical revue Back to Bacharach and David, which ran in New York City in 1992 and 1993, and which she directed again in Los Angeles in April 2009.

Najimy starred as Peggy Hill in Fox's King of the Hill from 1997 to 2010. Her voice is featured in the animated films Brother Bear 2, The Jungle Book, Cats Don't Dance, and Tinkerbell. She has also lent her voice to hundreds of animated television shows, including Bojack Horseman, Tangled, American Dad, Hercules: The Animated Series, Pepper Ann, and played a role in the Nightmare Ned video game. In 2003, Najimy provided the voice of Margalo in Stuart Little: The Animated Series, taking over from Melanie Griffith, and in 2000 took over from Madeline Kahn as Mrs. Shapiro in Little Bill. She will star in Disney Junior's upcoming reboot of The Rocketeer and Amy Poehler's "Duncanville."

Other work[edit]

Najimy is an activist and frequently travels the country to speak on issues of equal rights[who?], safety and self esteem for women and girls, LGBTQ rights, AIDS awareness, domestic violence, body image, and civil rights.[11] She has spoken at the Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and PFLAG. She was a surrogate speaker for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.[12] In 2004, Najimy was Ms. Magazine's Woman of the Year[13] and a speaker at the March for Women's Lives.[14] She is an active member of Time's Up.[15]

Najimy has also worked with PETA on a number of animal welfare issues and posed with Todd Oldham for the "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign.[16] PETA gave her their Humanitarian of the Year award in 2000[17] and their Compassionate Action Award in 2014.[18]

Najimy is a strong advocate for women's health and reproductive rights. She's a proud contributor to the groundbreaking book, "The Choices We Made," which includes testimonials from women who believe in choice.[19] Najimy is vocal about issues regarding body image among females. In August 2006 she voiced her opinions over a remark made by Heidi Klum on the television series Project Runway after Klum said one model's outfit made her look plus-sized, which Najimy called "dangerous" and "irresponsible".[20]

Najimy created and produced the off-Broadway play Gloria: A Life, about the life of activist Gloria Steinem.[21] Starting in 2012, Najimy has been creating, directing, and co-writing personal monologues with actresses including Olivia Wilde, Amy Schumer, Zosia Mamet, Debra Messing, Rosie Perez, and Gabourey Sidibe. The pieces have been performed at Glamour Magazine's live evening of personal monologues titled "These Girls"[22] and at the 2017 and 2018 MAKERS conference.[23] Najimy is currently working on a documentary about the 53% of white women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016.[23] She has performed her solo show, Lift Up Your Skirt, at many venues including the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, ICONS at Fire Island, and Feinstein's at The Nikko in San Francisco.[24] She is also currently producing a television series about the women's movement.[25]

Najimy uses her celebrity status to donate money to charities by appearing on game shows.[26] She appeared as a contestant on a celebrity version of The Weakest Link where she won $50,000 for The Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan.[27] She won the season 6 tournament of Celebrity Poker Showdown, donating the $100,000 to V-Day, an organization that helps stop violence against women and girls. She was also crowned Grand Champion on CBS's Gameshow Marathon in 2006, donating the $100,000 winnings to Girls Best Friend, a charity that helps empower girls.[28] In 2013, Najimy was a contestant on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off on Team Rachael where she was playing for PETA, cooking only vegetarian food. She was eliminated on the Feb. 3 episode, reaching third place.[29]

Before she became a known actress, in 1981, Najimy was a contestant on Family Feud, which was used as the finale in Gameshow Marathon. Najimy and her family were winners on both shows. Najimy also appeared on the $25,000 Pyramid as a civilian contestant, on the episode dated July 31, 1985. She claimed, on the Pyramid show, that she also had been on American Bandstand. She returned to the "Pyramid" (The $100,000 Pyramid) on the June 26, 2016, episode as a celebrity guest opposite Rosie O'Donnell.[30] She appeared once again in Season 2, Episode 7 on July 23, 2017 to play against Alexandra Wentworth, helping her contestant partner win the $150,000 grand prize.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

In August 1998, Najimy married actor/singer Dan Finnerty[33][34] of The Dan Band. Gloria Steinem officiated the ceremony.[33] Najimy and Finnerty have one daughter, Samia,[35] born in 1996.



Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Hard Way Lang's "Girl Friday"
Soapdish Tawny Miller
The Fisher King Crazed Video Customer
1992 Topsy and Bunker: The Cat Killers Marge
This Is My Life Angela Credited as Kathy Ann Najimy
Sister Act Sister Mary Patrick American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – MTV Movie + TV Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
1993 Hocus Pocus Mary Sanderson Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Sister Mary Patrick Nominated – American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
1994 It's Pat Tippy
1995 Jeffrey Acolyte
1997 Cats Don't Dance Tillie Hippo (voice)
Nevada Ruth
1998 Hope Floats Toni Post
Zack and Reba Ivy Simpson
Bride of Chucky Tabby
The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story Chil (voice) Direct-to-video
2000 Attention Shoppers Penelope
2001 The Wedding Planner Geri
Rat Race Beverly 'Bev' Pear
2005 Bam Bam and Celeste Legba
2006 Say Uncle Maggie Butler
Brother Bear 2 Aunt Taqqiq (voice) Direct-to-video
2008 WALL-E Mary (voice)
2010 Step Up 3D Mrs. Alexander
2012 BearCity 2: The Proposal Rose
2012 Disney SECRET of the WINGS The Minster of Summer
2012 The Guilt Trip Gayle
2013 A Madea Christmas Kim Williams
2015 Descendants The Evil Queen Grimhilde
2016 No Letting Go Dr. Nancy Harris
2017 A Change of Heart Ruthie
Dating My Mother Lisa
2018 Dumplin' Ms. Michalchuk


Year Work Role Notes
1985 The $25,000 Pyramid Herself (contestant) Celebrity Guests: Constance McCashin & LeVar Burton[36]
1985 Walls of Glass
1991 The Kathy & Mo Show: Parallel Lives Herself Television special
CableACE Award for Performance in a Comedy Special (shared with Mo Gaffney) (1993)
Nominated – CableACE Award for Writing an Entertainment Special (shared with Mo Gaffney) (1993)
1994 In Search of Dr. Seuss Kathy Lane Television movie
1994 Ellen Theresa / Lorna Irons / Woman in Gay Bar 3 episodes: "So Funny" (Season 2) / "Go Girlz" (Season 3) / "The Puppy Episode, Part 2" (Season 4)
1994 ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter Dr. Femus Short
1995 The Kathy & Mo Show: The Dark Side Herself Television special
CableACE Award for Comedy Special (shared with Mo Gaffney, Paula Mazur & Dean Parisot) (1995)
CableACE Award for Performance in a Comedy Special (shared with Mo Gaffney) (1995)
1996 Adventures from the Book of Virtues The Old Woman (voice) 1 episode
1996 Chicago Hope Dr. Barbara 'Bix' Konstadt Recurring role; 3 episodes
Nominated – Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Recurring Player (1996)
1997–1999 Hey Arnold Madame Blanche (voice) 2 episodes
1997–2000 Veronica's Closet Olive Massery 67 episodes
OFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series (1998)
OFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1998)
1997–2010 King of the Hill Peggy Hill (voice) 258 episodes
Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production (2001)
OFTA Television Award for Best Voice-Over Performance (2001)
Nominated – Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production (1998)
Nominated – OFTA Television Award for Best Voice-Over Performance (1998, 2004, 2005)
1997 Early Edition Psychic Episode: "Psychic"
1997 Shantay Toyota Carter Short
1998–1999 Hercules Thespis the Muse (voice) 2 episodes
1998–2000 Pepper Ann Coach Doogan / Margot LaSandre (voice) / Additional Voices 5 episodes
1999 The Wild Thornberrys Ostrich #1 / Sand Grouse (voices) Episode: "Have Yourself a Thornberry Little Christmas"
1999 The Sissy Duckling Mother Duck #1 (voice) Television film
1999 CinderElmo Elmo's Stepmother Television movie
2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 The doctor in the made-for-TV movie's "2000" segment Television movie
2000 Leaving Peoria Dr. Albright Short
2000–2001 Little Bill Mrs. Shapiro (voice) 2 episodes; succeeded Madeline Kahn, the original voice of Mrs. Shapiro, shortly after her death in 1999.
2001–2003 Oswald Bingette Bunny (voice) 4 episodes
2001 The Legend of Tarzan Dania (voice) 1 episode
2002 The Scream Team Mariah Television movie
2003 The Mummy Calliope / Aglaophone #2 (voices) 1 episode
2003 Stuart Little Margalo (voice) Episode: "The Meatloaf Bandit"
2003 Ozzy & Drix Loretta Epstein (voice) 1 episode
2004 Higglytown Heroes Photographer Hero (voice) 1 episode
2004 Rocket Power Patsy (voice) 1 episode
2005 Wayside Mrs. Jewls (voice) Television movie
2005 Getting Played Dr. Heidi Z. Klemmer Television movie
2005 Balto III: Wings of Change Dipsy (voice) Video
2006 Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! Sunny St. Cloud (voice) Video
2006 Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers Blue Parrot Betty (voice) Video
2006 Rugrats Goosey (voice) 1 episode
2006 That's So Raven Lora Stelladora Episode: "The Dress Is Always Greener"
2006–2007 Numbers Dr. Mildred Finch 9 episodes
2007 The Suite Life of Zack & Cody Principal Episode: "First Day of High School"
2008 Tinker Bell Minister of Summer (voice) Video
2009 Drop Dead Diva Claire Porter Episode: "The Magic Bullet"
2009 Desperate Housewives Detective Denise Lapera Episode: "Careful the Things You Say"
2010 Ugly Betty Dr. Frankel Episode: "Million Dollar Smile"
2010–present American Dad! Barbara "Barb" Hanson (voice)
2010 RuPaul's Drag Race Herself (Guest Judge) Episode: "Country Queens"
2011 Mr. Sunshine Myrna Episode: "Employee of the Year"
2011 Five Rocky Television movie
2011–2012 Make It or Break It Sheila / Sheila Baboyon / Kelly's Mom 5 episodes
2012 Men at Work Sasha Ryan Episode: "Heterotextual Male"
2012 How to Fall in Love Kim Television movie
2012 Stars in Shorts Sid's Mother
2013 Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off Herself Season 2 participant (Team Rachael)
2013 The Big C Therapist 4 episodes
2014–2015 Inside Amy Schumer Herself 2 episodes
2014–2019 Veep Wendy Keegan 10 episodes
2015–present Younger Denise Heller 5 episodes
2015–2016 Unforgettable Sandra Russo Series regular, 10 episodes
2015 A Christmas Melody Sarah Hallmark television movie
2015 Difficult People Carol Donato Episode: "The Children's Menu"
2016 Harvey Beaks Hanzi / Angry Bride 4 episodes
2016–2017 Graves Sylvia Miller 4 episodes
2016–2018 The $100,000 Pyramid Herself (celebrity guest) 5 episodes
2017 Elementary Rayna Carno Episode: "Rekt in Real Life"
2017 BoJack Horseman Marcie (voice) Episode: "Commence Fracking"
2017 The President Show Ivana Trump Episode: "I Came Up with Christmas: A President Show Christmas"
2018 Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure Mother (voice) Episode: "Freebird"
2018 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Herself Episode: "I Am Ashamed"
2019 Good Witch[37] Willow Episode: "The Road Trip"
2019 American Dad! Cheryl (voice) Episode: "Pride Before the Fail"
2019 The Rocketeer Sareena Second (voice) Main role
2020 Duncanville Mayor, Additional voices


  1. ^ Anonymous. "Celebrity Birthdays - February 6 » Entertainment » MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK". Muskogeephoenix.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  2. ^ "Kathy Najimy Biography (1957-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  3. ^ LEBWA - Lebanese Women's Awakening Archived September 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Bonavoglia, Angela (November 17, 2011). "Fearless on Abortion". Huffington Post.
  5. ^ "1975 Crawford High Yearbook". classmates.com.
  6. ^ Rich, Frank (June 13, 1986). "The Stage: 'Kathy & Mo,' A Comedy". New York Times.
  7. ^ Gussow, Mel. "Two Women as Nearly Anyone Else". New York Times.
  8. ^ Hernandez, Ernio. "Comedy duo Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney return to New York in Afterbirth: Kathy and Mo's Greatest Hits, starting June 11 under the direction of Mark Brokaw at Second Stage Theatre". Playbill.
  9. ^ Bryant, Adam (30 June 2009). "Kathy Najimy to Guest on Desperate Housewives". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  10. ^ "V-Day 2001 | TheaterMania". www.theatermania.com.
  11. ^ "Book Kathy Najimy". APB.
  12. ^ "Actress and activist Kathy Najimy campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Davenport". WQAD.
  13. ^ "Ms. Magazine Woman Of The Year". Ms. Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-12-22. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
  14. ^ "Flashback: Over One Million March for Women's Lives". National Organization for Women.
  15. ^ "Marisa Tomei, Amber Tamblyn Attend Harvey Weinstein Court Hearing". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ "in May 2014, she posed in an ad in the San Diego airport bashing the locally favorite Sea World. The ad featured an outdated photograph depicting the actor as much younger than her current age. Naked for a Cause," 101.9 Fox, accessed 20 September 2012. Archived 2009-10-22 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "2018 Keynote Speaker". YWCA San Diego.
  18. ^ Madeleine Marr, "Rock the Night Away at Jingle Ball," The Miami Herald, 10 October 2014.
  19. ^ Bonavoglia, Angela. The Choices We Made.
  20. ^ "Najimy Says Auf Wiedersehen to "Project Runway"". TMZ. August 24, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  21. ^ "Gloria: A Life Celebrates Opening Night Off-Broadway". Playbill.
  22. ^ "Life Lessons From Alexa Chung, Amy Poehler, and Zosia Mamet at Glamour's 'These Girls'". The Cut.
  23. ^ a b "Kathy Najimy Makers". Makers.
  24. ^ "Comic actress Kathy Najimy returns to S.F. with solo show". SF Gate.
  25. ^ "Marisa Tomei To Play Gloria Steinem In HBO Mini Produced By George Clooney". Deadline.
  26. ^ "Kathy Najimy on fighting for equality, "Hocus Pocus," and performing with the American Pops Orchestra". Metro Weekly. 2019-05-16. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  27. ^ "The Weakest Link". ALAN CUMMING. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  28. ^ "Kathy Najimy's New TV Role Is Anything but by the Numbers | TV Guide". TVGuide.com. 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  29. ^ Erdos, Joseph (3 February 2013). "Interview With the Latest Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Castoff — A Double Elimination". Food Network. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
  30. ^ "S1 E01 Sherri Shepherd vs Anthony Anderson and Rosie O'Donnell vs Kathy Najimy". ABC. June 26, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  31. ^ "S2 E07 Ali Wentworth vs. Kathy Najimy and Cobie Smulders vs. Ryan Eggold". ABC. July 23, 2017. Archived from the original on August 3, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  32. ^ "The $100,000 Pyramid: Kathy Najimy and Alex Gershman Win It All". YouTube.com. July 24, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  33. ^ a b Gordon, Miryam (February 4, 2011). "SWC guest Kathy Najimy funny, fierce, and warm". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  34. ^ Speers, W. (August 13, 1988). "Newsmakers". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 24, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  35. ^ "Kathy Najimy Official Website". Kathynajimy.com. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  36. ^ "Kathy Najimy on Pyramid". Gameshowforum.org. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  37. ^ "'Good Witch': Kathy Najimy Joins as Cassie's Pal (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight.

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