Molly Helen Shannon
September 16, 1964
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Alma mater||New York University|
Molly Helen Shannon (born September 16, 1964) is an American actress and comedian. Shannon was a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 1995 to 2001. In 2017, she won the Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film Other People.
She has appeared in supporting roles in a number of films, such as Happiness (1998), A Night at the Roxbury (1998), Never Been Kissed (1999), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Wet Hot American Summer (2001), reprising her character in the miniseries Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (2015), and its follow-up Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (2017), Osmosis Jones (2001), My Boss's Daughter (2003), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015). Her voice can also be heard in the animated films Igor (2008) and the Hotel Transylvania film series (2012–2022). In television, Shannon is known for her roles in Enlightened (2013), Divorce (2016–2019), The White Lotus (2021) and I Love That for You (2022).
Shannon was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 16, 1964, to an Irish-American Catholic family, and grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Her mother, Mary Margaret "Peg" (née Keating), was a teacher, and her father, James Francis Shannon, was a sales manager. Her maternal grandparents were born in Ireland, with her grandfather being from Cloghmore, Achill, Mayo. When Shannon was four years old, her mother, younger sister, and cousin died in a car crash while her father was driving under the influence.
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.
Before Saturday Night Live, Shannon worked as a hostess at Cravings restaurant on Sunset Boulevard and as a food demo girl at Gelson's super market in Marina Del Rey. She auditioned for her first big film role and was cast, playing the supporting part of 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 as "the happy helping hand lady", and in 1993, she appeared with minor roles in three episodes of In Living Color, the first in a fake TV commercial with Shawn Wayans playing Chris Rock, the second in a sketch with Jim Carrey, playing LAPD Sergeant Stacey Koon, and third being a parody of Star Trek.
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 (1995–96).
She appeared in a 1997 episode of Seinfeld titled "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. She also appeared in Sex and the City in a number of episodes.
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.
During her run on SNL, Shannon also starred in the movie Never Been Kissed (1999), How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Osmosis Jones (2001) and Serendipity opposite Kate Beckinsale (2001). Shannon left SNL in 2001. In 2003, she appeared in the romantic comedy My Boss's Daughter and the television remake of The Music Man.
In 2004, she starred in a short-lived Fox network television series Cracking Up with actor Jason Schwartzman created by Mike White. 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 Mike White's film Year of the Dog in 2007. In 2013, Shannon joined White again, playing his love interest Eileen in the HBO show Enlightened, for which she was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding guest actress.
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).
In 2008, Shannon starred as Kath in the American version of the hit Australian sitcom Kath & Kim.
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.
She returned to Saturday Night Live for a special Mother's Day episode on May 8, 2010, 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 October 12, 2010, and remained through its closure on January 2, 2011, along with co-stars Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth.
Shannon's first children's book, Tilly the Trickster, was released September 1, 2011.
As of spring 2012, she has replaced Pauley Perrette as the spokesperson for Expedia.
In 2015, Shannon starred in the Sundance premiere of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. She was a guest, along with Denis Leary, on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on June 9, 2015.
In 2016, Shannon co-starred in the HBO comedy Divorce opposite Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church.
Shannon won the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the highly acclaimed drama, Other People. She had two films premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival: The Little Hours and Fun Mom Dinner.
In 2018, Shannon co-hosted the Rose Parade with Will Ferrell on Amazon Prime Video in character as fictional local television personalities, Tish and Cord. In 2018, Shannon and Ferrell co-hosted HBO's broadcast of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as their characters Tish and Cord.
In 2018, Shannon co-starred in the critically acclaimed Netflix film Private Life, playing prickly Cynthia, opposite Kathryn Hahn, Paul Giamatti and Kayli Carter.
In 2022, Shannon released Hello, Molly!: A Memoir (ISBN 9780063056251) that discussed how family tragedy affected her career.[excessive citations]
In 2022, Shannon co-starred in the Showtime comedy television series I Love That for You alongside fellow former Saturday Night Live alum Vanessa Bayer.
Shannon married artist Fritz Chesnut on May 29, 2004. They have a daughter and a son.
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|1991||Twin Peaks||Judy Swain||1 episode|
|1992–1993||In Living Color||Officer Trainee||5 episodes|
|1993||General Hospital||Surrogate Mother #2||1 episode|
|1994||The John Larroquette Show||Vivian||1 episode|
|Sister, Sister||Cashier||1 episode|
|1995–2001||Saturday Night Live||Various||116 episodes|
|1997||The Single Guy||Melody Pugh||1 episode|
|Will and Grace||Val Bassett||8 episodes|
|2000||SNL Fanatic||Anna Nicole Smith||TV short|
|2001||Saturday Night Live Primetime Extra 1||Elizabeth Taylor||TV short|
|2002||Sex and the City||Lily Martin||3 episodes|
|2003||Johnny Bravo||Multiple voices||1 episode|
|Ed||Linda Berringer||1 episode|
|The Music Man||Mrs. Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn||TV movie|
|2004||The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve||Angie||TV movie|
|Scrubs||Denise Lemmon||1 episode|
|2004–2006||Cracking Up||Lesley Shackleton||7 episodes|
|2005–2007||American Dad!||Kristy||3 episodes|
|2006||My Gym Partner's a Monkey||Pretties||1 episode|
|The Amazing Screw-On Head||Patience the Vampire||Voice role; 1 episode, unsold pilot|
|2007||30 Rock||Katherine Catherine||1 episode|
|Saturday Night Live||Herself||Host; 1 episode|
|Pushing Daisies||Dilly Balsam||1 episode|
|The Mastersons of Manhattan||Amanda Masterson||TV movie|
|More of Me||Alice McGowan|
|2008–2009||Kath & Kim||Kath||18 episodes|
|2009||The New Adventures of Old Christine||Jeannie||1 episode|
|2010||Glee||Brenda Castle||2 episodes|
|Neighbors from Hell||Tina Hellman||Voice role; 10 episodes|
|2011, 2013||The Middle||Janet||2 episodes|
|2011–2012||Up All Night||Nancy||2 episodes|
|2012||Web Therapy||Kirsten Noble|
|2013||Doc McStuffins||Rita||Voice role; 1 episode|
|Happily Divorced||Peggy||1 episode|
|Enlightened||Eileen Foliente||4 episodes|
|Jessie||Col. Beverly Shannon||1 episode|
|Super Fun Night||Jane Spencer||1 episode|
|Getting On||Phyllis Marmatan||3 episodes|
|2013–2022||Bob's Burgers||Millie||Voice role; 7 episodes|
|2013–2014||Raising Hope||Maxine||2 episodes|
|2014||Bambi Cottages||Cathleen Burke||TV movie|
|The Spoils of Babylon||Meredith Sennheiser||2 episodes, TV miniseries|
|Benched||Judge Conner||1 episode|
|2014–2015||The Millers||Miss Pam||2 episodes|
|The Spoils Before Dying||Tricksy||2 episodes, TV miniseries|
|Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp||Gail Dana Starfield||7 episodes|
|2016||Animals.||Olivia||Voice role; 1 episode|
|Childrens Hospital||Paula Reilly||1 episode|
|2017||Life in Pieces||Allie||1 episode|
|Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later||Gail Dana Starfield||3 episodes|
|2018||The 2018 Rose Parade Hosted by Cord & Tish||Tish Cattigan||Amazon Video coverage|
|The Royal Wedding Live with Cord & Tish!||Tish Cattigan||HBO coverage|
|Spy Kids: Mission Critical||Murna||Voice role; 12 episodes|
|2019–present||The Other Two||Pat Dubek||Main role|
|2020||Better Things||Herself||1 episode|
|2021||The White Lotus||Kitty Patton||2 episodes|
|2022||I Love That for You||Jackie Stilton||Main role|
|2010||Web Therapy||Kirsten Noble||3 episodes|
|2013||Ghost Ghirls||Joy Button||3 episodes, streaming on Yahoo! Screen|
|2016||Rhett and Link's Buddy System||Rhonda||1 episode, streaming on YouTube Premium|
|2017||"Swish Swish"||Katy Perry feat. Nicki Minaj||Coach Molly|
Saturday Night Live characters
- 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 ("I’m FIFTY!") 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 many 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!"
Awards and nominations
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Nominated—AARP Movies for Grownups Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Awards Circuit Community Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
- 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
- Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2018)
- ^ Cranky Critic StarTalk: Movie Star Interview with Molly Shannon Archived May 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ The Lantern – Shannon talks about SNL and being a "Superstar" Archived June 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?, June 11, 2018
- ^ "Molly Shannon - Life Insurance Awareness Month 2007 - YouTube". Molly Shannon - Life Insurance Awareness Month 2007. May 10, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- ^ "Actress Molly Shannon Encourages Americans to Get Serious About Assessing Their Life Insurance Needs". Actress Molly Shannon Encourages Americans To Get Serious About Assessing their Life Insurance Needs | Life Happens. Arlington, Virginia, USA: Life Happens. August 28, 2007. Archived from the original on June 13, 2018. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
- ^ Hontz, Jenny. "Funny Girl: Molly Shannon". The New York Post. Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- ^ "Molly Shannon's tragic childhood inspired her iconic SNL character". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 24, 2021.
- ^ "NYU Alumni Magazine: Live from New York, It's…". Nyu.edu. October 11, 1975. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- ^ Ausiello, Michael (February 10, 2010). "'Glee' exclusive: Molly Shannon declares war on Sue Sylvester!". The Ausiello Files. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 10, 2010.
- ^ STAGE TUBE: New Betty White SNL Promo! (TV Content)
- ^ Broadway Revival of Promises, Promises to Close Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ "Tilly the Trickster". Abramsbooks.com. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
- ^ "Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon to cover royal wedding as Cord and Tish for HBO". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
- ^ "Molly Shannon Is as Real as Ever in Her Charming Memoir 'Hello, Molly!'". Time. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- ^ Jacobs, Alexandra (April 10, 2022). "Molly Shannon's Memoir Is Filled With Mischief and Pathos". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 5, 2022). "The Unsinkable Molly Shannon". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- ^ "How 'SNL' alum Molly Shannon found profound healing after childhood tragedy". NPR.org. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- ^ "Molly Shannon talks new memoir, coming to peace after tragedy". TODAY.com. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- ^ Associated Press (June 2, 2004), "Former 'SNL' Member Molly Shannon Weds", Fox News Channel, Fox News Network, retrieved May 16, 2010
- ^ Hontz, Jenny (October 5, 2008), "Funny Girl: Molly Shannon", Page Six Magazine, News Corporation, archived from the original on June 6, 2011, retrieved May 16, 2010
- ^ N'Duka, Amanda (October 23, 2018). "Molly Shannon, Glynn Turman, Michael Ian Black Join Marlon Wayans' Netflix Comedy 'Sextuplets'". Deadline. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
- ^ Hannett, Michelle (April 13, 2021). "Celebrate National Pet Day 2021 With Monster Pets: A Hotel Transylvania Short". WeAreMovieGeeks. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
- ^ Lowry, Brian (May 30, 2022). "Norm Macdonald says goodbye in a Netflix special, with a little help from his friends". CNN. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
- ^ "Molly Shannon Joins Florence Pugh And Morgan Freeman in Zach Braff's 'A Good Person' At MGM".
- 1964 births
- Living people
- 20th-century American actresses
- 21st-century American actresses
- 21st-century American comedians
- Actors from Shaker Heights, Ohio
- Actresses from Cleveland
- American film actresses
- American people of Irish descent
- American sketch comedians
- American television actresses
- American voice actresses
- Circle in the Square Theatre School alumni
- Hawken School alumni
- Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female winners
- Tisch School of the Arts alumni