Phyllis Smith

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Phyllis Smith
Phyllis Smith FOX 2 St. Louis.JPG
Smith in 2014 at KTVI
Phyllis Louise Smith

(1951-07-10) July 10, 1951 (age 71)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Missouri–St. Louis
  • Actress
  • casting associate
Years active1980–present

Phyllis Louise Smith (born July 10, 1951) is an American actress and casting associate. She is best known for playing Phyllis Vance in the television series The Office and her critically acclaimed voice role as Sadness in the film Inside Out. She also starred as Betty Broderick-Allen on the critically-acclaimed Netflix series The OA.

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in St. Louis in 1951.[1] She is the second eldest of nine siblings. She graduated from Cleveland High School in 1968.[2]


Smith graduated from the University of Missouri–St. Louis in 1972 with a degree in elementary education.[3] In the 1970s and 1980s, she worked as a dancer, a cheerleader for the St. Louis Cardinals football team, and a burlesque performer.[4] She said that there was "no stripping, but I did wear feathers."[5] She was forced to quit dancing after suffering a knee injury. Following this, Smith worked briefly as a telemarketer, lasting only three hours before resigning. She later worked in Hollywood, California, as an actress and in casting. Smith’s first paid acting role was as an extra in the film Caddyshack.


Smith was working as a casting associate under the direction of Allison Jones on the television series The Office, when she was offered the role of Phyllis Lapin, a character created specifically for her, a soft-spoken saleswoman who tended to disagree with pompous office manager Michael Scott.[4] She received Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2006 and 2007 for her performance in The Office in the category "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series". In June 2008, Smith appeared with the cast of The Office on Celebrity Family Feud. In 2011, she played a supporting role in the film Bad Teacher. In 2015, she voiced the character Sadness in the Pixar film Inside Out, receiving high critical praise for her performance. Later, she appeared as a regular in the Netflix series The OA.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 Caddyshack Unknown role Uncredited
1994 The Princess and the Goblin Narrator Uncredited
2005 The 40-Year-Old Virgin Andy's Mother Uncredited
2006 I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With Marsha
2011 Bad Teacher Lynn
2011 Butter Nancy
2011 Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Flight Attendant
2015 Inside Out Sadness (voice) Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in a Feature Production
2015 Riley's First Date? Sadness (voice) Short film
2021 Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar Delores


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Arrested Development Carla Episode: "The Immaculate Election"
2005–2013 The Office Phyllis Vance Starring: 187 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2007–2008)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2009–2013)
2006 The Office: The Accountants Phyllis Vance Episode: "Phyllis"
2008 The Office: The Outburst Phyllis Vance Episode: "The Explanation"
2013 Trophy Wife Mrs. Patty Steinberg 3 episodes
2014 The Middle Mrs. Huff Episode: "The Sinkhole"
2016–2019 The OA Betty Broderick-Allen Starring: 12 episodes

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 Sadness Voice[7]

Production work[edit]

Year Title Position Notes
1992 A Taste for Killing Casting associate TV movie
1994–1997 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 88 episodes
1999 Roswell 1 episode
2000–2002 Spin City 45 episodes
2005 Curb Your Enthusiasm 10 episodes
2005 The Office Assistant Casting Director 6 episodes


  1. ^ "Phyllis Smith". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  2. ^ "St. Louis Hometown Stories: Phyllis Smith, Actress". stlmag. February 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  3. ^ Tracy, Linda (Fall 2008). "It's never just another day at the office for UM-St. Louis alumna Phyllis Smith". UM St. Louis. St. Louis, MO: University of Missouri-St. Louis: 14–15. OCLC 19214058. Archived from the original on November 16, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Office Ladies: The Pilot on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  5. ^ Grose, Jessica (June 23, 2011). "Questions for Phyllis Smith". Slate.
  6. ^ Ge, Linda (December 12, 2016). "Brit Marling's Netflix Series "The OA" Promises Mystery in First Trailer Video". The Wrap. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  7. ^ Avalanche Software. Disney Infinity 3.0. Scene: Closing credits, 5:39 in, Featuring the Voice Talents of.

External links[edit]