While studying at Kenyon College, Janney answered a casting call for an on-campus play that was to be directed by Kenyon’s most famous alumnus, the legendary actor Paul Newman. During her audition/interview, Janney played upon Newman’s known passion for race car driving – she explained how she lower thirty minutes off of the a hundred thirty mile journey from her home town to the college. She got chosen for the play’s cast.
After earning her degree in drama, Janney took Joanne Woodward’s idea to do further study at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse. She too studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Early in her career Janney got comedic roles in the soap operas “As the World Turns” (1956) and “The Guiding Light” (1952). Later, she gave memorable movie performances in supporting roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), American Beauty (1999) and Nurse Betty (2000), and in the made-for-TV movie …First Do No Harm (1997) (TV), among others.
Among her stage work, Janney has played in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “A View From the Bridge” on Broadway opposite Anthony LaPaglia, which earned her a Tony Award nomination, and a Drama League Award for outstanding artist for the 1997-98 season. She played in Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter” opposite Frank Langella, which earned her the Outer Critics Circle Award and an Actors’ Equity award. Janney also appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of “The Taming of the Shrew”.
In 1999 Janney became part of the original cast of the acclaimed TV series “The West Wing” (1999) where she played the President’s press secretary who eventually turns into promoted to the White House Chief of Staff. Her impressive work during the six seasons of that renowned series earned her 4 Emmys and two SAG Awards.
With her reputation becoming more broadly established during her work on “The West Wing” Janney won more substantive roles in feature films, in the acclaimed The Hours (2002) where she was Meryl Streep’s lesbian lover, and in How to Deal (2003) where she played Mandy Moore’s mother.
|Day of Birth||19 November 1959,|
|Place of Birth||Dayton, Ohio, USA|