What Happened to Jennifer Coolidge?

Even with three decades’ work of acting under her belt, most people are only now getting to know her.

Jennifer Coolidge is seen on February 7, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Hollywood To You/Star Max/GC Images)

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When Jennifer Coolidge picked up an Emmy Award last month, most viewers probably said, “It’s about time!” or, “Where have I see her before?”

Indeed, even with three decades’ work of acting under her belt and a slew of accolades along with it, most people are only now getting to know Jennifer Coolidge.

Who Is Jennifer Coolidge?

Born, raised, and educated in Massachusetts, Coolidge caught the acting bug and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, according to Tops.

As luck would have it, Jennifer Coolidge worked as a waitress among another Sandra Bullock while they were both trying to break into the business.

She recounted that period of her life in Jimmy Kimmel Live! in February 2022.

“Let’s just say, Sandra really had her act together, and she was the hostess,” Coolidge reflected. “And I was partying a lot in those years. It was sort of 50/50 whether I’d make my shift or not.”

Coolidge Keeps Up the Hard Work

Jennifer Coolidge laid the framework for her career with a series of supporting roles and guest appearances in King of the Hill, A Night at the Roxbury, and Seinfeld (in which she played a picky masseuse).

But it was thanks to her role a Stifler’s mom in American Pie that gave her a slice of success in 1999. She appeared in the American Pie sequel two years later. Similarly, she played a small role as a manicurist in 2001’s Legally Blonde — and then reprised that role as well in its 2003 sequel.

In the latter film, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Jennifer Coolidge said a funny line that people in the public would shout at her: “It makes me want a hot dog real bad.”

Jennifer Coolidge found some additional success playing an agent in the Friends spinoff Joey from 2004 to 2006.

In addition to piecing together a series of minor roles that made her gradually more familiar to audiences, she also linked up with Christopher Guest, the revered filmmaker of heavily improvised comedies. She memorably played the girlfriend of Jane Lynch in Best in Show, helping to establish herself as a self-deprecating, spacey floozy.

Jennifer Coolidge often played flaky characters, but that ran contrary to her own work ethic. From 1995 until now, she played in an impressive 50 films, including Zoolander, Date Movie, Click, Epic Movie, and Promising Young Woman.

Coolidge Finally Gets Her Due

The hardworking Jennifer Coolidge finally got her due thanks to Mike White, who wrote and directed the acclaimed HBO miniseries The White Lotus. He wrote the part of Tanya McQuoid, an extravagant socialite, specifically for Coolidge.

And it was thanks to that role that Jennifer Coolidge finally got the chance to accept an Emmy, for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.

The 61-year-old’s acceptance speech grew traction when Coolidge playfully fought with the orchestra trying to play her offstage.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” she said.

As the orchestra started playing her off, Jennifer Coolidge began dancing to the music.

A second season of The White Lotus is due for release next year and will see Jennifer Coolidge returning to her role as McQuoid.

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