5 Surprising Things You Never Knew About Allison Janney (She Wanted to Be a Figure Skater!)
With over 100 acting credits to her name and nearly 60 major award show nominations, Allison Janney is one of the most beloved and acclaimed actresses working today.
She’s made memorable appearances in classic films like American Beautyand Finding Nemo, and became a household name starring press secretary C.J. Craig on The West Wing. She’s also won awards for her work on CBS’s Mom alongside Anna Faris.
Now, Janney, 58, is earning major Oscar buzz for her role as U.S. figure skater Tonya Harding’s abusive mother LaVona Golden in the upcoming film I, Tonya, which details the skater’s career and 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan that got Harding banned for life from figure skating.
Here are five things to know about the star:
1. She’s won a TON of Emmys.
Seven to be exact, out of a whopping 13 nominations. She’s even won two Emmys for two different shows in the same year.
Janney was nominated for The West Wing six times from 2000 to 2006, winning four. She’s received four nominations for Mom and three for playing Margaret Scully in Showtimes’s Masters of Sex.
She’s also been nominated for 5 Golden Globes and 15 Screen Actors Guild Awards, winning six.
2. She’s fiercely loyal to Anna Faris.
Janney and her Mom onscreen daughter are tight onscreen and off.
Speaking about how they support one another through good times and bad, Janney previously told PEOPLE, “We are a family there.” The actress was one of Faris’s most loyal confidants during her split with Chris Pratt.
When the cameras aren’t rolling, Janney said the two are “hanging out at Stage 20 and gossiping and getting through the bumps in life.”
3. She’s really, really tall.
“I say I’m 5 feet 12 inches,” Janney told NPR in 2014.
“I’m definitely 6 feet. In my heels I’m 6 feet 3 inches,” she added. When she was a kid, Janney said, “I was always sort of a late bloomer in a lot of things … I felt like my career started late and I think it was because of my height — and maybe some of my confidence issues.”
Being the tallest woman in the room had its drawbacks. “I was playing 40-year-old women when I was 20. I didn’t get considered for ingenue roles,” she explained.
But having a head on the competition also had some positive effects. “[My height] also helped me in certain parts. It’s made me definitely more of a character actress in terms of my love of doing comedy. I get cast as either the smartest woman in the room or the drunkest woman in the room, and a lot of stuff in between,” she said.
4. She competed for roles with James Gandolfini.
Despite her numerous accolades, Janney has been largely relegated to supporting, character actor-type roles.
While roles for women her age are already in notoriously short supply, Janney previously revealed she’s even lost roles to men. For instance, she told Indiewire she lost the of the town mayor in the remake of Pelham 123 to the late James Gandolfini.
“I think they were going to have a woman in that part, and I was being considered for it, but they ended up giving it to him,” she said, adding, “It’s interesting what I have to go through to get parts, and it can be incredibly frustrating.”
RELATED: Margot Robbie Brought Tonya Harding to the I, Tonya Premiere and Everyone Freaked Out
5. She grew up wanting to be a professional figure skater.
Like her onscreen daughter in I,Tonya, Janney had dreams of being a professional figure skater.
Sadly, her dream came to an end when she ran through a closed sliding glass door as a teen.
“Well, I hit it, and then the glass fell on top of me, so it sort of guillotined my leg,” she told CBS. “It was bad — I lost an artery, cut tendons. It was a bad accident.”
Fortunately, she can still dance! “I do love to dance,” Janney added. “I don’t go to clubs anymore really, because, who does?”
I,Tonya skates into theaters Dec. 8.