Growing up in Ohio, Allison Janney hoped to one day become a figure skater. However, after a frightening injury derailed her dream, she fell in love with acting while pursuing a degree in theatre at Kenyon College. She later studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before making her movie debut with a small part in 1989’s Who Shot Patakango?
Janney’s breakthrough TV role came 10 years later when she began playing C.J. Cregg in The West Wing, which on NBC aired until 2006 and earned her four Primetime Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe nominations.
Following roles in movies including Juno, Hairspray and The Help, Janney joined the cast of Mom in 2013. She starred as Bonnie Plunkett on the CBS sitcom until 2021 and won two more Emmys and a pair of Critics’ Choice Television Awards. She also received an Emmy in 2014 for her recurring role as Margaret Scully in Showtime’s Masters of Sex as well as an Oscar in 2018 for her portrayal of disgraced Olympian Tonya Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden, in the biographical film I, Tonya.
Janney has found success on stage too, with two Tony nominations under her belt for the 1998 revival of A View from the Bridge and the 2009 adaptation of 9 to 5.
Janney, who once said that she was “at peace” not having children, has dated computer programmer Dennis Gagomiros and production manager Philip Joncas. She was engaged to her Our Very Own costar Richard Jenik from 2004 to 2006.