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Molly Shannon

Molly Shannon

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Also Known As: Molly Helen Shannon Died:
Born: September 16, 1964 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA Profession: actor, comedian, assistant talent coordinator, researcher for Orion Television

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Molly Shannon, the kooky comedienne with the twinkling blue eyes and elfin grin started out as a mid-season replacement on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ). By the time she left in 2001 to pursue a film career, Shannon had become the longest running female cast member on a program famously male-dominated for decades. With impeccable comedic timing and little regard for her personal safety - like Gilda Radner years before her - Shannon impressed producers and writers with a chutzpa that matched her talent, performing her own stunts with reckless abandon and creating some of the show's most memorable characters, including Mary Katherine Gallagher, a spastic, arm-pit sniffing, underpants-exposing, sexually overripe Catholic school girl who was an exaggerated version of Shannon's own dorky childhood self. After leaving the safety of 30 Rock, Shannon segued easily into big screen comedies like "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (2006) and "Evan Almighty" (2007), as well as surprised critics with her touching lead turn in the dark comedy, "Year of the Dog" (2007). But the intimacy of television proved to be the perfect medium for capturing Shannon's barely contained crazy, so she returned to...

Molly Shannon, the kooky comedienne with the twinkling blue eyes and elfin grin started out as a mid-season replacement on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ). By the time she left in 2001 to pursue a film career, Shannon had become the longest running female cast member on a program famously male-dominated for decades. With impeccable comedic timing and little regard for her personal safety - like Gilda Radner years before her - Shannon impressed producers and writers with a chutzpa that matched her talent, performing her own stunts with reckless abandon and creating some of the show's most memorable characters, including Mary Katherine Gallagher, a spastic, arm-pit sniffing, underpants-exposing, sexually overripe Catholic school girl who was an exaggerated version of Shannon's own dorky childhood self. After leaving the safety of 30 Rock, Shannon segued easily into big screen comedies like "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" (2006) and "Evan Almighty" (2007), as well as surprised critics with her touching lead turn in the dark comedy, "Year of the Dog" (2007). But the intimacy of television proved to be the perfect medium for capturing Shannon's barely contained crazy, so she returned to the small screen for the Americanized version of an Australian staple, the outlandish sitcom "Kath & Kim" (NBC, 2008- ). With success on both the big and small screens in a variety of different types of roles, this funny girl proved she had staying power beyond her initial "SNL" characterizations.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Life After Beth (2014)
4.
 Scary Movie 5 (2013)
5.
 Trust Me (2013)
6.
7.
 Casa De Mi Padre (2012)
9.
 Bad Teacher (2011)
10.
 What Goes Up (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Briefly worked in TV research for Orion Television
1989:
Made feature debut in small role in "The Phantom of the Opera" opposite Robert Englund
1991:
Appeared as Judy Swain on an episode of the ABC series "Twin Peaks"
1992:
Worked as assistant talent coordinator for of the Fox comedy-variety series "In Living Color"; also appeared on episodes
1994:
Made guest appearances on "The John Larroquette Show" (NBC) and "Ellen" (ABC)
:
Co-wrote and co-starred with comic Rob Muir in the LA production "The Rob and Molly Show"
1995:
Joined the cast of the NBC variety show "Saturday Night Live" as a regular performer
1998:
Acted with Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan in "SNL" skit-turned feature "A Night at the Roxbury"; played Ferrell's girlfriend
1998:
Cast in small role as a co-worker of Jane Adams in Todd Solondz's "Happiness"
1999:
Portrayed Drew Barrymore's best friend in "Never Been Kissed"
1999:
Brought her breakout "SNL" character Mary Katherine Gallagher to the big screen in "Superstar"
1999:
Landed recurring guest role on NBC's "Will & Grace" as loony neighbor Val Bassett, Grace Adler's nemesis
2000:
Cast in featured role in the Ron Howard-directed "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
2001:
Left "SNL" to pursue other career opportunities (February 17)
2001:
Played Kate Beckinsale's best friend in the romantic comedy "Serendipity"
2003:
Cast in the ABC adaptation of "The Music Man," starring Matthew Broderick
2004:
Co-starred with Christopher McDonald and Jason Schwartzman on short-lived Fox comedy "Cracking Up"
2006:
Portrayed lady of the court, Anne Victoire opposite Kirsten Dunst in Sofia Coppola's "Marie-Antoinette"
2007:
Cast opposite Heather Graham in the indie feature "Gray Matters"
2007:
Played the lead in Mike White's dramedy "Year of the Dog"
2008:
Landed lead on short-lived U.S. version of the hit Australian sitcom "Kath & Kim" (NBC)
2009:
Co-starred in the independent comedy "What Goes Up"
2010:
Made Broadway debut in the hit revival of "Promises, Promises"
2012:
Appeared in Will Ferrell's Spanish-language comedy "Casa de mi Padre"
2012:
Played minor role in "The Five-Year Engagement"
2012:
Voiced a werewolf in animated feature "Hotel Transylvania"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

New York University: New York , New York -
Circle in the Square Theatre School: New York , New York -
Hawken School: Gates Mills , Ohio -

Notes

"When I started doing these falls, I didn't have any cushioning. Then the producers upped the ante, saying things like, 'Tonight you go through a wall.' So I started wearing padding." --Molly Shannon quoted in Biography Magazine, November 1998.

"When I auditioned for 'Saturday Night Live' I didn't do Mary Katherine. People told me the people casting wouldn't like it--it would be too much, too scary."

As for the "Leg Up!" sketch ... "Debbie Reynolds and Ann Miller actually called up and asked for a tape of the sketch. We never heard from them again. They didn't like it one bit. I think they thought it was bawdy at the first set of splits." --Shannon in Detour Magazine, October 1998.

"We have stunt people who won't do what I do." --Molly Shannon to Detour Magazine, October 1998.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Jimmy Whalen. Songwriter. No longer together.
companion:
Neil Brennan. Screenwriter. Separated in 1998.
husband:
Fritz Chestnut. Artist. Met at a party she attended while on a blind date in March 2001; engaged as of January 2003; married May 29, 2004 in Santa Barbara.

Family close complete family listing

mother:
Peg Shannon. Teacher. Born c. 1935; died in a 1969 car crash.
father:
James F Shannon. Sales manager. Born c. 1929; survived car accident with a crushed leg; helped raise Shannon and her sister Mary, both fellow survivors.
sister:
Mary Shannon Beatty. Accountant. Born c. 1963.
sister:
Katie Shannon. Younger; killed in same automobile accident in which her mother died; a cousin (25-year old Fran Schulte) also perished.
daughter:
Stella Shannon. Born September 28, 2003; father Fritz Chesnut.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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