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Kristen Johnston

Kristen Johnston

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Also Known As: Kristen A Johnston Died:
Born: September 20, 1967 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United States Profession: Cast ... actress waitress salesgirl
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BIOGRAPHY

A comedic powerhouse, statuesque Kristen Johnston broke out as the alien-turned-bombshell Sally Solomon on "3rd Rock from the Sun" (NBC, 1996-2001). Displaying impeccable timing and fearless comedic instincts, the husky-voiced Johnston won two Best Supporting Actress Emmys. She made a fun cameo as Ivana Humpalot in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999), starred as the young Wilma in the live-action prequel "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" (2000) and dazzled as the bitchy Sylvia Fowler in a filmed stage production of "The Women" (PBS, 2002). Her subsequent big-screen supporting turns included colorful roles as a gym teacher in "Strangers with Candy" (2005), Drew Barrymore's protective big sister in "Music and Lyrics" (2007), and Anne Hathaway's bullying coworker in "Bride Wars" (2009). On television, notched a dark comic guest spot on "Sex and the City" (HB0, 1998-2004) as a bad girl who exits a fancy party by tumbling to her death out a window. Although her American remake of "Absolutely Fabulous" (BBC One, 1992-2004) failed to launch, Johnston resurfaced in Amy Heckerling's horror comedy "Vamps" (2011). Displaying a go-for-broke comic gusto that matched her force-of-nature physicality, Kristen Johnston always proved a fascinating addition to any project in which she appeared, leaving fans with the hopes she would once again find a breakout role suitable to her talents.

Born Sept. 20, 1967 in Washington, DC, Kristen Johnston grew up in Wisconsin, but completed exchange student programs in both Sweden and South America. After graduating NYU with a degree in drama, she made the transition to professional actor as a member of David Mamet's Atlantic Theater Company, earning a slew of stage credits. Her performance in the off-Broadway play "The Lights" earned her a Best Supporting Actress Drama Desk Award nomination and landed her on the radar of casting agents. After a flurry of TV guest spots, including roles on "Chicago Hope" (CBS, 1994-2000), "The 5 Mrs. Buchanans" (CBS, 1994-95) and "Hearts Afire" (CBS, 1992-95), Johnston landed her star-making role on "3rd Rock from the Sun" (NBC, 1996-2001). The delightfully over-the-top series featured a group of aliens (John Lithgow, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, French Stewart and Johnston) forced to become human as part of an extraterrestrial research mission. Johnston's Sally Solomon was arguably the most interesting of the group: a fearsome warrior who materializes in a bombshell beauty's body.

Making excellent use of her Amazonian stature, husky voice and penchant for physical comedy, the actress charmed critics and fans alike, displaying crackling comedic chemistry with her beta-male boyfriend, Officer Don Orville (Wayne Knight). The series was an instant smash and was showered with awards, with Johnston winning two Best Supporting Actress Emmys as well as four Screen Actors Guild Award nominations and a Golden Globe nomination. A playful, genre-bending smash, "3rd Rock" showcased its cast at their best, and made them instantly recognizable. Making the most of her raised profile, the actress made a fun cameo as the slinky Ivana Humpalot in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" (1999), starred as Wilma in the big-screen, live-action prequel "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas" (2000), and appeared on the cover of Bad Religion's No Substance album.

Johnston next flexed her considerable comedic chops as the acidic Sylvia Fowler in "Stage on Screen: The Women" (PBS, 2002) and lensed perhaps the most memorable guest spot in the history of "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004) as aging party girl Lexi Featherston, who falls to her death out of a window in the appropriately titled installment, "Splat!" Continuing to delight in small roles, she played a tough gym teacher in the "Strangers with Candy" (2005) film, recurred on "ER" (NBC, 1994-2009) as chief nurse Eve Peyton, and essayed Drew Barrymore's protective but wild-at-heart big sister in the Hugh Grant charmer "Music and Lyrics" (2007). Johnston lent her unmistakable pipes to a recurring role as the ultimate alien villainess Warmonga on "Kim Possible" (Disney Channel, 2002-07) and was cast as the outrageous Patsy in a failed-to-launch American adaptation of the British cult classic "Absolutely Fabulous" (BBC One, 1992-2004). Continuing to reign as a supreme second, the actress stole scenes in the lackluster "Bride Wars" (2009) as Anne Hathaway's overbearing coworker. Continuing to work on stage and to teach acting at NYU, Johnston recurred on "Ugly Betty" (ABC, 2006-2010), cracked a mean whip as a dominatrix on "Bored to Death" (HBO, 2009- ) and landed a juicy supporting role as the suspicious mom of a man dating a socialite vampire in Amy Heckerling's horror comedy "Vamps" (2011).

By Jonathan Riggs

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