Molly Shannon

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Molly Shannon

Shannon at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
BornMolly Helen Shannon
(1964-09-16) September 16, 1964 (age 48)
Shaker Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Fritz Chesnut (2004–present)
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Molly Shannon

Shannon at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival
BornMolly Helen Shannon
(1964-09-16) September 16, 1964 (age 48)
Shaker Heights, Ohio, U.S.
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Fritz Chesnut (2004–present)

Molly Helen Shannon (born September 16, 1964) is an American comic actress best known for her work as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1995–2001 and for starring in the films Superstar and Year of the Dog. More recently, she starred in NBC's Kath & Kim from 2008–2009 and on the TBS animated series Neighbors from Hell. Throughout Shannon's career she has appeared in a number of films in supporting roles.


Early life

Shannon was born Molly Helen Shannon in Shaker Heights, Ohio on September 16, 1964, to an Irish American Catholic family.[1][2] Her mother, Mary Margaret "Peg" (née Keating), was a teacher, and her father, James Francis Shannon, was a sales manager.[3] Shannon was involved in a car accident when she was four years old which killed her mother, younger sister and cousin.[4] Shannon attended St. Dominic School in Shaker Heights for grade school, and Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio, for high school.


Before Saturday Night Live, Shannon had a struggling career in movies, her most notable being a supporting role as Meg in the 1989 horror film remake of The Phantom of the Opera with Robert Englund. In 1991, she had a brief appearance in the second season of Twin Peaks, and in 1993, she appeared with minor roles in two episodes of In Living Color, the first in a fake TV commercials with Chris Rock (played by Shawn Wayans), and the second in a sketch with Jim Carrey, playing LAPD Sergeant Stacey Koon.

Shannon's major break came in February 1995, when she was hired as a featured player on Saturday Night Live to replace Janeane Garofalo after Garofalo left mid-season. Shannon was one of the few cast members to be kept (along with David Spade, Norm Macdonald, Mark McKinney and Tim Meadows) when Lorne Michaels engaged in a major cast overhaul between seasons 20 and 21.

She appeared in a 1997 episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Summer of George," where she played Sam, the co-worker who drove Elaine Benes crazy because she did not swing her arms while walking. She also appeared in Sheryl Crow's video for the song "A Change (Will Do You Good)" and played the recurring role of loony neighbor Val Bassett, Grace Adler's nemesis, on Will & Grace, appearing in five episodes over the sitcom's eight-season run. In 1998, she played the role of Emily Sanderson in the film A Night at the Roxbury, featuring Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan who were also cast members of SNL at the time.

In 1999, Shannon starred in Superstar, a feature film based on her most famous SNL character, Mary Katherine Gallagher, the awkward Catholic school student who aspires to be a musical superstar.

Shannon left SNL in 2001, surpassing Victoria Jackson as the show's longest-serving female cast member (she has since been surpassed by Rachel Dratch, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler). In 2003, she appeared in the romantic comedy My Boss's Daughter and the television remake of The Music Man.

Fritz Chesnut and Shannon in 2009.

In 2004, she starred in a short-lived Fox network television series Cracking Up with actor Jason Schwartzman. That same year, she guest starred in an episode of Scrubs and starred as Mrs. Baker in the film Good Boy!. In 2006, Shannon was featured in the Sofia Coppola directed movie Marie Antoinette as Aunt Victoire. The next year, Shannon guest starred on ABC's Pushing Daisies and the film Evan Almighty. Shannon also made a rare move to drama, appearing in the critically acclaimed film Year of the Dog in 2007.

Shannon hosted Saturday Night Live on May 12, 2007, making her the second former female cast member to host (after Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and the first one to have been a cast member for Lorne Michaels (Louis-Dreyfus was a cast member under Dick Ebersol).

Shannon at the Orange County, California Children's Book Festival on October 2, 2011 promoting her first children's book, Tilly the Trickster.

In 2008, Shannon starred as Kath in the US version of the hit Australian sitcom Kath & Kim. Also in 2008, she starred in an episode of the comedy series Pushing Daisies and the TV movie More of Me.

In early 2010, Shannon was cast in a recurring role on the Fox television series Glee as Brenda Castle, an astronomy and badminton teacher who has a rivalry with main character Sue Sylvester.[5]

She returned to Saturday Night Live for a special Mother's Day episode on May 8, 2010,[6] and also the October 2010 reunion special "Women of SNL".

Shannon replaced Katie Finneran in the role of Marge McDougall in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises on 12 October 2010, and will remain through its closure on 2 January 2011 along with co-stars Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth.[7]

Shannon's first children's book, Tilly the Trickster, was released September 1, 2011.[8]

As of Spring, 2012, she has replaced Pauley Perette as the spokesperson for

Personal life

Shannon married artist Fritz Chesnut on May 29, 2004.[9] They have two children: daughter Stella (b. 2003), and son Nolan (b. 2005).[10]


1989Phantom of the Opera, TheThe Phantom of the OperaMeg
1991Twin PeaksJudy Swain1 episode
1993In Living ColorOfficer Trainee1 episode
1993General HospitalSurrogate Mother #21 episode
1994John Larroquette Show, TheThe John Larroquette Show1 episode
1994Sister, SisterCashier1 episode
1994EllenWoman1 episode
1995Saturday Night LiveVarious120 episodes (1995–2001)
1995Return to Two Moon JunctionTraci
1996Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond CyberspaceHomeless Lady
1997Dinner and DrivingArguing Woman in Café
1997Single Guy, TheThe Single GuyMelody Pugh1 episode
1997SeinfeldSam1 episode ("The Summer of George")
1998Thin Pink Line, TheThe Thin Pink LineAanl
1998Night at the Roxbury, AA Night at the RoxburyEmily Sanderson
1998Daydream BelieverSusan Bradley
1999Analyze ThisCaroline
1999Never Been KissedAnita
1999My Neighbors the YamadasMatsuko YamadaDubbed English Voice
1999SuperstarMary Katherine Gallagher
1999Will & GraceVal Bassett5 episodes (1999–2004)
2000SNL FanaticAnna Nicole SmithTV
2000My 5 WivesBarbara Van Dyke
2000How the Grinch Stole ChristmasBetty Lou Who
2001Wet Hot American SummerGail von Kleinenstein
2001Saturday Night Live Primetime Extra 1Elizabeth TaylorTV
2001Osmosis JonesMrs. Boyd
2001Shallow HalMrs Mary LarsonUncredited
2002Sex and the CityLily Martin3 episodes
2002Santa Clause 2, TheThe Santa Clause 2Tracy
2003American SplendorStage Actor Joyce
2003Music Man, TheThe Music ManMrs Eulalie Mackechnie ShinnTV
2003EdLinda Berringer1 episode
2003My Boss's DaughterAudrey Bennett
2003Good Boy!Mrs. Baker
2004ScrubsDenise Lemmon1 episode
2004Twelve Days of Christmas Eve, TheThe Twelve Days of Christmas EveAngieTV
2004Cracking UpLesley Shackleton7 episodes (2004–2006)
2005Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The MovieJackie FrostVoice
2005American Dad!Kristy3 episodes (2005–2007)
2006Shut Up and SingTrish
2006Scary Movie 4Marilyn
2006Marie AntoinetteAunt Victoire
2006Little ManSoccer Mom
2006Talladega NightsMrs. Dennit
2006My Gym Partner's a MonkeyPretties1 episode
2006Amazing Screw-On Head, TheThe Amazing Screw-On HeadPatience the VampireTV / Voice
2006Gray MattersCarrie
2006Air BuddiesMollyVoice
2007Mastersons of Manhattan, TheThe Mastersons of ManhattanAmanda Masterson
2007Year of the DogPeggy
200730 RockKatherine Catherine1 episode
2007Evan AlmightyEve Adams
2007More of MeAliceTV
2007Pushing DaisiesDilly Balsam1 episode
2008More of MeAliceMade of televisión
2008Snow BuddiesMollyVoice
2008Kath & KimKath18 episodes (2008–2009)
2009What Goes UpPenelope Little
2009New Adventures of Old Christine, TheThe New Adventures of Old ChristineJeannie1 episode
2010GleeBrenda Castle2 episodes: "Bad Reputation" and "Dream On"
2010Neighbors from HellTina HellmanVoice
2011Bad TeacherMelody Tiara
2011Middle, TheThe MiddleFrankie's sister, JanetSeason 3: "Thanksgiving III"
2011Up All NightNancy2 episodes: "Hiring and Firing" and "First Birthday"
2012Casa de Mi PadreSheila
2012The Five-Year EngagementOnion Chef
2012Hotel TransylvaniaWandaVoice
2012Web TherapyKirsten Noble2 episodes: "National Exposure" and "Adaptation"
2013Scary Movie 5Heather Daltry

Saturday Night Live characters

Original characters

Celebrity impressions


External links