It’s because of “White Lotus”, a two-season mini-series directed by her friend Mike White, which Jennifer Coolidge has returned to center stage. If, since her debut in 1993 in the mythical series “Seinfeld”, the sulphurous blonde has only played secondary roles, all have almost immediately become cult: Paulette in “La Revanche d’une blonde”, Stifler’s mother in “American Pie”… And now Tanya MacQuoid in “White Lotus”, a character for which she won her first Emmy and her first Golden Globe, at 61 years old. A hilarious and underrated actress, now appreciated at her fair value, here are five things to know about Jennifer Coolidge.
1- Expert in improvisation
Born in Boston, Jennifer Coolidge studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before joining the theatrical improvisation troupe The Groundlings. Since then, the passion for improvisation has never left her. During her youth in New York, she pretended to be Muffin Hemingway, Ernest’s granddaughter, to enter a nightclub. A talent that proved particularly useful for “White Lotus”, in the words of director Mike White who confided to “Variety”:
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“On the set of ‘White Lotus’, she improvises more than the other actors. […] I tend to just film what I’ve written, but his ideas are brilliant, weird. She composes. »
2- A first Emmy Award at 61
It took almost forty years for Jennifer Coolidge to win an Emmy Award. And yet, series, she did. From “Seinfeld” in 1993 to her appearances in “Sex And the City” and “Friends” and her roles in “2 Broke Girls” and “The Watcher”, she tried everything. But it is thanks to her role in “White Lotus” that she won the first Emmy of her career in September 2022. On this occasion, she gives a hilarious speech and performs a memorable dance.
3- Depression during confinement
Often reduced to the roles of a brainless woman, the real Jennifer Coolidge has also lived through difficult times. During the Covid period, the actress suffered from depression and fell into self-destruction, she confided to the “Guardian” in August 2021, until refusing to shoot “White Lotus”:
“It was impossible for me. I had been binging and self-destructing at home for months, eating pizza all day. There was no way I wanted to be filmed unless they were filming me from the neck down. I’m a bit vain, so there was absolutely no way. »
It will take the constant support and encouragement of her friend Mike White for her to finally concede to her request.
4. She appears in an Ariana Grande music video
In “Thank U, Next” by singer Ariana Grande, she replays one of her most famous roles, that of Paulette, Reese Whiterspoone’s beautician in “A Blonde’s Revenge”.
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The two women are very good friends, and it is thanks to this small role in the clip that the actress has put her career back on track, believes Jennifer Coolidge during an interview conducted by Ariana Grande and carried out for “Entertainment weekly” last December:
“I think it really kicked off when you asked me to be in ‘Thank U, Next.’ From there, I got the part in “Promising Young Woman”. You were kind of the instigator of all this. I really believe it. If you hadn’t asked me to be in “Thank U, Next”, and do this impersonation of me, I don’t think I would be where I am today. »
5. We owe the term “MILF” to her.
“MILF” is an acronym for “Mother I’d Like to Fuck”. Let’s say a “sexually attractive mother” translated into… decent French. Jennifer Coolidge became known to the general public in part thanks to this recurring role of mother of Stifler in the saga “American Pie”. His character seduces and maintains sexual relations with one of the young man’s friends, the so-called Finch.
MILF, or more broadly cougar, as you prefer, but know that she is the original model.
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From “American Pie” to “White Lotus”, 5 things to know about Jennifer Coolidge