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Emmys 2011 Spotlight: Jane Lynch

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Sep 16, 2011 | 12:42pm EDT

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jane lynchFrom her very first scene as Sue Sylvester on Glee, Jane Lynch established herself as one of television’s greatest powerhouses. She demanded that we acknowledge her existence whenever she marched into a scene, and that’s no easy feat when you consider how much eye candy and over-the-top theatrics that is on that show. Within the first few episodes it was obvious that even though Glee is a show about how difficult it is for teenagers to discover and express their own identities, Lynch skillfully managed to portray the important message that sometimes, adults don’t really have life figured out that much, either. And so because her witty and enthusiastic personality translates so well on television, Lynch was chosen to host the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.

Jane Lynch was born in July of 1960 and raised in Dolton, Illinois. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in theatre from Illinois State University, she then went pursued her Masters in Fine Arts in theatre from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Afterwards, she moved to Chicago and spent the next ten years performing at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and traveling with the world famous improvisational group, The Second City. But it wasn’t until 1988 that she got her first film role, playing Ms. Lindstrom in Vice Versa. And then in 1993 she played a doctor who knew Harrison Ford’s character in The Fugitive. Over the course of the next ten years she appeared on countless television shows, including Friends, Felicity, Two and a Half Men, Weeds, Boston Legal, The L Word, Gilmore Girls, Psych, Monk, Arrested Development, Dawson’s Creek, and The New Adventures of Old Christine.

However, Lynch’s popularity soared once Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin came out in 2005. In the movie she played SmartTech’s manager, Paula, who takes a particular liking to Steve Carell’s character of Andy, and offers herself up as his “fuck buddy.” In an NPR interview, Lynch explained how she became a part of the movie, and she said, “I have Steve Carell’s wife, Nancy Walls, to thank for [getting me the role]. It was a man’s part and she said, ‘Steve, you have too many men in your movie – you should audition Jane for the part.’” Lynch’s profoundly hilarious scene of serenading Carell’s character lead to her appearing in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, For Your Consideration, Role Models, and Julie & Julia.

Lynch expanded upon her esteemed career in television when she appeared on the first season of Starz's Party Down in 2009. The show revolved around a catering company in Los Angeles and depicted a group of six people who unenthusiastically served food at rich people's parties to earn money so they could pursue their other agendas. Though it developed a cult following, critics panned it and it was ultimately canceled after its second season. But luckily enough for Lynch, she only witnessed the good times because shortly after she finished filming the first season, she was cast as Sue Sylvester on Glee (which, of course, we all know was a tremendous hit). The first episode premiered on May 19th, 2009, and the season went on to earn nineteen Emmy nominations, four Golden Globe awards, and fifty-seven other awards. Two of those honors went to Lynch herself, and she capped off the year with both a Golden Globe and an Emmy.

And with that's how Jane Lynch finds herself with the duty of hosting this year's Emmy awards. In fact, she's double-booked herself! In addition to making sure all the show's transitions are smooth and all the music cues are adhered to, she's also nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Emmy! Which is good because either way, she'll be a winner on Sunday night.

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