A voluptuous blonde actress who has made a career of playing bimbos despite her more experimental comedy background, Massachusetts native Jennifer Coolidge took her Emerson College degree to New York City and joined the Gotham City Improv group before heading to Los Angeles where she became a long-running member of the famed Groundlings. Discovered in the early 1990s, she was cast in her first television series guest role on NBC's "Seinfeld", playing a masseuse who won't offer her professional services to boyfriend Jerry in a 1993 episode. The following year she was a featured regular on the short-lived sketch series "She TV" on ABC. Another short-lived sketch comedy series "Saturday Night Special" (Fox) featured Coolidge as writer and cast member, though this would-be "Saturday Night Live" (NBC) competitor that began airing in mid-April didn't make it through May.
Having appeared in the Showtime-aired Roger Corman horror presentations "Not of This Earth" and "Bucket of Blood" in 1995, Coolidge made her big-screen debut in the inane courtroom comedy "Trial and Error", co-starring "Seinfeld"'s Michael Richards. Equally believable as a pampered princess or a frumpy manicurist, Coolidge began increasing her film appearances, with several character parts in 1998, including roles in the children's comedy "Slappy and the Stinkers" and a cameo as a sexy traffic cop in "A Night at the Roxbury". She also continued television work, most notably in a recurring capacity on the animated series "King of the Hill" (Fox) from 1997-1999 and in the more adult comedy "Rude Awakening" (Showtime) in 1998.
Coolidge had a breakthrough role in the popular comedy "American Pie" (1999) playing a well-preserved, boozed up mom who seduces her son's classmate with the admission that she likes her scotch and her men the same way, aged eighteen years. Recreating that character with a larger part in the 2001 sequel wasn't the only time Coolidge would play drunk and sultry. "Down to Earth", the 2001 remake of "Heaven Can Wait" co-starred the actress as the scheming wife of an elderly mogul, a golddigging type she previously visited as a wealthy dog owner more enamored with the trainer than her husband in the improv-based comedy "Best in Show" (2000). As Betty, a mostly silent hairstylist in the warm "The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy" (2000), Coolidge heard the confessions and life lessons of a group of gay friends, and as down-on-her luck but good-natured manicurist Paulette in "Legally Blonde", she was the confidante of Elle (Reese Witherspoon), a walking Malibu Barbie-cum-Harvard Law student who boosted her friend's confidence and helped her get back on track.
With roles that showcased the actress' no-holds-barred approach to comedy and her obvious vanity-free comfort with altering both her appearance and manner to be unappealing, Coolidge emerged as a valuable character player and gifted comedienne. Working steadily, she had a brief cameo in the fashion espionage spoof "Zoolander" (2001) and was featured in the police parody "Showtime" (lensed 2001) as well as co-starred in the Showtime-aired romantic comedy "Oooph!" (lensed in 2001 and set to debut in the 2001-2002 season).
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