Jane Frances Kaczmarek (//; born December 21, 1955) is an American actress. She is best known for playing the character of Lois on the television series Malcolm in the Middle (2000–06). Kaczmarek is a three-time Golden Globe and seven-time Emmy Award nominee.
Kaczmarek was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Evelyn (née Gregorska), a teacher, and Edward Kaczmarek, a US Department of Defense worker. Of Polish ancestry, she grew up in Greendale, where she was raised a Roman Catholic. She majored in theater at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and later attended graduate school at the Yale School of Drama, where she was a part of its theater company.
In 1998, Kaczmarek was cast as David and Jennifer's mother in the movie Pleasantville. She has had several Broadway hits, including Lost in Yonkers and Raised in Captivity, where she won an L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award. Her first television role was that of Margie Spoletto on For Lovers Only (1982). One of her first notable appearances was in the famous 1984 movie Falling in Love, starring Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, playing the role of Ann Raftis, De Niro's character's wife. She also played a role in The Heavenly Kid in 1985 as Emily.
Kaczmarek has also appeared in over 40 television roles, the most notable including:
In 2000, Kaczmarek was cast to play Lois Wilkerson in the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle. TV Guide dubbed her role in the series as a "true breakout; a female Homer Simpson", and critics hailed her for her comic talents. Later, Kaczmarek would credit the show for bringing out her comedic side, claiming, "[Before Malcolm] I couldn't even get auditions for comedies. I played very unfunny people." For her performance as Lois, Kaczmarek was nominated for seven Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, holding the record of receiving the most Emmy nominations in this category without ever winning. She also earned three Golden Globe Award nominations, two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, and garnered two Television Critics' Association Awards and the American Comedy Award and Family Television Award in 2001.
Following the end of Malcolm in the Middle, Kaczmarek went on to star in the short-lived series Help Me Help You co-starring Ted Danson. She starred in the short-lived TNT series Raising the Bar as Judge Trudy Kessler. She also continues to voice Judge Constance Harm on several Simpsons episodes.
Since 2011, she has appeared on Whitney as Whitney's mother.
On November 2012, she made a guest appearance on ABC's The Middle as Frankie Heck's (Patricia Heaton) dental teacher. In 2013, Kaczmarek guest starred on NBC's long-running legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as Suffolk County D.A. Pamela "Pam" James.
In 2013, Kaczmarek played the lead role of Ms. Liz, a third generation dairy woman in the feature film Lost on Purpose starring alongside C. Thomas Howell, James Lafferty, Aaron Hill, Dale Dickey and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer.
Kaczmarek reprised her role as Lois in an "alternate ending" featurette on the Breaking Bad DVD/Blu-ray box set that was released on November 26, 2013. In it, Hal wakes up from the nightmare that was the plot of Breaking Bad, in a nod to the final scene from Newhart.
In 2014, she appeared as herself on The Comeback, auditioning for the role of Mallory Church in the fictional HBO series-within-a-series entitled Seeing Red.
In 2016, she appeared as a psychiatrist on The Big Bang Theory.
Kaczmarek married fellow Wisconsin native and actor Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) on August 15, 1992. They lived in Los Angeles with their three children: Frances Genevieve (b. October 1997), George Edward (b. December 23, 1999) and Mary Louisa (b. November 25, 2002). Both were very active with charity, and were seen attending many major award shows together. She is the founder of "Clothes Off Our Back" which auctions celebrity clothing for children's charities. In June 2009, the couple filed for divorce after almost 17 years of marriage. The divorce was finalized in October 2010. One of the last times they were seen together publicly was in September 2008, at the opening of a Los Angeles production of The House of Blue Leaves, in which Kaczmarek was starring. According to a June 2009 magazine interview with More.com conducted prior to announcement of the divorce, she replied "That's a big no comment" when asked to sum up her love life. She also added that she used to believe that she could "go it alone and as long as I had some fabulous boy on my arm, or man, and my career was sailing, that's all I needed" whereas she now had grown to appreciate the support of her girlfriends "to talk about kids, to talk about marriages, to talk about just life". In 2010, they sold their villa, a former mansion, in San Marino, California.
Kaczmarek underwent a hip replacement in April 2004, due to chronic arthritis. She recovered quickly, and used an X-ray of her new hip for her Emmy campaign the following summer, advertising herself as "the only Emmy nominee with an artificial hip (except for Anthony LaPaglia)".
In 2006, Kaczmarek and Malcolm in the Middle co-star Erik Per Sullivan contributed the afterword for the children's book Together that shows the importance of domestic animals to impoverished people in the world, inspired by the mission of the nonprofit charitable organization Heifer International.
|2000||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Malcolm in the Middle||Nominated|
|2000||TCA Awards||Individual Achievement in Comedy||Won|
|2001||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2001||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress in a Television Series: Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|2001||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2001||TCA Awards||Individual Achievement in Comedy||Won|
|2002||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2002||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress in a Television Series: Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|2002||Satellite Awards||Best Actress in a Television Series: Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|2003||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2003||Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress in a Television Series: Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|2003||Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2004||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2004||Satellite Awards||Best Actress in a Television Series: Musical or Comedy||Won|
|2005||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2006||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|
|2012||Ovation Awards||Lead Actress in a Play||Good People||Nominated|
|1983||Uncommon Valor||Mrs. Wilkes|
|1984||Falling in Love||Ann Raftis|
|1985||The Heavenly Kid||Emily Barnes|
|1985||Door to Door||Katherine Holloway|
|1988||Vice Versa||Robyn Seymour|
|1996||The Chamber||Dr. Anne Biddows|
|1996||Wildly Available||Rita Goodman|
|2015||The Boat Builder||Katherine|
|2016||Wolves at the Door||Mary|
|1983||St. Elsewhere||Sandy Burns||3 episodes|
|1983||Remington Steele||Barbara Troy Dannon||Episode: "Altared Steele"|
|1983||Scarecrow and Mrs. King||Penny||Episode: "Always Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth"|
|1983–84||The Paper Chase||Connie Lehman||8 episodes|
|1984||Hill Street Blues||Officer Clara Pilksy||6 episodes|
|1984||Something About Amelia||Mrs. Hall||Television movie|
|1985||Hometown||Mary Newell Abbott||10 episodes|
|1986||The Right of the People||Alicia||Television movie|
|1986||The Christmas Gift||Susan||Television movie|
|1987||I'll Take Manhattan||Nina Stern||Television movie|
|1987||The Three Kings||Dr. Paula Bolet||Television movie|
|1988||American Playhouse||Susan Glaspell||Episode: "Journey Into Genius"|
|1989||Spooner||Gail Archer||Television movie|
|1990–91||Equal Justice||Linda Bauer||22 episodes|
|1993||Big Wave Dave's||Karen Fisher||6 episodes|
|1994||Monty||Nickerson||Episode: "Wild, Wild Willy and His O.K. Corral"|
|1994||Law & Order||Janet Rudman||Episode: "Censure"|
|1994||ABC Afterschool Specials||Mary Reed||Episode: "Boys Will Be Boys"|
|1994||L.A. Law||Attorney Gershonwood||Episode: "Whose San Andreas Fault Is It, Anyways?"|
|1994||Without Warning||Dr. Caroline Jaffe||Television movie|
|1995||Picket Fences||Janice Neiman||Episode: "Heroes and Villains"|
|1995–99||Party of Five||Helene Thompson||3 episodes|
|1996||Touched by an Angel||Bonnie Bell||Episode: "Out of the Darkness"|
|1996||ABC Afterschool Specials||Nancy Gallagher||Episode: "Educating Mom"|
|1996||Apollo 11||Jan Armstrong||Television movie|
|1996–97||Frasier||Maureen Cutler||2 episodes|
|1997||The Practice||Pamela Boyd||2 episodes|
|1999||Felicity||Carol Anderson||5 episodes|
|2000–06||Malcolm in the Middle||Lois||146 episodes
American Comedy Award for Funniest Female Performer in a Television Series
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy (2000–01)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (2001–03)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (2000–06)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2001, 2003)
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actress – Comedy
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
|2001–10||The Simpsons||Judge Constance Harm (voice)||8 episodes|
|2006–07||Help Me Help You||Anne Hoffman||6 episodes|
|2008–09||Raising the Bar||Judge Trudy Kessler||23 episodes|
|2010||Reviving Ophelia||Marie||Television movie|
|2012–13||The Middle||Sandy Armwood||2 episodes|
|2012–13||Jake and the Never Land Pirates||Red Jessica (voice)||11 episodes|
|2013||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||D.A. Pam James||Episode: "Beautiful Frame"|
|2013||Breaking Bad||Lois (Malcolm in the Middle)||Episode: "Felina" (Alternate ending)|
|2014||Us & Them||Pam||7 episodes|
|2014–17||Playing House||Gwen Crawford||7 episodes|
|2014||The McCarthys||Eileen||Episode: "Sister Act"|
|2015||Big Time in Hollywood, FL||Dr. Moore||2 episodes|
|2015||Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero||Coach Jackie (voice)||Episode: "Ultrahyperball"|
|2016||The Big Bang Theory||Dr. Gallow||Episode: "The Sales Call Sublimation"|
|2016||Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life||Cindy Barrett||Episode: "How to Survive Your Parents' Visit"|
The daughter of a defense department employee and a teacher, she grew up in a strict, Catholic household.
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