Jane Frances Kaczmarek (/kæzˈmærək/; 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.

Early life

Kaczmarek was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Evelyn (née Gregorska), a teacher, and Edward Kaczmarek, a US Department of Defense worker.[1][2][3] Of Polish ancestry,[4] she grew up in Greendale, where she was raised a Roman Catholic.[5] 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 attends an event at the Griffith Observatory to honor Air Force members during Air Force Week Los Angeles, CA, November 17, 2008

Kaczmarek has also appeared in over 40 television roles, the most notable including:

Malcolm in the Middle

In 2000, Kaczmarek was cast to play Lois Wilkerson in the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle.[6] TV Guide dubbed her role in the series as a "true breakout; a female Homer Simpson", and critics hailed her for her comic talents.[7] 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."[8] 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.

On November 19, 2009, Kaczmarek played against Julie Bowen and Robin Quivers in the Jeopardy! Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational, on which she won $50,000 for a charity.

In 2010, she starred in the Lifetime Original Movie, Reviving Ophelia, which aired October 11, 2010, she starred as the mother of a 16-year-old girl who was in an abusive relationship.

On July 22, 2011, it was confirmed that Kaczmarek will make a vocal appearance as Red Jessica in the television series Jake and the Never Land Pirates during its second season early 2012.[9]

In 2011, she guest starred in the FX comedy Wilfred, starring Elijah Wood.

Since 2011, she has appeared on Whitney as Whitney's mother.

In April 2012, she appeared in the David Lindsay-Abaire play Good People as Margie.

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.[10]

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.[11]

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.

Personal life

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.[12][13] The divorce was finalized in October 2010.[14] 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,[15] 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".[16] In 2010, they sold their villa, a former mansion, in San Marino, California.[17]

Kaczmarek underwent a hip replacement in April 2004, due to chronic arthritis.[18] 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)".[19]

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.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
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[20] Nominated



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Uncommon Valor Mrs. Wilkes
1984 Falling in Love Ann Raftis
1985 The Heavenly Kid Emily Barnes
1985 Door to Door Katherine Holloway
1988 D.O.A. Gail Cornell
1988 Vice Versa Robyn Seymour
1989 All's Fair Linda
1996 The Chamber Dr. Anne Biddows
1996 Wildly Available Rita Goodman
1998 Pleasantville David's mom
2015 The Boat Builder Katherine
2016 Wolves at the Door Mary
2017 CHiPs Jane Lindel
2018 6 Balloons Gayle


Year Title Role Notes
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 Cybill Holly 5 episodes
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
2011 Wilfred Beth Episode: "Pride"
2011–12 Whitney Candi 3 episodes
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"


  1. ^ Roberts, Robin (July 13, 2003). "'Malcolm's' new fifth dimension". Record-Journal. p. F1, F5. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Borun, Thaddeus (1946). We, the Milwaukee Poles: The History of Milwaukeeans of Polish Descent and a Record of Their Contributions to the Greatness of Milwaukee. Nowiny Publishing Company. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Gregorski, Frances J". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. May 29, 2003. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Jane Kaczmarek Biography (1955-)". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  5. ^ "Jane Kaczmarek Biography". The Biography Channel. A&E Television Networks. Retrieved 10 April 2014. The daughter of a defense department employee and a teacher, she grew up in a strict, Catholic household. 
  6. ^ Off Topic With Tichina Arnold Archived March 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Malcolm in the Middle". Archived from the original on December 18, 2008. Retrieved 2006-05-18.  . Fox.com
  8. ^ "Malcolm in the Middle Archived 2012-11-07 at the Wayback Machine." on TV.com
  9. ^ Schneider, Michael (Jul 22, 2011). "Exclusive: Sharon Osbourne Gets Animated for Next TV Gig". TV Guide. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Stanhope, Kate (November 19, 2012). "Law & Order: SVU Exclusive: Malcolm in the Middle Mom to Battle DA Barba". TV Guide. Retrieved November 19, 2012. 
  11. ^ Teti, John (November 17, 2013). "A Breaking Bad alternate ending is a Malcolm In The Middle dream sequence". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Bradley Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek File for Divorce". People. 
  13. ^ "Bradley Whitford, Jane Kaczmarek File for Divorce After Nearly 17 Years". TVGuide.com. Retrieved June 20, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Whitford and Kaczmarek -- Divvying Up the Goodies". TMZ. October 22, 2010. 
  15. ^ Search: bradley whitford. Getty Images. Retrieved on 2011-09-23.
  16. ^ Health, Beauty, Fashion, Love, Careers and more – MORE Magazine Archived 2009-06-24 at the Wayback Machine.. More.com. Retrieved on 2011-09-23.
  17. ^ Beale, Lauren (August 17, 2010). "Jane Kaczmarek, Bradley Whitford sell San Marino villa". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Malcolm in the Middle – Kaczmarek Has Hip Replacement Surgery". contactmusic.com, 24 June 2004.
  19. ^ "Jane Kaczmarek – Kaczmarek Explains Hip Emmy Ad." contactmusic.com, 29 August 2004.
  20. ^ "Center Theatre Group Tops 2012 Ovation Awards". 13 November 2012. 

External links