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The truth about
Jane Lynch

The truth about
Jane Lynch


From sucking face with Jennifer Coolidge to sexually harassing Steve Carell, Jane Lynch will do anything for a laugh--except hide in the closet.

Call her the female Bill Murray. Jane Lynch doesn't sweat to be funny; she gets laughs just by being. If you don't yet know her name, you surely know Lynch's screen persona. Tall, pretty, and self-possessed, she reads as a proper lady from the country club. Except she's really twisted. Picture Lynch as the unnerving electronics-store manager who's hot to deflower Steve Carell in The 40- Year-Old Virgin. (Sidelong whisper: "Ever hear the term...'fuck buddy'?")

Considering that Lynch is gay, it's strange that she's never been interviewed in The Advocate. But Lynch assures us that the delay hasn't been about any reluctance on her part. "I'm way, way, way out," she says.

It was a lesbian role, in 2000's Best in Show, that put Lynch on the map. As a long, tall poodle trainer with an eye for trophy wife Jennifer Coolidge, Lynch deployed deft timing and an undercurrent of wistful neediness to steal every scene she was in. She has since continued to work with Show director Christopher Guest, earning her place in the unofficial repertory company that performs his ensemble comedies.

"Jane has an unbelievable intelligence, and it really goes to strange and dark and great places," Guest tells The Advocate. "She's always surprising to me and always exactly right on the mark."

In Guest and company's last outing, 2003's A Mighty Wind, Lynch played a porn star-turned-folksinger. In his new Hollywood spoof, For Your Consideration, she's an Entertainment Tonight- style TV personality cohosting a show with Fred Willard.

Says Guest: "I thought it would be fun to have her opposite Fred, who is a force of nature. Jane is one of the few people who can stand up to that. Fred's a steamroller, which can be a challenge, and she could just wipe the floor with him if she wanted to."

Raised in a suburb on the south side of Chicago, Lynch attended Illinois State University--"In Normal, Ill.," she notes--before joining the graduate acting program at Cornell. After a brief stint in New York City, she headed back to Chicago, where she appeared with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and--maybe most significantly--the Second City Touring Company as well as playing Carol Brady in the cult hit The Real Live Brady Bunch. But it was a role in the feature film The Fugitive that brought her out to Hollywood, where she began landing numerous TV guest spots.

Despite the recent uptick in her profile, Lynch seems to have maintained a decidedly un-Hollywood manner--warm, open, and unpretentious. She has accepted the mantle of "gay in Hollywood" with grace and ease. Active with the Los Angeles- based networking organization Power Up since the group's inception, Lynch has donated her acting services to the film projects sponsored by the group. She was named to its 2005 list of "10 Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz." It was at a Power Up event that she met L Word creator Ilene Chaiken, which led to Lynch's recurring role on the series.

If Lynch is currently enjoying the kind of moment most actors (at any age) hope and struggle for, she is still taking full advantage of all available opportunities. She filmed a small role as Amelia Earhart for Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator that ended up on the cutting room floor. Supporting roles in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, the Lifetime Network series Lovespring International, and upcoming roles in Boston Legal and Help Me Help You personify the old cliche of the hardest-working woman in show business. We sat down during her cover shoot on the one day she was in Los Angeles (the interview itself was rescheduled from the morning to the afternoon due to a last-minute voice-over session). Merely a brief stopover before she flew to Vancouver, Canada, to film another episode of The L Word.

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