Emmy-nominated actress and writer Molly Shannon was born on September 16, 1964 in Shaker Heights, Ohio. As a child, she was involved in a car accident which killed her mother, sister and cousin, but it did not go against the way of her future career. She started off as a struggling actress, appearing in minor roles on film and television. Her film debut came in 1989, with a supporting role in The Phantom of the Opera. She then had minor roles in several television shows, including Twin Peaks, General Hospital, The John Larroquette Show and, most memorably, a supporting role in two episodes of the comedy sketch show In Living Color.
Shannon’s biggest break came in 1995, when she was cast as a featured player on NBC’s long-running Saturday Night Live. She replaced Janeane Garofalo, who left in the middle of the show’s 20th season. More importantly, she was one of only five cast members to be retained for the 21st season, after producer Lorne Michaels overhauled his cast because of the show being a critical and ratings disappointment. Her most memorable characters include 50-year-old dancer Sally O’Malley, public radio show host Teri Rialto (where SNL’s memorable “Schweddy balls” sketch with Alec Baldwin was performed), and neurotic yet melodramatic Catholic school girl Mary Katherine Gallagher.
Shannon continued appearing in other shows during and after her SNL stint, including the films Analyze This and The Thin Pink Line, and memorable roles on Seinfeld and Will & Grace. Upon leaving SNL in 2001, she starred in films such as Osmosis Jones, Shallow Hal, American Splendor, Marie Antoinette and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. She also guest starred in shows like Sex and the City, Ed, Scrubs, 30 Rock and Pushing Daisies. She also provided her voice to animated series like My Gym Partner’s A Monkey and American Dad.