Molly Helen Shannon, born September 16, 1964, is an American comic actress. She is known for her roles on Saturday Night Live, Superstar, Year of the Dog, and she guested starred on Glee as Brenda Castle in 2010.

Personal life

Shannon was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio to Margaret (Peg) Keating and James F. Shannon.[1] She has two sisters, Mary Beatty and Katie (deceased). Sadly, when Shannon was four she was involved in a car accident that killed her mother, her sister and a cousin.[2] She attended St. Dominic School in Shaker Heights for grade school, and Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio. Shannon attended New York University, where she studied drama and graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 1987.[3]


Shannon with her husband Fritz Chesnut.

She married Fritz Chesnut, an artist, on May 29, 2004 and they have two children, Stella (born 2003) and Nolan (born 2005).[2][4]


Televison and movie roles

Before Saturday Night Live, Shannon had a struggling career in movies, her most notable being a supporting role as Meg in the 1989 horror film remake of The Phantom of the Opera with Robert Englung. In 1991, she had a brief appearance in the second season of Twin Peaks, and in 1993, she appeared with minor roles in two episodes of In Living Color, the first in a fake TV commercials with Chris Rock (played by Shawn Wayans), and the second in a sketch with Jim Carrey, playing LAPD Sergeant Stacey Koon.

Shannon's major break came in February 1995, when she was hired as a featured player on Saturday Night Live to replace Janeane Garofalo, after Garofalo left mid-season. Shannon was one of the few cast members to be (along with David Spade, Norm Macdonald, Mark McKinney and Tim Meadows when Lorne Michaels engaged in a major cast overhaul between seasons 20 and 21.

She appeared in a 1997 episode of Seinfeld entitled "The Summer of George," where she played Sam, the co-worker who drove Elaine Benes crazy because she did not swing her arms while walking. She also appeared in Sheryl Crow's video for the song "A Change (Will Do You Good)" and played the recurring role of loony neighbor Val Bassett, Grace Adler's nemesis, on Will & Grace, appearing in five episodes over the sitcom's eight-season run. In 1998, she played the role of Emily Sanderson in the film A Night at Roxbury, featuring Will Ferell and Chris Kattan who were also cast members of SNL at the time.

In 1999, Shannon starred in Superstar, a feature film based on her most famous SNL character, Mary Katherine Gallagher, the awkward Catholic school student who aspires to be a musical superstar.

Shannon left SNL in 2001, surpassing Victoria Jackson as the show's longest-serving female cast member (she has since been surpassed by Rachel Dracth, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler). In 2003, she appeared in the romantic comedy My Boss's Daughter and the television remake of The Music Man.

In 2004, she starred in a short-lived Fox network television series Cracking Up with actor Jason Schwartzman. That same year, she guest starred in an episode of Scrubs and starred as Mrs. Baker in the film Good Boy!. In 2006, Shannon was featured in the Sofia Coppola directed movie Marie Antoinette as Aunt Victoire. The next year, Shannon guest starred on ABC's Pushing Daisies and the film Evan Almighty. Shannon also made a rare move to drama, appearing in the critically acclaimed film Year of the Dog in 2007.

Shannon hosted Saturday Night Live on May 12, 2007, making her the second former female cast member to host (after J ulia Louis-Dreyfux) and the first one to have been a cast member for Lorne Michaels (Louis-Dreyfus was a cast member under Dick Ebersol).

In 2008, Shannon starred as Kath in the US version of the hit Australian sitcom Kath & Kim. Also in 2008, she starred in an episode of the comedy series Pushing Daisies and the TV movie More of Me.

After her project on Glee, she returned to Saturday Night Live for a special Mother's Day episode on May 8, 2010, and also the October 2010 reunion special "Women of SNL."

As of Spring, 2012, she has replaced Pauley Perette as the spokesperson for

Shannon was announced, in April 2015, to star in the HBO series Divorce. She will portray Diane, Frances’ (fellow Glee guest star Sarah Jessica Parker) high-strung friend. [5]

She will reprise her role as Gail in the Netflix original eight-episode series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and it will air in July 2015. Jayma Mays, Glee recurring star, will also star in it.

Shannon will star in the William H. Macy directed The Layover.



Molly Shannon as Brenda Castle.

Molly Shannon portrayed the character of Brenda Castle in the episodes Bad Reputation and Dream On.

Castle is the badminton coach and astronomy teacher of William McKinley High School. She is also an alcoholic and a drug addict. Castle has stood up against the main antagonist on Glee, Sue Sylvester multiple times, and has shown interest in Will Schuester.

She was only seen in Season One.


Shannon's first children's book,Tilly the Trickster, was released September 1, 2011.


Shannon replaced Katie Finneran in the role of Marge McDougall in the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises on 12 October 2010, and will remain through its closure on 2 January 2011 along with co-stars Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth.


Year Title Role Notes
1989 The Phantom of the Opera Meg (New York)
1991 Twin Peaks Judy Swain ("Episode #2.12")
1992 In Living Color Officer Trainee/Various 1992 - 1993 (5 episodes)
1993 General Hospital Surrogate Mother #2 ("Episode dated 1 April 1993")
1994 Sister, Sister Cashier / Checker ("Out Alone" and "Wedding Bells & Box Boys")
Ellen Woman ("The Houseguest")
The John Larroquette Show ("Another Average Night")
1995 Saturday Night Live Various 1995 - 2010 (118 episodes)
Return to Two Moon Junction Traci
1996 Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace Homeless Lady
1997 Seinfeld Sam ("The Summer of George")
The Single Guy Melody Pugh ("Macho Men")
Dinner and Driving Arguing Woman in Cafe
1998 Daydream Believer Susan Bradley short
The Thin Pink Line Aanl
A Night at the Roxbury Emily Sanderson
Happiness Nancy
1999 Will & Grace Val Bassett 1999 - 2020 (8 episodes)
Superstar Mary Katherine Gallagher
My Neighbors the Yamadas Matsuko Yamada voice: English version
Never Been Kissed Anita
Analyze This Caroline
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Betty Lou Who
My 5 Wives Barbara Van Dyke
SNL Fanatic Anna Nicole Smith TV short
2001 Shallow Hal Mrs. Mary Larson uncredited
Serendipity Eve
Osmosis Jones Mrs. Boyd
Saturday Night Live Primetime Extra 1 Elizabeth Taylor TV short
Wet Hot American Summer Gail von Kleinenstein
2002 The Santa Clause 2 Tracy
Sex and the City Lily Martin ("Unoriginal Sin," "Cover Girl," and "The Big Journey")
2003 Good Boy!'m Mrs. Baker
My Boss's Daughter Audrey Bennett
Ed Linda Berringer ("Babysitting")
The Music Man Mrs. Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn TV movie
American Splendor Stage Actor Joyce
2004 The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve Angie TV movie
Scrubs Denise Lemmon ("My Last Chance")
Cracking Up Lesley Shackleton 2004 - 2006 (8 episodes)
2005 Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie Jackie Frost voice and video
American Dad! Kristy 2005 - 2007 ("Deacon Stan, Jesus Man," "Not Particularly Desperate Housewife," "Meter Made")
2006 Air Buddies Molly voice and video
Gray Matters Carrie
The Amazing Screw-On Head Patience the Vampire voice and TV movie
My Gym Partner's a Monkey Pretties ("I Fear Pretties/The Magic Fish")
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Mrs. Dennit
LiTTLEMAN Soccer Mom
Marie Antoinette Aunt Victoire
2008 Pushing Daisies Dilly Balsam ("Bitter Sweets")
More of Me Alice TV movie
Evan Almighty Eve Adams
30 Rock Katherine Catherine ("The Fighting Irish")
Year of the Dog Peggy
The Mastersons of Manhattan'm Amanda Masterson TV movie
2008 Kath & Kim Kath Day 2008 - 2009 (17 episodes)
Igor Eva voice
Snow Buddies Molly voice and video
2009 The New Adventures of Old Christine Jeannie ("It's Beginning to Stink a Lot Like Christmas")
What Goes Up Penelope Little
2010 Neighbors from Hell Tina Hellman (10 episodes)
Glee Brenda Castle ("Bad Reputation" and "Dream On")
Web Therapy Kirsten Noble ("Mistress of the Web," "Meet the Press," "Dream Girl")
2011 Up All Night Nancy 2011 - 2012 ("Hiring and Firing" and "First Birthday")
Bad Teacher Melody (Garrett's Mom)
The Middle Janet 2011 - 2013 ("Thanksgiving III" and "The Name")
2012 Partners Cassandra
Hotel Transylvania Wanda voice
Web Therapy Kirsten Noble ("National Exposure" and "Adaptation")
The Five-Year Engagement Onion Chef
Casa de mi Padre Sheila
2013 Hannibal Kidnapper ("Oeuf")
Trust Me Janice
Scary MoVie Heather Darcy
Enlightened Eileen (4 episodes)
Happily Divorced Peggy ("I Object")
Jessie Col. Beverly Shannon ("G.I. Jessie")
Raising Hope Maxine 2013 - 14 ("Extreme Howdy's Makeover" and "Thrilla in Natesvilla")
Bob's Burgers Millie voice, 2013 - 17 (3 episodes)
2014 Life After Beth Geenie Slocum
The Spoils of Babylon Meredith Sennheiser ("The Foundling" and "The Rise of the Empire")
Bambi Cottages Cathleen Burke TV Movie
Benched Judge Conner ("Solitary Refinement")
The Millers Miss Pam 2014 - 15 ("Con-Troversy" and "Diggin' Up Bones")
2015 The Greens Are Gone Deborah
Me & Earl & the Dying Girl Denise Kushner
Fresno Margaret
Mulaney Markie ("Worlds Collide")
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Gail von Kleinenstein (7 episodes)
Larry Gaye: Renegade Male Flight Attendant Emily McCoy
Hotel Transylvania 2 Wanda voice
2016 Miles Pam Waltson
Nerdland Business Woman voice
Childrens Hospital Paula Reilly ("Through the Eyes of a Falcon")
Animals. Olivia voice ("Cats")
Other People Joanne
Divorce Diane 2016 - 2019, main role (24 episodes)
2017 Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later Gail (3 episodes)
The Layover Nancy
We Don't Belong Here Deborah
Life in Pieces Allie ("Chef Rescue Negotiator Necklace")
Fun Mom Dinner Jamie
The Little Hours Sister Maria
2018 Spy Kids: Mission Critical Murna voice (7 episodes)
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation Wanda voice
Wild Nights with Emily Adult Emily
Half Magic Mistress Valesca
Private Life Cynthia Grimes
2019 The Other Two Pat Dubek (6 episodes)
Jay and Silent Bob Reboot SouthBest Airlines Lady
Sextuplets Linda
2020 Horse Girl Joan
Promising Young Woman Mrs. Fisher



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