So many more Coolidge-inducing laughs to come!

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Campy, funny, dynamo actress of multiple generations with award-worthy shiny teeth: these are just a few things we’ve appreciated about Jennifer Coolidge since she took on the role of Tanya in HBO Max’s The White Lotus.

HBO / Via

No doubt, in all of your years of streaming and binging the veteran actress has come into your radar at some point or the other. While appearing in movies and comedy shows before her big break in the 90s, Coolidge won over fans when she took on the role of “Stifler’s mom” in 1999 hit American Pie

Since then she’s appeared in various shows and movies, stealing scenes despite only ever taking on the part of a sidekick or foil to actual main characters. Sure, Coolidge’s latest role in White Lotus has underlined that she’s an actress who can uphold main character storylines but if you’re searching for a better understanding of her scope as an actress, look no further! We’ve put together a list of some of her most dynamic roles below.

Best In Show (2000)

Warner Bros. Pictures

In 2000, famed critic Roger Ebert likened Jennifer Coolidge’s role in this mockumentary to the now-late early aughts sensation Anna Nicole Smith. He wasn’t totally far off, in her role as Sherri Ann Ward Cabot, Coolidge plays a healthily botoxed and siliconed wife of a  geriatric millionaire. 

It’s not long before it’s revealed that she’s in a fun relationship with her poodle’s trainer Christy Cummings (Jane Lynch). In her role, Coolidge steals the show with her complete lack of interest in her poodle’s performance, superficial observations about her lover Christy and attempts to give her a makeover. 

Legally Blonde (2001)


If your face time encountering Coolidge wasn’t while watching Best In Show, it’s likely you fell in love with her at first when she took on the role of Paulette in Legally Blonde. Upon her first introduction, Paulette seems to be a sweet nail technician who gives Elle relationship advice despite having real love problems of her own. 

Despite having a gross ex-husband and a distant crush on the mailman, Paulette exudes happiness and has an amazing style of her own. The more we learn about her, the more we discover that Paulette isn’t the type that typically runs in Elle’s crowd, but Coolidge’s grasp on Paulette helps the character hold her own. “I’m a middle-aged, high school dropout with stretch marks and a fat ass,” Paulette says delivering one of the most iconic lines of cinematic history.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

First Look Studios

Rare are the cinematic opportunities to see Jennifer Coolidge slip into a dramatic role. In Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call, New Orleans, Coolidge stars alongside Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes as step-mom to Cage. To support her alcoholic husband’s steps to recovery, Coolidge gives up drinking herself. 

Sure, her appearances are brief but there’s no doubt that Coolidge (long considered a queen of camp) manages to shine threw as a drama queen in this movie about a drug-addled detective solving murders in post-Katrina. 

Austenland (2013)

Sony Pictures

It’s a truth universally known that a true tell of talent lies in the ability to hold your own in the regency era! This farcical fantasy revolves around a vacation getaway spot akin to Westworld where Jane Austen’s early 19th-century novels come to life, underperformed at the box office, and didn’t get the greatest reviews. Still, the movie’s storyline and aesthetics have earned a real place of love in the heart of true Austen fans

No doubt Coolidge’s role in the movie as Elizabeth Charming is proof that regency novels require a new staple character with her characteristics and motivations (and Coolidge to pull it all off). In her role as Ms. Charming, Coolidge plays the part of a middle-aged and wealthy woman with a very healthy libido. Throughout Austenland, she delivers the inappropriate Anglo stereotypes like “right-o!” and “The British are coming!”

The White Lotus (2021)


“Wheeheee!” There’s a reason why Jennifer Coolidge and her role in HBO’s White Lotus gained such acclaim. Arguably, of all of the storylines on the series, Coolidge’s character has one with the lowest of stakes.

 Still, Coolidge’s ability to tackle a character with such big emotion says so much about her ability to merge her camp tools of acting with her ability to fully understand and appreciate a character’s strife and struggles. Coolidge’s performance as the unsteady and overly attached Tanya McQuoid says so much about what we can expect from the actress in her roles to come.

What’s your favorite Jennifer Coolidge role? Let us know in the comments!

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