Jennifer Coolidge has enjoyed something of a career renaissance. In a period of about three years after 2017, she was barely seen on the screen, leaving fans to wonder where she was and what was happening to her.
The « Legally Blonde » star has since made an emphatic comeback, however. She is currently starring in HBO’s « The White Lotus », while also enjoying a recurring role in « The Watcher » on Netflix. Coolidge has also recently featured in the animated comedy series « The Fungies! », as well as the movies « Swan Song » and « Single All The Way. »
All this is a long way from where the actress started before her career really took off in the ‘90s.
Jennifer Coolidge’s First Acting Job Was On Seinfeld
Jennifer Coolidge landed her very first professional acting job in 1993. This was in an episode of Seinfeld, the popular NBC sitcom starring Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, among others.
The particular episode was titled « The Masseuse », the ninth of the show’s Season 5. Coolidge was cast as a character named Jodi. The role was only a minor one, but it set the ball rolling for her work as an actress, and she never looked back.
In the few years that followed, she played various roles in « She TV », « The Monroes » and even « Saturday Night Live. » She also got to feature in a number of films, including « Not of this Earth », « A Bucket of Blood » and the parody « Plump Fiction. »
It wasn’t until nearly the turn of the millennium that Coolidge finally got her breakthrough role. In 1999, she joined the cast of the very first « American Pie » movie, as Jeanine Stifler. Although the character was quite limited at first, she became more central as more sequels were released.
« American Pie 2 » was released in 2001, the same year that Coolidge also starred in « Legally Blonde. »
Jennifer Coolidge Worked As A Waitress Before Her Acting Breakthrough
Before all the fame and glory that followed these two roles, though, Jennifer Coolidge had to really earn her stripes and work her way up the career ladder. The future award-winning actress was born in Boston in August 1961.
Unlike some of her Hollywood peers who were born into families led by celebrity parents, she came from a much humbler background: her father, Paul Constant Coolidge is said to have been a plastics manufacturer. With his wife Gretchen Knauff, he had one son and two other daughters, apart from Jennifer.
Coolidge knew exactly what career path she wanted to pursue, and enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City to sharpen her acting skills. As is usually the case with many aspiring stars in Hollywood, she could not land a significant gig in the industry soon after graduating.
In order to make ends meet while she continued to pursue her dreams, she found employment working as a waitress at a restaurant in the city. It was this job that she did for a while before her fortunes started changing and she finally broke into the world of acting.
Sandra Bullock Also Waited Tables Alongside Jennifer Coolidge
Jennifer Coolidge was not alone in working as a waitress while hoping to break into Hollywood in the 1980s. In November 2021, « Miss Congeniality » star Sandra Bullock revealed that she worked alongside her waiting tables at a restaurant called Canastel’s in The Big Apple.
As it turns out, neither of them were originally very good at the jobs – or so they would have us believe. “I started in the coat check world during the winter holidays, and it’s where you take a lot of fur coats, you get a lot of tips,” Bullock said during an episode of « Jimmy Kimmel Live! »
“I then was moved to hostessing, which I failed at because I didn’t know the hierarchy of names and who to seat and who to make wait in the cocktail lounge,” she continued. Coolidge also got to speak to Jimmy Kimmel about her experience at Canastel’s, a few weeks after Bullock was on the show.
According to her account, she did not even always report for duty, but was somehow never fired thanks to a very forgiving maître d’.