Kathy Ann Najimy (// nə-JIM-ee; born February 6, 1957) is an American actress, comedian, director, producer, writer and activist. She is best known for her roles in the films Sister Act (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), and Rat Race (2001), as well as her portrayal of Olive Massery on the NBC sitcom Veronica's Closet (1997–2000) and for voicing Peggy Hill on the animated television series King of the Hill (1997–2010). She was first nationally known for her feminist play The Kathy and Mo Show, which she wrote and performed with Mo Gaffney.
Najimy at the 2011 Bel Air Film Festival
|Born||February 6, 1957|
San Diego, California, U.S.
Najimy was born on February 6, 1957, in San Diego, California, the daughter of Lebanese American parents Samia (née Massery) and Fred Najimy, a postal worker. She was raised Catholic and attended Crawford High School.
Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney's feminist comedy play The Kathy and Mo Show premiered in 1986 and had three long term New York City runs and generated two HBO specials, Parallel Lives and The Dark Side.
Najimy's film career began in the early 1990s, with a number of offbeat minor roles in The Fisher King, Soapdish, This Is My Life, The Hard Way. Her first major role was as Sister Mary Patrick in the 1992 comedy Sister Act. She reprised this role in 1993 in Sister Act 2. She also starred in Hocus Pocus as Mary Sanderson, alongside Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker. Premiering in August 2015, Najimy appeared in Disney's Descendants as the Evil Queen. In 1999, she played the Stepmother in CinderElmo, a primetime special for Sesame Street. In 2001, she co-starred in the hit comedy film Rat Race alongside John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz and Seth Green. She has made four movies with Goldberg (Soapdish, Sister Act 1 and 2, and Rat Race). Najimy starred in Pixar's Academy Award winning film WALL-E and Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas. She appeared in Netflix's 2018 film Dumplin' alongside Jennifer Aniston.
From film, Najimy expanded into television roles, including a dramatic recurring role on Chicago Hope, She was part of the cast of Veronica's Closet from 1997 to 2000. She played Wendy Keegan in HBO's VEEP for four seasons. She appeared with Ellen DeGeneres in three episodes of her sitcom Ellen, playing a different character each time (including a non-speaking cameo in the iconic "Puppy Episode") and in the TV movie If These Walls Could Talk 2. Najimy was a series regular season 4 of Unforgettable, season 4 of The Big C, and season 3 of Numbers. She guest starred on That's So Raven, Drop Dead Diva, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, and Franklin & Bash. She starred in TNT's In Search of Dr. Seuss.
Najimy starred as Mae West in the Broadway hit Dirty Blonde. She appeared in V'Day's Vagina Monologues on Broadway and in Nassim Soleimanpour's plays White Rabbit Red Rabbit and Nassim. She is the co-creator and director of the musical revue Back to Bacharach and David, which ran in New York City in 1992 and 1993, and which she directed again in Los Angeles in April 2009.
Najimy starred as Peggy Hill in Fox's King of the Hill from 1997 to 2010. Her voice is featured in the animated films Brother Bear 2, The Jungle Book, Cats Don't Dance, and Tinkerbell. She has also lent her voice to hundreds of animated television shows, including Bojack Horseman, Tangled, American Dad, Hercules: The Animated Series, Pepper Ann, and played a role in the Nightmare Ned video game. In 2003, Najimy provided the voice of Margalo in Stuart Little: The Animated Series, taking over from Melanie Griffith, and in 2000 took over from Madeline Kahn as Mrs. Shapiro in Little Bill. She stars in Disney Junior's reboot of The Rocketeer and Amy Poehler's "Duncanville."
Najimy is an activist and frequently travels the country to speak on issues of equal rights[who?], safety and self esteem for women and girls, LGBTQ rights, AIDS awareness, domestic violence, body image, and civil rights. She has spoken at the Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and PFLAG. She was a surrogate speaker for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. In 2004, Najimy was Ms. Magazine's Woman of the Year and a speaker at the March for Women's Lives. She is an active member of Time's Up.
Najimy has also worked with PETA on a number of animal welfare issues and posed with Todd Oldham for the "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign. PETA gave her their Humanitarian of the Year award in 2000 and their Compassionate Action Award in 2014.
Najimy is a strong advocate for women's health and reproductive rights. She's a proud contributor to the groundbreaking book, "The Choices We Made," which includes testimonials from women who believe in choice. Najimy is vocal about issues regarding body image among females. In August 2006 she voiced her opinions over a remark made by Heidi Klum on the television series Project Runway after Klum said one model's outfit made her look plus-sized, which Najimy called "dangerous" and "irresponsible".
Najimy created and produced the off-Broadway play Gloria: A Life, about the life of activist Gloria Steinem. Starting in 2012, Najimy has been creating, directing, and co-writing personal monologues with actresses including Olivia Wilde, Amy Schumer, Zosia Mamet, Debra Messing, Rosie Perez, and Gabourey Sidibe. The pieces have been performed at Glamour Magazine's live evening of personal monologues titled "These Girls" and at the 2017 and 2018 MAKERS conference. Najimy is currently working on a documentary about the 53% of white women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016. She has performed her solo show, Lift Up Your Skirt, at many venues including the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, ICONS at Fire Island, and Feinstein's at The Nikko in San Francisco. She is also currently producing a television series about the women's movement.
Najimy uses her celebrity status to donate money to charities by appearing on game shows. She appeared as a contestant on a celebrity version of The Weakest Link where she won $50,000 for The Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. She won the season 6 tournament of Celebrity Poker Showdown, donating the $100,000 to V-Day, an organization that helps stop violence against women and girls. She was also crowned Grand Champion on CBS's Gameshow Marathon in 2006, donating the $100,000 winnings to Girls Best Friend, a charity that helps empower girls. In 2013, Najimy was a contestant on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off on Team Rachael where she was playing for PETA, cooking only vegetarian food. She was eliminated on the Feb. 3 episode, reaching third place.
Before she became a known actress, in 1981, Najimy was a contestant on Family Feud, which was used as the finale in Gameshow Marathon. Najimy and her family were winners on both shows. Najimy also appeared on the $25,000 Pyramid as a civilian contestant, on the episode dated July 31, 1985. She claimed, on the Pyramid show, that she also had been on American Bandstand. She returned to the "Pyramid" (The $100,000 Pyramid) on the June 26, 2016, episode as a celebrity guest opposite Rosie O'Donnell. She appeared once again in Season 2, Episode 7 on July 23, 2017 to play against Alexandra Wentworth, helping her contestant partner win the $150,000 grand prize.
|1985||The $25,000 Pyramid||Herself (contestant)||Celebrity Guests: Constance McCashin & LeVar Burton|
|Walls of Glass|
|1991||The Kathy & Mo Show: Parallel Lives||Herself||Television special; also writer|
CableACE Award for Performance in a Comedy Special (shared with Mo Gaffney) (1993)
Nominated – CableACE Award for Writing an Entertainment Special (shared with Mo Gaffney) (1993)
|1994||In Search of Dr. Seuss||Kathy Lane||Television movie|
|Ellen||Theresa / Lorna Irons / Woman in Gay Bar||3 episodes: "So Funny" (Season 2) / "Go Girlz" (Season 3) / "The Puppy Episode, Part 2" (Season 4)|
|ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter||Dr. Femus||Short|
|She TV||N/A||Also writer (1 episode)|
|1995||The Kathy & Mo Show: The Dark Side||Herself||Television special; also writer|
CableACE Award for Comedy Special (shared with Mo Gaffney, Paula Mazur & Dean Parisot) (1995)
CableACE Award for Performance in a Comedy Special (shared with Mo Gaffney) (1995)
|1996||Adventures from the Book of Virtues||The Old Woman (voice)||Episode: "Self-Discipline"|
|Chicago Hope||Dr. Barbara 'Bix' Konstadt||Recurring role; 3 episodes|
Nominated – Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Recurring Player (1996)
|1997||Early Edition||Psychic||Episode: "Psychic"|
|1997–1999||Hey Arnold||Madame Blanche (voice)||2 episodes|
|1997–2000||Veronica's Closet||Olive Massery||67 episodes|
OFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series (1998)
OFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1998)
|1997–2010||King of the Hill||Peggy Hill (voice)||258 episodes|
Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production (2001)
OFTA Television Award for Best Voice-Over Performance (2001)
Nominated – Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production (1998)
Nominated – OFTA Television Award for Best Voice-Over Performance (1998, 2004, 2005)
|1998–1999||Hercules||Thespis the Muse (voice)||2 episodes|
|1998–2000||Pepper Ann||Coach Doogan / Margot LaSandre / Additional voices||5 episodes|
|1999||The Wild Thornberrys||Ostrich #1 / Sand Grouse (voices)||Episode: "Have Yourself a Thornberry Little Christmas"|
|The Sissy Duckling||Mother Duck #1 (voice)||Television film|
|CinderElmo||Elmo's Stepmother||Television movie|
|2000||If These Walls Could Talk 2||The doctor in the made-for-TV movie's "2000" segment||Television movie|
|Leaving Peoria||Dr. Albright||Short|
|2000–2003||Little Bill||Mrs. Shapiro (voice)||3 episodes; succeeded Madeline Kahn, the original voice of Mrs. Shapiro, shortly after her death in 1999.|
|2001–2003||Oswald||Bingette Bunny (voice)||4 episodes|
|2001||The Legend of Tarzan||Dania (voice)||Episode: "Tarzan and the Rift"|
|2002||The Scream Team||Mariah||Television movie|
|2003||The Mummy||Calliope / Aglaophone #2 (voices)||Episode: "The Enemy of My Enemy"|
|Stuart Little||Margalo (voice)||Episode: "The Meatloaf Bandit"|
|Ozzy & Drix||Loretta Epstein (voice)||Episode: "The Dream Factory"|
|2004||Higglytown Heroes||Photographer Hero (voice)||Episode: "The Legend of Higgsquatch"|
|Rocket Power||Patsy (voice)||Episode: "Summer Breezy/Sammy's Fortune"|
|2005||Wayside||Mrs. Jewls (voice)||Television movie|
|Getting Played||Dr. Heidi Z. Klemmer||Television movie|
|Balto III: Wings of Change||Dipsy (voice)||Video|
|2006||Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!||Sunny St. Cloud (voice)||Video|
|Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers||Blue Parrot Betty (voice)||Video|
|Rugrats||Goosey (voice)||1 episode|
|That's So Raven||Lora Stelladora||Episode: "The Dress Is Always Greener"|
|2006–2007||Numb3rs||Dr. Mildred Finch||9 episodes|
|2007||The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||Principal||Episode: "First Day of High School"|
|2008||Tinker Bell||Minister of Summer (voice)||Video|
|2009||Drop Dead Diva||Claire Porter||Episode: "The Magic Bullet"|
|Desperate Housewives||Detective Denise Lapera||Episode: "Careful the Things You Say"|
|2010||Ugly Betty||Dr. Frankel||Episode: "Million Dollar Smile"|
|2010–present||American Dad!||Barbara "Barb" Hanson (voice)|
|2010||RuPaul's Drag Race||Herself (Guest Judge)||Episode: "Country Queens"|
|2011||Mr. Sunshine||Myrna||Episode: "Employee of the Year"|
|2011–2012||Make It or Break It||Sheila / Sheila Baboyon / Kelly's Mom||5 episodes|
|2012||Men at Work||Sasha Ryan||Episode: "Heterotextual Male"|
|How to Fall in Love||Kim||Television movie|
|Stars in Shorts||Sid's Mother|
|2013||Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off||Herself||Season 2 participant (Team Rachael)|
|The Big C||Therapist||4 episodes|
|2014–2015||Inside Amy Schumer||Herself||2 episodes|
|2014–2019||Veep||Wendy Keegan||10 episodes|
|2015–present||Younger||Denise Heller||5 episodes|
|2015–2016||Unforgettable||Sandra Russo||Series regular, 10 episodes|
|2015||A Christmas Melody||Sarah||Hallmark television movie|
|Difficult People||Carol Donato||Episode: "The Children's Menu"|
|2016||Harvey Beaks||Hanzi / Angry Bride||4 episodes|
|The Jamz||Dan||4 episodes|
Also consulting producer
|2016–2017||Graves||Sylvia Miller||4 episodes|
|2016–2018||The $100,000 Pyramid||Herself (celebrity guest)||5 episodes|
|2017||Elementary||Rayna Carno||Episode: "Rekt in Real Life"|
|BoJack Horseman||Marcie (voice)||Episode: "Commence Fracking"|
|The President Show||Ivana Trump||Episode: "I Came Up with Christmas: A President Show Christmas"|
|2018||Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure||Mother (voice)||Episode: "Freebird"|
|Crazy Ex-Girlfriend||Herself||Episode: "I Am Ashamed"|
|2019||Good Witch||Willow||Episode: "The Road Trip"|
|American Dad!||Cheryl (voice)||Episode: "Pride Before the Fail"|
|The Rocketeer||Sareena Second (voice)||Main role|
|2020–present||Duncanville||Mayor, Additional voices||Recurring role|
|2020||Robot Chicken||Mary Sanderson (voice)||1 episode|
|Elena of Avalor||Peaches (voice)||Episode: "Heart of The Jaguar"|
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- LEBWA - Lebanese Women's Awakening Archived September 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Bonavoglia, Angela (November 17, 2011). "Fearless on Abortion". Huffington Post.
- "1975 Crawford High Yearbook". classmates.com.
- Rich, Frank (June 13, 1986). "The Stage: 'Kathy & Mo,' A Comedy". New York Times.
- Gussow, Mel. "Two Women as Nearly Anyone Else". New York Times.
- Hernandez, Ernio. "Comedy duo Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney return to New York in Afterbirth: Kathy and Mo's Greatest Hits, starting June 11 under the direction of Mark Brokaw at Second Stage Theatre". Playbill.
- Bryant, Adam (30 June 2009). "Kathy Najimy to Guest on Desperate Housewives". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- "V-Day 2001 | TheaterMania". www.theatermania.com.
- "Book Kathy Najimy". APB.
- "Actress and activist Kathy Najimy campaigns for Hillary Clinton in Davenport". WQAD.
- "Ms. Magazine Woman Of The Year". Ms. Magazine. Archived from the original on 2006-12-22. Retrieved 2019-01-09.
- "Flashback: Over One Million March for Women's Lives". National Organization for Women.
- "Marisa Tomei, Amber Tamblyn Attend Harvey Weinstein Court Hearing". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "in May 2014, she posed in an ad in the San Diego airport bashing the locally favorite Sea World. The ad featured an outdated photograph depicting the actor as much younger than her current age. Naked for a Cause," 101.9 Fox, accessed 20 September 2012. Archived 2009-10-22 at the Wayback Machine
- "2018 Keynote Speaker". YWCA San Diego.
- Madeleine Marr, "Rock the Night Away at Jingle Ball," The Miami Herald, 10 October 2014.
- Bonavoglia, Angela (2001). The Choices We Made.
- "Najimy Says Auf Wiedersehen to "Project Runway"". TMZ. August 24, 2006. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "Gloria: A Life Celebrates Opening Night Off-Broadway". Playbill.
- "Life Lessons From Alexa Chung, Amy Poehler, and Zosia Mamet at Glamour's 'These Girls'". The Cut.
- "Kathy Najimy Makers". Makers.
- "Comic actress Kathy Najimy returns to S.F. with solo show". SF Gate.
- "Marisa Tomei To Play Gloria Steinem In HBO Mini Produced By George Clooney". Deadline.
- "Kathy Najimy on fighting for equality, "Hocus Pocus," and performing with the American Pops Orchestra". Metro Weekly. 2019-05-16. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
- "The Weakest Link". ALAN CUMMING. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
- "Kathy Najimy's New TV Role Is Anything but by the Numbers | TV Guide". TVGuide.com. 2006-11-17. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
- Erdos, Joseph (3 February 2013). "Interview With the Latest Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Castoff — A Double Elimination". Food Network. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- "S1 E01 Sherri Shepherd vs Anthony Anderson and Rosie O'Donnell vs Kathy Najimy". ABC. June 26, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "S2 E07 Ali Wentworth vs. Kathy Najimy and Cobie Smulders vs. Ryan Eggold". ABC. July 23, 2017. Archived from the original on August 3, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
- "The $100,000 Pyramid: Kathy Najimy and Alex Gershman Win It All". YouTube.com. July 24, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
- Gordon, Miryam (February 4, 2011). "SWC guest Kathy Najimy funny, fierce, and warm". Seattle Gay News. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Speers, W. (August 13, 1988). "Newsmakers". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved March 24, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
- "Kathy Najimy Official Website". Kathynajimy.com. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "Kathy Najimy on Pyramid". Gameshowforum.org. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
- "'Good Witch': Kathy Najimy Joins as Cassie's Pal (Exclusive)". Entertainment Tonight.
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