Who is Jane Kaczmarek?
Jane Kaczmarek was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, on 21 December 1955. She’s an American actress perhaps best known for her role as Lois in the family sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle” (2000-2006). She’s appeared in numerous stage productions, and has received critical acclaim for her work on Broadway. Jane has also made guest appearances in various TV shows, and continues to be an active presence in the entertainment industry.
Early Life and Education
Jane grew up in a close-knit family as one of four children. She has stated that her parents, Edward and Evelyn Kaczmarek, instilled in her the importance of hard work and tenacity from a young age.
Jane’s love for acting was evident early in her life. She was heavily involved in her school’s drama club, and participated in numerous community theater productions. After high school, she chose to pursue her passion professionally and enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied theatre arts, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in 1978. Still yearning to hone her acting skills, Jane also attended Yale School of Drama, where she received her Master’s degree in 1980.
Roles in Movies
Jane made her silver screen debut in the 1983 wartime thriller “Uncommon Valor”, directed by Ted Kotcheff and which starred Gene Hackman and Patrick Swayze. In “D.O.A”. (1988), Jane took on the role of Doreen, a crucial character in the film’s narrative, a remake of a classic 1950 noir film of the same name. It features Dennis Quaid as the lead character, Professor Dexter Cornell, a man poisoned with a slow-acting toxin and given 24 hours to live, and who must unravel the mystery of his own impending murder.
In the following years, Jane appeared in movies such as “Without Warning” (1994), “Apollo 11” (1996), and “The Chamber” (1996).
Jane’s comedic chops were put to use in “Pleasantville” (1998), in which she played the small yet impactful role of Mrs Harris. The film was a satirical social commentary set in a 1950s television show where the main characters find themselves trapped – Jane captured the essence of a stereotypical suburban housewife from the era, earning critical acclaim for her performance.
“Lost on Purpose” Trailer
Feature Film starring Jane Kaczmarek, C. Thomas Howell, James Lafferty, Aaron Hill, Dale Dickey and Academy Award Winner Octavia Spencer.
Posted by Johnny Derango on Friday, June 24, 2016
Through the 2000s, Jane was mostly committed to her TV series work, making rare appearances in movies such as “Jenifer” (2001) and “Reviving Ophelia” (2010). Another notable performance was in the drama “Lost on Purpose” (2013), written and directed by Eshom and Ian Nelms.
In “6 Balloons” (2018), Jane played the role of Rosa, mother to the protagonist Katie, played by Abbi Jacobson. This Netflix drama delves into the issue of drug addiction within a family, and Jane’s character is forced to confront the pain and denial often associated with having an addicted family member.
Jane’s most recent feature film role was in the comedy-drama “Killing Eleanor”, which premiered at the 2020 St. Louis Film Festival.
Roles in TV Series
In the early 1980s, Jane made appearances in TV series such as “Remington Steele” and “St. Elsewhere”. Her first recurring role came in 1984 with “Hill Street Blues”, a popular crime drama centered on a group of inner city policemen.
In 1990 and 1991, Jane starred in the legal drama “Equal Justice”, which follows the lives of a group of D.A. (District Attorney) staff from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The series earned critical acclaim during its run, but it failed to attract a wide enough audience, leading to it cancellation after only two seasons.
Through the rest of the 1990s, Jane appeared in a number of TV series, including “Law & Order”, “Touched By an Angel”, and “Frasier”, however, it was her portrayal of Lois, the no-nonsense matriarch in the hit sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle“ (2000-2006), that earned her the reputation of one of the most prominent TV actresses at the time. The show was created by Linwood Boomer, and centers around a somewhat dysfunctional family seen through the eyes of Malcolm, a gifted child with a penchant for getting into trouble. It also starred Frankie Muniz as Malcom and Brian Cranston as his father. The show is considered to be one of the most popular sitcoms of all time, and has earned multiple awards including seven Primetime Emmys.
TV Guide Cover, March 18-24, 2000: Frankie Muniz, Jane Kaczmarek and Bryan Cranston of ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ pic.twitter.com/QqfoonfUZh
— RetroNewsNow (@RetroNewsNow) March 19, 2021
Following the success of “Malcolm in the Middle”, Jane briefly returned to more dramatic roles, such as her portrayal of Judge Trudy Kessle in the legal drama “Rising the Bar” (2008-2009).
In 2012 and 2013, Jane guest-starred as Sandy Armwood, the abrasive career counselor at Orson High in the family sitcom “The Middle”. From 2014 through 2017, she played the recurring character Gwen Crawford in the comedy “Playing House”, which starred Lennon Parham, Jessica St. Clair, and Keegan-Michael Key.
Since then, Jane has guest-starred in series such as “This is Us”, “Mixed-ish”, and “Viral Vignettes”.
Love Life and Relationships
Jane met fellow actor Bradley Whitford in 1992, when they were both working on the stage play “A Few Good Men”. The couple married later that year, and had three children together: Frances, George, and Mary. However, after nearly 17 years of marriage, they announced their separation in 2009 and finalized their divorce in the following year.
Despite the end of her marriage, Jane remained positive and focused on raising her children. She has been relatively private about her personal life since her divorce, and it appears that she hasn’t remarried.
Hobbies and Interesting Facts
When Jane isn’t on screen, she engages in various hobbies and passions. She’s an avid reader, and enjoys gardening in her free time.
Jane is also known for her philanthropic work. She co-founded Clothes Off Our Back, a charity that auctions celebrities’ clothes to raise funds for children’s charities.
Jane has a unique collection of rocks from all the places she has traveled. She also has a deep love for cooking, a hobby she picked up from her mother. Interestingly, Jane can play the accordion, a skill she showcased in an episode of “Malcolm in the Middle”.
Jane’s successful career in both film and television has brought her significant financial success. As of 2023, her estimated net worth stands at around $9 million, much of her wealth coming from her acting roles, especially her long-standing role in “Malcolm in the Middle”.