Nancy Lenehan

Veteran character actor Nancy Lenehan is best known for playing unflappably cheerful soccer moms and school administrators on series television. Featured in recurring and guest roles on numerous programs since the early '80s, Lenehan may not be a household name, but her perfectly perky beam is a familiar one to fans of sitcoms. Originally from Long Island, New York, Lenehan attended school in South Dakota and, after graduating, relocated to San Francisco, where she briefly joined a comedy troupe. Her rise in Hollywood came slowly; and after countless faintly remembered TV and film roles as the sweet-natured girl-next-door, in 1996 she was cast as a recurring character on the Emmy-nominated comedy series "Ellen." Lenehan resurfaced as a series regular on several more comedies, including the Brett Butler-starring "Grace Under Fire," the short-lived "Married to the Kellys," and the wildly popular NBC series "My Name Is Earl," in which she made a memorable appearance as Kay Hickey, the mother of title character Earl Hickey.