Joan Mary Cusack (born October 11, 1962) is an American film, stage and television actress.

Cusack has appeared in films, television and stage productions, receiving Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her roles in the movies Working Girl and In & Out, as well as one Golden Globe nomination. She has appeared in other films such as Addams Family ValuesBroadcast NewsStars and BarsMarried to the MobSay Anything...Arlington RoadRunaway BrideSchool Of RockToy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. She was a cast member on the sketch comedy TV show Saturday Night Live in 1985–86.

Cusack currently recurs on the Showtime hit drama/comedy Shameless, as Sheila Jackson for which she has received two Emmy Award nominations.

Early lifeEdit

Cusack, the second of five children, was born in New York City, New York, and raised in Evanston, Illinois. Her mother, Ann Paula "Nancy" (née Carolan), is a former mathematics teacher and political activist. Her late father, Richard John "Dick" Cusack, as well as her siblings Ann, Bill, John, and Susie, have also been actors. Her family is Irish American and Catholic.

Cusack is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.


Cusack has twice been nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her work in Working Girl and In & Out. She appeared with her brother John in the movies Sixteen CandlesGrandview, U.S.A.ClassHigh FidelityGrosse Pointe BlankSay Anything...Cradle Will RockMartian Child, and most recently, War, Inc. In the film Addams Family Values she played serial divorcee and murderer 'Debbie Jellinsky'. She also starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom What About Joan? in 2001–02 and the hit film Arlington Road. For many years, Cusack was also the commercial spokeswoman for U.S. Cellular. She's very well known as the head-teacher of Horace Green Elementary School as 'Rosalie 'Roz' Mullins in School Of Rock. She also voiced Jessie in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, and played Dr. Burton, the therapist of Charlie (Logan Lerman), in the teen film The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012).

Cusack was a cast member on the NBC sketch show, Saturday Night Live, from 1985 to 1986. Her recurring characters on Saturday Night Live included, "Salena," a socially inept girl who tries to ask out her boyfriend, "Biff" (played by Jon Lovitz), who is also socially inept. In addition, she did celebrity impersonations of Brooke ShieldsJane Fonda and Queen Elizabeth II.

She has been nominated four times for the American Comedy Award, in the category of "Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture" and has won three times, for Runaway Bride, (1999), In & Out (1997) and Working Girl (1988). She has also won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for In & Out.

In 2003, both Joan and her brother John signed the "Not in My Name" resolution (along with people such as Noam Chomsky and Susan Sarandon) opposing the invasion of Iraq.

Cusack narrates the public TV animated series Peep and the Big Wide World. In September 2010, Cusack guest starred on NBC's Law & Order: SVU.


In 2010, Cusack joined the Showtime drama/comedy Shameless, as Sheila Jackson, the mother of Karen Jackson (Laura Slade Wiggins). The first season premiered on January 9, 2011, and had its first finale March 27, 2011. Cusack replaced actress Allison Janney, who originally portrayed the role in the first edit of the pilot episode, but was forced to drop out of the part due to her series regular commitment on the ABC comedy Mr. Sunshine. Janney took the role understanding the character would be less prominent on the show, but when producers decided to increase the characters screen presence, she was forced to pull out of the part. Cusack has received critical acclaim for her performance, receiving a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series nomination in 2011. She returned in season two, which began airing January 8, 2012.

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