How they got their start: Jane Curtin

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: April 4, 2022, 11:22AM

Known to fans as "Queen of the Deadpan," Jane Curtin spent the early part of her career intensely focused on being funny. As an original cast member on Saturday Night Live, she co-anchored "Weekend Update" alongside Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, and gave us memorable characters like Prymatt Conehead. The "Coneheads" sketch would go on to become the earliest SNL sketch to later become a movie, which, of course, featured Curtin in her original role. 

NBCSaturday Night Live

In the 1970s, Curtin's first TV role that came after SNL was on the anthology series The Love Boat, where she played a divorcee joining her friends, who cruelly toy with the ship's repairman as an ill-willed vacation lark. She'd get much more work in the 1980s, including her first big-screen role in the Robert Altman movie O.C. and Stiggs, plus a starring role in her own sitcom, Kate & Allie, which, hey, was also about a divorcee moving on with her life, this time minus all the requisite cruise ship drama.

Television would continue to craft memorable roles for the comedic actress, with her next starring sitcom role on the short-lived 1990 show Working It Out, but once the Coneheads movie came out in 1993, there was no way they'd cast anyone else in what became her next hit sitcom role on 3rd Rock from the Sun. As Dr. Mary Albright, Curtin once again played the straight character, this time to John Lithgow's nutty Dick Solomon. What many may not realize is her character was only slated for seven episodes, but Curtin brought so much to the role that they couldn't cut her character loose. Thus she joined another stellar cast as a standout.


Jane Curtin continues to feature in TV and movies today, but her most recent role on TV was on Start's new show Unforgettable. She played Joanne Moore, who, introduced in the first season, becomes Carrie Wells' superior as well as a partner, but is also an old friend of Poppy Montgomery's character, serving as Carrie's confidant. It's the kind of commanding female character who has so much spunk, she's been pushed to Carrie's office because she speaks out too much. And in Curtin's career, it's yet another bold character, who you can watch on Unforgettable through the series' third season.

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