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Kate Flannery Biography

Home > Actresses > F > Flannery, Kate > Biography

Birth Name: Kate Flannery
Born: 06/10/1964
Birth Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Kate Flannery was born on June 10, 1964, in Philadelphia, PA and raised in the nearby suburb of Ardmore, PA. She was one of seven siblings in an Irish-American family, and her parents, who owned a bar in Philadelphia, were not keen on their daughter's early inclination towards acting. The quick-witted redhead was driven to perform, however, and jumped at the chance to appear as an extra in the few movie productions that rolled into town - "Taps" (1981) and "Eddie & The Cruisers" (1983), for which she missed her senior prom. By her senior year, she had landed a role in a local dinner theater production of "Bye, Bye Birdie" and decided to follow her passion to the Shenandoah Conservatory, a performing arts school in Virginia. After two years, she returned to Philadelphia where she graduated from the University of the Arts.

The talented and newly matriculated Flannery next headed to that mecca for comedic performers - Chicago - with her sights set on honing her talents at the famed training ground of Second City. She was promptly hired as a performer for the Second City touring company, as well as the fledgling Annoyance Theater. As a mainstay performer with the Annoyance Theater, Flannery appeared in over 15 shows, including the bawdy "Miss Vagina Pageant" and the cult hit "The Real Live Brady Bunch," which toured for two years and played to sold-out crowds in over 30 cities. During that time, she was asked to audition for "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) along with fellow "Real Live Brady Bunch" castmates Beth Cahill and Melanie Hutsell. Unfortunately, they were asked to join the show while Flannery was not. Without bitterness, the actress later revealed in interviews that even being considered for "S.N.L." helped validate her talent and inspired her to continue performing.

Now a New Yorker, Flannery put her acting and singing talents to use playing singer Neely O'Hara in a well-reviewed stage adaptation of the campy "Valley of the Dolls" at the Circle in the Square Theater. She also performed and recorded with Mono Puff, a side project of John Flansburgh from quirky popsters, They Might Be Giants.

Though she loved New York and working the theater scene, Flannery eventually relocated to L.A. to look for work in television, landing guest appearances on left-of-center comedies like "The Bernie Mac Show" (Fox, 2001-06), "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ) and Comedy Central's "Crossballs" (2004), as well a recurring role on the criminal investigation drama, "Boomtown" (NBC, 2002-'03). On stage, Flannery re-entered sitcom spoof territory in "The Phacts of Life" at the Renberg Theater and played the owner of pet mortuary in "Hildy Hildy" at the hip Evidence Room. Meanwhile, she spent every Saturday night playing a past-her-prime lounge singer in "The Lampshades" at the ImprovOlympic Theater in Hollywood. The show, co-starring Scot Robinson as her fellow jaded medley crooner, had first been born many years earlier in Chicago and revived in 2003 when the pair found themselves again living in the same city. It remained a critics' pick during its more than four-year run.

In 2005, Flannery was called in to audition for a secondary role on the NBC adaptation of the hit BBC comedy, "The Office." Armed only with the information that her character was divorced and lactose-intolerant with a hysterectomy and wore very little make-up, her deadpan demeanor wowed producers. She immediately landed the part of Meredith Palmer. "The Office," with its unusual, audience- and laugh track-free format, became an NBC Thursday night favorite as well as an Emmy-winning show. Over the next three seasons, Meredith Palmer was gradually revealed to be a bit of drunk, prone to taking off her top to reveal her over-40 figure. Subsequently, Flannery herself earned a loyal following of underdog-loving fans, many of whom followed her "Office" blog online, created between set-ups as Flannery sat at her desk in character. In early 2007 the cast, including Flannery, received a Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series."