The age-old tale of ageism has always remained quite present in Hollywood, particularly for women of a certain age. This belief that after 40, women are “old” and can only play the role of wife, mother or even grandmother, as if there was no other interesting plotline for a woman on screen. However, in recent years, there seems to have been a shift, and producers have given older women the diverse roles they deserve (or what queer women have been asking for every time they tweet about a MILF).

Sheryl Lee Ralph won an Emmy at age 65 after being part of this industry since she was 19. She was finally recognized for her long career, and her talent was highlighted as part of her remarkable work on Abbott Elementary. J. Smith-Cameron went from a stage actor to a sex symbol in her ’60s by playing an older woman in a complicated sexual relationship with a younger man on Succession. And the one who has surprised everyone is Jennifer Coolidge, who many seemed to forget.

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Jennifer Coolidge’s name was on everyone’s lips as different awards shows celebrated her performance on The White Lotus. She thanked Mike White for giving her the room to showcase her talent and prove that you are never too old to take on a new role and change the course of your career. The role of Tanya seemed perfect for her, and it allowed the fans to see her comedic genius at play while also reminding everyone that there are many layers to Coolidge’s talent.

But the truth is that even though Coolidge seems to have found a second wave of fame after the show and her several wins, she has never stopped working. Her filmography includes many projects since her career launched in 1993. Sadly, it seems you need a huge hit that will be talked about globally for people to remember there is a career behind your work.

Jennifer Coolidge at a nail salon with Reese Witherspoon.

For most people, Jennifer Coolidge is Paulette Parcelle from Legally Blonde, and truth be told, that is her most iconic role — even though for many, it will now be Tanya. However, after those two movies became a huge hit, it may have seemed that none of her roles caught as much attention as that. Her career kept on going strong, and there have been many roles (before and after Paulette Parcelle) that were memorable.

Before charming everyone with her charisma in Legally Blonde, Coolidge was the OG MILF when she played Stifler’s Mom in American Pie. When asked about the MILF title, Coolidge told Variety, “I got a lot of play out of being a milf, and I got a lot of sexual action from American Pie […] I’m just talking about there were so many benefits to doing that movie.”

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Playing the OG MILF and tagging along with Reese Witherspoon and her chihuahua aren’t the only things in Coolidge’s filmography. As an actor who has a unique voice, it is no surprise that she has spent a big part of her career doing voice acting for several animated shows and movies. She has done over 30 projects in which she has given voice to one or more characters. Among that list, fans can find Ten-Year-Old MomThe Fungies and Robots.

But if voice acting wasn’t enough to elevate her filmography to another level, Jennifer Coolidge also participated in one of Ariana Grande‘s biggest music videos: “Thank U, Next.” In it, Coolidge brought back to life the character of Paulette Parcelle and found herself at a salon years after the first movie, bringing fans a little bit of what they loved most in her career.

Jennifer Coolidge wearing tanning protecting goggles.

For Disney fans, A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff must definitely be highlighted. In the movie, Coolidge plays the villain or what every fairytale story introduces as an evil stepmother. She tries her best to make Duff’s life a living hell, but she is mainly remembered for how ridiculous this character is. The tanning bed, the green lawn during a drought and her terrible daughters make up for another incredible character in Coolidge’s filmography.

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Even though the focus is on The White Lotus and what Jennifer Coolidge has been able to do in the show’s two seasons, there is a lot more in her filmography, making her one of the most diverse actors in the industry. Whether you simply listen to her voice in a cartoon, watch her play the OG MILF or go back to Legally Blonde, her projects are worth the watch.

This article was originally published on 8/16/23.

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