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Joan Cusack: Beloved Comedic Actress with a Distinctive Voice

Full Name Joan Mary Cusack
Born October 11, 1962, New York City
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Siblings John Cusack, Ann Cusack, Bill Cusack
Spouse Richard Burke (m. 1996–2005)
Children 2
Twitter @joancusack
Instagram N/A
Awards 2 Oscar nominations, 3 Emmy nominations

Early Life and Family

Hailing from the famous Cusack acting family, Joan was born in New York City in 1962. Her father Dick Cusack was an actor and filmmaker, while her mother Nancy was a math teacher. She and her siblings Ann, John, and Bill all went into acting. Early on, Joan studied with the Piven Theatre Workshop. She briefly attended University of Wisconsin-Madison before dropping out to pursue acting full time.

Filmography Highlights

While Joan has an extensive filmography, some of her most beloved roles include:

  • Sixteen Candles (1984) – As the nerdy sister to Molly Ringwald‘s Sam, Joan got noticed for her humor early on.
  • Working Girl (1988) – Her role as Cyn earned Joan her first Oscar nomination and established her as a stellar supporting actress.
  • Addams Family Values (1993) – Her portrayal of the black widow Debbie Jellinsky and her hilarious demise scene stole the show.
  • School of Rock (2003) – As the high-strung principal Rosalie Mullins, she was the perfect comedic foil to Jack Black‘s Dewey.
  • Shameless (2011-2021) – I loved seeing Joan flex her dramatic chops as the flawed but fierce matriarch of the Gallagher family.

Lasting Legacy in Comedy

Few people have perfected the art of playing quirky, off-kilter characters like Joan Cusack. Though she can adapt to any genre, comedy is where she shines brightest. Her expressive face, raspy voice, and impeccable timing make her the ideal actress for kooky roles. She elevates any film she‘s in.

Over her 40+ year career, Joan has proven herself as a comedic genius. She has influenced generations of funny female actresses. Even in smaller roles, she leaves us in stitches. Joan Cusack‘s legacy as one of the great comedians of her era will certainly stand the test of time.