It’s not an exaggeration to say that the Fox hit television series Glee has its share of fans. But some fans may not know that one of the show’s lead actors Jane Lynch actually has Illinois roots. Lynch, who plays cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on the hit series, was recently featured on the cover of Illinois State University (ISU)’s alumni magazine.The actress graduated from ISU’s School of Theatre in 1982 before going on to pursue her master’s degree in theater from New York’s Cornell University.
According to Tom Nugent’s article, Jane Lynch credits some of her success to some of her former teachers at ISU, including directing professor Don LaCasse, and Jean Scharfenberg. In the article, Lynch said, “Sometimes, when people ask me today if I’m ‘channeling’ somebody from my past [while playing tyrannical characters such as Sue Sylvester in Glee], I think of the Dragon Lady and I wonder if that might be true.”
Despite the fact that Lynch has single-handled created a character that is by no means saccharine sweet, her co-star Matthew Morrison has nothing but good things to say about her. Morrison said, “She’s actually the sweetest woman you could ever meet…over the last year, she’s raised the expectations I have for myself.”
That’s pretty high praise coming from a Broadway veteran like Morrison but Lynch has definitely earned it. And she’s also earned an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her work on Glee.
Before she landed her role on Glee, Lynch worked on stage with Chicago’s Second City, as well as in other projects in film and television including, the Showtime series The L Word, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (opposite Will Ferrell) and Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia (2009) with Academy Award winner Meryl Streep. Read more about Jane Lynch’s humble beginnings in the full article.
And Lynch isn’t the only famous face to emerge from ISU’s theatre department. Other successful alumni include Jeff Perry (Grey’s Anatomy), Terry Kinney (Save The Last Dance), Gary Sinise (CSI: NY), and John Malkovitch just to name a few. For more on the rich history of ISU’s theatre program click here. One thing’s for sure neither Glee fans nor ISU will forget Jane Lynch’s comic talent anytime soon.