Kathy Ann Najimy (born February 6, 1957) is an American actress and comedian of Lebanese heritage, best known as Olive Massery on the television series Veronica’s Closet, Sister Mary Patrick in Sister Act, Mary Sanderson in Disney’s Halloween comedy-drama film Hocus Pocus, and the voice of Peggy Hill on the animated television series King of the Hill.
Prior to her film work, she was best known for two Off Broadway shows with Mo Gaffney working as the duo Kathy and Mo. One of the shows became an HBO comedy special and garnered Najimy her first nationwide fan base.
Najimy was born on February 6, 1957 in San Diego, California, the daughter of Lebanese American parents Samia (néeMassery) and Fred Najimy, a postal worker. She was raised Roman Catholic and attended Crawford High School.
Najimy’s film career began in the early 1990s, with a number of off-beat minor roles, but her first major role was in the 1992 comedy Sister Act, in the role of Sister Mary Patrick. She reprised this role in 1993 in Sister Act 2. She also starred in Hocus Pocus with Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker as the Sanderson sisters. In 1997, she lent her voice to Warner Bros. Family Entertainment as Tilly the Hippo in the film Cats Don’t Dance, alongside actors Scott Bakula, Jasmine Guy, John Rhys-Davies and Don Knotts, and has also played a role on the Nightmare Ned video game. In 1998, she made a cameo in Bride of Chucky as the maid who discovers Diane and Russ’ bodies. In 1999, she played the Stepmother in “CinderElmo” a primetime special for Sesame Street. In 2001, she co-starred in the hit comedy film Rat Race alongside John Cleese, Rowan Atkinson, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Lovitz and Seth Green. She guest starred in That’s So Raven. She has done four movies with Goldberg, (Soapdish, Sister Act 1 and 2, and Rat Race).
From film, Najimy expanded into television roles, including a dramatic recurring role on Chicago Hope. Najimy was part of the cast of Veronica’s Closet from 1997 to 2000. She co-created and starred in the hit Off Broadway show and HBO specials “Kathy & Mo“, with friend and actress Mo Gaffney. She appeared as Mae West in the Broadway hit Dirty Blonde. She also portrayed Dr. Mildred Finch on Numb3rs. Najimy also provided the voice of the drama teacher, Miss Thespius, in the 1998 Disney show Hercules: The Animated Series.
In 2003, Najimy provided the voice of Margalo in Stuart Little: The Animated Series, taking over from Melanie Griffith. She is the co-creator and director of the musical revue Back to Bacharach and David, which ran in New York City in 1992 and 1993, and which she directed again in Los Angeles in April 2009. She also appeared in Drop Dead Diva. In October 2009, Najimy played a police officer investigating an attack on Wisteria Lane on an episode of Desperate Housewives. In March 2010, she appeared in the Ugly Betty episode “Million Dollar Smile”, portraying Betty’s new orthodontist, Dr. Frankel. In July 2011, Najimy appeared in TNT’s Franklin and Bashepisode “Bangover”, playing a judge.
Najimy, an outspoken feminist, is also noted as an activist for human rights and gay rights. She uses her celebrity status to donate money to charities by appearing on game shows. She appeared as a contestant on a celebrity version of The Weakest Link where she won $50,000 (beating Anthony Anderson) for The Feminist Majority Foundation‘s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan. She has appeared three times on Celebrity Poker Showdown and won the season six tournament, donating the $100,000 to V-Day, an organization that helps stop violence against women and girls. She was also crowned Grand Champion on CBS‘ Gameshow Marathon in 2006, donating the $100,000 winnings to Girls Best Friend, a charity that helps empower girls. She’s also worked with PETA on a number of animal welfare issues and posed with Todd Oldham for the “I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur” campaign. In 2013, she was a contestant on Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off on Team Rachael where she was playing for PETA, cooking only vegetarian food. She was eliminated on the Feb. 3 episode, reaching third place.PETA awarded her their Compassionate Action Award in 2014.
In 1981, she was a contestant on Family Feud, which was used as the finale in Gameshow Marathon. Najimy and her family were winners on both shows. In the 1981Feud episode they won by 230 points, and in the Marathon version they scored 202 points to give Najimy the win. Najimy also appeared on the $25,000 Pyramid on the episode dated July 31, 1985. She failed to reach the bonus round, but still won a Commodore 64.
Najimy is also very vocal about issues regarding weight and body imaging among females. In August 2006 Najimy voiced her opinions over a remark made by Heidi Klumon the television series Project Runway after Klum said one model’s outfit made her look plus sized.
In 2005, she was chosen by Ms. Magazine as Woman of the Year. She signed the “We Had Abortions” petition which appears in the October 2006 issue of the magazine. The petition contains signatures of over 5,000 women declaring that they had had an abortion and were “unashamed of the choice they made.” Najimy, having determined that she was not in a position to be an adequate parent at the time, had had her own abortion in 1975, at the age of 18, when she had discovered that she was pregnant after she had broken up with the father.
|Walls of Glass||1985|
|The Hard Way||1991||Lang’s “Girl Friday”|
|The Fisher King||1991||A crazed video customer|
|Sister Act||1992||Sister Mary Patrick|
|Topsy and Bunker: The Cat Killers||1992||Marge|
|This Is My Life||1992||Angela (credited as Kathy Ann Najimy)|
|Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit||1993||Sister Mary Patrick|
|Hocus Pocus||1993||Mary Sanderson|
|In Search of Dr. Seuss||1994||(TV movie) Kathy Lane|
|ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter||1995||Dr. Feemus (Attraction now closed)|
|Toy Story||1995||Bo Peep (voice)|
|Veronica’s Closet||1997–2000||(TV) Olive Massery|
|King of the Hill||1997–2010||(TV) Peggy Hill|
|Cats Don’t Dance||1997||Tillie Hippo|
|Early Edition||1997||(TV-Series) Season 1 Episode 18 “Psychic”, Psychic|
|Hercules||1998||(TV, 1 episode) Thespis the Muse|
|Bride of Chucky||1998||Tabby, Motel Maid|
|Zack and Reba||1998||Mrs. Simpson|
|Hope Floats||1998||Toni Post|
|The Wild Thornberrys||1999||(TV, 1 episode) Ostrich|
|CinderElmo||1999||(Fox television film) Elmo’s Stepmother|
|If These Walls Could Talk 2||2000||The doctor in the made-for-TV movie’s “2000” segment|
|Leaving Peoria||2000||Dr. Albright|
|Little Bill||2000||Mrs. Shapiro|
|Rat Race||2001||Beverly ‘Bev’ Pear|
|The Wedding Planner||2001||Geri|
|Oswald||2002||(TV series) Bingette Bunny|
|The Scream Team||2002||Mariah|
|Stuart Little: The Animated Series||2003||(TV series) Margalo|
|Daddy Goes Sunnyside||2003||Gertie Histon|
|Wayside||2005||(TV, pilot episode) Mrs. Jewls|
|Getting Played||2005||Dr. Heidi Z. Klemmer|
|Balto III: Wings of Change||2005||Dipsy|
|Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!||2006||Sunny St. Cloud|
|That’s So Raven||2006||(TV, 1 episode) Lora Stelladora|
|Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers||2006||Blue Parrot Betty|
|Numb3rs||2006–2007||(TV series) Dr. Mildred Finch|
|The Suite Life of Zack & Cody||2007||(TV, 1 episode) Principal|
|Tinker Bell||2008||Minister of Summer|
|Desperate Housewives||2009||(TV, 1 episode) Detective Denise Lapera|
|Ugly Betty||2010||(TV, 1 episode) Dr. Frankel|
|American Dad!||2010–present||(TV) Barbara “Barb” Hanson|
|Drop Dead Diva||2010||(TV, 1 episode)|
|RuPaul’s Drag Race||2010||(TV) Herself (Guest Judge)|
|Make It or Break It||2011–2012||(TV series) Sheila|
|Men at Work||2012||(TV, 1 episode) Sasha Ryan|
|How to Fall in Love||2012||Kim|
|Stars in Shorts||2012||Sid’s Mother|
|BearCity 2: The Proposal||2012||Rose|
|The Guilt Trip||2012||Gayle|
|Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off||2013||(TV) Season 2 Participant—Team Rachael|
|A Madea Christmas||2013||Kim|
|The Big C||2013|
|Inside Amy Schumer||2014||Therapist|
|Descendants||2015||The Evil Queen Grimhilde|
- Anonymous. “Celebrity Birthdays – February 6 » Entertainment » MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK”. Muskogeephoenix.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- “Kathy Najimy Biography (1957-)”. Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
- LEBWA – Lebanese Women’s Awakening[dead link]
- Bonavoglia, Angela (November 17, 2011). “Fearless on Abortion”. Huffington Post.
- “1975 Crawford High Yearbook”. classmates.com.
- Adam Bryant (30 June 2009). “Kathy Najimy to Guest on Desperate Housewives”. TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
- “in May 2014, she posed in an ad in the San Diego airport bashing the locally favorite Sea World. The ad featured an outdated photograph depicting the actor as much younger than her current age. Naked for a Cause,” 101.9 Fox, accessed 20 September 2012.
- Erdos, Joseph (3 February 2013). “Interview With the Latest Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Castoff — A Double Elimination”. Food Network. Retrieved 4 February 2013.
- Madeleine Marr, “Rock the Night Away at Jingle Ball,” The Miami Herald, 10 October 2014.
- David Crary (October 3, 2006). “Women Sign “We Had Abortions” Petition”. Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-04-12.
- “Speech given by Kathy Najimy at Planned Parenthood Annual Luncheon, January 17, 2003”. Retrieved 2008-07-24.
- “Kathy Najimy Official Website”. Kathynajimy.com. Retrieved 2014-06-13.