Alison Brie is the best-known star in Netflix‘s GLOW, but Betty Gilpin is also a major star in the show. The 30-year-old actress also has a long list of TV roles, appearing in Nurse Jackie, Masters of Sex and Elementary before she nabbed the role of Debbie Eagan in GLOW.
At the start of the series, Debbie and Ruth Wilding (Brie) are close friends. Debbie is a former soap opera actress who was written off her show when she became pregnant. She soon discovers that her husband was having an affair with Ruth, ruining their friendship. She gets stuck joining the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling when she shows up at the gym to confront Ruth. When director Sam Sylvia (Marc Maron) figures out that she’s an experienced TV actress, he talks Debbie into joining the league.
You can follow Gilpin on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know about Gilpin, who comes from a family of actors.
1. She Met Her Husband Cosmo Pfeil During the Making of Her First Movie, ‘The Northern Kingdom’
Gilpin is married to actor Cosmo Pfiel. The two were seen together in February 2015 at a Broadway opening night party, according to photos published by Broadway.com.
Gilpin and Pfiel met while making her first movie, 2009’s The Northern Kingdom. The two played siblings in the movie.
In an interview with Interview Magazine, Gilpin said her parents were auditioning for a part in the film and urged her to audition for a role that was written for a 19-year-old. She decided to give it a shot and put her name down on a sign-in sheet. It was a good thing she made the movie, since she got an agent and met the man who became her husband.
“I just came with them and put my name on the sign-in sheet, which I would never have the confidence to do—it’s the confidence of a stoner. I auditioned and got the part,” Gilpin explained to Interview. “They only had my parents’ number, so they called my parents to let them know. They were very excited. I got an agent from that, and the guy who played my brother in the movie is now my husband.”
2. Both of Her Parents are New York Stage Actors
Both of Gilpin’s parents are New York stage actors, so she was exposed to acting at a young age. Her father is Jack Gilpin, who has also appeared in the films Quiz Show and 21, as well as episodes of the Law & Order shows. Her mother is Ann McDonough, who appeared in Moonstruck and did episodes of All My Children and Law & Order: SVU.
“I grew up in the Episcopal Church and then, for many years, followed no religion. In my early 30s, I began going to an Episcopal church again in New York where there were three clergy members with varied backgrounds and teaching styles,” Jack Gilpin said in 2012.
Jack Gilpin and Ann McDonough also have two other children – Sam, 28, and Harry, 22.
3. Gilpin Worked With ‘GLOW’ Creators Liz Flahive & Carly Mensch on ‘Nurse Jackie’
Before Gilpin landed her part in GLOW, her best known role was as Dr. Carrie Roman in Showtime’s Nurse Jackie with Edie Falco. She appeared in 34 episodes of the show, which included Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch as writers and producers. The two also created GLOW.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Gilpin said that seeing their names involved in the show gave her the confidence to accept the part. She knew Flahive and Mensch would do a great job.
“Seeing their name in the headline and them announcing they were doing this show, put me at ease and made me really excited,” she told the Times. “Because there is like a Fox pilot version of GLOW that would be like a lot of sucking it in, arching your back and like the mud wrestling version of that. I knew it was in the right hands and it would be a narrative-driven thing and not about, you know, butts.”
Gilpin also said that she had discussions with Flahive and Mensch about how hard it was to to get parts and the difficulties of being typecast. Much of that wound up in the show’s scripts.
“I remember talking to them and saying before we shot the pilot and sort of nervously said, ‘I know you guys know me, but I just want to remind you, I like to play characters that have crazy beans inside of them too. And not just the person that’s got it all together,'” Gilpin told the Times. “And they were like, ‘We know you’ve got crazy beans.'”
4. Gilpin Also Plays Audrey in Starz’s ‘American Gods’
You can also see Gilpin in two episodes of Starz’s American Gods, a series based on the acclaimed Neil Gaiman book of the same name. In the series, she plays Audrey, the best friend of Laura Moon, Emily Browning’s character.
In her Interview Magazine interview, Gilpin said she auditioned for Laura, but knew she wouldn’t get it. She admits that she’s not very good at “tiny, minimalist lead” parts.
“It’s just not my wheelhouse,” she told Interview. “So the casting director for American Gods said, ‘There’s a crazy drunk friend that you’d be perfect for.’ I was like, ‘Yes! That’s what I want to do.'”
TVGuide praised Gilpin’s “excellent performance” in the show, adding that she always steals whatever scene she’s in.
Gilpin also nabbed recurring roles in CBS’ Elementary and Showtime’s Masters of Sex. She made her TV debut in a 2006 episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
5. Gilpin Was Just Cast in the Movie ‘Isn’t It Romantic’ With Rebel Wilson
Gilpin’s role in GLOW is just the start of her rise in Hollywood. She’s just been cast in the film Ins’t It Romantic, which will be directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson (The Final Girls, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas), and written by Erin Cardillo and Dana Fox.
The film is about a disenchanted young woman who gets stuck inside a romantic comedy movie. The film will be released on February 14, 2019 and also stars Rebel Wilson, Adam Devine, Priyanka Chopra and Liam Hemsworth. Gilpin’s character is the best friend of Wilson’s character in real life, but is her enemy in the romantic comedy movie universe.
Gilpin also recently starred in Jaime Greenberg’s indie movie Future ’38.
As for GLOW, Gilpin told The Wrap that she thinks the show is “a step in the right direction” for women in Hollywood “because it shows us as three dimensional.”
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