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Juke Vox Heroes: Jane Lynch

Welcome to the second installment of Juke Vox Heroes. This series identifies an actor lending his or her vocal prowess to a surprising number of places and examines their vast repertoire of work.

Today we'll take a look at the great Jane Lynch (fresh off her Golden Globe robbery), who plays Sue Sylvester, the ruthless cheerleading coach on Fox's award-winning series Glee. And while it may not be as illustrious as some little statue given by the Hollywood Foreign Press, this humble post will highlight and celebrate a selection of her auditory achievements. 

Way before becoming the horse-estrogen-fueled, pro-littering, track suit wearing commander of the Cheerios, Ms. Lynch made a living doing voiceovers. Her early work included spots for Safeway and Washington Mutual among others. "I have the stock old lady voice and stock midwestern accent,” she explained in a Fresh Air interview last year. These days she's come full circle and, in addition to extensive film and televsion roles, can be heard in a surprising number of animated projects as well as a videogame.

Born in Dolton, IL, the Cornell educated actor and bon vivant studied classical theater in college before moving to Chicago, enrolling in Second City, and "falling in love" with sketch comedy. One of Ms. Lynch's earliest film roles was in 1992's Straight Talk starring Dolly Parton and Griffin Dune. She contributed a voice-only part, playing Gladys, a mother looking for advice on how to stop her 18-year-old bodybuilder son from hitting her husband. Clip below. Classic Jane Lynch, even back then. 

As she told The Onion's "AV Club" last year: “I was living in Chicago, where they shot [Straight Talk]. I showed up on set, got off-camera with a microphone and headphones and talked to Dolly Parton. So I got to meet her, but it was over in an hour and I was gone." 

After Straight Talk and a string of voiceovers and bit parts, Ms. Lynch's "big break" came from an on-camera Christopher Guest-directed Frosted Flakes advertisement in the late 1990s. The, "Stalking Tony the Tiger," commercial opened the door to her breakthrough role in Mr. Guest's 2000 classic Best in Show as the butch lesbian dog handler, Christy Cummings. It's not an exclusive voice part, but since the improvised Frosted Flakes spot was so instrumental in her carrer, we're including the clip below.

Side note since we're on the topic of Frosted Flakes (bet you didn't think you'd read that sentence today): The voice of Tony the Tiger was provided by actor and singer Thurl Ravenscroft (Best. Name. Ever.) for 53 years. Ravenscroft also sang the song, "You're a Mean One , Mr. Grinch" in the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Following Best in Show, Ms. Lynch became a regular in character-based film roles (full credits here) while also making the move to animated projects. In 2001, she voiced the character of Dotty Campbell, the local nudist, in four episodes of Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy. This marked the beginning of a collaborative relationship with MacFarlane that continues today. Her voice can be heard in both Family Guy spinoffs  American Dad and, most recently, The Cleveland Show as Ms.Eck. See Ms. Eck in action below.

While the Family Guy projects might seem like a natural fit for Ms. Lynch's comedic sensibility, she's voiced a number of children's based parts that couldn't be further from the vileness Sue Sylvester. Take this one — the supportive mom — from 2005's Holly Hobbie & Friends.

And how about the voice of gardner Jackie Greenway in Disney's Handy Manny? Listen for TV's Wilmer Valderrama as Handy Manny.

She has also lent her voice to big screen animation. You can hear her as Dr. Poole in 2008's Space Chimps and Diatryma Mom in last year's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs .

For the comic book fans out there, Ms. Lynch appeared in two different Spider Man series. In the following clip — from 2003's Spider Man: Heroes and Villans — she plays an Oscorp executive , undoubtedly up to no good. 

Clearly a fan of superheroes, she also voiced the wife of Captain Crossdresser in 2008's web series The Adventures of Captain Crossdresser. Interestingly, the Captain's cast also includes a number of notable names including Best in Show co-star Fred Willard as Captain Crossdresser and Carl Reiner as Dr. Fillmore. 

And finally, the clip to end all clips, Ms. Lynch played a fast-talking studio executive in the 2008 videogame, Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust

This concludes our Jane Lynch auditory analysis. It's not a Golden Globe, but, Jane, you'll always be the champion in our book. We look forward to hearing more from you in the near future.  

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