Friday Night Lights
“Groundedness is the quality I always want to be there, even if I'm playing a neurotic character or a woman with a rambunctious sex life like Nikki in 'Spin City.' What does that mean, anyway? It means Nikki's a solid, savvy woman who's searching for something to fulfill herself. I always try to find the strength in any character I play, that's just my thing. I figure as long as I do that I'm happy and if they don't like it, screw 'em.” Connie Britton
American actress Connie Britton is most celebrated by TV audiences as accountant Nikki on the ABC sitcom “Spin City” (1996-2000) and for playing wife Tamy Taylor on the NBC series “Friday Night Lights” (2006-2009), from which she received two Television Critics Association nominations. She also had recurring roles on such popular shows as “Allen” (1995-1996), “The West Wing” (2001) and “24” (2006) and starred as the title character's mother in the made-for-TV film “Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story” (2001). On the movie front, the graceful, green-eyed player earned praise for her performance as the wife of a cheating husband, Molly, in Edward Burns' acclaimed independent film, “The Brothers McMullen” (1995). The two rejoined for the films “No Looking Back” (1998) and “Looking for Kitty” (2004) and the TV series “The Fighting Fitzgerald” (2001). Other films in which Britton has acted in include the Peter Berg hit “Friday Night Lights” (2004), Sarah Kelly's “The Lather Effect” (2006), and Larry Fessenden's “The Last Winter” (2006, netted a Gotham nomination). She will portray Doris in the upcoming comedy “Women in Trouble” (2009).
Britton has kept residences in both New York and Los Angeles since 2007. During her leisure time, she enjoys running, hiking, biking and doing volunteer work. She is also a yoga enthusiast. As a philanthropist, Britton is an active supporter of the African Children's Choir organization. Her “Friday Night Lights” costar, Taylor Kitsch, also works with her in the organization. She also participates in The Big Bam, a charity organization that raises breast cancer awareness.
In 2008, Britton became part of a large group who attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado. She represented the Creative Coalition, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that gives support to the arts.
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of Allen Womack, a physicist, and Linda Womack, Connie Britton was born Constance Womack on March 6, 1967, in Boston, Massachusetts. When she was seven years old, her family relocated to Lynchburg, Virginia, where Connie and her sister Cynthia grew up. She attended Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and graduated with a BA in Asian Studies in 1989. While in college, she spent a summer in Beijing studying Chinese.
Following graduation, Connie moved to New York and studied acting for two years at The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre, in which she was trained by renowned coach Sanford Meisner. She headed to Los Angeles in the mid-1990s after the success of her feature film debut.
While in Dartmouth, Connie met John Britton, who moved with her to New York in 1989. The couple married in 1991, but divorced four years later in 1995. The marriage produced no children.
Despite the breakup, Connie still uses her married name as her stage name.
Connie Britton became a fan of theater while acting in plays in high schools. After graduating from college, she pursued acting in New York and made her theatrical debut in a production of Caroline Kava's “The Early Girl” at The Courtyard Playhouse. Although her performance as Laurel was well-received, she was almost kicked out of the Neighborhood Playhouse for taking a professional job during their course of study. After completing her training, the talented thespian worked in regional theater and off-Broadway for two years.
In 1995, Britton made her feature film acting debut in “The Brothers McMullen,” an acclaimed dramatic comedy directed and written by Edward Burns. The film, which cast her as Molly, the wife of unfaithful Jack McMullen (played by Jack Mulcahy), was a hit at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature. It also won an Independent Spirit for Best First Feature and the Jury Special Prize at the Deauville Film Festival. The success of “The Brothers McMullen” prompted Britton to head to Hollywood to chase more opportunities.
Later that same year, on September 27, Britton debuted on television as Heather, the perfectionist sister of Paige Clark (played by Joely Fisher), in an episode of the ABC sitcom “Allen” called “The Shower Scene.” She would reprise the role in two additional episodes in 1996 titled “When the Vow Breaks: Part 1 and Part 2.”
Once in Los Angeles, Britton appeared in two unsold television pilots, “The Precinct” and “Pins and Needles,” and landed a costarring role, opposite Andrew McCarthy and Paul Sorvino, in the Showtime film “Escape Clause” (1996), her first TV-movie. Her big break arrived when she won the regular role of Nikki Faber on the award-winning ABC sitcom “Spin City,” opposite Michael J. Fox. She was on the show from 1996 to 2000. Meanwhile, in 1998, Britton was reunited with Edward Burns in “No Looking Back,” where she portrayed the sister of Lauren Holly.
After leaving “Spin City,” Britton received a recurring role on the CBS short-lived series “The Fugitive” (2000-2001), starring Tim Daly and Mykelti Williamson. She then starred as Gertrude Temple in the ABC Original Movie “Child Star: The Shirley Temple Story” (2001), which was based on the life of child star Shirley Temple. She did not return to series TV as a regular until she won the role of Sophie in the NBC sitcom “The Fighting Fitzgeralds,” which was produced by Burns and his brother Brian. Premiering on March 6, 2001, the show was canceled after 10 episodes in May 2001.
Britton next appeared in the Robert Moresco-directed/written film “One Eye King,” which debuted at the Boston Film Festival on September 7, 2001, and supported Chris Eigeman and Jamie Harris in the award winning comedy “The Next Big Thing” (2001), from newcomer P.J. Posner. She bounced back to television with a four episode role on the highly praised drama “The West Wing” (2001), playing Connie Tate. Two years later, she starred as Rachel in the Michael Jacobs-created show “Lost at Home.” Although the show quickly left the airwaves, Britton was put back in the spotlight when she joined the cast of the Golden Globe winning drama series “24” during its fifth season in 2006. In the series, she portrayed Diane Huxley, the landlady of Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland). In between “Lost at Home” and “24,” she resumed her film career by once again teaming up with Edward Burns for “Looking for Kitty” (2004), had a memorable supporting role as Sharon Gaines in the based-on-book sport-themed “Friday Night Lights” (2004), starring Billy Bob Thornton, Lucas Black, Jay Hernandez and Derek Luke, and appeared in the Jeffrey Phelps drama “Special Ed” and the award-winning “The Life Coach” (both 2005).
In 2006, Britton starred in “The Lather Effect,” which was written and directed by Sarah Kelly, and costarred with Ron Perlman, James LeGros, Zach Gilford and Kevin Corrigan in the independent thriller “The Last Winter,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September. Her performance in the latter movie brought the actress a Gotham nomination in the category of Best Ensemble Cast. Also that same year, Britton returned to the small screen in the TV series “Friday Night Lights,” which was created by Peter Berg. The show, which premiered on NBC in October 2006, began its third season in October 2008. Her performance was critically hailed and she was nominated for two consecutive Television Critics Association Awards in the Individual Achievement in Drama category (2007, 2008). Talking about her character, she said, “I love playing her southerness. That's a really important aspect of the character and to me she's sort of an amalgam of a lot of different southern women. Also what's important about that is (her) sense of humor, and so I love finding places where I can find her sense of humor. I think that's the way she deals with a lot of the things that come up in her life.”
Recently, Britton completed filming “Women in Trouble,” a comedy film directed and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. Her costars in the movie include Carla Gugino, Adrianne Palicki, Marley Shelton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Elizabeth Berkley.
“I've always, always loved comedy and dramatic work equally. In an ideal world, I'm in a role where I get to actually do both just because the truth is, in my experience, a rich life has extraordinarily funny moments and also extraordinarily intense moments and those are the kind of lives that I want to portray in characters.” Connie Britton