Multi-faceted Karen Duffy has worked as a TV personality, model, actress, author and journalist. She is probably best recognized as a spirited MTV VJ and Revlon's “Charlie Girl.” Beginning her successful, long lasting relationship with Revlon in 1994, Duffy has appeared in numerous national print and TV campaigns and was the spokesperson at the company's “Run/Walk for Women,” which benefited breast cancer awareness and research. She is also famous as the writer of “Model Patient: My Life as an Incurable Wise-Ass” (2000), an autobiography that become a New York Time bestseller. Her second book, “A Slob in the Kitchen,” was released in 2004.
Duffy has acted in a number of movies since making her debut in 1991's “McBain,” but moviegoers perhaps know her as J.P. Shay in the Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels comedy “Dumb and Dumber” (1994). Other film credits include Spike Lee's “Malcolm X” (1992), Ben Stiller's “Reality Bites” (1994), Disney's hit “Blank Check” (1994), Woody Allen's “Celebrity” (1998) and “The 24 Hour Woman” (1999). She has also appeared in several TV shows and series, including “Pepper Ann” (1999-2000), and was the voice of Linda Otter in the animated movie “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009).
Duffy has been married to John Lambros since 1997. Their son, Jack, once appeared on the cover of Parents magazine. Duffy was once linked to celebrity Dwight Yoakam (dated 1993 to 1995).
Childhood and Family:
Karen Duffy was born on May 23, 1962, in New York, New York, to Phil and Carol Duffy. She has an older brother named James (born 1960) and two younger sisters, Kate (born 1964) and Laura (born 1968). She attended Park Ridge High School in Park Ridge, New Jersey, and after graduating in 1979, attended the University of Colorado, from which she earned a Bachelors degree in recreational therapy.
In 1995, Karen was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, a disease in which swelling occurs in lymph nodes, organs, eyes and other places. Two years later, on February 28, 1997, she married John Lambros, an investment banker who is four years her junior. They have one child together named Jack. The family divides their time between New York and their farm in Connecticut. Karen is of Irish descent.
Dumb and Dumber
Before entering show business, Karen Duffy worked as a recreational therapist at a nursing home in New York City. She began modeling and appearing in television commercials when she was 27 and became a VJ for MTV in 1992.
Duffy's big breakthrough as a model arrived when she signed as a spokesperson for the prestigious Revlon cosmetics in 1994. She then appeared in many national print and broadcasted campaigns and is probably best remembered as a “Charlie Girl” in one of their well known advertising campaigns. She was also a spokesperson for the company's charity work.
The popularity she gained as a VJ and model landed Duffy a series of appearances on TV shows, which included appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” She was also seen on national magazines covers. Additionally, she was once named one of People magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People.”
Kicking off her movie career with a bit part in the 1991 James Glickenhaus war film “McBain,” starring Christopher Walken, the New York born beauty went on to received small roles in such movies as “29th Street” (1991), Spike Lee's “Malcolm X” (1992), and Ted Demme's “Who's the Man” (1993). In 1994, she costarred with Brian Bonsall in the Disney successful “Blank Check” and appeared with Hollywood's big names Ben Stiller, Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke in “Reality Bites,” a comedy about love in the 1990s that was directed by Stiller. She was then cast as J.P. Shay in “Dumb and Dumber,” a comedy that starred Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. Still in 1994, she emerged as a correspondent for film director Michael Moore’s award winning television show “TV Nation,” a gig she held until 1995.
Duffy was building her career when she was diagnosed with the relatively uncommon disease Sarcoidosis. She left the limelight for a time to undergo treatment and in 1996, returned to film when she starred in “Memory Run.” She then appeared in the independent films “Nothing Sacred” and “Fool's Paradise” and the Peter Baldwin directed “Meet Wally Sparks” (all 1997). She also appeared in Woody Allen's “Celebrity” in 1998 and in 1999, costarred with Rosie Perez, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Patti LuPone in “The 24 Hour Woman,” an indie comedy directed by Nancy Sacova.
Entering the new millennium, Duffy launched a career as an author with the release of her memoir “Model Patient: My Life as an Incurable Wise-Ass.” The book became a bestseller with the New York Times. 2000 also saw Duffy serve as a correspondent for “The Awful Truth,” a TV show that reunited her with controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. After hosting “Hollywood at Large” (2003), she took on a supporting role in the film “Marmalade” (2004), a romantic comedy about a fashion model who gets too old to work. She returned to hosting gigs in “Random Acts of Duff” (2005), reality TV’s “House of Tiny Terrors” (2006) and “Crafty” (2006). Duffy published her second book, “A Slob in the Kitchen,” in 2004. It was released by Random House. Aside from publishing books, she was also a contributing editor for Glamour magazine and has written articles for magazines like YM, British Esquire and Cosmopolitan.
In 2009, Duffy’s voice could be heard as Linda Otter in director Wes Anderson’s animated comedy “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” The film also featured George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Willem Dafoe, to name a few actors.