Jennifer Coolidge makes emotional tribute to late father in Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year speech


“I wish he could have come tonight,” Coolidge mentioned. “That’s why this night is such a big deal.”

Jennifer Coolidge on stage at the 2023 Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year ceremony.
Jennifer Coolidge on stage on the 2023 Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year ceremony. Michael Dwyer/AP

On a frigid Saturday, actress Jennifer Coolidge was embraced warmly by a number of hundred Harvard college students because the recipient of the Harvard University Hasty Pudding Theatricals 2023 Woman of the Year award.

The festivities started within the afternoon when the Norwell native donned a fluffy pink hat and a leopard print coat and was paraded down Mass. Ave. by members of the Theatricals.

Coolidge grew to become the 72nd Woman of the Year winner, becoming a member of earlier honorees like Meryl Streep and Kerry Washington, who’ve “made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment.”

Jennifer Coolidge was honored with a parade by the Hasting Pudding Theatricals for profitable the group’s Woman of the Year award. (Michael Dwyer/AP)

Coolidge, 61, constructed a profitable profession within the ’90s and ’00s as a personality actress, most famously enjoying Stifler’s mother in “American Pie” and manicurist Paulette within the Harvard-set “Legally Blonde” alongside Reese Witherspoon. While Coolidge continued to work steadily through the years, she re-entered the highlight through the pandemic because of HBO’s “The White Lotus.” She lately gained an Emmy and Golden Globe for her efficiency within the present’s second season.

After Saturday’s parade got here the night’s leisure, a roast of Coolidge that additionally served as a fundraiser and preview for HPT’s 174th manufacturing “Cosmic Relief,” which is open to the general public by means of March 5.

Ever the performer, the Norwell native bought the most important laughs of the night with the fewest syllables, bringing down the home with a easy sigh or a protracted silence. Coolidge gamely took on every part the Harvard college students threw at her, donning a dolphin costume, giving one scholar a 30-second makeover, and judging a Jennifer Coolidge impression contest. She bought a number of “Legally Blonde”-themed challenges as effectively, instructing a scholar to “bend and snap” and opening a bundle from a suave UPS driver.

Jennifer Coolidge on stage on the 2023 Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year awards. (Scott Eisen/Getty)

After a night of guffaws, nevertheless, Coolidge accepted her Hasty Pudding Pot with an emotional speech, choking up as she talked about her late father.

“I’ve been so blown away that this experience is happening. I never saw it coming,” Coolidge mentioned. “It blows away any type of film or tv present I’ve ever executed. Seriously.

“My dad went here,” Coolidge continued, her voice wavering. “I wish he was here.”

At a press convention instantly following the award ceremony, Coolidge expanded on her ideas about her father, who she mentioned attended Harvard for undergrad and returned for enterprise faculty earlier than pausing his graduate research to serve within the battle.

“I wish he could have come tonight,” Coolidge mentioned. “That’s why this night is such a big deal.”

Coolidge mentioned that her father was “such a practical person,” it was a shock when he inspired her to be an actress.

“He would bring people when I was in plays; he would bring relatives and whatever. He was so excited, which was so not him,” Coolidge mentioned. “This would have been his dream come true.”

Coolidge additionally took questions from college students in search of profession recommendation on persevering and discovering pleasure as a struggling actor.

According to Coolidge, she discovered her earliest success when she mined her waitressing and babysitting jobs for materials to make use of on stage on the Groundlings improv theatre.

“All the people that treated me terribly, I started writing the actual things they said to me,” Coolidge mentioned. “It was life-changing to take all of the folks that had been so merciless and imply to you, after which play them on stage.

“I feel like that’s the most inspiring thing,” Coolidge continued. “If you can take something that’s a negative thing … and use it as a way to get your juices going, and get it out of your system. I think that’s the best.”

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