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Molly Shannon Reveals the Tragic Inspiration for This “SNL” Character

Comedic actor Molly Shannon confronted an unthinkable tragedy at a younger age, and it ended up inspiring one among her most well-known characters. In a brand new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Shannon opened up about dropping her mom, sister, and cousin in a automobile accident when she was solely 4 years outdated. Of course, going by way of such an enormous loss formed her life in some ways, and as a comic, the tragedy influenced a few of her work. In the interview, Shannon revealed {that a} basic Saturday Night Live character was born out of how she coped as a younger lady after the accident that took away her relations. Read on to be taught extra.

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When Shannon was 4 years outdated, her mom, youthful sister Katie, and cousin had been killed in a automobile accident. Her father was the driver and had been below the affect. He survived however was badly injured. While her dad was therapeutic, Shannon and her different sister, Mary, needed to go dwell with their aunt.


“The life that we left was not the same life we were coming back into,” she defined to the LA Times. It simply felt like every part was completely different. And I needed my aunt to do stuff like my mother. I used to be like, ‘No, my mother cuts the crust like that.’ Everything made me mad.”

The White Lotus actor added that it was exhausting to proceed on with out at all times enthusiastic about her sister. “We would learn to do fun stuff, like tie our shoes, and I felt like, ‘Katie, my little sister, should be here learning. She would have loved this. Katie would have loved doing the rabbits and tying her shoe.'”

Molly Shannon as Mary Katherine Gallagher on
Saturday Night Live / YouTube

Shannon was a cast member on SNL for seven seasons. Her most recognizable character from her time on the present is Mary Katherine Gallagher, a Catholic college scholar who believed herself to be a unbelievable entertainer, however is definitely socially awkward and intensely clumsy. Shannon additionally starred as the character in the characteristic movie spinoff, Superstar.

In the LA Times interview, Shannon shared that the character she created “was really based on me, how I felt after the accident—really nervous, accident-prone, wanting to please, f***ed up but full of hope. I just exaggerated everything I felt as a little girl and turned it into a character.”

RELATED: Tina Fey Says This Celebrity Guest Was a “Disaster” On SNL.

Molly Shannon at the 2020 Critics Choice Awards
Silvia Elizabeth Pangaro / Shutterstock.com

“I was very heartbroken and very sad and just trying to hold it all together as a kid,” Shannon instructed the LA Times. “There’s no way that you could feel that type of deep pain about your mother and your sister being dead, so you just hold it all in, and it comes up later in life.”

She defined that she thinks the expertise affected how a lot she—fairly actually—threw herself into her characters. As Mary Katherine Gallagher, she typically carried out stunts, reminiscent of crashing right into a bunch of chairs. “I didn’t care if I cut myself or I made myself bleed,” Shannon mentioned of her time enjoying the character. “I did not give a s***. I looked at it like punk rock. I was reckless, and because of what I went through, I just didn’t care about anything.”

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Molly Shannon and daughter Stella at the premiere of
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Shannon has two teenage youngsters, Stella and Nolan, along with her husband, artist Fritz Chesnut. “I look at life differently, losing my mom, and living beyond years that she ever got to live. And I feel gratitude,” Shannon instructed the LA Times.

In a July interview with People, while talking about her upcoming memoir Hello, Molly! (out April 2022), Shannon defined that she thinks about how she will get to have extra time along with her youngsters than her mom did. “I think any amount of time you have on earth with somebody is a good amount of time,” she mentioned. “Every day of my life, I think, ‘Oh my God. I’m alive. She never got to do this. I get to do it and I get to see my daughter apply to colleges this year.’ I’m seeing them as teenagers now and getting to be their mother and outlive what my mother was able to do. It’s profoundly healing, you know? It gives me gratitude.”

RELATED: Maya Rudolph Says This SNL Host Made the Cast Want to Leave.


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