Lynch's extensive theater background involved touring with The Second City comedy troupe and playing Carol Brady in The Real Live Brady Bunch. She also wrote and starred in the award-winning play Oh Sister, My Sister. Originally produced in 1998, the play kicked off the Lesbians in Theater program at the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center in 2004.
Her breakthrough film role was as Christy Cummings, the butch lesbian personal dog handler to trophy wife Sheri Ann Cabot (Jennifer Coolidge) in director Christopher Guest's mockumentary Best in Show (2000). She also appeared in Guest's A Mighty Wind (2003) as porn actress-turned-folk singer Laurie Bohner and in For Your Consideration (2006) as an entertainment reporter.
Lynch is also a television performer. She starred with John Hannah and William Fichtner in 2002's MDs, and has made guest appearances in numerous television series, including Judging Amy, The West Wing, 7th Heaven, Friends, Felicity, Arrested Development, Two and a Half Men, Weeds, Boston Legal, The L Word, Criminal Minds, Help Me Help You, Gilmore Girls, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Psych and Monk among others.
In 2005, Lynch was named as one of POWER UP's "10 Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz".
Audiences and critics took notice of Lynch for her oddball turn in Judd Apatow's The 40 Year Old Virgin. She told Fresh Air's Terry Gross the role was originally intended for a man but, at the urging of Steve Carell's wife Nancy Walls, was offered to Lynch instead. Since then, she has starred in a series of films including: Role Models, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Alvin & the Chipmunks, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Space Chimps, The Rocker, The Hammer, Another Cinderella Story, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, and Spring Breakdown.
She recently starred in Julie and Julia, playing the role of Dorothy McWilliams, Julia Child's sister. Entertainment Weekly dedicated an article on their website towards the possibility of her performance receiving an Academy Award nomination.
She also appeared in the crime drama "Criminal Minds" as Spencer Reid's schizophrenic mother. As of 2009, Lynch currently appears on the Fox series Glee. Lynch won glowing reviews for her role as the aggressive cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. Mary McNamara of the LA Times wrote, "Lynch alone makes Glee worth watching." Prior to her work with Glee, she was a series regular on the Starz comedy Party Down. Though the series was renewed for a second season, Lynch would not be returning due to her work on Glee.
On December 15, 2009, Lynch received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film for her role on Glee. The series itself also received nominations in three other categories.
Lynch is openly lesbian and is engaged to be married to her partner Dr. Lara Embry in May 2010. Embry herself received much publicity surrounding a custody battle over two children with her former partner.
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