Emmy-nominated actress Anna Chlumsky grew up near 17th and Roosevelt in Broadview, and while she didn't know it at the time, her future “Veep” cast members lived nearby.
Co-star Gary Cole (who plays Kent Davison) grew up in Rolling Meadows, Matt Walsh (Mike McLintock) lived in Darien, Dan Bakkedahl (Roger Furlong) performed in Chicago's Second City, and the show's star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, was studying at Northwestern University in Evanston.
That's not even all of the “Veep” cast and crew's Chicago connections.
“We talk about this (coincidence) all the time on the set,” Chlumsky said of the hit HBO series. “It's kind of crazy. We've definitely got some kind of Second City vibe goin' on.”
Chlumsky's also got an Emmy vibe goin' on.
The 32-year-old earned her first Emmy Award nomination this year — for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy — for her “Veep” role as sharp-tongued Chief of Staff Amy Brookheimer.
At the Sept. 22 awards ceremony, Chlumsky arrived in a strapless, forest green Badgley Mischka gown, showing off her slimmed-down post-baby body. Two months earlier, she had given birth to her first child, a daughter, Penelope, whom she affectionately refers to as “Penny.”
Even though “Nurse Jackie” actress Merritt Wever won the Emmy, Chlumsky has no hard feelings.
“Honest to God, I've loved Merritt's work for so long. I think she deserved it,” Chlumsky said, adding that it's fun just to go and reconnect with old friends. “It's so much fun to see all these people you've worked with over the years, and everyone's dolled up.
“Normally when we all see each other, we're exhausted, and we're working, and in character.”
“Veep” might be Chlumsky's first Emmy-nominated role, but she was a Hollywood star before she was even a student at Walther Lutheran High School (now Walther Christian Academy) in Melrose Park.
At age 11, Chlumsky landed the breakout role opposite Macaulay Culkin in the 1991 movie “My Girl.”
She made more movies after that and did some TV shows, but none matching that movie's success. In recent years, Chlumsky explored careers in other areas — everything from science to international studies. Still, acting kept pulling her back.
So even though it's been 20 years since “My Girl,” Chlumsky successfully transitioned from child star to working actress.
“I love what I do so much. It feeds me so much. If I were to stop it, I wouldn't be so fulfilled,” she said.
“It's the difference between a hobby and a purpose.”
“Veep” solidified that for her.
They've already taped a few episodes of the new third season, which will air next year. Chlumsky brings Penny (and a nanny) to the set every day and visits her smiley baby every chance she gets.
“So many working moms don't get to do that, so I count my blessings,” she said. “I love my job.
“I miss (Penny) throughout the day, but if I didn't love my job, it would be so much harder.”
Chlumsky still has family in the Chicago area.
Her father, Frank, is a chef instructor at Kendall College in Chicago and cooked in (or owned) restaurants around the Chicago area all his life, including Chlumsky's supper club in Burlington, Wis.
While the “Veep” cast may love Chicago, their work schedules make it tough to get home.
“It's just all 'Veep' all the time,” Chlumsky said.
— Jamie Sotonoff
• Dann Gire and Jamie Sotonoff are always looking for suburban people working in showbiz. If you know of someone who would make a good column, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.