From JCA to CBS: Emmy winner got acting bug at Joliet school
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org September 21, 2011 6:14PM
Melissa McCarthy paints a student's face while attending St. Francis Academy in the late 1980s in Joliet. | Submitted by JCA
Updated: November 10, 2011 3:47PM
Plainfield residents watching the Emmy award show got a treat Sunday night, as one of their own went home with a prize.
Former Plainfield resident and Joliet Catholic Academy alumna Melissa McCarthy won the Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy series for her starring role in the CBS TV show “Mike & Molly.”
“Holy smokes. Wow, it’s my first and best pageant ever,” McCarthy said after accepting her award. “I’m from Plainfield, Ill., and I’m standing here and it’s kind of amazing.”
It was amazing for locals who know her personally, too.
“We’re so happy for her, and just really thrilled that she’s realized her dream — and that she’s one of ours,” said Barb Kwiatkowski, a campus minister at JCA who was dean of students at St. Francis Academy from 1984 to 1988 when McCarthy was a student.
St. Francis Academy merged with Joliet Catholic Academy in 1990.
Kwiatkowski said she remembers McCarthy starting out high school with a preppy look that evolved into a more “arty” look by her junior and senior year.
“She always had a witty remark. She was funny,” Kwiatkowski said.
Kwiatkowski added that McCarthy didn’t get involved in acting until her senior year, when she was part of a school play.
McCarthy studied textiles and fashion at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale until she moved to New York at age 20 to try her hand at standup comedy.
Her cousin, actress Jenny McCarthy, helped her get her big break in Hollywood.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.