Stephanie Courtney is an American actor and comedian. She is best known for her portrayal of ‘Flo’ in the commercials for the American insurance company ‘Progressive Corporation.’ Since her childhood days, Courtney was passionate about acting. Following her graduation, she studied acting at the ‘Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre,’ while working part-time as a secretary. Courtney wrote and performed the sketch comedy ‘Those Courtney Girls,’ along with her sister. Later, she joined the sketch-comedy group ‘The Groundlings.’ It was the advertisement for ‘Progressive Corporation’ that made her popular. Her character, ‘Flo,’ is one of the most recognizable characters in advertising. The plain-looking ‘Flo,’ with unassuming attire, is a favorite of many TV viewers. Courtney has performed in commercials for brands such as ‘Skittles,’ ‘Glade,’ and ‘General Mills.’ She has performed in several TV series, such as ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Cavemen,’ and ‘United States of Tara.’ She was part of the main cast of the series ‘Fred: The Show.’ Courtney lent her voice to the ‘Adult Swim’ comedy ‘Tom Goes to the Mayor.’ She has appeared in movies such as ‘Melvin Goes to Dinner,’ ‘The Heartbreak Kid,’ and ‘The Brothers Solomon.’ Although Courtney has performed in movies and TV series, she is most popular as ‘Flo,’ a character she still continues to portray.
Childhood & Early Life
Stephanie Courtney was born on February 8, 1970, in Stony Point, Rockland County, New York. Her father was a high-school history teacher, and her mother was a singer. She is the youngest of the three children of her parents. Her sister, Jennifer Courtney, is also an actor.
Courtney attended the ‘North Rockland High School.’ She later joined the ‘Binghamton University’ and graduated with a degree in English in 1992. During her time at the university, Courtney was highly interested in movies. Her sole ambition was to become an actor. She performed as ‘Elizabeth Proctor’ in the play ‘The Crucible.’
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Stephanie Courtney moved to New York soon after graduation. She worked as a part-time secretary for Robert S. Greenhill, who was the chairman of the company ‘Smith Barney.’ Soon, Courtney joined the ‘Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre’ to learn acting. She shared a room with Meghan Daum, who later became a reputed author.
After staying in New York for a short while, Courtney moved to Los Angeles and shared a room with her sister, Jennifer Courtney. The sisters wrote and performed the sketch comedy ‘Those Courtney Girls.’ They performed it at the ‘Aspen Comedy festival,’ too. Courtney joined the training program conducted by the improvisational sketch-comedy group ‘The Groundlings.’ In 2004, she became a member of the group.
In 1998, Courtney made a small appearance in the short film ‘Sweet Bird of You.’ She also appeared in an episode of the sketch-comedy series ‘Mr. Show with Bob and David.’ In 2002, she appeared in an episode of the sitcom ‘Everybody Loves Raymond.’ In 2003, she performed as ‘Alex’ in the movie ‘Melvin Goes to Dinner.’
In 2003, Courtney appeared on the comedy show ‘The Man Show,’ which was aired on ‘Comedy Central.’ In 2004, she performed in series such as ‘Significant Others’ and ‘Without a Trace.’ She was also part of the main cast of the ‘MTV’ show ‘Faking the Video.’
From 2004 to 2006, Courtney performed as a voice actor for the animated adult series ‘Tom Goes to the Mayor.’ It was aired as part of the late-night block ‘Adult Swim’ on ‘Cartoon Network.’ The show had Courtney lending her voice to ‘Joy Peters’ and ‘Renee the Receptionist.’ In 2006, she appeared in the TV series ‘Courting Alex,’ ‘Lovespring International,’ and ‘Re-Animated.’
In 2007, Courtney performed as ‘Marge’ in a few episodes of the TV series ‘Mad Men.’ The same year, she performed as ‘Diane’ in the series ‘Cavemen.’ Courtney was also seen in the movies ‘Blades of Glory,’ ‘The Brothers Solomon,’ and ‘The Heartbreak Kid.’
The year 2008 saw Courtney bagging the offer that made her a household name. She was chosen to play the character ‘Flo’ for the advertisements of the American insurance company ‘Progressive Corporation.’ ‘Flo’ was a plain character who always appeared in a white polo shirt, white jeans, and a white apron. Courtney has become synonymous with the character. She continues to appear as ‘Flo’ in the advertisements. Currently, she is one of the most recognizable faces in the American advertising world.
In 2010, Courtney appeared in the movie ‘Fred: The Movie.’ It was a comedy movie based on the adventures of ‘Fred Figglehorn,’ a character played by Lucas Cruikshank for his ‘YouTube’ channel. The movie featured Courtney as the mother of ‘Kevin,’ the arch-rival of ‘Fred.’ In 2011, she reprised the same character in the movie ‘Fred 2: Night of the Living Fred.’
The year 2012 saw Courtney as ‘Kevin’s mother in the comedy series ‘Fred: The Show.’ In the years that followed, she was seen in series such as ‘2 Broke Girls,’ ‘Major Crimes,’ and ‘The Goldbergs.’
Family & Personal Life
In 2008, Stephanie Courtney married Scott Kolanach, the lighting director of the sketch-comedy group ‘The Groundlings.’ The couple met when Courtney was working with the group.
Courtney realized that the character ‘Flo’ had become popular, when she saw people dress up like ‘Flo’ on Halloween. In an interview, Courtney said that she had drawn the inspiration for ‘Flo’ from her mother.