• Phyllis Smith is an American actress born in St. Louis, Missouri in 195•
• She is best known for her role as Phyllis Vance in the mockumentary series "The Office".
• Before acting, she worked as a dancer, cheerleader, burlesque performer, and telemarketer.
• Her roles in movies include "The 40-Year-Old Virgin", "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" and "Inside Out".
• Her roles in TV series include "Arrested Development", "The Office", "Trophy Wife" and "The OA".
Who is Phyllis Smith?
American actress Phyllis Smith was born in St. Louis, Missouri USA on 10 July 1951, making her zodiac sign Cancer. She’s had roles in over 20 movies and TV series, and is perhaps best known for her playing of one of Phyllis Vance, the lead characters in the critically acclaimed mockumentary series “The Office”, which Ricky Gervais and Greg Daniels created, and which also starred John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer and Steve Carell. It follows the everyday lives of a group of office workers, the series aired from 2005 to 2013, and won 56 of its 251 award nominations.
Education and early life
Phyllis and her eight siblings were raised in St. Louis by their mother Glenda, and father whose name hasn’t been revealed; most of Phyllis’ fans believe that her father was a doctor, and her mother a housewife.
She didn’t grow up interested in acting, but rather in dancing, and began taking lessons at the age of six. She was a cheerleader throughout her education, studying at Cleveland High School, and was besides dancing also into playing various sports, such as volleyball and tennis.
Upon matriculating in 1969, Phyllis enrolled at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, from which she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1972.
Career before acting
Upon graduation, Phyllis worked as a dancer, and was a St. Louis Cardinals’ American Football team cheerleader in the ‘70s and ‘80s, while she was also a burlesque performer; she’s revealed that she often wore feathers, but wasn’t a stripper.
During one of her dance performances, Phyllis suffered a knee injury which forced her to leave dancing behind her, and she thus turned to telemarketing; fun fact about this job is that Phyllis worked only three hours prior to quitting.
She then moved to Hollywood, California in pursuit of acting, and worked a couple of jobs to financially support herself, while working her way up in the film industry.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 9, 2013
Roles in movies
Phyllis’ debut film role was her narrating the 1991 animated adventure comedy “The Princess and the Goblin”, directed by Jozsef Gemes, and which starred Claire Bloom, Joss Ackland and Roy Kinnear. It follows a princess who’s teamed up with her cat and a mining boy team in an attempt to stop goblins from taking over the realm.
Phyllis had no other roles in the following 14 years, during which she worked other jobs to financially support herself. She began gaining recognition in 2005, after having been cast to play Andy’s Mother in the romantic comedy “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”, which Judd Apatow wrote and directed, and which starred Paul Rudd, Catherine Keener and Steve Carell. It follows a 40 year-old man who’s still a virgin, and has fallen in love with a single mother; the film won 10 of its 29 award nominations.
A couple of Phyllis’ following roles were in the 2006 romantic comedy “I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With”, the 2011 romantic comedy “Bad Teacher”, and the 2011 comedy drama “Butter”.
The year 2011 also saw her portray Flight Attendant in the popular animated adventure comedy “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked”, directed by Mike Mitchell, and which also starred Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler and Jesse McCartney. It follows the Chipmunks and Chipettes who’ve fallen off a cruise ship, and have become stranded on a tropical island; the movie won two of its three award nominations.
Phyllis is also known for her voicing of Sadness in the critically acclaimed 2015 animated adventure comedy “Inside Out”, which Ronnie Del Carmen and Pete Docter directed, and which starred Lewis Black, Bill Hader and Amy Poehler. It follows young Riley who’s moved to San Francisco with her parents, and whose emotions are now in a conflict; the movie won 102 of its 219 award nominations, including an Oscar win for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.
Phyllis’ three most recent film roles have been in the 2015 short animated comedy “Riley’s First Date?” (voice role), the 2019 short action comedy “Threat Level Midnight: The Movie”, and the 2021 comedy “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar”.
Phyllis has begun recording for the upcoming sequel “Inside Out 2”, set to be released in 2024.
Roles in TV series
Phyllis’ debut TV series role was her playing of Carla in the 2005 episode “The Immaculate Election” of the comedy “Arrested Development”, which starred Michael Cera, Portia de Rossi and Jason Bateman, created by Mitchell Hurwitz. It follows a man who’s just been imprisoned, while his son and the rest of his family now have to take over his business; the series aired from 2003 to 2019, and won 67 of its 189 award nominations.
In 2006, she portrayed Phyllis Lapin in three episodes of the short mini-series “The Office: The Accountants”, and reprised her role in the 2008 series “The Office: The Outburst”.
In 2013, Phyllis played the supporting character Mrs. Steinberg in three episodes of the popular comedy “Trophy Wife”, created by Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins, and which starred Malin Akerman, Bradley Whitford and Michaela Watkins. It follows a girl who’s fallen for a man with two former wives and three children; the series was nominated for five awards.
The year 2014 saw Phyllis play Ms. Huff in the episode “The Sinkhole” of the family comedy “The Middle”, and between 2016 and 2019, she starred as Betty Broderick-Allen, as well as several other characters in the hit mystery fantasy drama “The OA”, which Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij created, and which also starred Scott Wilson, Jason Isaacs and Brit Marling. It follows blind girl Prairie who went missing seven years previously, and has now returned home with her sight restored; the series won two of its 10 award nominations.
Phyllis’ most recent TV series role has been in the 2020 comedy “Crochet Kitten Mittens with Phyllis and Vincent”, which failed to attract any attention.
Phyllis sang four songs in four episodes of the series “The Office” between 2005 and 2011.
She’s worked as a casting associate on five TV series, including the family western drama “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman”, and the comedies “Spin City”, and “The Office”.
Some of the talk-shows in which Phyllis has made a guest appearance include “The Night Time Show”, “Some Good News” and “Hollywood Insider”.
Awards and nominations
Phillis has won seven of her 17 award nominations.
She and her colleagues won two Behind the Voice Actors Awards for Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film in 2016, for their performance in “Inside Out”, while Phyllis also won an Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production, for her performance in the same movie.
Love life and husband
Phyllis is highly secretive when it comes to sharing details of her love life with her fans, and hasn’t mentioned the men, or perhaps women whom she’s dated.
Still, there are many people on the internet who mistakenly believe that Phyllis is today married to Robert Ray ‘Bobby’ Shafer, who portrayed her husband Bob Vance in the series “The Office”; some have even claimed to have seen Phyllis and Robert spending time together in real life, however, no evidence has been provided to support these claims.
Phyllis thus seems to be unattached as of November 2022, hasn’t married and doesn’t have children.
Interesting facts and hobbies
Phyllis was mostly focused on ballet while she was taking dancing lessons, and was once a member of both the St. Louis Dance Theater and the St. Louis Civic Ballet; she was trained as a jazz dancer by Raoul Appel.
She was a spokeswoman for JoAnn Fabrics in 2021.
Phyllis has built herself a small fanbase on Instagram; she’s followed by over 3,000 people on the social media network, and has posted nearly 20 pictures and videos.
She’s a huge fan of actors Mark Hamill and Ewan McGregor, and some of her favorite films include the franchise “Star Wars”, “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” and “Afro Samurai: Resurrection”.
Height, eyes and wealth
Phyllis’ age is 71. She has blue eyes and her hair is brown, weighs around 165lbs (74kgs), and is 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall.
Phyllis’ net worth has been estimated at over $4 million as of November 2022.