Which woman wouldn’t want to walk in actress Allison Janney’s shoes as a multi-award winning star who plays second fiddle to President Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing as C.J. Cregg? This influential role skyrocketed Janney’s career.
Pulling off the well-spoken, witty role of Cregg wasn’t an easy one to master, but Janney did a convincing job, and fans continue to carry Cregg in their hearts, loving her for her professionalism, boldness, and understated femininity. Here are 10 things you might not know about the character of C.J. Cregg on The West Wing.
10 Allison’s Breakthrough Role
The role of C.J. Cregg, or rather Claudia Jean Cregg, is played by Allison Janney. This talented actress wasn’t on the radar of TV viewers before the series, but her fame skyrocketed after she was cast for the role. For Allison, C.J. Cregg was a breakthrough role, and it resulted in her receiving many awards and nominations.
Wikipedia lists these as four nominations for the Golden Globe Awards, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Outstanding Support Actress in a Drama Series awards, and four Primetime Emmy Awards. Seems like Allison really hit the lottery with the exciting role!
9 Where Fact Meets Fiction
While scriptwriters of The West Wing wrote fictional aspects into the script, many of the themes and character inspirations behind the show were based on fact. For example, the character of C.J. Cregg is loosely based on show consultant and former press secretary Dee Dee Myers. She worked for the Clinton administration.
‘Loosely based,’ as according to Fandom and other reports suggest, possibly means that just as many startling truths are woven into the narrative. So, viewers need to take suggested realities about the White House with a pinch of salt. It’s all about discernment, or reading your channel guide.
8 Not Your Ordinary Bird
Being in government means learning to put self aside and deal with things in a super adult way. C.J. Cregg has an unusual nickname, or rather Secret Service code name. This is ‘Flamingo’. As exotic and exciting as the name sounds, she wasn’t too happy to find out this was the secret name assigned to her. This is because the name was given to her because of her peculiar looks. Fans will, however, agree she is quite beautiful, and all the fuss about ‘Flamingo‘ is unwarranted.
7 She’s Competitive
It’s probably her sharp demeanor—or possibly her extreme intelligence and outward focussed nature—which are to blame for her natural competitiveness. C.J. Cregg is constantly on edge, sussing out what others are up to and then attempting to outdo them.
An example would be how she constantly compares her education with other staff members in the senior ranks of “Josiah Bartlet’s White House.” She continuously makes a comparison between her education and that of Josh Lyman and Toby Ziegler.
6 Respected By Her Colleagues
It’s not every woman who can enter a male-dominated workplace and command respect and admiration from her colleagues. Still, C.J Cregg manages to pull this off!
In one episode of the show, C.J was with President Bartlet and his team in “Virginia” when the party was attacked by some white supremacists. In this scintillating series of events, she was knocked down. Later, she noticed her necklace was missing. Only later on did she find out Sam Seaborn was the one who pushed her down and rescued her from harm’s way. Definitely a sign of respect and adoration from a dedicated colleague.
5 She is Bold
C.J Cregg might be called Flamingo, but she’s no ordinary bird, as she demonstrates time and time again on The West Wing. She has a heart of courage, and this is demonstrated on more than one occasion. During Bartlet’s first term, towards its end, she spoke out with boldness against the treatment of the fairer sex in “Saudia Arabia.”
This resulted in her being the target of death threats and she had to be put into protective custody as a result. Still, she was brave to speak out for what she believed was right.
4 Committed to Family Ideals
3 She Can Be Controversial
2 In the Line of Fire
1 Experiences Based On Accounts
Not only is the character of C.J.Cregg loosely based on reality, but it would seem some of her experiences, as written in the narrative of the series, are based on factual accounts. This makes for even more exciting viewing. In an episode entitled Lord John Marbury, centered around troop movement by the Indo-Pakistani border, narrators have deliberately written the experiences of Dee Dee Myers into the storyline. Dee Dee Myers is the person on whom C.J.Cregg is based.