Jennette McCurdy

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Jennette Michelle Faye McCurdy (born June 26, 1992) is an American writer, director, podcaster, singer and former actress. McCurdy's breakthrough role as Sam Puckett in the Nickelodeon sitcom iCarly (2007-2012) earned her various awards, including four Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. She reprised the character in the iCarly spin-off series Sam & Cat (2013-2014) before leaving Nickelodeon. McCurdy also appeared in the television series Malcolm in the Middle (2003-2005), Zoey 101 (2005), Lincoln Heights (2007), True Jackson, VP (2009-2010), and Victorious (2012). She produced, wrote, and starred in her own webseries, What's Next for Sarah? (2014), and led the science-fiction series Between (2015-2016).

McCurdy independently released her debut single, "So Close", in 2009. She released her debut EP, Not That Far Away, in 2010, followed in 2012 by the Jennette McCurdy EP and the Jennette McCurdy album. +more The lead single, "Generation Love", reached number 44 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs.

In 2017, McCurdy quit acting and decided to pursue a career in writing and directing. In early 2020 she performed a one-woman show, I'm Glad My Mom Died, in Los Angeles and New York City; further dates were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. +more In 2020, she began hosting an interview podcast, Empty Inside. In 2022, she released a well-reviewed best-selling memoir, I'm Glad My Mom Died, describing her career as a child star and the abusive behavior of her deceased mother.

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Early life

McCurdy was raised in Garden Grove, California, in a relatively poor Mormon family, though she ultimately left the religion in her early adulthood. Her mother, Debra McCurdy, home-schooled her and her three older brothers. +more The man she grew up believing was her father, Mark McCurdy, worked two jobs. After Debra's death, McCurdy learned that she was not his child.

Television, film, and music career

2000-2006: Career beginnings

In 2000, at the age of eight, McCurdy started her acting career on Mad TV. She then appeared in several television series, including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Malcolm in the Middle, Lincoln Heights, Will & Grace, Zoey 101, True Jackson, VP, Law and Order SVU, Medium, Judging Amy, The Inside, Karen Sisco, Over There, and Close to Home. +more In 2003, she acted in the film Hollywood Homicide. In 2005, she was nominated for a Young Artist Award for "Best Performance in a Television Series - Guest Starring Young Actress" for her performance in Strong Medicine. She also appeared in a commercial for Sprint.

2007-2012: iCarly and music

From 2007-2012, she starred as Sam Puckett in the Nickelodeon TV series iCarly. In 2008, she was nominated for a Young Artist Award for her work on iCarly and her performance as Dory Sorenson in the TV movie The Last Day of Summer. +more She was nominated for a 2009 Teen Choice Award in the Favorite TV Sidekick category for her work on iCarly. She played Bertha in Fred: The Movie, a movie based on a YouTube series about Fred Figglehorn.

In June 2008, McCurdy announced that she was working on her debut album. The first single, "So Close", was released on March 10, 2009. +more On May 19, her cover of the Amanda Stott song "Homeless Heart" was released. It was released in honor of McCurdy's recently deceased friend Cody Waters, who died at the age of nine from brain cancer, and 20% of the proceeds were donated to the Cody Waters Foundation. She met Waters through St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In mid-2009, McCurdy was offered a record deal from both Big Machine Records and Capitol Records Nashville. McCurdy signed to Capitol Nashville. On April 16, 2010, samples of selected songs from McCurdy's upcoming debut country album were released online. The song clips were released for fans to vote for which one they believed should be McCurdy's first radio single. "Not That Far Away" received the most votes, and was released to country radio on May 24, 2010, and iTunes on June 1.

McCurdy's debut EP, Not That Far Away, was released on August 17, 2010. Her second single, "Generation Love", was released as a digital download on March 22, 2011, followed by its release to radio on April 25, 2011. +more McCurdy released a second EP, Jennette McCurdy, on February 8, 2012 at the clothing retailer Justice. Jennette McCurdy, her debut album, was released on June 5. Shortly after the release, McCurdy confirmed that she had left Capitol Nashville citing conflicts of a new series in which she was cast. In 2022, McCurdy described her music career as "a much-regretted country music blip".

2013-2015: Sam and Cat and Between

McCurdy starred alongside Ariana Grande in the Nickelodeon series Sam & Cat, reprising her role as Sam Puckett, with Grande reprising her role as Cat Valentine. The series' plot centers on the girls becoming roommates and starting their own babysitting business. +more It premiered on June 8, 2013. In 2014, McCurdy was absent from the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. Explaining her absence, McCurdy stated that Nickelodeon put her in an "uncomfortable, compromising, unfair situation" where she had to look out for herself, and McCurdy and Grande were having disagreements with the network over their respective salaries, and that McCurdy accused Nickelodeon of paying Grande more money. The network placed Sam & Cat into hiatus. The network initially stated that the hiatus was planned and that the series was not cancelled. On July 13, 2014, Nickelodeon announced that after only one season, Sam & Cat was cancelled. In an interview on Entertainment Pop, McCurdy mentioned that she later made up with Grande. In McCurdy's 2022 memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died she describes incidents at the network, such as when she was photographed in a bikini at a wardrobe fitting, and being encouraged to drink alcohol while underage by a person she identified as "the Creator". She stated that after the cancelation of Sam & Cat, Nickelodeon later offered her $300,000 to agree not to discuss her experiences at the network, an offer she turned down.

On August 13, 2014, McCurdy launched the online show What's Next for Sarah? She served as the star of the series as well as the writer of the show, along with duties as executive producer and editor. She says that the show is based loosely on her life and that the character she plays, Sarah Bronson, is based on her. +more In 2015, she began starring in the Netflix drama series Between. It was also announced that she would star in the teen comedy Little Bitches alongside Virginia Gardner and Kiersey Clemons.

2016-2018: Later work and retirement from acting

In August 2016, McCurdy signed a deal with digital production company Canvas Media Studios to develop projects and further utilize her social media connections with fans. She also starred as Claire in the psychological thriller film Pet.

Between was not renewed for a third season, and while critics acknowledged McCurdy as "one of the few cast members who can act", she expressed on her website that she felt ashamed of 90% of her résumé. She eventually decided to quit acting and to pursue writing and directing in 2017:

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Once a very active user of Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, she deleted all her past social media posts and set all her past videos and vlogs to "private" on YouTube and Vimeo.

In 2018, McCurdy wrote and directed her first short film, Kenny, a dramedy inspired by the death of her mother; the film also featured an all-female crew. Kenny was featured in The Hollywood Reporter and on Short of the Week. +more She has since released three more short films, which she also wrote and directed: The Grave; The McCurdys, a semi-autobiographical short based on her childhood; and Strong Independent Women, a short that deals with eating disorders. In late 2018, she announced that she hoped to direct more films.

Writing and live performance

In 2011, McCurdy began writing a series of articles for The Wall Street Journal. She has written eight pieces for the paper, on topics ranging from Shirley Temple to body shaming and a corporate culture that she perceives as smoke and mirrors. +more She has also written for Seventeen magazine and The Huffington Post.

McCurdy composed an article titled "Off-Camera, My Mom's Fight With Cancer", which was published in The Wall Street Journal in June 2011. It describes in detail her mother Debra's ongoing battle with cancer and how her family coped with the situation. +more The article also features advice from McCurdy on living with an ill parent. On September 20, 2013, her mother died, after being first diagnosed with cancer 17 years earlier.

In 2020, McCurdy created and starred in a one-woman tragicomedy show, I'm Glad My Mom Died, in various theaters in Los Angeles and New York. She later had to set her show into hiatus after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. +more For the first time since she opened up publicly about her eating disorder in 2019, she posted a new video on YouTube where she sings about her personal implications by finding herself in quarantine due to the outbreak. In July 2020, McCurdy posted a video on her YouTube channel and social media where she sings about starting a podcast called Empty Inside. She revealed on the podcast, during an interview with actress Anna Faris, that she had retired from professional acting. McCurdy stated she had been pushed into acting as a child by her mother, and soon became her family's primary source of income. She became "ashamed" of the roles she had played in the past, and after seeking therapy in the late 2010s, McCurdy decided to quit acting. When iCarly was revived that same year for Paramount+, McCurdy declined to reprise her role of Sam Puckett. In September 2021, McCurdy resumed performing her tragicomedy show in Los Angeles.

On August 9, 2022, McCurdy released a memoir, I'm Glad My Mom Died, under Simon & Schuster. The book was ranked number one on the The New York Times Best Seller list for eight weeks following its release.

Following the success of I'm Glad my Mom Died, McCurdy signed a two-book deal with Penguin Random House's Ballantine Books label.

Personal life

Relationship with her mother

She has described the close relationship she had with her abusive mother as "the heartbeat of my life". When McCurdy was two to three years old, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent several surgeries, chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant. +more In 2010, her mother's cancer returned, and in 2013, she died; McCurdy was 21 years old.

McCurdy has revealed that she was emotionally and sexually abused by her mother. In an interview with People magazine, she said, "My mom's emotions were so erratic that it was like walking a tightrope every day. +more" According to McCurdy, her mother pushed her into acting when she was six years old to both financially support her family, and because her mother had wanted to become a performer herself. She stated that her mother was "obsessed with making [her] a star" and detailed how her mother contributed to her eating disorder by introducing her to calorie restriction at age 11. She also revealed that until she was 16 or 17 years old, her mother performed vaginal and breast exams on her, ostensibly as a cancer screening, and never let her shower alone. McCurdy said that she refused to appear in the revival of iCarly because of the reminder of her mother's abuse on the original show, and that she appeared in the spin-off series Sam & Cat to please her mother. McCurdy stated in an interview that she did not receive all of her payment from acting as a minor, because her Coogan account was not properly filed.

In her 2022 memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died - the cover of which features McCurdy looking up and holding a pink urn with confetti spilling out - McCurdy further described her mother's abusive and controlling influence.

Relationships

McCurdy dated American basketball player Andre Drummond in 2013.

Mental health

In March 2019, McCurdy publicly revealed in a Huffington Post article that, from age 11, she suffered from anorexia, and later bulimia. In the article, McCurdy describes her mother's and the entertainment industry's aiding of eating disorders, seeking help after her sister-in-law noticed the disorder, and various health scares, such as losing a tooth from regurgitating stomach fluids that wore down her tooth enamel and passing out on Miranda Cosgrove's bathroom floor from dehydration.

In addition to her struggles with eating disorders, McCurdy is a recovering alcoholic, having begun drinking heavily shortly before her mother's death.

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
2001Shadow FuryAnna Markov
2002My Daughter's TearsMary Fields
2003Hollywood HomicideVan Family Daughter
2003Taylor SimmonsAmanda Simmons
2004Breaking DawnLittle Girl
2005See Anthony RunLucyShort film
2009Minor DetailsMia
2011The Death and Return of SupermanEradicator FolksShort film
2013Snowflake, the White GorillaPetuniaVoice role
2014Almost Heroes 3DSueVoice role
2015Climate Change Denier's AnthemSingerShort film
2016The Last Virgin in LABrittanyShort film
2016PetClaire
2016BlingSueVoice role
2017Security DepositLeahShort film
20178 BodiesTJShort film; also director, executive producer, and writer
2017Wine and CheeseJenShort film; also director, executive producer, and writer
2018Little BitchesAnnie
2018The First LadyPeggyShort film

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
2000Mad TVCassidy GiffordEpisode 6. 1
2002CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationJackie TrentEpisode: "Cats in the Cradle"
2003-2005Malcolm in the MiddleDaisy / PenelopePlayed two different characters; episodes "If Boys Were Girls" and "Buseys Take a Hostage"
2004Karen SiscoJosie BoyleEpisode: "No One's Girl"
2004Strong MedicineHailey CamposEpisode: "Selective Breeding"
2004Tiger CruiseKiley DolanTelevision film
2005Law & Order: Special Victims UnitHolly PurcellEpisode: "Contagious"
2005MediumSara CrewsonEpisode: "Coded"
2005Judging AmyAmber ReidEpisode: "My Name is Amy Gray"
2005The InsideMadison St. +more ClairEpisode: "Everything Nice"
2005Over ThereLynneEpisode: "Situation Normal"
2005Zoey 101Trisha KirbyEpisode: "Bad Girl"
2006Will & GraceLisaEpisode: "Von Trapped"
2006Close to HomeStacy JohnsonEpisode: "Escape"
2006Against TypeMeredithTelevision film
2007The Last Day of SummerDory SorensonTelevision film
2007Lincoln HeightsBeckieRecurring role; 3 episodes
2007-2012iCarlySam PuckettMain role; 93 episodes
2007-2012iCarlyMelanie PuckettEpisode: "iTwins"
2009-2010True Jackson, VPPinky TurzoGuest role; 2 episodes
2010Fred: The MovieBerthaTelevision film
2010The Cleveland ShowGirl No. 1Episode: "Little Man on Campus"; voice role
2010Glenn Martin, DDSMazyEpisode: "Courtney's Pony"; voice role
2010-2015The Penguins of MadagascarBeckyGuest role; 2 episodes, voice role
2011Cupcake WarsHerselfGuest judge; Episode: "Jennette McCurdy Country Cupcakes"
2011Big Time RushTraining FanEpisode: "Big Time Concert"
2011Best PlayerChristina "Prodigy" SaundersTelevision film
2011iParty with VictoriousSam PuckettTelevision film
2012VictoriousPonnie / Fawn LiebowitzEpisode: "Crazy Ponnie"
2012Bucket & Skinner's Epic AdventuresDevonEpisode: "Epic Break-Up"
2012Camp OrangeHerselfCo-host (season 8)
2013Ben and KateBethanyEpisode: "Gone Fishin'"
2013SwindleSavannah WestcottTelevision film
2013-2014Sam & CatSam PuckettMain role; 35 episodes
2013-2014Sam & CatMelanie PuckettEpisode: "#Twinfection"
2014The Birthday BoysKendra TaylorEpisode: "Love Date Hump"
2015Comedy Bang! Bang!Allie DawsonEpisode: "Simon Helberg Wears a Sky Blue Button Down and Jeans"
2015-2016BetweenWiley DayMain role; 12 episodes
2016Robot ChickenSkipper / Nany / NurseEpisode: "Joel Hurwitz"; voice role
2016The Eric Andre ShowHerselfEpisode: "Jack Black / Jennette McCurdy"
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Video games

YearTitleRoleNotes
2009iCarlySam PuckettVoice role
2010iCarly 2: iJoin the Click!Sam PuckettVoice role

Music videos

YearTitleArtist(s)Role
2000"The Way You Love Me" (Remix)Faith Hill
2003"Safely Home"Wild Horses
2007"Leave It All to Me"Miranda Cosgrove (featuring Drake Bell)Sam Puckett

Web

YearTitleRoleNotes
2014What's Next for Sarah?Sarah BronsonMain role; 4 episodes; also creator, executive producer, and writer
2015Between the Lines: Pretty Lake High - Yearbook AssignmentWiley DayEpisode: "Wiley"
2016Adam and Wiley's Lost WeekendWiley DayMain role; 6 episodes

Director

YearTitleNotes
2017The McCurdysFilm; also writer
2018KennyShort film; also writer and director
2018The GraveShort film; also writer and director
2019Strong Independent WomenShort film; also writer and director

Discography

Jennette McCurdy (2012)

Bibliography

I'm Glad My Mom Died (2022)

Living people

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