Sep. 21, 1998
30 min.
NBC TV Network

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Will & Grace

Will & Grace is a hilarious series about two best friends. The twist is that Will is gay. Grace is a straight interior designer. More than friends, but less than lovers, the two share a special bond and their personalities easily balance one another's. In addition to the stable Will and Grace, the show features Will's flamboyantly gay friend, Jack.

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Characters: #4 of 5 (Full List)
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Karen Walker Will & Grace
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Karen Walker

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  Played by:
Megan MullallyMegan Mullally
Megan is an only child born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother, Martha, was a model. Her father, ...

Character Bio

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Karen was born on January 12, 1959 (which is revealed in the show's season 8). Karen's childhood was a rocky road, thanks in part to her unstable relationship with her mother, Lois Whitley (played by Suzanne Pleshette), a con artist who incorporated her young daughter into her schemes. Although she tries to keep her age secret, her good friend Jack McFarland revealed that she was 42 in 2001, meaning she was born in January 1959. She has been married four times — her first husband's surname was St. Croix, her second was named Popeil (a reference to the American culinary businessman/entrepreneur Ron Popeil), her third was Stan Walker (married since 1995), and she was married for 20 minutes to Lyle Finster (John Cleese) in May 2004, although she is still married to Stanley (see below), who has two children of his own, Olivia and Mason. She has intimated an illicit relationship with Ronald Reagan (claiming no one said anything to her at his funeral because she was his mistress.) Karen also goes under the alias "Anastasia Beaverhausen" ("Anastasia as in Russian royalty, Beaverhausen as in...where the beaver live") and also once used the alias Pilar Palabundar to "beat up businessmen for cash in Chinatown." Other alias was Lupita, used when she had an affair with a high-class Hotel janitor while trying to pass as a maid using Rosario's uniform. Her real name may not, in fact, be Karen, as she changes her name from time to time to throw off the "Feds." Her mother refers to her as "Kiki," which was her childhood nickname. She has made more than one reference to attending Sarah Lawrence College, although she may have been joking, referring to her lesbian tendencies (see Sexuality). She is noted also for her shrill/squeaky voice and her addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol.

Karen tends to have trouble separating stories she has read, seen, or heard about with her actual life. On one occasion she explains that she loves family and then recites the story of Heidi, claiming it as her own. Another situation involves Karen's fear of elevators. She and Jack are walking up the stairs of a skyscraper because she refuses to use the elevator. Jack asks her why she's afraid of elevators, and she recounts the opening scene of the movie Speed. She has also described the events of Norma Rae as her own life experiences.

With other staff and help, Karen is deliberately patronizing, referring to them solely by their title both in conversation and to their face: "Driver," "Butler," "Private Detective," "Pharmacist," "Back-Up Pharmacist," et cetera, even when they are doing other jobs ("Cook sometimes cleans, Cleaner sometimes cooks, Driver sometimes provides an alibi..."). This rude tone is not limited to her employees, as she looks down on or openly mocks most people she meets, even her friends. Karen is often cruel to her staff at home, training them to run when she enters a room. Other times she berates them, but somehow this comes across as an act of affection.

Sometimes Karen unintentionally reveals to her friends a softer side that is carefully hidden. In one such incident, Karen's husband has an apparent heart attack and may die. Karen discovers that her friends have placed a bet to see who can get her to cry first, so she elaborately punishes each of them by leading them on to think she might break down in their presence. In the end, it is revealed that it was not a heart attack but rather acute angina(angina pectoris), she then has an emotional breakdown over the incident, during which Grace stumbles in and subsequently consoles Karen. Another episode sees Karen and Jack in her mansion with her refusing to let him enter 'the forbidden room'. When Jack finally gains access he discovers it is a nursery which Karen had prepared during a pregnancy scare in an earlier season. Although she agrees to change the room into a liquor storage room, she quickly changes her mind and the audience sees her stony facade crumble.

Episode Screenshots

10x15 - Bad Blood
Season 10, Episode 15
10x03 - Tex And The City
Season 10, Episode 03
02x18 - Sweet and Sour Charity
Season 2, Episode 18
06x08 - Swimming From Cambodia
Season 6, Episode 08
[More Episodes]

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