In an industry drowning in silicone and Botox injections, earthy actress Jane Adams stands out among the crowd as a modest, natural beauty with a powerhouse talent and a chameleon-like ability to disappear into her roles so convincingly that she has found success on both the indie circuit and among the mainstream Hollywood elite. Though she had been acting onscreen for over a decade by the time she essayed her breakout role as the sadly sweet heroine of director Todd Solondz's controversial comedy drama Happiness in 1998, Adams has made up for lost time by turning in impressive, memorable performances in such efforts as Wonder Boys and The Anniversary Party -- and gained exposure thanks to a recurring role as the second wife of Dr. Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce) on the popular television sitcom Frasier.
It was shortly after moving to Seattle from Illinois that the Washington, D.C. native realized her calling on the stage; a role in a junior high school production of Pinocchio eventually led her to become involved with the local community theater scene. Though Adams would initially enroll in Seattle's Cornish Institute as a political science major, the call of the stage proved too much to resist and she eventually packed her bags and opted to follow the bright beacon of the Broadway lights. Once she was in New York, Adams studied at Juilliard under the tutelage of Bill Kahn, later appearing in a Playwrights Horizons production of The Nice and the Nasty before landing her first Broadway role as the virginal Dierdre in Paul Rudnick's I Hate Hamlet. Moonlighting as a preschool teacher as a means to maintain her sanity during her downtime between roles, Adams set her sights on the screen after making her debut in the 1985 comedy Bombs Away! -- eventually realizing that if she was going to make it in film she would have to make the move to Los Angeles. In the early years of her Hollywood career, Adams got little chance to truly light up the screen since her roles were mainly of the supporting variety, but parts in such widely seen releases as Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Father of the Bride II, and Kansas City did help to build her resumé and increase her exposure.