Six facts about Jennifer Coolidge, aka Stifler’s mom

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Happy 51st birthday to Jennifer Coolidge. The actress with impeccable comedic timing has starred in dozens of films and numerous TV shows, but for fans of a certain age, she'll always be Stifler's mom.

Her turns in the "American Pie" films helped cement Coolidge's status as a character actress sure to draw big laughs (and helped her get "a lot of dates" -- see No. 6 below). In the years since the first "American Pie" hit in 1999, Coolidge has lent her talents to "Best in Show," "Legally Blonde," and HBO's "Sex and the City." But her time away from "American Pie" is just as interesting. Here are six things you didn't know about Stifler's boozy mom.

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1. She was in "Seinfeld."
Remember the episode in which Jerry dated the masseuse who refused to give him a massage? That was Ms. Coolidge. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Coolidge said, "The minute I was on that show, I was able to support myself just acting. It opened so many doors."

2. She did live comedy.
Before making it big as a film and TV star, Coolidge worked with the Groundlings improv group. Castmates included future "Saturday Night Live" stars Will Ferrell and Chris Katan.

3. She rocks at standup comedy.
Coolidge still does standup comedy around the country. "The standup thing has been really fun, really seeing the United States instead of reading about it," Coolidge told Project Q Atlanta. "Standup is just dirtier, a far more risqué kind of thing.... I talk about the strange stuff guys say when they're trying to get you to sleep with them, I talk about sex, being single again, really weird Hollywood auditions. I think people will be really interested in it and laugh."

4. Two of her homes were damaged during Hurricane Katrina.
Months before Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the Gulf region in 2005, Coolidge bought two homes in New Orleans. The houses, she said, got "pretty bashed up. One was in the French Quarter, and of course that was the only home blown to bits in the French Quarter. And then [I bought] one in the Lower Garden District. But they were the only sections that weren't submerged underwater." Despite that, Coolidge says she still plans to retire in New Orleans, a city she clearly loves.

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5. She was almost a "desperate housewife."
Coolidge came this close to nabbing the role of Lynette Scavo on "Desperate Housewives." The job eventually went to Felicity Huffman. She bounced back quickly, though, landing a starring role opposite Matt LeBlanc on "Joey."

6. After playing Stifler's mom, life began to imitate art.
In an interview with USA Today, Coolidge remarked, "Thank God for Stifler's mom. I don't know if life would be this fun if I didn't have that. As a single woman, I reap the benefits of being Stifler's mom." The character, who tends to go for younger guys, apparently inspires young guys to approach Coolidge. "Never anyone close to my age. Always young guys."

Watch the classic scene with Stifler's mom in 'American Pie':

Watch Jennifer Coolidge in 'Best in Show':