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Why The Motel Maid From Bride Of Chucky Looks So Familiar

The year was 1998, and horror fans' favorite homicidal doll was back for his fourth outing, this time with his wife in tow. "Bride of Chucky" helped reinvigorate the Chucky franchise, which experienced a steady and dramatic decline at the box office for its second and third films (via Box Office Mojo). Not only did "Bride of Chucky" surpass the box office take for "Child's Play 2" and "Child's Play 3," critics also responded well to the film, at least in comparison to the harsh reviews the earlier two films received (via Rotten Tomatoes).

In addition to Jennifer Tilly, who provided the voice for Chucky's wife, Tiffany Valentine, the "Bride of Chucky" cast also included the late comedic genius John Ritter and pre-"Grey's Anatomy" Katherine Heigl. Audiences were also treated to another familiar face — character actor Kathy Najimy — though in a much smaller role than we've come to expect.

Kathy Najimy bewitched audiences in Hocus Pocus

Prior to her role as "Motel Maid" in "Bride of Chucky," Kathy Najimy charmed audiences in the early 1990s films "Soapdish" and "Sister Act," and its sequel, where she played a singing nun opposite Whoopi Goldberg. However, in 1992, Najimy landed a starring role in what would become a cult classic. In "Hocus Pocus," Najimy played Mary Sanderson, the fellow witch sister to Bette Midler's Winnie and Sarah Jessica Parker's Sarah. The wicked trio had been sentenced to death during the Salem witch hunts of the 1600s. Thanks to a last-minute spell by Winnie, the sisters returned to life in 1993 and resumed their evil mission of absorbing young souls in order to maintain their own youth.

At the time of its release, "Hocus Pocus" was a critical failure; the film currently holds a dismal 38% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Audiences, however, viewed the movie far more favorably, which helped "Hocus Pocus" earn $39 million against its budget of $28 million. While by no means a box office blockbuster, "Hocus Pocus" outperformed similar family-friendly fare like "The Sandlot" and "The Secret Garden" (per Box Office Mojo). In the decades since its release, "Hocus Pocus" has become such a cult favorite that Disney recently announced a sequel, with Midler, Parker, and Najimy reprising their roles.

Kathy Najimy joined Kirstie Alley in the closet

In 1997, Kathy Najimy began work on two television series. For Fox's animated hit "King of the Hill," the actor provided the voice of Peggy Hill, the overly confident wife of Hank. Najimy played Peggy in 258 episodes spanning 13 seasons (via IMDb). In addition to her "King of the Hill" voice work, Najimy also starred opposite Kirstie Alley in "Veronica's Closet."

In the NBC comedy, Alley played Veronica Chase, the owner of a lingerie company based on the real-life Victoria's Secret. As Olive Massey, Najimy played Chase's best friend and the company's chief financial officer. In its first season, "Veronica's Closet" ranked third among all TV series, even besting the fourth season of "Friends" (via Entertainment Weekly). However, despite its early success, which was largely helped by the fact it aired between "Seinfeld" and "ER," ratings plummeted in the third season, falling to No. 86 overall, via Variety. NBC canceled the series in 2000 after Season 3.

Kathy Najimy expanded her family on Veep

Over the last two decades, Najimy has popped up in numerous guest-starring roles on series such as "Desperate Housewives," "Ugly Betty," and "Elementary." She had a recurring role on the last season of "Unforgettable," as well as the CBS crime drama "Numb3rs." Najimy also appeared in the films "The Wedding Planner" and Netflix's "Dumplin'."

Of her most recent work, Najimy is perhaps best recognized for her recurring guest role on HBO's hit comedy "Veep," where she played reporter Wendy Keegan. Over the course of four seasons, the character would go on to wed Mike McLintock (Matt Walsh), Selina Meyer's (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) disheveled and ill-prepared communications director. One of the main storylines for Mike and Wendy was their attempt to begin a family. While expecting to adopt a Chinese baby, the couple unwittingly adopted a much older toddler. Shortly after the process was completed, Mike and Wendy also became parents to twins born via surrogacy.