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Jane Lynch grew up in a tough Irish Chicago suburb.

Jane Lynch, star of 'Glee,' recalls her tough Irish upbringing

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Jane Lynch grew up in a tough Irish Chicago suburb.

Jane Lynch, star of “Glee,” the breakout hit on Fox and recently nominated for a Golden Globes award, has talked about her tough Irish upbringing near Chicago and how it helped with her role as Sue Sylvester, the nasty-as-you-wannabe head coach of the Glee Club in the fictional high school .

Lynch grew up as an Irish Catholic in a suburb on the south side of Chicago – "a concrete jungle," where the main pastimes were "beer, whiskey and storytelling." Her father and mother, she told The Guardian newspaper, liked to drink and have company around.

"This is going to make my parents sound terr-i-ble, but all through high school, we were the drinking house. We'd sit around the kitchen table with my parents and drink beer." Lynch relishes her new role. "I'm accessing a part of myself without judgment; and that is the mean part of myself. Every once in a while I'll be walking down the hall making an exit, and I'll just grab one of the kids and put 'em in a headlock and throw 'em against the locker."

She says playing the villain is "delicious". Her character, she says, "Has no filter; whatever heinous thought comes into her mind comes right out of her mouth."

She also discussed her gay identity. "I didn't know what 'gay' was in high school," she says. "We used the word 'queer' when someone was weird – when I finally heard what it really meant, my heart sank, and I thought, 'Oh God, that's me.'"

Lynch struggled for years before her Glee breakthrough and now admits fame makes life a lot easier. "Being the workaday actor that I have been – and will always be, if this goes away – can be thankless. There's a part of us that wants recognition. And it's easier when you get the affirmation and you're making more money and people ask you what you think.”

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