'Veep's' Anna Chlumsky: The Three Stooges and a Frankenstein prom dress liven up family stories

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Anna Chlumsky's family roots extend to Moe, Larry, Curly and Frankenstein.

Chlumsky, who plays Amy, chief of staff to Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Vice President Selina Meyer, on HBO's Sunday comedy "Veep," had a great-grandfather who was in vaudeville.

"He opened for the Stooges, and he had a trained bear," Chlumsky tells Zap2it. "Vaudeville ended, and all these guys had to get other jobs, so my great-grandfather was -- I think he was a cop. At that point he told my grandmother that she couldn't have a prom dress, and she was very sad. And he wrote Mae Clarke, whom he had known, and asked, 'What do I do?' And she sent him -- sometimes the story is she sent him the trunk, sometimes that she sent him the dress -- the story changes depending on the holiday."

Still, it's a great story that your grandmother's prom dress was in "Frankenstein."

Though she started pretty young, Chlumsky never felt she had to act or perish.

She was watching "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" Edward Albee's play about a man in love with a goat, when it struck Chlumsky that she needed to act.

"I was not even paying SAG dues," she recalls. "I was done."

But watching Mercedes Ruehl get an ovation, "and it was not like these [are] people who stand up because they paid for the ticket, I said, 'I have to do that!' "

Earlier, she had left her head shot with an agency, "just in case," she says. "Just in case of what? I was totally selling myself this story that I was over show business, that I was done, done, done! But I told them not to call me."

Ruehl made her realize, "Actors are not just puppets. I would not understand Edward Albee's words as well, were it not for that performance."

Favorite movies: "I am a nerd. 'Singin' in the Rain' is No. 1. And ' The Godfather,' 'An American in Paris,' 'Gone With the Wind.' "

Favorite books: "I love 'Kitchen' by Banana Yoshimoto. 'The Fountainhead,' and I just read 'Atlas Shrugged' (both by Ayn Rand) and am not as much of a fan. You know what I loved -- and this will sound very, very nerdy -- ' The Mists of Avalon' (by Marion Zimmer Bradley). I read it in high school, and has been such a favorite for such a long time it's crazy."

Favorite music: "I am a big Haydn fan. I am getting very into Schubert; piano sonatas by Schubert are just excellent. I am a big fan of everything Latin, Carlos Vives, Juanes, Daniela Mercury and Adriana Calcanhotto. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Mumford & Sons."



Photo/Video credit: NewsCom