'Glee': Dot-Marie Jones talks the never-been-kissed Coach Beiste

Dot-Marie Jones has quickly become a breakout character on this season of Glee, thanks to her heartbreaking and hilarious performance as McKinley High’s newest faculty member, Coach Shannon Beiste. The series’ most recent episode, “Never Been Kissed,” was a showcase for the 46-year-old actress: In the episode, her character revealed that she still had never been kissed at the age of 40. (On the upside, she did get to pucker up with Matthew Morrison mere seconds later.) Jones had previously guest-starred on various series, like Married… with Children and Lizzie McGuire, but now has her biggest role to date on the hit Fox series. And it’s all because of a lucky trip to the grocery store. “It’s true that I ran into [Glee co-creator] Brad Falchuk at Whole Foods,” says the actress, who knew Falchuk from doing guest appearances on Nip/Tuck. “I didn’t corner him like the National Enquirer said and refused to let him go until he said he’d consider me for a part. I said, ‘Oh my god, I love [Glee]!’ I said, ‘Please, you guys, write me something!’ Not two months later, my agent called me and said that [Glee co-creator] Ryan Murphy wanted to know my availability in mid-July because he was writing something for me. I mean, come on. I know how lucky I am. There are 5,000 people who would do this job in a second and 5,000 behind them.” For more with Jones, including her Olympic past and a photo of her as a medieval warrior (yes — you heard that right), keep reading after the jump.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: “Never Been Kissed” is your biggest episode so far and has some really emotional moments. Was that exciting? Or intimidating?
I was so excited. It’s such a heartbreaking episode and yet so rewarding. And how cute are those boys singing that Katy Perry song? I have it on my Facebook page. We watched the episode on the set. I was like, “Oh my God, this is amazing.” Matt [Morrison] and I saw each other afterwards and he goes, “Come here. Give me a kiss!”

Growing up, were you always this tall [Jones is about 6’3”]?
I grew really fast. It’s true I went from 5’6’’ to 6’1’’in six months in 8th grade. By the end of 8th grade, I was 6’1’’. Everyone was freaking out.

And I’m assuming you were pretty athletic?
I did volleyball, basketball, and track all through high school. And then I went to junior college and I stuck with track because I was good at shot put and discus. And then I got a full ride to Fresno State for their track program. Shot put was my main thing. I was the five-time All-American, and I set a couple records. Then I did get to go to the Olympic trials in ’88 and ’92. I was 7th and 11th, so I didn’t place high enough to go to the games, but, still, it was a blast. I also competed [as] a professional arm-wrestler. I won 15 world titles.

I read that you also were on an American Gladiators rip-off called Knights and Warriors.
I was Lady Battleaxe. It was awesome.

Were there particular challenges that you excelled in on that show?
I was really good at the Sorcerer’s Wheel, which is a wheel that went in a circle and had these little hurdles on it. The warriors were swinging this 80-pound mace back and forth, and I was really good at knocking [the contestants] off the wheel.

Did Ryan or the other writers tell you anything about Coach Beiste before you joined the show?
I signed a blank contract. I didn’t know anything about the character. I didn’t care.

There are moments, especially in “Never Been Kissed,” where Beiste’s physical appearance is used as comedy. Does that bother you at all?
You know what? I think that’s hilarious. It serves a purpose for the message. I wasn’t offended at all. I thought it was hysterical. Maybe it will make people think outside of the show.

Would you ever want to sing on the show? If so, what song?
Absolutely. I like old-school rock. Heart is my favorite group. I would be too embarrassed to do their songs because I couldn’t do it justice. Ann Wilson is a goddess. I told Ryan [Murphy] something like AC/DC or Cher would be cool. I can sing both of them which is hysterical. [In Cher voice] “If I could turn back time!” [But] only if I could sing it like Jack on Will & Grace.

Comments (78 total) Add your comment
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  • tracy bluth

    Ha, as soon as I saw her I realized she was the gym teacher on Lizzie McGuire. I enjoy her on Glee, though I thought the students’ using her story line was ridiculous and a bit mean.

    • Templar

      That’s really Susan Boyle, right?

    • amelia in portland

      No meaner than Sue’s evil mouth

  • Tarc

    If Dot is a tenth as funny in person, she’d be a hell of a lady to know. The Beiste is fantastic!

    • Betsy Salkind

      She is. (a hell of a lady to know that is). Funny and the nicest person you could ever know.

  • Prunella Von Schleidlhaagen

    Awesome. Love the Beiste!

  • Katja

    Anybody who can truthfully say the words “I was Lady Battleaxe. It was awesome.” seems like a pretty fantastic person. She sounds so funny and so enthusiastic. I’m glad she loves the show and the character, and it makes me feel better to know that she didn’t mind the “Beiste is unattractive” storyline. If I had had to do something like that, I’d have cried real tears when filming those scenes with Will Schuester. Ballsy woman with a great sense of humor…I wish I were that cool. :)

    • topazbean

      I’m an actor, and I actually think it’s sometimes quite cathartic to play characters who are supposed to be unattractive or unsexy. In the end all that matter is that you play the part well, not that people are attracted to you. I get much more insecure when I have to play the popular or pretty ones because then all these expectations are heaped on you and you wonder if someone in the audience assumes that you actually think you’re that cool or hot. When you play the losers in life, the ones no one cares about, you can have some real fun with it and inject some humanity into the character. Besides which, you have to be pretty unshakeable as an actor and leave your own insecurities at the door. You’re there to play a character, not to be liked or wanted, and you get cast on appearances. If you have even a slightly unusually shaped nose or one eyelid is slightly heavier than the other, every casting director is going to be asking you to turn your head this way and that to see how noticeable it is, and maybe decide that means you shouldn’t play the pretty one. But really, as long as you’re getting cast, it doesn’t matter.

      I know a girl who was cast in a beach movie, and when she went for the costume fitting the director got annoyed that she wasn’t voluptuous enough and made her walk around and around and around in a tiny little bikini, then got her to run, then jump up and down, before telling her she had to go away and put on some weight so her boobs looked bigger. Frankly, when confronted with something like that, I’d rather just play the ugly one.

  • rox

    She seems like a truly awesome person. I would love to see her sing “If I Could Turn Back Time” like Jack from Will and Grace

    • nodnarb

      When she said that, I immediately pictured her doing the hair flip and pouty lip.

    • Scott

      If I could ta-HURN back tii-ii-hi-ohh-ii-ummm! hi-ii-ohh-umm!

      • Jenn

        One of my all time fave moments on W&G was Jack singing Cher to Cher.

  • MontrealManta

    I used to see her at the Gelson’s in Studio City all the time. I had no idea she was an actress until I heard she was cast in Glee.

  • rlrose328

    Dot, you ROCK!!! I lived in Fresno for years, probably at the same time you were there… I’m so glad you’re on Glee!

    • Samantha

      Yay! All the people from Fresno and Clovis on Glee…it’s a nice thing to see from this Central Valley girl :)

  • c

    Great addition to a Great Show!

  • Scytherius

    She is just flat out awesome.

  • Jane

    OMG, the Lady Battleaxe costume! I’m so glad she’s found such success with Glee.

    • Rush

      She’s hot in that outfit!

  • paisley

    I LOVE this character and this actress — she is absolutely amazing and brought me to tears twice already this season. I HOPE she stays on the show. Please, Coach Bieste — don’t leave!!!!

  • IAA

    She seems nice, too bad her character is exactly the same as the science teacher on “Popular.” does Ryan Murphy ever have an original idea anymore?

    • Viv

      I want BioGlass to move to Lima and take over the world with Beiste and Sue.

    • Christian

      Besides being androgynous, what do they have in common? Ms. Glass was caustic while the Bieste is overly sensitive. What a lazy way to try and insult Ryan Murphy!

  • O’Snap

    Bring back Ken Tanaka and let’s have a romance!!

    • Jackie

      Nah, Coach Beiste deserves better than Ken Tanaka! This woman sounds so cool, I think I have to put her on my fantasy list of celebrities I’d love to hang out with someday :)

      • Meli

        In true happy soap-opera tradition, Beiste should have the sexiest, hunkiest, overall greatest man in history come to work at McKinley, all the female teachers just fall at his feet, and he only has eyes for HER.

    • Mole

      I agree! They’re both so sweet and sensitive despite their gruff facades. And Ken can support her since he can never get fired! (Well, once he recovers from his nervous breakdown that is.)

      • poptyduke

        John Stamos

  • DebbieLG

    Dot-Marie and the Bieste are both awesome!

  • stella

    Please make her a regular…she adds so much to the show.

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