American TV show Saturday Night Live has been the breeding ground for future superstars since its inception in 1975. And one of the latest to make the move from the SNL comic-factory line to a film career is Molly Shannon, who can be seen hamming it up opposite Jim Carrey in Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which opens today. Shannon (above) was born on September 16, 1964, in the well-to-do suburb of Shaker Heights in Cleveland, Ohio. Tragedy struck early in her life. When she was four, Shannon survived a car crash that claimed the lives of her 34-year-old mother, her three-year-old sister and a 25-year-old cousin. After gaining a reputation for playing up in front of her classmates during her school days, Shannon eventually chose the path she seemed destined for - drama at New York University. She graduated with a degree in drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 1987 and immediately headed west to LA. Although Shannon won a role in the film version of The Phantom Of The Opera in 1989, she struggled to find regular work. But, after small roles in TV shows such as Seinfeld, her big break came in 1994 when she won a spot on SNL. She was soon a crowd favourite with her biting impersonations of women such as Monica Lewinsky and Courtney Love. Eventually Shannon found her way back on to the big screen. And with recent roles in Never Been Kissed, Analyze This, and The Grinch, her career looks assured.