My Girl’s comeback

Anna Chlumsky, the gal who played everyone’s favorite tomboy in the early ’90s coming-of-age film My Girl (and its unnecessary sequel, My Girl 2) is staging one major comeback.

She has just been cast in the upcoming feature film The Loop, a political satire co-starring James Gandolfini. The movie is based on a loose adaptation of the BBC series The Thick of It. Chlumsky will play a U.S. government assistant in this parody of the daily workings of American and British government offices. (Think The Office meets The West Wing.)

Chlumsky in My Girl (1991)

Chlumsky at the Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards on Oct. 10, 2007

Photo credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

Chlumsky, like many child actors, didn’t transition well into mainstream movies as an adult. Her fall into obscurity, although, was a fairly soft one.

She created a perfect life for herself: She moved to Brooklyn, got married and was building a career in publishing by working at Zagat, then HarperCollins. But everything changed when Anna ran into Roberta Flack at a nail salon.

That’s right, Roberta Flack (the Grammy Award-winning R&B icon) was getting her nails done — just another average day at the salon. Like a scene out of Grease, Roberta told Anna not to go back to high school, but to Hollywood.

Anna did just that: She took Flack’s advice and got back into the acting business. Chlumsky got her feet wet by taking some off-Broadway roles, and soon afterward landed bit parts in Law & Order and (are you ready for this) 30 Rock.

Anna played "The Other Liz" in Season 1. How did I miss that? I pride myself in my ability to identify obscure celebrities in small roles, but somehow this escaped me. Seeing it now, I could kick myself.

When I was growing up, Anna’s character in My Girl was so endearing to me (I admit I related all too well to her being a tomboy) that it’s exciting for me to see her make her way back into the spotlight. In addition to being a part of The Loop, she is also set to star in a new CW comedy, Eight Days a Week, where she will play "the girl-next-door" personal assistant to an ego-driven website publisher.

Girl next door? Publishing? This role was made for her. Thank goodness Roberta Flack cared enough about her hands to get a manicure that fateful day.