Celebrity Call Center: 10 Famous Fictional Receptionists
Our virtual receptionists love having fun in our call center while hard at work helping our customers’ customers. In this special article, we want to showcase some of the most famous fictional receptionists seen in movies and films. Although most of the receptionists that make our list wouldn’t pass our strict hiring process, we still love them for giving us solid entertainment.
Let us take you back to the past as we list the characters that make our celebrity call center list.
Famous Fictional Receptionists that Could Work at a Celebrity Call Center
Jennifer Marlowe | WKRP Radio
T.V. Series: WKRP in Cincinnati
Back in 1978, Loni Anderson brought the AM radio station WKRP’s receptionist to life. Jennifer Marlowe was the ultimate bombshell blonde receptionist, but with a very unique catch. Dripping in satire, Jennifer played up to the stereotypical character of the flighty blonde. However, she was intelligent, astute, scholastic and highly competent.
The radio station’s receptionist explains her job title in this episode, “I am a receptionist. Receptionists receive. They offer comfort, provide support, answer a few telephone calls. But they do not type, unless it’s for a very good cause.”
With her understanding of the role of a virtual receptionist (in particular), our call center would be proud to have her problem solving skills on our team.
Roz Doyle | Dr. Frasier Crane Show
T.V. Series: Frasier
The role of Roz Doyle was initially offered to Lisa Kudrow but in 1993, Peri Gilpin appeared in the show’s pilot instead. Gilpin brought a high level of spunk to the character Roz Doyle for Frasier’s 11 seasons aired.
Okay, we know Roz’s title is actually that of a producer and isn’t a full-on receptionist. But we thought her superb caller pre-screening skills deserved a spot on this list. Working for a live radio show, being able to walk a caller through an intake form is a difficult task. Roz had to be swift, accurate and knowledgeable in order to send through the best calls to Dr. Frasier.
In one episode, she crassly explains her call screening procedure to a new hire, “Now let me give you some pointers on call screening. Your first priority are your leapers and jumpers. Next up, angry people, they’re great energy and a welcome change from our largest group, the sad sacks.”
Earnestine | The Phone Company
T.V. Series: Laugh In
With her nasally voice and infamous snort laugh, Earnestine the Telephone Operator was introduced to the world back in 1969. Lily Tomlin famously played the snarky and comical switchboard operator. Her opening lines were often the comical, “one ringy dingy… two ringy dingy”, and, “is this the party to whom I am speaking?”
Click here to watch as Joan Rivers interviews Ernestine the Telephone Operator about her Emmy nomination. To watch all of this famous fictional receptionist’s skits, check out this YouTube Playlistthat compiles her most popular videos.
And in recent news, Earnestine is back. Tomlin reprised the role in 2016 for a TV ad as part of PETA’s campaign against SeaWorld.
Miss. Argentina | Netherworld Waiting Room
The receptionist in the Netherworld (according to Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice) was none other than the gorgeously green, Miss. Argentina. The beauty queen watches over the waiting room in the Netherworld and helps to manage the case workers’ busy schedules.
Although the actress playing the receptionist, Patrice Martinez, was only in the film for a very short amount of time, she made an impact. Check out this Pinterest Board that shares the various Halloween costumes playing homage to the Netherworld’s receptionist.
Janine Melnitz | Ghostbusters
Janine Melnitz was a corky in-house receptionist that was, “entrusted with answering the Ghostbusters’business phones, keeping track of appointments and delivering ghost encounter messages.” Her humor was dry, uninviting and straight to the point. Janine often answered the office line with an irritated, “What do you want?”
Although Annie Potts initially brought the Ghostbusters’ receptionist character to life, there’s a new sheriff in town. Chris Hemsworth will be reviving the role of the receptionist for the Ghostbusters in the upcoming adaptation. Although Hemsworth gets a mere honorable mention here, we’re sure he’ll make any celebrity call center lists we publish in the future.
Karen Walker | Grace Adler Designs
T.V. Series: Will & Grace
Oh, Mrs. Karen Walker. While she would never be invited into our headquarters in Orlando, Florida for an interview, we sure did enjoy tuning in to see what she’d say next. The millionaires that took on the role as Grace Adler’s receptionist and office assistant may be the world’s worst receptionist to date.
Karen Walker, played by Megan Mullally, often ignored the rings of the office telephone. She forgot to take down messages and was of no assistance when it came to handling Grace’s appointment book. She admittedly only took on the role as receptionist out of boredom, and as an excuse to leave her husband and step-children every day.
In 2010, Karen Walker was ranked #23 on the TV Guide Network special, 25 Greatest TV Characters of All Time. Walker made the list alongside legendary characters like Lucy Ricardo, Thomas Magnum, Homer Simpson and George Jefferson.
Pam Beesly-Halpert | Dunder Mifflin
T.V. Series: The Office
In the 201 episodes aired, Jenna Fischer, played the role of the cheerful receptionist for the Dunder Mifflin Scranton office. Pam Halpert (formerly known as Pam Beesly) was in charge of answering the lines for the busy paper office. She was also responsible for attending to and developing the Regional Manager’s silly projects and ideas.
This ambitious character started off as the receptionist and leveraged her role within the company to sales representative. At the end of the series, the former receptionist became an inspiring female entrepreneur as she helped start Mural Business.
The Receptionist | Dick Clark Productions
T.V. Series: Saturday Night Live
The best gatekeeper of all times goes to a condescending receptionist that worked for Dick Clark Productions. Although just a skit on Saturday Night Live, David Spade really brought this stereotypical character to life.
No one was getting through to the boss with this shark of a gatekeeper. You might recall the male receptionist’s long list of qualifying questions:
“And you are….?”
“Right, and this is regarding…?”
“And he would know you because…?”
“Huh, and you have an appointment or you…?”
“Okay, great, if you could just have a seat.”
Although we respect this SNL receptionist for the unbelievable protective wall he creates for his superior, he definitely doesn’t possess the receptionist skills our call center demands.
Nina | Initech
Film: Office Space
You must remember (no last name) Nina from the 1993 feature film, Office Space. One of the only lines said by Kinna McInroe, the actress playing the high-pitched receptionist, can be heard often in the background of the office scenes.
The line Nina looped that made her cubicle neighbors insane, if you recall, was, “Corporate accounts payable, Nina speaking. *JUST* a moment.” When digging a little, we even found a deleted scene. The lead character, Peter Gibbons, walks up to Nina and desperately tries to get the receptionist to change her answer greeting. View the deleted scene here on YouTube.
Mame Dennis | Law Firm of Widdicome, Gutterman, et al
Film: Auntie Mame
Rosalind Russell is arguably the only actress that could have played Mame Dennis, the eccentric New York socialite turned switch board operator. Although Mame takes various jobs after she suffers from the stock market crash of 1929, we remember her as the stuttering receptionist that crosses the law firm’s lines.
We love this popular scene that showcases how stressful a virtual receptionist’s job can truly be. Take a look at just a portion of the transcript to see how quick a receptionist has to be:
“Auntie Mame: Widdicome, Gutterman, Applewhite, Bibberman and Black. You want to talk to Mr. Gutterman? One moment, sir. I’ll connect you. Widdicome, Gutterman, Applewhite, Bibberman and Black. Oh, yes Mr. Bibberman. You’d like to talk with Mr. Applewhite? Oh, yes, sir, he’s in. I’ll connect you. Widdicome, Gutterman, Applewhite, Bib-bib-bib-blib-bibman and Black? Oh yes, long distance, how are you? Oh. Mr Widdecome? I have your San Francisco call for you. Yes, Mr. Bibberman? Oh. Did I connect you to Mr. Gutterman instead of Mr. Applewhite? I’m sorry Mr. Bibbicome, Bibbibibbib.” Mame Dennis
We hope you enjoyed our spotlights for a celebrity call center!
They’re fun to watch on television and on the big screen, but for the most part, these receptionist characters would never be caught in our telephone agent room. If you want to see what it takes to be a real virtual receptionist at A Courteous Communications, check out our Hiring Process.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list featuring famous fictional receptionists that could be found in a celebrity call center. If you’d like to add to this list, comment with your favorite celebrity receptionist on our Facebook Page.