Karen Duffy

Last updated
Karen Duffy
Born (1962-05-23) May 23, 1962 (age 57)
OccupationWriter, model, actress, television personality
Years active1991–present

Karen "Duff" Duffy (born May 23, 1962) is an American writer, model, television personality, and actress. She is a certified hospital chaplain, a former Coney Island Mermaid Queen, one of People Magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 1993. [1] In 1995, Duffy was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease sarcoidosis called neurosarcoidosis. Since then, she's written two books about her experience living with chronic pain and is a member of the Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Pain Patients.


Early life

Duffy was born in New York City, the daughter of Carol, a homemaker, and Phil, a developer. [2] She was raised Catholic, and is of Irish descent. [3] [4] She attended Park Ridge High School in Park Ridge, New Jersey, graduating in 1979. She received a bachelor's degree in recreational therapy from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Film and television career

By 1989, Duffy was modeling and appearing in television commercials. She was a VJ for MTV in the early 1990s, under the name "Duff." She had small roles in a handful of films including Dumb and Dumber and Blank Check , and by 1995 was working as a correspondent for documentary filmmaker Michael Moore on his television shows TV Nation and The Awful Truth . [5] She also was a Revlon "Charlie Girl" as well as the face of Almay Cosmetics, and co-hosted the pay-per-view television event, Elvis: The Tribute from the Memphis Pyramid in 1994 with Kris Kristofferson.

In 2006, Duffy hosted House of Tiny Terrors on TLC. [6] On July 7, 2007, she appeared on the Live Earth telecast on the Bravo Channel as a co-host at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey.

In 2008, Duffy began working with New York City's NYC Media on a series of emergency preparedness videos. [7] The videos, which mimic the style of the network TV show Secrets of New York , help raise awareness of the perils of natural disasters and preventative actions families should take to prepare for them.

Writing and speaking on sarcoidosis

In 1995, Duffy was diagnosed with a rare form of the disease sarcoidosis called neurosarcoidosis. Her brain and spinal cord were affected, leaving her partially paralyzed.

Duffy is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, Model Patient: My Life as an Incurable Wise-Ass. In her latest book, Backbone: Living With Chronic Pain Without Turning Into One, she describes her ongoing incurable disease and constant pain, using humor and acceptance of her condition to cope. She was inspired to write the second book by Lord Byron, who wrote "Always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine."

Her articles on a wide range of subjects have appeared in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times [8] and Oprah Magazine. [9] She spoke at the 2018 US Pain Foundation annual gala. [10]

Personal life

She married John Lambros in 1997. They have one son, Jack "Lefty" Lambros, who was born via surrogate in 2003. [11]


1991 McBain Crack Den GirlFilm Debut
29th Street Maria Rios
1992 Malcolm X Sophia's Friend
1993 Who's the Man? Officer Day
Last Action Hero Herself
1994 Blank Check Shay Stanley
Reality Bites Elaina (actress)
Dumb & Dumber J.P. Shay
1996 Memory Run Celeste/Josette
1997 Nothing Sacred Unknown Role
Fool's Paradise DJ
Meet Wally Sparks Reporter #3
1998 Celebrity TV Reporter at Premiere
1999 The 24 Hour Woman Margo Lynn
2002 A Smile Gone, But WhereWoman
2006 Crafty HostTV Movie
2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox Linda OtterVoice
1991 Fade to Black Unknown RoleUnknown episode(s)
1997 The Big Easy Wanda Fallon1 episode
19992002 Pepper Ann SketchRecurring Role


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  1. Shue, Catherine Deneuve Andrew (1993). People Weekly. PW.
  2. Karen Duffy Biography (1962-)]
  3. "Karen Duffy". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  4. TLC :: The House of Tiny Terrors
  5. "Get Ready New York!". MetroFocus. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  6. Duffy, Karen. "APPEARANCES; Deconstructing Duffy" . Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  7. "6 Things Everyone Living With Chronic Pain Should Know". Oprah.com. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  8. "U.S. Pain hosts third annual gala with special guest Karen Duffy - U.S. Pain Foundation". U.S. Pain Foundation. 2018-06-04. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  9. Peachman, Rachel Rabkin (December 2017). "6 Things Everyone Living With Chronic Pain Should Know". oprah.com. Retrieved January 16, 2020.