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Two Chicago women deliver first Golden Globes for Amazon, CW

PASADENA, Calif. — Chicago women were instrumental in giving a couple of content providers their first Golden Globes on Sunday.

The younger-skewing CW network snagged its first Globe when St. Ignatius grad Gina Rodriguez won the award for best actress in a comedy series, while Chicago native Jill Soloway’s transgender dramedy, “Transparent,” gave the subscription video service Amazon its first win.


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Rodriguez, who’s credited her high school’s Harlequins drama coach “Mrs. Haley” with helping her acting career take off, stars in “Jane the Virgin.” The CW’s freshman series revolves around about a 23-year-old woman named Jane who winds up pregnant after being accidentally inseminated.

Inspired by a Venezuelan telenovela, “Jane” has generated a lot of critical love — but not a ton of viewers. The program airs at 8 p.m. Mondays on WGN-Channel 9.

The CW is giving the show time to find an audience. Earlier Sunday, CW Entertainment President Mark Pedowitz announced its renewal for a second season at the TV critics’ press tour in Pasadena.

Rodriguez in "Jane the Virgin." | Photo courtesy CW

Rodriguez in “Jane the Virgin.” | CW

Rodriguez, who has Puerto Rican roots, took the role of Jane after passing on a part on Lifetime’s “Devious Maids.” She has said she “waited patiently for Jane,” a role more layered than many offered to Latina actresses.

Rodriguez had family cheering her on from her table in the Beverly Hilton ballroom as she graciously accepted her award.

“This award is so much more than myself,” a teary Rodriguez said on stage. “It represents a culture that wants to see themselves as heroes.”


Newcomer Gina Rodriguez makes big splash with ‘Jane the Virgin’

Jill Soloway creates season’s best new show with ‘Transparent’

Amazon is a relative newcomer to the arena of original scripted series. “Transparent” is only its third scripted show. It won best comedy and a best comedy actor award for star Jeffrey Tambor, who plays an aging family patriarch transitioning into a woman.

It’s a story that echoes real-life events for creator Jill Soloway (“Six Feet Under”), whose own father is transgender. She gave a shout out to her “Mapa” as she accepted her prize.

Jill Soloway gets her statuette at Sunday's awards ceremony. | AP

Jill Soloway gets her statuette at Sunday’s awards ceremony. | AP

“I want to thank the trans community,” Soloway said. “They are our family and they make this possible. This award is dedicated to the memory of Leelah Alcorn, and too many trans people who died too young. And it’s dedicated to you, my trans parent, my “mapa,” if you’re watching at home right now. I want to thank you for coming out because in doing so you made a break for freedom, you told your truth, you taught me how to tell my truth and make this show, and maybe we’ll be able to teach the world something about authenticity and truth and love.”

Soloway and her older sister, Faith — one of the “Transparent” writers — went to Lane Tech High School. They made a name for themselves at Annoyance Theatre in the early ’90s with their live parody of “The Brady Bunch.”

Amazon has renewed “Transparent” for a second season.