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Jennette McCurdy’s Dual Characters, Penelope and Daisy Wilkerson in Malcolm in the Middle

Navigating Trauma, Triumph, and Transformation, Jennette McCurdy's Journey from Child Actor to Memoirist.

In her memoir “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” Jennette McCurdy opens up about her traumatic experiences as a child actor on the hit sitcom Malcolm in the Middle.

McCurdy is best known for her starring role as Sam Puckett on the Nickelodeon series iCarly from 2007 to 2012.


  • Jennette McCurdy’s memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” candidly explores her challenging experiences as a child actor, notably on “Malcolm in the Middle.”
  • McCurdy’s involvement in Malcolm in the Middle included portraying two minor roles, Daisy Wilkerson and Penelope, highlighting her versatility as an actor.
  • Best known for her role as Sam Puckett on “iCarly,” McCurdy reveals the pressure and exploitation she faced in the entertainment industry during her formative years.

In her book, McCurdy revealed that one of her church ladies made a comment about it being inappropriate for her, as a child, to play a 9-year-old rape victim in the episode.

This experience shows the pressure and exploitation Jennette faced as a child actor.

McCurdy’s book delves into her riotous relationship with her mother, who allegedly subjected her to emotional abuse and controlled every aspect of her life and career.

In 2018, Jennette quit acting to focus on writing and directing. In 2022, she released her memoir, detailing her journey to reclaim her life after her mother’s death.

Jennette McCurdy’s Double Roles in Malcolm in the Middle, Exploring Penelope and Daisy Wilkerson

Jennette McCurdy had two minor roles on the show Malcolm in the Middle.

In the season 4 episode “If Boys Were Girls,” she played the character Daisy Wilkerson, Dewey’s female counterpart.

Later, in Buseys Takes A Hostage, she also played a character named Penelope. In that episode, Penelope, a member of the Busey classroom, makes a brief appearance.

She had a very short role, serving as a stand-in for Zoe Desenea, who had departed the series when the episode’s storyline required her character.

Penelope acted really energetic, just like Zoe, and she had fancy braids in her hair.

She was very naive and believed almost anything, like the idea from a movie that someone could come back to life by cutting their throat and putting a pen in it.

Due to prior commitments, Amy Bruckner was unavailable to reprise her role as Zoe, leading to the creation of the character Penelope to serve as her replacement.

Penelope marks the second character portrayed by Jennette McCurdy, with Daisy Wilkerson from season 4’s “If Boys Were Girls” being the first.

Jennette McCurdy’s Struggle with Her Mother’s Influence on Malcolm in the Middle

In “I’m Glad My Mom Died,” Jennette reveals the intense emotional abuse she endured from her mother, who was obsessed with her acting career.

Her mother’s abuse and exploitation led to severe mental health issues, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders.

McCurdy’s experience with Malcolm in the Middle was challenging due to her mother’s constant presence and control over her life and career.

Despite her success as an actress, Jennette ultimately quit acting to distance herself from the trauma she endured and prioritize her mental health.

Additional Information

  • Raised in Southern California by her Mormon family, McCurdy’s mother, Debra, who aspired to become an actor herself, projected her dreams onto her daughter from a young age.
  • At the age of 11, Jennette’s mother started limiting her food intake in hopes of delaying puberty and appearing younger to secure more acting opportunities.
  • Following her mother’s passing from breast cancer in 2013, McCurdy battled with bulimia, binge eating, and alcohol addiction.
Deepti Bhatta
Deepti Bhatta
Meet Deepti Bhatta, a passionate writer and content editor who brings a fresh perspective to Road To Peace Films. With her keen interest in entertainment industry, Deepti crafts articles that inform, inspire, and entertain readers, keeping them engaged and coming back for more.


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