Jane Anderson grew up in northern California. After two years in college, she moved to New York City to pursue an acting career, and in 1975 she appeared in the New York premiere of David Mamet Sexual Perversity in Chicago. She begin writing in 1979 when she founded the New York Writers Bloc with playwrights Donald Margulies and Jeffrey Sweet. In the writers' group, Anderson developed a series of character sketches and, subsequently, performed as a comedienne in New York clubs and cabarets. In 1982 her act was discovered by Billy Crystal, and she was brought to Los Angeles to be a regular on "The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour," which ran for three weeks. Anderson continued to perform in Los Angeles, where she received critical acclaim for her one- woman show, How to Raise a Gifted Child. She also worked as a writer for television on the staff of "The Wonder Years," and she created Raising Miranda for Grant Tinker.
Her playwriting career began with Defying Gravity, which premiered in Los Angeles and was later produced at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Anderson, who has continued to write plays, received particular attention for The Baby Dance, which, after several regional productions, had a commercial run in New York. She has found a theatrical home at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, in Kentucky, which has produced and commissioned a number of her plays. Her television writing netted her an Emmy (along with director Michael Ritchie and stars Holly Hunter and Beau Bridges) for the Home Box Office movie The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. Film work includes It Could Happen to You (Tristar) and How to Make An American Quilt (Amblin/Universal) from the novel by Whitney Otto.
Jane Anderson is a member of the Dramatists Guild and lives in Los Angeles.