Jeannine was the daughter of Michael and Alexandra O'Grody. She grew up in Orlando, Florida and graduated with honors from Bishop Moore Catholic High School. She earned her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she developed an academic interest in Italian Renaissance art. She went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She spent many years living in Florence, Italy as she studied and taught art history. Her doctoral dissertation analyzed the study models used by Michaelangelo in composing his major sculptural works.
Through a fellowship from a National Endowment for the Arts at Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum, O'Grody conducted research into terra cotta models used by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. She also assembled the exhibition "Circa 1492: Art in the Age of Exploration" at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
O'Grody was hired as Curator of European Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art in 2000. Her major exhibitions have included "Methods and Media: Drawings from the Collection of the Birmingham Museum of Art" ( ), "Old Masters to Modern Methods: Prints from the Birmingham Museum of Art" ( ), and, notably, "Leonardo da Vinci: Drawings from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin", which brought to Birmingham a collection of the master's drawings which had never before been seen outside of Italy.
O'Grody also curated the museum's presentation of major touring exhibitions, including "Sacred Treasures: Early Italian Paintings from Southern Collections" ( ), "The Triumph of French Painting: Masterpieces from the Museums of FRAME." ( ), and "The Essence of Line: French Drawings from Ingres to Degas" ( ).
Later, O'Grody was diagnosed with brain cancer, and underwent several operations. She died of complications from the disease in August 2016.