Melissa McCarthy

A fearless comic performer with a gift for jaw-dropping physical humor, Melissa McCarthy was a force of nature in such hit features as "Bridesmaids" (2010) and "The Heat" (2013), as well as a nuanced dramatic talent in "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" (2019). Born Melissa Ann McCarthy on August 26, 1970 in Plainfield, Illinois, she relocated to New York City at the age of 20 to try her hand at the city's comedy scene. After gaining experience as a stand-up, McCarthy headed west to Los Angeles, where she joined the acclaimed improvisational troupe the Groundlings. She made her first screen appearance in 1997 with a guest appearance opposite her cousin, actress Jenny McCarthy, on her eponymous comedy series (MTV, 1997), and logged minor roles in "Go" (1999) and other films and episodic series before earning her star-making turn as the anxious chef Sookie St. James on "Gilmore Girls" (The WB/CW, 2000-07). Her gift for physical comedy and ebullient presence made her a go-to for sidekicks on subsequent series like "Samantha Who?" (ABC, 2007-09) and features like "The Back-Up Plan" (2010) with Jennifer Lopez. While starring in the romantic sitcom "Mike & Molly" (CBS, 2010-16), McCarthy finally broke away from the "best friend" persona with an unfettered turn as a filter-free member of Maya Rudolph's wedding party in "Bridesmaids" (2010). In addition to the film's unexpected runaway success, McCarthy also enjoyed an Oscar nomination for her performance, as well as an Emmy win for "Mike & Molly." Now firmly established as a comedy star, McCarthy settled into a string of hit feature comedies that hinged on her talent for slow-building eruptions of chaos, including "Identity Thief" (2012), "The Heat" (2013), with Sandra Bullock, "Spy" (2015) and "The Boss" (2016), which she co-wrote and produced with her husband, actor/director Ben Falcone. She was also a popular guest on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), hosting five times between 2011 and 2017 and earning an Emmy win in the latter year for, among other moments, an uproarious turn as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. She reteamed with "Bridesmaids" star/co-writer Kristen Wiig for Paul Feig's remake of "Ghostbusters" (2016), and logged time in two largely overlooked comedies - "Life of the Party" (2018), which she co-wrote with Falcone, and "The Happytime Murders" (2018), a raunchy comedy featuring puppets - before seguing into dramatic material for "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" (2019). McCarthy's turn as author turned celebrity forger Lee Israel earned not only critical praise but an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. The success of the film was followed by another flurry of activity, including more dramatic work in the crime drama "The Kitchen" (2019) and several comic collaborations with Falcone, including 2020's "Superintelligence."