Childhood & Early Life
Melissa McCarthy was born on August 26, 1970, to Michael and Sandra McCarthy, in Plainfield, Illinois. Her father has Irish roots, while her mother has a mixed ancestry of English and German.
She was raised in a farm with a strict Catholic upbringing. She is related to the actress Jenny McCarthy and the sports player Joanne McCarthy.
She pursued her initial education from St. Francis Academy in Joilet Illinois. Her initial interest in fashion led her to study Textiles at Southern Illinois University. She later moved to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology.
In her early days in NYC, she worked as a costumer for a dance company before entering the stand-up comedy circuit. She was also a part of The Groundlings, a comedy troupe that is based in Los Angeles, California.
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She would embark on an acting career in the late 1990s. She received her first role in television for the NBC comedy series ‘Jenny’ in which she starred opposite her cousin Jenny McCarthy.
Her first film appearance was in the comedy movie ‘Go’ (1999) where she had a minor role. Thereafter, she was seen in minor roles in movies such as ‘Drowning Mona’ (2000), ‘Charlie’s Angels’ (2000), ‘The Third Wheel’ (2002), and ‘The Life of David Gale’ (2003).
In 2000, she did a voiceover for the character DNAmy for the the three episodes of the animated series ‘Kim Possible’. She also appeared in two episodes as Molly in the TV series ‘D.C.’.
Melissa received her big break when she was cast as Sookie St. James in the TV series ‘Gilmore Girls’. She essayed the protagonist’s upbeat best friend and her business partner. The show ran for many years, and Sookie remained a recurring character.
She gained more recognition in the industry once she became a part of the regular cast in ‘Gilmore Girls’. The hit Warner Bros. TV series allowed her to find more roles.
She starred in the science thriller ‘The Nines’ in 2007. She was cast opposite Ryan Reynolds and the movie was directed by John August. After this, she was seen in several indie movies such as ‘The Captain’ (2007), ‘Just Add Water’ (2008), and ‘Pretty Ugly People’ (2008).
Her second big break arrived when she was cast as Dena Stevens in the ABC sitcom ‘Samantha Who?’. Melissa again played the role of the protagonist’s best friend but with a twisted plotline. Though a supporting character, she was present in all episodes. The series ran for two years, from 2007 to 2009.
Her other TV roles in 2009 included ‘Rita Rocks’, where she played Mindy Boone in a guest appearance. She was also seen in ‘Private Practice’ as Lynn McDonald in an episode titled ‘Best Laid Plans’.
In 2010, she was seen in minor roles in the films ‘The Back-Up Plan’ and ‘Life as we Know It’ in minor roles. This would pave her path for the biggest role in her career.
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She was cast in a leading role in the sitcom ‘Mike & Molly’ in September 2010. She played the role of Molly Flynn, who meets Mike at an Overeaters Anonymous group and falls in love. The series unravels their life as a couple.
’Mike & Molly’ ran for six seasons from 2010 to 2016. She was nominated five times for the Emmy and won her first Emmy Award for her role in this series in 2017.
In 2011, she was cast in the movie ‘Bridesmaids’ along with Kristen Wiig, Rose Byrne, and Ellie Kemper. Her performance fetched her an Academy Award nomination.
In 2011, she was the host of the ‘Women in Film Crystal and Lucy Awards’. She also hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ for the first time in October 2011. She later returned to host it in 2013, 2014, and 2017.
Following her success, she had supporting roles in ‘This is 40’ (2012) and ‘The Hangover: III’ (2013). She landed a leading role in the comedy crime movie ‘Identity Thief’ opposite Jason Bateman, in 2013. The movie was commercially successful at the box office..
She also worked alongside Sandra Bullock in the movie ‘The Heat’ (2013). The movie was a worldwide success and received critical acclaim.
She turned to become a scriptwriter and co-wrote the script of ‘Tammy’ (2014). She played the leading character in the movie, and it was a moderate success at the box office.
In 2014, she starred opposite Bill Murray in ‘St. Vincent’. The movie was a moderate commercial success with favorable reviews.
In 2015, she starred in the comedy ‘Spy’. The movie became a success and McCarthy received a Golden Globe nomination for her role. She was subsequently awarded a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2015, she was ranked as the third-highest paid actress in the world by opened in 2015. Her clothes are sold at major retailers.
In 2016, she appeared in the revival ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ premiered on Netflix. Later in the year, she starred in ‘The Boss’ which was a commercial success. She was also cast in the movie ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ where she replaced Julianne Moore.
She was recently seen in the movie ‘Life of the Party’ (2018) and ‘The Happytime Murders’ (2018). Her upcoming movie ‘The Kitchen’ is slated to be released in 2019.