Kunal Nayyar

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Kunal Nayyar
Kunal Nayyar at PaleyFest 2013.jpg
Nayyar at PaleyFest 2013 for The Big Bang Theory
Born (1981-04-30) April 30, 1981 (age 33)
London, England
Ethnicity Indian
Alma mater Temple University,
University of Portland
Occupation Actor, writer
Years active 2004–present
Spouse(s) Neha Kapur (2011–present)

Kunal Nayyar (/kʊˌnɑːl ˈnər/; Hindi: कुणाल नय्यर, Punjabi: ਕੁਨਾਲ ਨੈਯ੍ਯਰ, born April 30, 1981) is a British-Indian actor and writer known for his role as Dr. Raj Koothrappali in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Early life[edit]

Nayyar was born in London, England and raised in New Delhi, India. He attended St Columba's School in New Delhi, where he played badminton for the school team.[1][2]

In 1999, Nayyar moved to the US to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business (Finance) from the University of Portland, Oregon.[3] Working on his degree, he started taking acting classes and appeared in several school plays.[citation needed]

After participating in the American College Theater Festival, Nayyar decided to become a professional actor. He then attended Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Acting.[4]


Nayyar on a tour with the rest of The Big Bang Theory cast in 2008

After graduating, Nayyar found work doing American television ads and plays on the London stage.[5] He first gained attention in the US for his role in the West Coast production of Rajiv Joseph's 2006 play Huck & Holden, where he portrayed an Indian exchange student anxious to experience American culture before returning home.[4] In 2006, Nayyar teamed up with Arun Das to write the play Cotton Candy, which premiered in New Delhi to positive reviews.[6]

Nayyar made a guest appearance on the CBS drama NCIS in the episode "Suspicion" (season 4, episode 12), in which he played Youssef Zidan, an Iraqi terrorist.[citation needed]

Nayyar's agent heard about a role for a scientist in an upcoming CBS pilot and encouraged him to audition for the part. This led to his casting in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, on which he plays astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali.[7]

In 2011, he co-hosted the Tribute to Nerds show with co-star Simon Helberg at the comedy festival Just for Laughs.[8]

In 2012, Nayyar voiced Gupta in Ice Age: Continental Drift. That same year, he completed the shooting of his first film Dr. Cabbie in Toronto, Canada. It is being produced by Bollywood actor Salman Khan.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Nayyar married Miss India 2006 winner Neha Kapur in December 2011.[10]



Year Film Character Notes
2004 S.C.I.E.N.C.E Pizza Man
2012 Ice Age: Continental Drift Gupta (voice)
2014 The Scribbler Karem
2014 Dr. Cabbie Tony
2014 Consumed Serge Negani post-production
2015 A Momentary Lapse of Reason ' Ashwin Reddy filming
2016 A Bollywood Tale Santoosh pre-production


Year Series Role Notes
2007 NCIS Youssef Zidan Uncredited
Episode: "Suspicion"
2007–present The Big Bang Theory Dr. Raj Koothrappali Main role
2010 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson Raj Koothrappali
2013–present Sanjay and Craig Vijay (voice) Main role
2013–14 Sullivan & Son Sanjay/Neal Episode: "Ladies Night", "Sexual Healing"
2015 The Late Late Show host February 25, 26, & 27


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Huck and Holden Navin Dahlia Theater, Los Angeles, United States
Love's Labour's Lost Other Parts Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford upon Avon, United Kingdom
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Lansburgh Theatre, Washington, DC, United States


List of awards and nominations
Year Award Category Result Title
2006 Garland Award Best Male Lead in a Play on the West Coast Won Huck and Holden
2012 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated The Big Bang Theory


  1. ^ Kapoor, Kritika (June 25, 2010). "I’d rather do social movies: Kunal Nayyar". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ Ahmed, Sana (June 28, 2008). "Going places". The Hindu. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  3. ^ Successful Actors Talk About Their Training. backstage.com. Retrieved on 2012-11-17.
  4. ^ a b "Making it as a nerd". Rediff. November 19, 2007. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ Sahgal, Natasha (September 16, 2009). "Geek God". Indian Express. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ Chander, Romesh (June 16, 2006). "Staging the fluff of dreams". The Hindu. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  7. ^ Banerjee, Sudeshna (July 7, 2008). "Mr Big Bang". The Telegraph. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  8. ^ Wyatt, Nelson (July 26, 2011). "'Big Bang Theory' stars say most people can relate to being nerds". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved October 21, 2011. [dead link]
  9. ^ Dr. Cabbie at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ "The Talk, CBS". Retrieved 3 March 2012. 

External links[edit]