Melanie Lynskey

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Melanie Lynskey
Melanie Lynskey at TIFF 2009.jpg
Lynskey at the Toronto Film Festival in 2009
Born Melanie Jayne Lynskey
(1977-05-16) 16 May 1977 (age 37)
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Occupation Actress
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Jimmi Simpson (m. 2007; div. 2014)

Melanie Jayne Lynskey (born 16 May 1977) is a New Zealand-born actress, known for playing Rose on Two and a Half Men, and a variety of characters in films such as Happy Christmas, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Hello I Must Be Going, Win Win, Up in the Air, The Informant!, Away We Go, Flags of Our Fathers, Shattered Glass, Sweet Home Alabama, Coyote Ugly, Ever After and Heavenly Creatures.

Lynskey describes herself as a character actress.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lynskey was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand. She attended New Plymouth Girls' High School, graduating in 1996. She then studied theatre and English literature at Victoria University of Wellington.[2]



Lynskey made her feature film debut at age 16, starring as Pauline Parker in Heavenly Creatures, which was inspired by the infamous Parker–Hulme murder case. The film – directed by Peter Jackson and co-starring Kate Winslet – was released to widespread acclaim in 1994, with Richard Corliss of TIME describing Lynskey as "perfect... fearless in embodying teenage hysteria."[3] Heavenly Creatures won Jackson an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, and is now considered a cult film.[4] Lynskey was named Best Actress at the 1995 New Zealand Film and TV Awards for her performance.[5]

Lynskey's next big role came in 1998, when she was cast opposite Drew Barrymore in Ever After, a re-imagining of the Cinderella story. This was followed by significant parts in Detroit Rock City, But I'm a Cheerleader, The Cherry Orchard, Shooters and Coyote Ugly, as well as the independent feature Snakeskin ("an excellent performance," wrote David Stratton),[6] for which she received her second nomination for Best Actress at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards.[7]

In 2002, she appeared alongside Reese Witherspoon in the romantic comedy Sweet Home Alabama,[8] co-starred with Katie Holmes in Abandon and made her television debut in Rose Red, a miniseries penned by Stephen King.


In Shattered Glass, a 2003 drama depicting the rise and fall of journalist Stephen Glass, Lynskey played a writer for The New Republic. Based on a true story, the film received unanimous praise[9] and several award nominations.[10] Later that year, she landed the part of Rose – Charlie Harper's deranged but incredibly charming neighbor – on the CBS comedy series Two and a Half Men, which fast became one of the most popular sitcoms on American television.[11]

Despite leaving the main cast in 2005 to concentrate on film work, Lynskey continues to make guest appearances on the show, with her character having recently set her sights on Walden (Ashton Kutcher).[12]

In 2006, she played the wife of Rene Gagnon in Clint Eastwood's acclaimed World War II drama Flags of Our Fathers, and returned to New Zealand in late 2007 to a starring role in Show of Hands, which premiered at the 2008 Montreal Film Festival and earned Lynskey a nomination for Best Actress at the Qantas Television Awards.[13]

More recently, she garnered praise for her performance in Sam Mendes' bittersweet dramedy Away We Go, playing a seemingly happy adoptive parent who hides a secret heartache. Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe wrote, "Lynskey dramatizes sadness and dysfunction with quiet, moving physicality... It's the best performance in the movie."[14]

She also played the female lead – opposite Matt Damon – in Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, based on the bizarre true story of FBI whistleblower Mark Whitacre. The film premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival, and Lynskey's portrayal of Whitacre's wife, Ginger, was described as "sterling" by The Independent.[15] Soderbergh told the Los Angeles Times, "She is so watchable, you never quite know what you're going to get, you just know it's going to be good. Her rhythms are really unusual, like her cadence and her reaction times to things, and the way she sort of lays out a sentence. It's just really, really interesting."[16]

Lynskey's 2009 films also included Leaves of Grass, in which she co-starred with Edward Norton, and Jason Reitman's Academy Award-nominated Up in the Air, in which she played Julie, the younger sister of George Clooney's character. In October that year, she was presented with a Spotlight Award by the Hollywood Film Festival.[17]

In 2011, Lynskey's performance in the critically acclaimed Win Win brought the actress some of her best reviews to date, with TIME commenting, "[she] was wonderful in Away We Go, The Informant! and Up in the Air... In Win Win she gives a very different kind of performance and is even better."[18]

The following year, she appeared in Focus Features' comedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World with Steve Carell, and had a key role in the film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky's novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, playing the mentally disturbed aunt of main character Charlie (Logan Lerman). It was the independent drama Hello I Must Be Going, however, which gave Lynskey her most significant role of 2012. Her portrayal of Amy, a dispirited 30-something who finds herself having to move back in with her parents, was described as "exquisite" by Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times. "Lynskey inhabits the role so completely that she becomes someone we root for unreservedly," wrote Turan.[19] Also hailed "a master class in acting" (The Seattle Times),[20] the performance earned her a nomination for Breakthrough Actor at the 2012 Gotham Awards.[21]

Recent projects have included principal roles in Teddy Bears (described as "smart" and "poignant" by The Hollywood Reporter),[22] Joe Swanberg's Happy Christmas ("a real gift... Lynskey [is] excellent" – USA Today),[23] and the directional debuts of Simon Helberg (We'll Never Have Paris)[24] and Angus MacLachlan (Goodbye to All That).[25] She'll next appear as part of the main ensemble of HBO's Togetherness,[26] and alongside Elijah Wood in the animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall.[27]

Personal life[edit]

In 2001, Lynskey met American actor Jimmi Simpson during the filming of Rose Red, in which they both appeared. They became engaged in 2005 and married on 14 April 2007, in a chapel on Lake Hayes, near Queenstown, New Zealand.[28] Also in attendance was her friend Emily Deschanel, who was one of her bridesmaids.[29]

Lynskey filed for divorce from Simpson on 25 September 2012, citing irreconcilable differences.[30] The divorce was finalized on 23 May 2014.[31]

She currently resides in Los Angeles.[32]


Year Film Role Notes
1994 Heavenly Creatures Pauline Parker New Zealand Film Award for Best Actress
1996 Frighteners, TheThe Frighteners Deputy
1998 Ever After Jacqueline
1999 Foreign Correspondents Melody Nominated—Chicago Alt.Film Festival for Best Actress
1999 Detroit Rock City Beth
1999 Cherry Orchard, TheThe Cherry Orchard Dunyasha
1999 But I'm a Cheerleader Hilary
2000 Coyote Ugly Gloria
2001 Snakeskin Alice Nominated—New Zealand Film Award for Best Actress
2002 Shooters Marie
2002 Abandon Julie
2002 Sweet Home Alabama Lurlynn
2003 Claustrophobia Lauren
2003 Shattered Glass Amy Brand
2004 The Nearly Unadventurous Life of Zoe Cadwaulder Zoe Cadwaulder Short film
2005 Say Uncle Susan
2006 Park Sheryl
2006 Flags of our Fathers Pauline Harnois
2007 Itty Bitty Titty Committee Plastic Surgery Lady Uncredited
2008 Show of Hands Jess Nominated—Qantas Television Award for Best Actress
2008 Quiet Little Marriage, AA Quiet Little Marriage Monique
2009 Away We Go Munch Garnett CinEuphoria Award for Best Supporting Actress (International)
2009 Informant!, TheThe Informant! Ginger Whitacre Nominated—Visa Entertainment Screen Award for Best Actress[33]
2009 Up in the Air Julie Bingham 2nd place—Central Ohio Film Critics Association for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Denver Film Critics Society for Best Ensemble
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2009 Leaves of Grass Colleen
2010 Helena from the Wedding Alice
2011 Win Win Cindy
2011 Touchback Macy
2012 Eye of the Hurricane Amelia Kyte
2012 Hello I Must Be Going Amy Nominated—Gotham Breakthrough Award
2012 Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Karen
2012 The Perks of Being a Wallflower Aunt Helen Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Performance by an Ensemble
2012 Putzel Sally Nominated—Fargo Film Festival Award for Best Actress
2013 The Big Ask Hannah
2014 Happy Christmas Kelly
2014 They Came Together Brenda
2014 Chu and Blossom Miss Shoemaker
2014 We'll Never Have Paris Devon
2014 Goodbye to All That Annie
2015 Digging for Fire Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Rose Red Rachel Wheaton 3 episodes
2003 Shield, TheThe Shield Marcy 2 episodes
2003–2014 Two and a Half Men Rose 62 episodes
2007 Drive Wendy Patrakas 6 episodes
2008 L Word, TheThe L Word Clea Mason 2 episodes
2008 Comanche Moon Pearl Coleman 3 episodes
2008 Psych Emily Bloom Episode: "Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion"
2009 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Kate Episode: "The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis"
2010–2012 Life & Times of Tim, TheThe Life & Times of Tim Becky (voice) 6 episodes
2010 Memphis Beat Annalise Episode: "Polk Salad Annie"
2012 House Natalie Tavares Episode: "Better Half"[34]
2014 Over the Garden Wall Beatrice (voice) 8 episodes
2015 Togetherness Michelle Pierson 8 episodes


  1. ^ Barnes, Brooks (20 January 2012). "Another Independent Dream Comes True". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Melanie Lynskey - Biography - Movies & TV -". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  3. ^ Corliss, Richard (21 November 1994). "A Heavenly Trip Toward Hell (1994)". TIME magazine. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  4. ^ AV Club – The New Cult Canon – Heavenly Creatures
  5. ^ James, Maris (4 September 2012). "The Playlist Profile: Melanie Lynskey Talks Hollywood, 'Hello I Must Be Going,' 'Heavenly Creatures' & More". IndieWire. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Review: ‘Snakeskin’". Variety. 18 May 2001. 
  7. ^ "'Snakeskin' cruises into top film spot". The New Zealand Herald. 11 November 2001. 
  8. ^ "Witherspoon boosts US box office". The Guardian. 30 September 2002. 
  9. ^ "Shattered Glass - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  10. ^ "Shattered Glass - Awards". IMDb. 
  11. ^ Collins, Scott (21 September 2011). "'Two and a Half Men' gets record ratings". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ "'Two and a Half Men': Melanie Lynskey 'crazy about' Ashton Kutcher". Zap2it. 25 October 2012. .
  13. ^ "Great Southern dominates Qantas Awards". Great Southern. 
  14. ^ Morris, Wesley (12 June 2009). "Away We Go review". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-06-13. [dead link]
  15. ^ Macnab, Geoffrey (8 September 2009). "The Informant! Tale of Corporate Crime review". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  16. ^ Olsen, Mark (15 September 2009). "Melanie Lynskey, Toronto's Triple Threat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 September 2009. [dead link]
  17. ^ "Hollywood Fest Honors Julianne Moore". Hollywood Film Festival. 10 October 2009. 
  18. ^ Pols, Mary (17 March 2011). "Win Win: Paul Giamatti Can't Lose". TIME. 
  19. ^ Turan, Kenneth (6 September 2012). "Melanie Lynskey is highlight of 'Hello I Must Be Going'". The Los Angeles Times. 
  20. ^ "'Hello I Must Be Going' is perfect for actress Melanie Lynskey". The Seattle Times. September 20, 2012. 
  21. ^ Schoenbrun, Dan (18 October 2012). "Nominees Announced for IFP's 22nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards". IFP. 
  22. ^ DeFore, John (11 July 2013). "Teddy Bears: Film Review". Hollywood Reporter. 
  23. ^ work=USA Today "'Happy Christmas' isn't exactly merry but Yule like it". July 24, 2014. 
  24. ^ "K5 Picks Up Directing Debut of ‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Simon Helberg". Variety. 4 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Melanie Lynskey & Paul Schneider Say 'Goodbye To All That'". Indiewire. 8 October 2012. 
  26. ^ "HBO orders full series of Duplass brothers comedy 'Togetherness'". Entertainment Weekly. 17 July 2013. 
  27. ^ "Cartoon Network Orders ‘Over The Garden Wall’ As First Miniseries". Deadline. 7 March 2014. 
  28. ^ "In Style Weddings (2007)". In Style. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  29. ^ Jacobs, Jay S. (26 September 2007). "Emily Deschanel: The Doctor is In". Pop Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-06-24. 
  30. ^ "Melanie Lynskey Files For Divorce From Jimmi Simpson". Retrieved 2012-10-07. 
  31. ^ "'Two & A Half Men' & 'Always Sunny' Stars -- Nicest Divorce EVER". TMZ. 23 May 2014. 
  32. ^ Breznican, Anthony (22 September 2012). "Melanie Lynskey makes sexy splash in 'Hello I Must Be Going'". Entertainment Weekly. 
  33. ^ "Kiwis to decide best NZ films at inaugural Visa Entertainment Screen Awards". 22 November 2010. 
  34. ^ Ausiello, Michael. "House Exclusive: Two and a Half Men's Melanie Lynskey to Guest Star". Retrieved 3 November 2011. 

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