Melanie Lynskey

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Melanie Lynskey
Melanie Lynskey at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) in 2009
Melanie Lynskey at TIFF 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)[1] is a New Zealand-born actress, known for playing Michelle Pierson on Togetherness, Rose on Two and a Half Men, and characters in the films 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.

Early life[edit]

Lynskey was born in New Plymouth, New Zealand,[1] to a mother who is a former nurse and a father who is an orthopedic surgeon.[2] She is the oldest of five children, and has three brothers and one sister.[2]

She then studied theatre and English literature at Victoria University of Wellington.[3]


In 1994, Lynskey made her feature film debut at age 16, starring as Pauline Parker in the cult film[4] Heavenly Creatures, which was inspired by the Parker–Hulme murder case. The film was directed by Peter Jackson and co-starred Kate Winslet.[5] Lynskey won Best Actress at the 1995 New Zealand Film and TV Awards for her performance.[6]

In 1998, Lynskey appeared in the Drew Barrymore film Ever After, a re-imagining of the Cinderella story. This was followed by parts in Detroit Rock City, But I'm a Cheerleader, The Cherry Orchard, Shooters and Coyote Ugly, as well as the independent feature Snakeskin.[7] Lynskey received her second nomination for Best Actress at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards for her performance in Snakeskin.[8]

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

In 2003, Lynskey played a writer for The New Republic in Shattered Glass, a drama based on the exploits of former journalist Stephen Glass. Later that year, she landed the part of Rose – Charlie Harper's deranged but charming neighbor – on the CBS comedy series Two and a Half Men.

Despite leaving the main cast in 2005 to concentrate on film work, Lynskey continued to make guest appearances on the show, with a storyline where her character set her sights on Walden (Ashton Kutcher).[9]

In 2006, she played the wife of Rene Gagnon in Clint Eastwood's World War II-set 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.[10]

In 2009, Lynskey garnered praise for her performance in Away We Go, directed by Sam Mendes, playing a seemingly happy adoptive parent who hides a secret heartache.[11] She also played the female lead – opposite Matt Damon – in Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!, based on the true story of FBI whistleblower Mark Whitacre. The film premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.[12] 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."[13] Lynskey counts her time working on The Informant! as one of her favorite experiences.[14]

Also in 2009, Lynskey co-starred in Leaves of Grass with Edward Norton, and Jason Reitman's Academy Award-nominated Up in the Air, in which she played the younger sister of George Clooney's character. In October 2009, Lynskey was presented with a Spotlight Award by the Hollywood Film Festival.[15]

In 2011, she co-starred in Win Win[16] with Paul Giamatti. The following year, Lynskey 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). The independent drama Hello I Must Be Going, in which she portrayed Amy, a dispirited 30-something who finds herself having to move back in with her parents, was particularly well-received by critics.[17][18] The performance earned her a nomination for Breakthrough Actor at the 2012 Gotham Awards.[19] Hello I Must Be Going was selected to open the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.[20]

In 2014, Lynskey had starring roles in Joe Swanberg's Happy Christmas,[21] Angus MacLachlan's Goodbye to All That[22] and Simon Helberg's We'll Never Have Paris.[23]

In 2015, Lynskey co-stars as Michelle Pierson on HBO's Togetherness, a show created by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, and Steve Zissis.[24][25][26]

Acting style[edit]

Lynskey describes herself as a character actress.[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]

Lynskey filed for divorce from Simpson on 25 September 2012, citing irreconcilable differences.[29] The divorce was finalized on 23 May 2014.[30]

As of 2012, she resides in Los Angeles.[31]


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[32]
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 (aka Teddy Bears) Hannah
2014 Happy Christmas Kelly
2014 They Came Together Brenda
2014 Chu and Blossom Miss Shoemaker
2014 Goodbye to All That Annie
2015 We'll Never Have Paris Devon
2015 Digging for Fire Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Rose Red Rachel Wheaton 3 episodes
2003 Shield, TheThe Shield Marcy 2 episodes
2003–2015 Two and a Half Men Rose 63 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"[33]
2014 Over the Garden Wall Beatrice (voice) 8 episodes
2015 Togetherness Michelle Pierson 8 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Melanie Lynskey". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 13 February 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Maron, Marc (1 January 2015). "Episode 564 - Melanie Lynskey". WTF with Marc Maron. Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Marx, Rebecca Flint. "Melanie Lynskey - Biography". AllMovie. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Tobias, Scott (26 February 2009). "The New Cult Canon: Heavenly Creatures". The AV Club. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  5. ^ Corliss, Richard (21 November 1994). "A Heavenly Trip Toward Hell (1994)". Time. Retrieved 24 June 2009. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ Stratton, David (18 May 2001). "Review: ‘Snakeskin’". Variety. 
  8. ^ "'Snakeskin' cruises into top film spot". The New Zealand Herald. 11 November 2001. 
  9. ^ Bobbin, Jay (25 October 2012). "'Two and a Half Men': Melanie Lynskey 'crazy about' Ashton Kutcher". Zap2it. 
  10. ^ "Great Southern dominates Qantas Awards" (Press release). Great Southern Film and Television. August 2009. 
  11. ^ Morris, Wesley (12 June 2009). "Away We Go review". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  12. ^ MacNab, Geoffrey (8 September 2009). "The Informant! Tale of Corporate Crime review". The Independent. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  13. ^ Olsen, Mark (15 September 2009). "Melanie Lynskey, Toronto's Triple Threat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 September 2009. 
  14. ^ Arthur, Kate (24 July 2014). "The Actress Who Can Do Everything". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on 24 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Hollywood Fest Honors Julianne Moore". Hollywood Film Festival. 10 October 2009. Archived from the original on 24 March 2013. 
  16. ^ Pols, Mary (17 March 2011). "Win Win: Paul Giamatti Can't Lose". Time. 
  17. ^ Turan, Kenneth (6 September 2012). "Melanie Lynskey is highlight of 'Hello I Must Be Going'". Los Angeles Times. 
  18. ^ "'Hello I Must Be Going' is perfect for actress Melanie Lynskey". The Seattle Times. 20 September 2012. 
  19. ^ Schoenbrun, Dan (18 October 2012). "Nominees Announced for IFP's 22nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards" (Press release). IFP. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. 
  20. ^ Smalley, Tavis (29 August 2012). "Actress Melanie Lynskey" (Video interview). Tavis Smiley (PBS). Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  21. ^ Puig, Claudia (24 July 2014). "'Happy Christmas' isn't exactly merry but Yule like it". USA Today. 
  22. ^ Rodriguez, Cain (8 October 2012). "Melanie Lynskey & Paul Schneider Say 'Goodbye To All That'". Indiewire. 
  23. ^ Barraclough, Leo (4 November 2013). "K5 Picks Up Directing Debut of ‘Big Bang Theory’ Star Simon Helberg". Variety. 
  24. ^ Drewett, Meg (17 July 2013). "HBO orders full series of Duplass brothers comedy 'Togetherness'". Entertainment Weekly. 
  25. ^ Lloyd, Robert (10 January 2015). "'Togetherness' shows real life's just funny that way". Los Angeles Times. 
  26. ^ Wellen, Brianna (14 January 2015). "A motley crew of cohabitants do not a gimmick make on Togetherness". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on 15 January 2014. 
  27. ^ Barnes, Brooks (20 January 2012). "Another Independent Dream Comes True". The New York Times. 
  28. ^ "Celebrity Wedding: Melanie Lynskey and Jimmi Simpson". InStyle. 2009. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  29. ^ "Melanie Lynskey Files For Divorce From Jimmi Simpson". Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "'Two & A Half Men' & 'Always Sunny' Stars -- Nicest Divorce EVER". 23 May 2014. 
  31. ^ Breznican, Anthony (22 September 2012). "Melanie Lynskey makes sexy splash in 'Hello I Must Be Going'". Entertainment Weekly. 
  32. ^ Novelli, Porter (22 November 2010). "Kiwis to decide best NZ films at inaugural Visa Entertainment Screen Awards". Archived from the original on 15 January 2015. 
  33. ^ Ausiello, Michael. "House Exclusive: Two and a Half Men's Melanie Lynskey to Guest Star". Retrieved 3 November 2011. 

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