Mindy Kaling

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Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling at PaleyFest 2013.jpg
Kaling at PaleyFest 2013's panel for The Mindy Project
Born Vera Mindy Chokalingam
(1979-06-24) June 24, 1979 (age 35)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality American
Education Buckingham Browne & Nichols
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Occupation Actress, comedian, writer, producer, director
Years active 2003–present

Vera Mindy Chokalingam (born June 24, 1979), known professionally as Mindy Kaling, is an American actress, comedian, writer, and producer widely known for creating and starring as Mindy Lahiri in the Fox sitcom The Mindy Project. She is also known for portraying Kelly Kapoor on the NBC sitcom The Office and was engaged as the co-executive producer, director, and writer of several of the show's episodes.

Kaling's notable films include This Is the End, Wreck-It Ralph, and The Five-Year Engagement. Kaling and her fellow writers and producers of The Office were nominated five consecutive times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. In 2010, she received a nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series with Greg Daniels for the episode, "Niagara".[1] The next year, she published a humorous memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). In 2013, Entertainment Weekly identified Kaling as one of the "50 Coolest and Most Creative Entertainers" in Hollywood.[2] In the same year, Kaling was recognized by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Early life and education[edit]

Kaling was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam[3] on June 24, 1979, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to a Tamil father and a Bengali mother, both Hindus from India.[4] Her father, Avu, is an architect,[5] and her mother, Dr. Swati Chokalingam, was an obstetrician/gynecologist.[6] Kaling's mother died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.[7] Kaling has been referred to as Mindy since her mother was pregnant with her while her parents were living in Nigeria. They were already planning to move to the United States and wanted, Kaling said, a "cute American name" for their daughter, and liked the name Mindy from the TV show Mork & Mindy. The name Vera is, according to Kaling, the name of the "incarnation of a Hindu goddess."[8]

Kaling graduated from Buckingham Browne & Nichols, a private school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1997. The following year, she entered Dartmouth College, where she was a member of the improvisational comedy troupe "The Dog Day Players" and the a cappella group "The Rockapellas", creator of the comic strip "Badly Drawn Girl" in The Dartmouth (the college's daily newspaper), and a writer for the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern (the college's humor magazine); while a sophomore in college, Kaling was an intern on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[9] Kaling graduated in 2001 with a bachelors in Playwriting.[10][11][12] She was influenced by Conan O'Brien.[9]


In 2003, Kaling portrayed Ben Affleck in a play called Matt & Ben, which she also co-wrote with her best friend from college Brenda Withers. The play was named one of Time magazine's "Top Ten Theatrical Events of The Year." Kaling's TV appearances include a 2005 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, playing Richard Lewis's assistant.[13] She is featured on the CD Comedy Death-Ray and wrote for one episode of Saturday Night Live in April 2006.[citation needed]

After her film debut in The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell, Kaling also made an appearance in the film Unaccompanied Minors as a waitress. In 2007 she held a small part in License to Wed starring fellow The Office actors John Krasinski, Angela Kinsey, and Brian Baumgartner. Kaling was in the 2009 film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian as a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum tour guide and voiced Taffyta Muttonfudge in Disney's animated comedy film, Wreck-It Ralph. In 2011 she played the role of Shira, a doctor who is a roommate and colleague of the main character Emma (played by Natalie Portman) in No Strings Attached. Kaling also made an appearance as Vanetha in The Five-Year Engagement (2012).

Prior to acting, one of her "worst job" experiences was as a production assistant on the Crossing Over With John Edward psychic show.[8] Kaling used to maintain a blog called “Things I’ve Bought That I Love", which reemerged on her website on September 29, 2011.[14] She is the author of the comic memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).[15] The book is a collection of essays about her early life and career.

In 2012, Kaling pitched a comedy to Fox called The Mindy Project, which was written by Kaling herself. The initial pilot featured her as the lead actress, while she also contributed as a producer.[16] Fox began airing the series Tuesdays at 9:30 Eastern Time starting in 2012.[17]

The Office[edit]

Kaling in 2008

Kaling first joined The Office as a writer at age 24 as the only woman on a staff of eight,[15] and then took on the role of character Kelly Kapoor. She has written at least 22 episodes,[15] including "Niagara," for which she was co-nominated for an Emmy with Greg Daniels. Kaling also wrote and directed the webisodes "Subtle Sexuality" in 2009. In a 2007 interview with The A.V. Club, Kaling stated that the Kelly character is "an exaggerated version of what I think the upper-level writers believe my personality is."[18] After the "Diwali" episode, Kaling appeared with Daniels on NPR's Fresh Air.[19]

Kaling directed The Office webisodes The 3rd Floor.[20] She also directed the season 6 episode titled "Body Language," which marked her television directorial debut. Kaling's contract was set to expire at the end of Season 7. On September 15, 2011, she signed a new contract to stay with the show for Season 8, and was promoted to full Executive Producer status.[21] Her Universal Television contract included a development deal for a new show (eventually titled The Mindy Project), in which she appears as an actor and contributes as a writer.[15]

Episodes written[edit]

  1. "Hot Girl" (April 26, 2005) – Season 1
  2. "The Dundies" (September 20, 2005) – Season 2
  3. "The Injury" (January 12, 2006) – Season 2
  4. "Take Your Daughter to Work Day" (March 16, 2006) – Season 2
  5. "Diwali" (November 2, 2006) – Season 3
  6. "Ben Franklin" (February 1, 2007) – Season 3
  7. "Branch Wars" (November 1, 2007) – Season 4
  8. "Night Out" (April 24, 2008) – Season 4
  9. "Frame Toby" (November 20, 2008) – Season 5
  10. "Lecture Circuit: Part 1" (February 5, 2009) – Season 5
  11. "Lecture Circuit: Part 2" (February 12, 2009) – Season 5
  12. "Golden Ticket" (March 12, 2009) – Season 5
  13. "Niagara" co-written with Greg Daniels (October 8, 2009) – Season 6
  14. "Secret Santa" (December 10, 2009) – Season 6
  15. "The Manager and the Salesman" (February 11, 2010) – Season 6
  16. "Secretary's Day" (April 22, 2010) – Season 6
  17. "The Sting" (October 21, 2010) – Season 7
  18. "Classy Christmas" (December 9, 2010) – Season 7
  19. "Michael's Last Dundies" (April 21, 2011) – Season 7
  20. "Christmas Wishes" (December 9, 2011) – Season 8
  21. "Test the Store" (March 9, 2012) – Season 8

Episodes directed[edit]

  1. "Body Language" (April 29, 2010) – Season 6
  2. "Michael's Last Dundies" (April 21, 2011) – Season 7


Year Title Role Notes
2005 The 40 Year Old Virgin Amy Film debut
2006 Unaccompanied Minors Restaurant Hostess
2007 License to Wed Shelly
2009 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Docent
2010 Despicable Me Tourist Mom Voice
2011 No Strings Attached Shira
2012 The Five-Year Engagement Vaneetha
2012 Wreck-It Ralph Taffyta Muttonfudge Voice
2013 This Is the End Herself
2015 Inside Out Disgust Voice, Filming
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Curb Your Enthusiasm Richard Lewis's Assistant Episode: "Lewis Needs a Kidney"
2005–2013 The Office Kelly Kapoor Main Role (Seasons 1–8) / Special Guest Star (Season 9); 174 episodes / also in webseries
2012–present The Mindy Project Mindy Lahiri Lead Role


  • Kaling, Mindy (2011). Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0307886279. [22]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Group Award Status Film/Television series
2005 Writers Guild of America Awards New Series Nominated The Office
Comedy Series Nominated
2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series[23] Won
New Series Comedy Series Won
2007 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series[24] Won
New Series Episodic Comedy – for episode Local Ad Nominated
Comedy Series Nominated
Asian Excellence Awards Supporting Television Actress Won
2008 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
New Series Comedy Series Nominated
2009 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Prism Awards Performance in a Comedy Series Nominated
2010 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, "Niagara" Nominated
2012 Writers Guild of America Awards New Series Nominated The Mindy Project
Peoples Choice Awards Favorite New TV Comedy Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Most Exciting New Series Won
2013 Gracie Awards Outstanding Producer - Entertainment Won
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding New Program Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Breakout Show[25] Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Comedy[26] Nominated
2014 Gracie Awards Outstanding Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy[27] Won
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Comedy Series[28] Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy[29] Nominated
TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy[30] Nominated
2015 Satellite Awards Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series Pending

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The 2013 Time 100". Time. 2013-04-13. 
  2. ^ http://popwatch.ew.com/2013/07/31/mindy-kaling-new-hollywood/
  3. ^ Ulaby, Neda (2009-02-04). "On TV, Immigrants' Kids Mine Cultural Convergence". Morning Edition. NPR. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ Kaling responds to reader's questions on Jezebel Zap2it, retrieved February 5, 2008
  5. ^ Kaling, Mindy. "Mindy Kaling: "Flick Chicks": The New Yorker". Conde Nast Digital. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Rodman, Sarah. "Mindy Kaling’s mother inspired new TV ‘Project’". bostonglobe.com. 
  7. ^ Cosgrove Baylis, Shelia. "Mindy Kaling: My Late Mom 'Was the Love of My Life'". people.com. 
  8. ^ a b Soroff, Jonathan. "Mindy Kaling interview in Improper Bostonian". Interview. Live Journal, Inc. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  9. ^ a b https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7f-R5ipL30
  10. ^ "List of Graduates". The Dartmouth. 2001-06-10. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  11. ^ Kofke-Egger, Heather. March 5, 1999. Chokalingham '01: comedy is a way of life, TheDartmouth.com
  12. ^ Swiss, Zach. May 23, 2006. Kaling '01 embarks on acting, writing career for 'The Office', TheDartmouth.com
  13. ^ "Curb Your Enthusiasm" Lewis Needs a Kidney (2005)". IMDb.com. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  14. ^ Blog at her website
  15. ^ a b c d Sittenfeld, Curtis (25 September 2011). "A Long Day at ‘The Office’ With Mindy Kaling". The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  16. ^ "Fox picks up Mindy Kaling pilot". Asia Pacific Arts. February 1, 2012. 
  17. ^ The Mindy Project, fox.com; accessed October 24, 2014.
  18. ^ The A.V. Club, retrieved February 5, 2008
  19. ^ Gross, Terry (November 2, 2006). "Writing 'The Office'". Fresh Air. Retrieved December 1, 2008. 
  20. ^ "The Office Webisodes: The 3rd Floor". OfficeTally.com. November 5, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  21. ^ Ausiello, Michael. "Scoop: Mindy Kaling Gets Major Office Promotion — But There's a Twist!". Blog. TVLine Media, LLC. Retrieved September 23, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Review: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)". Washington Post. Nov 18, 2011. 
  23. ^ Screen Actors Guild Honors Outstanding Film and Television Performances..., a January 2007 press release from the SAG Awards website
  24. ^ /screen_actors_guild_honors_its.php 'Sopranos,' 'The Office' Win SAG Ensemble Awards, a January 2008 TVWeek article
  25. ^ The Second Wave of Nominees Heats Up "Teen Choice 2013" Airing Sunday, August 11, Live on FOX
  26. ^ Ng, Philiana (May 22, 2013). "Teen Choice Awards: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' Leads First Wave of Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ [2]
  29. ^ [3]
  30. ^ [4]

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