Mayim Chaya Bialik
December 12, 1975
|Education||University of California, Los Angeles (BS, PhD)|
(m. 2003; div. 2013)
|Thesis||Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader-Willi syndrome (2007)|
Mayim Chaya Bialik (/ / MY-im bee-AH-lik; born December 12, 1975) is an American actress, game show host, and author. From 1991 to 1995, she played the title character of the NBC sitcom Blossom. From 2010 to 2019, she played neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, for which she was nominated four times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2015 and 2017.
In August 2021, it was announced that Bialik would host the primetime version of Jeopardy! After Mike Richards stepped down from hosting the syndicated version of the show later that month, Bialik started concurrently hosting that version as well (sharing duties with Ken Jennings).
Early life and education
Mayim Chaya Bialik was born on December 12, 1975, in San Diego, California, to Beverly (née Winkleman) and Barry Bialik. Her family were Jewish immigrants who lived in the Bronx, New York City. Three of her four grandparents migrated from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. She was raised as a Reform Jew but now considers herself Modern Orthodox Jewish. Bialik became a Bat Mitzvah and has called herself a "staunch Zionist". Her name, Mayim ("waters" in Hebrew), originates in a family nickname of her great-grandmother, Miriam. The Hebrew-language poet Hayim Nahman Bialik was her great-great-great-granduncle.
Bialik graduated in 1993 from North Hollywood High School in North Hollywood, California. In acknowledgment of her acting commitments, she was granted a deferred acceptance and attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in neuroscience, with minors in Hebrew and Jewish studies, in 2000.
Bialik has said she did not have the grades needed for medical school. She went on to study for a doctorate in neuroscience. She took a break from studies in 2005 to return to acting. She returned to earn her Doctor of Philosophy degree in neuroscience from UCLA in 2007 under Dr. James McCracken. Her dissertation was titled "Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative and satiety behaviors in Prader–Willi syndrome".
Bialik started her career as a child actress in the late 1980s. Her early roles included the 1988 horror film Pumpkinhead (her first acting job) and guest appearances on The Facts of Life (two final-season episodes) and Beauty and the Beast. In 1988–89, she appeared in eight episodes of the sitcom Webster as Frieda, Webster's classmate. It was for Beauty and the Beast, where she played a sewer-dwelling girl named Ellie (with about ten lines of dialogue) that she obtained her Screen Actors Guild (SAG) card. She appeared in three episodes of MacGyver as Lisa Woodman. She appeared in Beaches (1988), playing Bette Midler's character as a young girl. Many contemporary reviews singled out her performance as a strong point in an otherwise emotionally contrived and formulaic film. She appeared in the music video for Michael Jackson's song "Liberian Girl". In 1990, she was tied to two television pilots, Fox's Molloy and NBC's Blossom. Molloy produced six episodes for a tryout run, followed by the shooting of the pilot special for Blossom. The latter aired two weeks before the Fox series and garnered higher ratings. When Molloy folded after its six episodes, Blossom premiered as a mid-season replacement on January 3, 1991, and aired until May 22, 1995.
On September 8, 1992, Bialik was a celebrity contestant guest in the episode "Disturbing The Heavenly Peace", the first episode of the second season of the PBS game show Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?. She had a major part in the Woody Allen comedy film Don't Drink the Water in 1994. Between 1995 and 2005, she mostly did voiceover work for cartoons, such as The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Disney's Recess and Kim Possible, Cartoon Network's Johnny Bravo, and Nickelodeon's Hey Arnold!. She appeared in the feature film Kalamazoo? (2005) and in three episodes of the HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm as Jodi Funkhouser, the daughter of a friend of Larry David. The character transitioned to male in a later episode, going by the name Joey, and was recast to Chaz Bono. Bialik also made guest appearances as a fictionalized version of herself in the series Fat Actress and in an episode of Saving Grace.
Bialik had a recurring role as the high school guidance counselor in ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. In 2009, Clinton Kelly nominated her for a makeover on TLC's What Not To Wear. She joined the cast of The Big Bang Theory as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler in 2010. Her first appearance was in the season 3 finale as a potential love interest for the character of Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons). In season 4, she began as a recurring character playing Sheldon's "friend that's a girl, but not a girlfriend." Beginning with the 8th episode of season 4, she became part of the main cast. Amy is a neurobiologist, which is related to Bialik's real-life doctorate in neuroscience. Bialik's performance in The Big Bang Theory earned her Emmy Award nominations in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Bialik was one of seven actresses who had a "quirky" personality to audition for the role. Before she joined the cast, in the episode "The Bat Jar Conjecture", Raj suggests recruiting the real-life Bialik to their Physics Bowl team, saying "You know who's apparently very smart is the girl who played TV's Blossom. She got a Ph.D. in neuroscience or something." She is one of the guest stars on the 2014 Steve Carell improvisational sketch show Riot.
In August 2014, Bialik began hosting a revival of Candid Camera on TV Land along with Peter Funt. Her most recent movie appearance was in a Lifetime Christmas movie, The Flight Before Christmas.
In 2019, Bialik appeared in a commercial for IBM. On August 20, 2019, it was announced that she and her new production company, Sad Clown Productions, had signed exclusive contracts with Warner Bros. Entertainment. Mackenzie Gabriel-Vaught, a former executive at Chuck Lorre Productions, is Sad Clown's head of development. Sad Clown Productions, in conjunction with Jim Parsons's That's Wonderful Productions, BBC Studios, and Miranda Hart, executive-produces a starring vehicle for Bialik, Call Me Kat, based on the British series Miranda. A co-production of Warner Bros. and Fox Entertainment, it premiered on Fox on January 3, 2021 and was renewed for a second season in May 2021.
From May 31 to June 11, 2021, Bialik was a guest host of Jeopardy! On August 11, 2021, it was announced that she would host the series' future primetime specials and spinoffs. When executive producer Mike Richards resigned as host after one week, it was announced that Bialik would guest-host the show for three weeks. Her contract was extended to seven weeks; she will then alternate with Ken Jennings for the rest of the calendar year. On December 8, 2021, it was announced that Bialik and Jennings will continue to host the show for the rest of the 2021–22 season. On July 27, 2022, it was announced that Bialik and Jennings will be the show's permanent hosts in a job-sharing arrangement.
Other works and writings
Bialik founded Grok Nation (originally styled "GrokNation") in August 2015 to facilitate conversations among people of different ages and backgrounds about contemporary issues. It aimed to engage readers in online conversations that lead to offline action, mobilizing them to change the world as a community. To grok means to understand in a profound manner. (The term comes from the 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.) Bialik had written on a similar idea for JTA-affiliated Jewish parenting site Kveller for five years. She announced and described her new creation on Kveller.
Along with former Sassy writer and editor Christina Kelly, Bialik relaunched Grok Nation as a women's lifestyle site in March 2018. The site ceased updates in March 2019, with new content shifting to Bialik's email newsletter.
Bialik has written two books by herself, and two books with pediatrician Jay Gordon. Beyond the Sling is about attachment parenting, while Mayim's Vegan Table contains over 100 of Bialik's vegan recipes. Her third book, Girling Up, is about the struggles of and ways in which girls grow up, showing the scientific ways in which their bodies change. Its successor, Boying Up (2018) analyzes the science, anatomy, and mentality of growing up as a boy, and the physical and mental changes and challenges boys face while transitioning from adolescence to adulthood.
The New York Times op-ed
After the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations surfaced, Bialik wrote a New York Times op-ed in which she described the entertainment industry as one "that profits on the exploitation of women ... [and] the objectification of women". With regard to protecting herself from sexual harassment, Bialik wrote that she dressed modestly and did not act flirtatiously with men, adding, "In a perfect world, women should be free to act however they want. But our world isn't perfect. Nothing—absolutely nothing—excuses men for assaulting or abusing women. But we can't be naïve about the culture we live in." Bialik's article drew backlash from critics who said she was insinuating that modesty and a conservative wardrobe can guard one against sexual assault. Patricia Arquette tweeted, "I have to say I was dressed non-provocatively at 12 walking home from school when men masturbated at me. It's not the clothes." In response, Bialik said she regretted that the piece "became what it became" and participated in a Facebook Live event hosted by The New York Times to answer questions about it.
In January 2021, Bialik started the podcast Mayim Bialik's Breakdown, which focuses on mental health issues.
Bialik wrote and directed her first film, As They Made Us, about a divorced mom juggling her family's needs and her own quest for love. Dustin Hoffman and Candice Bergen starred as well as Simon Helberg, Bialik's former The Big Bang Theory castmate. The film was expected to premiere in late 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed filming. Ash Christian was attached to the project, but died in August 2020. Principal photography began in June 2021. The film was released on April 8, 2022.
Bialik married Michael Stone on August 31, 2003, in a Victorian-themed ceremony that included traditional Jewish wedding customs. They have two sons together. They announced their divorce in November 2012, and it was finalized six months later.
Bialik returned to television in 2010, as opposed to continuing her scientific career, so she could spend more time with her children.
In a 2012 interview, Bialik called herself an "aspiring Modern Orthodox". During the 2014 Gaza Conflict, she donated money to the Israel Defense Forces for armored vests. She has also appeared in several YouTube cameos as Blossom and Amy Farrah Fowler, asking questions about Jewish beliefs. The videos are produced by Allison Josephs, Bialik's Judaism study partner, whom she met with the help of Partners in Torah.
Bialik is a vegan and a founding member of the Shamayim V'Aretz Institute, a Jewish organization that advocates the ethical treatment of animals. In 2017, she announced that she and vegan chef Ali Cruddas had opened Bodhi Bowl, a vegan restaurant in Los Angeles. It closed permanently in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a 2009 interview, Bialik said of her family: "We are a non-vaccinating family, but I make no claims about people's individual decisions. We based ours on research and discussions with our pediatrician, and we've been happy with that decision, but obviously there's a lot of controversy about it." In October 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, she said that though she had not received a vaccination in 30 years, she planned to be vaccinated against both the flu and the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and that "[as] of today, my children may not have had every one of the vaccinations that your children have but my children are vaccinated. I repeat, my children are vaccinated."
|1988||Beaches||Young Cecilia "CC" Carol Bloom|
|1990||The Kingdom Chums: Original Top Ten||Petey||Voice|
|2011||The Chicago 8||Nancy Kurshan|
|2022||As They Made Us||N/A||Director|
|1987||Beauty and the Beast||Ellie||Episode: "No Way Down"|
|1988||The Facts of Life||Jennifer Cole||Episodes: "The Beginning of the End" and "The Beginning of the Beginning"|
|1988–1989||Webster||Frieda||Recurring role (Season 6)|
|1989–1990||Empty Nest||Laurie Kincaid||Episodes: "The R.N. Who Came to Dinner" and "Harry Knows Best"|
|1989–1990||MacGyver||Lisa Woodman||Recurring role (Season 5 and Season 6)|
|1990||Doogie Howser, M.D.||Candace||Episode: "Ask Dr. Doogie"|
|1990||Molloy||Molloy Martin||Lead role|
|1990||Murphy Brown||Natalie||Episode: "I Want My FYI"|
|1990||The Earth Day Special||Herself||Television special|
|1990–1995||Blossom||Blossom Russo||Lead role|
|1991||Sea World's Mother Earth Celebration||Herself||Television special|
|1992||Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?||Herself||Guest role|
|1993||The Hidden Room||Jillie||Episode: "Jillie"|
|1994||Don't Drink the Water||Susan Hollander||Television film|
|1994–1995||The John Larroquette Show||Rachel||Episodes: "The Book of Rachel", "Rachel and Ton" and "Rachel Redux"|
|1995–1996||The Adventures of Hyperman||Brittany Bright||Voice; Main role|
|1996; 1999||Hey Arnold!||Maria||Voice; Episodes: "6th Grade Girls" and "Phoebe Skips"|
|1996||Aaahh!!! Real Monsters||Cindy||Voice; Episode: "Wake Me When It's Over"|
|1996||The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest||Lucy / Julia||Voice; Episodes: "Assault on Questworld" and "The Alchemist"|
|1997; 2000||Recess||Kirsten Kurst||Voice; Episodes: "The Break-In", "The Girl Was Trouble", "Lawson and His Crew", "My Funny Valentines" and "Kurst the Not-So-Bad"|
|1997||Johnny Bravo||Tour Guide||Voice; Episode: "Going Batty"|
|1997||Extreme Ghostbusters||Girl in Future||Voice; Episode: "Ghost Apocalyptic Future"|
|1998||Welcome to Paradox||Rita||Episode: "Alien Jane"|
|2001–2002||Lloyd in Space||Mean Cindy||Voice; Recurring role (Season 1–2)|
|2003||7th Heaven||Cathy||Episode: "Dick"|
|2004||Kim Possible||Justine Flanner||Voice; Episode: "Partners"|
|2005||Katbot||Paula||Voice; Recurring role|
|2005||Fat Actress||Herself||Episode: "The Koi Effect" and "Holy Lesbo Batman"|
|2005; 2007||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Jodi Funkhauser||Episodes: "The Bowtie", "The Ida Funkhouser Roadside Memorial" and "The TiVo Guy"|
|2009||What Not to Wear (American TV series)||Herself||Season 7 Episode 1|
|2009||Saving Grace||Esther||Episode: "Mooooooooo"|
|2009||Bones||Genie Gormon||Episode: "The Cinderella in the Cardboard"|
|2009||'Til Death||Herself||Episodes: "The Break-Up", "Merit Play" and "Baby Steps"|
|2010||The Secret Life of the American Teenager||Dr. Wilameena Bink||Recurring role (Season 2–3)|
|2010||Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?||Herself / Expert||Season 8|
|2010–2019||The Big Bang Theory||Amy Farrah Fowler||Guest role (Season 3)|
Main role (Season 4–Season 12)
|2011||The Dog Who Saved Halloween||Medusa||Voice; television film|
|2012||Survivor: One World||Herself/Attendant||Reality; Episode: "Reunion"|
|2014||Candid Camera||Host||Season 38|
|2014||Stan Lee's Mighty 7||Lady Lightning||Voice; Television film|
|2015||Blaze and the Monster Machines||Great Sphinx||Voice; Episode: "Race to the Top of the World"|
|2015||The Flight Before Christmas||Stephanie Michelle Hunt||Television film|
|2016||Star vs. the Forces of Evil||Willoughby||Voice; Episode: "Fetch"|
|2017||MasterChef Junior||Guest judge||Episode: "Batter Hurry Up"|
|2017||Rhett & Link's Buddy System||Glenda||Episode: "To Kill a Robot”|
|2017||Drop the Mic||Herself||Episode: "Mayim Bialik vs. Kunal Nayyar / Ashley Tisdale vs. Nick Lachey"|
|2020||Match Game||Herself||Celebrity panel|
|2020, 2022||Young Sheldon||Amy Farrah Fowler||Voice; Episodes: "Graduation", "A Suitcase Full of Cash and a Yellow Clown Car"|
|2021–present||Call Me Kat||Kat||Main role and executive producer|
|2021–present||Jeopardy!||Herself||Host, 10 episodes (season 37), 115 episodes syndicated (season 38), 9 episodes ABC (season 38)|
|2013||Untitled Web Series About a Space Traveler
Who Can Also Travel Through Time
|B.O.O.T.H.||Voice; Episode: "Second Season Prequel"|
|2016||Yidlife Crisis||Chaya||Episode: "The Double Date"|
|2017||Rhett and Link's Buddy System||Pathologist|
|2017; 2018||Good Mythical Morning||Herself||Episodes: "What's On My Head?", "3 Monkeys Blindfold" and "Dissecting A Frog"|
|2018||The Super Slow Show||Herself||Episode: "Slow Learners"|
|2003||X2: Wolverine's Revenge||Bush Pilot / May Deuce|
- Bialik, Mayim Chaya (2007). Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader-Willi syndrome (PhD thesis). University of California, Los Angeles. OCLC 732917927. ProQuest 304879069.
- Bialik, Mayim; Jay Gordon (Introduction) (2012). Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way. Touchstone. ISBN 978-1451662184.
- Bialik, Mayim; Jay Gordon (2014). Mayim's Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours. Da Capo Lifelong Books. ISBN 978-0738217048.
- Bialik, Mayim (2017) Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart and Spectacular. Philomel Books. ISBN 978-0399548604.
- Bialik, Mayim (2018) Boying Up: How to be Brave, Bold and Brilliant. Philomel Books. ISBN 978-0525515975.
- Bialik, Mayim (2021) Flash Facts. DC Comics. ISBN 9781779503824
Awards and nominations
- Russo, G. (2012). "Turning point: Mayim Bialik. Actress makes the shift from television to neuroscience and then back again". Nature. 485 (7400): 669. doi:10.1038/nj7400-669a. PMID 22670263.
- Bialik, Mayim Chaya (2007). Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader-Willi syndrome (PhD thesis). University of California, Los Angeles. OCLC 732917927. ProQuest 304879069.
- Davis, Nicola (September 11, 2015). "Mayim Bialik: Big Bang Theory is changing the way people think of nerds and geeks". The Guardian. Archived from the original on May 24, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
Born in San Diego, California to first-generation Jewish-American parents.
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My great-grandmother's name was Miriam, and the grandkids had a hard time pronouncing the resh in the middle, so they just called her Mayam and she was known as Bobbe Mayam. And then my parents thought it was cool in 1975 to name me Mayim.
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