Melanie Lynskey

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Melanie Lynskey
Melanie Lynskey at the premiere of The Meddler, 2015 Toronto Film Festival -a.jpg
Lynskey in 2014
Born Melanie Jayne Lynskey
(1977-05-16) 16 May 1977 (age 39)
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Residence Los Angeles, California
Nationality New Zealand; American
Occupation Actress
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Jimmi Simpson (m. 2007–14)

Melanie Jayne Lynskey (born 16 May 1977)[1] is a New Zealand actress. She gained critical attention for her debut role as Pauline Parker in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures (1994), followed by supporting roles in the films Ever After (1998) and Detroit Rock City (1999).

Beginning in 2003, she became known for playing Rose on Two and a Half Men, a role which she played until the series' finale in 2015. She also appeared on television as Michelle Pierson on Togetherness, and had roles in the films Up in the Air (2009), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), and I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017).

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] Her surname is Irish.[2]

During her childhood, Lynskey's family relocated to England for one year before returning to New Zealand.[2] She attended New Plymouth Girls' High School, where she was involved in the drama department and school plays.[2] After high school, Lynskey studied at Victoria University of Wellington.[3]


In 1994, Lynskey made her feature film debut at age 16, starring as Pauline Parker in Heavenly Creatures,[4] 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 Television 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 alongside Reese Witherspoon in the 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 neighbour, on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men.

Despite leaving the main cast in 2005 to concentrate on film work, Lynskey continued to make guest appearances on Two and a Half Men up until its final episode, which aired in February 2015.[9]

In 2006, she played the wife of Rene Gagnon in Clint Eastwood's World War II-set Flags of Our Fathers. Next, she returned to New Zealand to star in Show of Hands, which earned Lynskey her third Best Actress nomination at the New Zealand Film and TV 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.[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 in Jason Reitman's Academy Award-nominated Up in the Air, where she played George Clooney's sister. In October 2009, Lynskey was presented with a Spotlight Award by the Hollywood Film Festival.[15]

In 2011, she co-starred with Paul Giamatti in Win Win, earning strong reviews for her portrayal of a recovering drug addict.[16] 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.

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 Happy Christmas,[21] We'll Never Have Paris,[22] and Goodbye to All That.[23] She was also the voice of Beatrice, an ill-tempered bluebird, in the Emmy Award-winning animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall.[24]

From 2015 to 2016, Lynskey played Michelle Pierson on the HBO series Togetherness, a show created, written and directed by brothers Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass.[25][26][27] Lynskey was nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award for her performance.[28]

Also in 2016, Lynskey earned a Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival for her portrayal of a high-strung alcoholic in comedy-drama The Intervention,[29] and starred in the independent features Rainbow Time and Little Boxes.

Acting style[edit]

Lynskey describes herself as a character actress.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Lynskey has been a vegetarian since age 10.[2] 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.[31] Lynskey filed for divorce from Simpson on 25 September 2012, citing irreconcilable differences.[32] The divorce was finalized on 23 May 2014.[33] She is currently engaged to actor Jason Ritter.[34][35][36][37]

She's best friends with her But I'm a Cheerleader co-star Clea DuVall,[38] and currently resides in Los Angeles.[39] She has misophonia.[40]



Year Title Role Notes
1994 Heavenly Creatures Pauline Parker
1996 Frighteners , TheThe Frighteners Deputy
1998 Ever After Jacqueline de Ghent
1999 Foreign Correspondents Melody
1999 Detroit Rock City Beth Bumstein
1999 But I'm a Cheerleader Hilary
1999 Cherry Orchard, TheThe Cherry Orchard Dunyasha
1999 Measureless to Man Short film
2000 Coyote Ugly Gloria
2001 Snakeskin Alice
2002 Shooters Marie
2002 Abandon Mousy Julie
2002 Sweet Home Alabama Lurlynn
2003 Claustrophobia Lauren
2003 Shattered Glass Amy Brand
2004 Nearly Unadventurous Life of Zoe Cadwaulder, TheThe 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
2008 Show of Hands Jess
2008 Quiet Little Marriage, AA Quiet Little Marriage Monique
2009 Away We Go Munch Garnett
2009 Up in the Air Julie Bingham
2009 Informant!, TheThe Informant! Ginger Whitacre
2009 Leaves of Grass Colleen
2010 Helena from the Wedding Alice Javal
2011 Win Win Cindy
2011 Touchback Macy
2012 Hello I Must Be Going Amy Minsky
2012 Eye of the Hurricane Amelia Kyte
2012 Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Karen Amalfi
2012 Perks of Being a Wallflower, TheThe Perks of Being a Wallflower Aunt Helen
2012 Putzel Sally
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 Squiggy
2016 The Intervention Annie
2016 Rainbow Time Lindsay
2016 Folk Hero & Funny Guy Becky
2016 Little Boxes Gina
2016 The Great & The Small Margaret
2017 I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore Ruth Kimke
2017 XX Mary
2017 Life at These Speeds Coach Rowan In post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2002 Rose Red Rachel "Sister" Wheaton Miniseries
2003 Shield, TheThe Shield Marcy 2 episodes
2003–15 Two and a Half Men Rose 63 episodes
2007 Drive Wendy Partrakas 6 episodes
2008 Comanche Moon Pearl Coleman 3 episodes
2008 Psych Emily Bloom Episode: "Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion"
2008 L Word, TheThe L Word Clea Mason 2 episodes
2009 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Kate Episode: "The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis"
2010 Memphis Beat Annaliese Jones Episode: "Polk Salad Annie"
2010–12 Life & Times of Tim, TheThe Life & Times of Tim Becky (voice) 6 episodes
2012 House Natalie Travers Episode: "Better Half"
2014 Over the Garden Wall Beatrice (voice) 8 episodes
2014–16 Jake and the Never Land Pirates Pearl (voice) 3 episodes
2015–16 Togetherness Michelle Pierson 16 episodes
2015 Key & Peele Fiance Episode: "The Job Interview"
2016 Animals. Linda (voice) Episode: "Squirrels"

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
2001 Nokia New Zealand Film Awards Best Actress Snakeskin Nominated
2009 Denver Film Critics Society Best Acting Ensemble Up in the Air Nominated
2009 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Best Ensemble Up in the Air Nominated
2009 New Zealand Film and TV Awards Best Lead Actress in a Feature Film Show of Hands Nominated
2012 Gotham Awards Breakthrough Award Hello I Must Be Going Nominated
2012 San Diego Film Critics Society Best Ensemble Performance The Perks of Being a Wallflower Won
2014 RiverRun International Film Festival Emerging Master[citation needed] Won
2015 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series[41] Togetherness Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Melanie Lynskey". TV Guide. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f 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 A.V. 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. ^ "'Two and a Half Men series finale react: A winning end'". Entertainment Weekly. 19 February 2015. 
  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 22 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Hollywood Fest Honors Julianne Moore". Hollywood Film Festival. 10 October 2009. Archived from the original on 24 March 2013. 
  16. ^ name=Time-WinWin-2011>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. ^ Barraclough, Leo (4 November 2013). "K5 Picks Up Directing Debut of 'Big Bang Theory' Star Simon Helberg". Variety. 
  23. ^ Rodriguez, Cain (8 October 2012). "Melanie Lynskey & Paul Schneider Say 'Goodbye To All That'". Indiewire. 
  24. ^ "Cartoon Network's Over the Garden Wall Wins Three Emmys". Cartoon Brew. 16 September 2015. 
  25. ^ Drewett, Meg (17 July 2013). "HBO orders full series of Duplass brothers comedy 'Togetherness'". Entertainment Weekly. 
  26. ^ Lloyd, Robert (10 January 2015). "'Togetherness' shows real life's just funny that way". Los Angeles Times. 
  27. ^ 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 2015. 
  28. ^ "2015 Critics' Choice TV Award Nominations Are Outstanding & More Than Make Up For Some Big Emmy Snubs". 6 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "The Birth of a Nation Takes Home Sundance's Top Awards". Vanity Fair. 31 January 2016. 
  30. ^ Barnes, Brooks (20 January 2012). "Another Independent Dream Comes True". The New York Times. 
  31. ^ "Celebrity Wedding: Melanie Lynskey and Jimmi Simpson". InStyle. 2009. Archived from the original on 10 June 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  32. ^ "Melanie Lynskey Files For Divorce From Jimmi Simpson". Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  33. ^ "'Two & A Half Men' & 'Always Sunny' Stars -- Nicest Divorce EVER". TMZ. 23 May 2014. 
  34. ^ Heller, Corinne. E!. E! Online Retrieved 16 February 2017.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  35. ^ "Melanie Lynskey Talks HBO's Togetherness And The Joys Of Mixing Comedy, Drama And Improv". IGN. 17 January 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  36. ^ "Clea DuVall and Melanie Lynskey: "The Expectations of Women Are Sometimes So Unfair"". Elle. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  37. ^ Hayes, Britt (26 August 2016). "Melanie Lynskey on 'The Intervention,' Relatable Characters and New Zealand's National Treasures". Screen Crush. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  38. ^ Halterman, J. (7 September 2012). "Melanie Lynskey on her lesbian following and which female former co-star she'd want to kiss". After Ellen. Retrieved 5 June 2015. 
  39. ^ Breznican, Anthony (22 September 2012). "Melanie Lynskey makes sexy splash in 'Hello I Must Be Going'". Entertainment Weekly. 
  40. ^ Bisley, Alexander (10 March 2015). "Melanie Lynskey on Togetherness, realism and 'radical' nudity". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  41. ^ "Justified, Broad City, Empire, Mom, 24, Jane The Virgin, Transparent Lead the 2015 Critics Choice Nominations". Team TVLine. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 

External links[edit]