Melissa McCarthy

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Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy Emmy Week Celebration - 2012.jpg
McCarthy in 2012
Born (1970-08-26) August 26, 1970 (age 46)
Plainfield, Illinois, United States
  • Actress
  • comedian
  • writer
  • producer
  • fashion designer
Years active 1997–present
Spouse(s) Ben Falcone (m. 2005)
Children 2
Relatives Jenny McCarthy (cousin)
Joanne McCarthy (cousin)

Melissa Ann McCarthy (born August 26, 1970) [1] is an American actress, comedian, writer, fashion designer and producer. She began appearing in television and films in the late 1990s, and first gained nationwide recognition for her role as Sookie St. James on the television series Gilmore Girls (2000–2007). From 2007 to 2009, she appeared as Dena on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who?. McCarthy was then cast as Molly Flynn on the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly (2010–2016), earning a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series as well as two other nominations during subsequent seasons.[2] She has also been nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her work as host on Saturday Night Live three years consecutively.

McCarthy achieved recognition as Megan Price in the comedy film Bridesmaids (2011), which garnered her award nominations including an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, a BAFTA nomination and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[3] In 2013, she co-starred in the comedy films Identity Thief and The Heat. She appeared in supporting roles in The Nines (2007), The Back-up Plan (2010), Life as We Know It (2010), This Is 40 (2012) and The Hangover Part III (2013). In 2014, McCarthy starred in the comedy Tammy and the comedy-drama film St. Vincent.[4] In 2015, she headlined the action comedy film Spy, for which she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical nomination. In 2016, she starred in the comedy films The Boss and Ghostbusters.

McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone founded the production company On the Day Productions. In 2015, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and released women's plus size clothing collection, Melissa McCarthy Seven7. Also in 2015, Forbes named McCarthy the third highest-paid actress in the world that year.[5][6] In 2016, Forbes named her the world's second highest-paid actress, earning $33 million.[7]

Early life[edit]

McCarthy was born in Plainfield, Illinois,[8] to Sandra and Michael McCarthy.[9][10] She is the cousin of actress and model Jenny McCarthy and professional basketball player Joanne McCarthy.[11] McCarthy was raised on a farm in a large Catholic family; her father is of Irish descent, while her mother is of English, German, and Irish ancestry.[12][13][14] Some of her ancestors were from County Cork.[15] She graduated from St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) in Joliet, Illinois.[16] Her career started with stand-up comedy in Los Angeles, and later in New York City.[17] McCarthy is an alumna of The Groundlings, an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe based in Los Angeles, California.[18]


1997–2010: Early work, Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who?[edit]

McCarthy made her first television appearance in an episode of the NBC comedy series Jenny, opposite her cousin Jenny McCarthy. She made her feature film debut in a minor role in the 1999 comedy Go, and later had roles in the movies Drowning Mona, Disney's The Kid, Charlie's Angels, The Third Wheel and The Life of David Gale. She also worked in three episodes of Kim Possible, voicing DNAmy.[19] In 2000, McCarthy was cast as Sookie St. James, the upbeat and klutzy best friend of Lorelai Gilmore, on the The WB television series Gilmore Girls. Throughout the series, Sookie is Lorelai's business partner and cheerleader.[20]

In 2007, she starred opposite Ryan Reynolds in the science fantasy psychological thriller The Nines, written and directed by John August. She later starred in the independent comedies The Captain, Just Add Water, and Pretty Ugly People.[21] Also in 2007, McCarthy starred as Dena Stevens on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who?.[22] McCarthy played Samantha's socially awkward childhood best friend, whom Samantha hasn't seen since seventh grade. When Samantha wakes from her coma, Dena convinces Samantha that they have always been best friends. While Andrea eventually forces her to reveal the truth, Samantha still remains friends with Dena.[23] She guest starred in Rita Rocks and on Private Practice.[24] In 2010, McCarthy played supporting roles in films The Back-Up Plan and Life as We Know It.[25]

2011–present: Mike and Molly, Bridesmaids and success[edit]

McCarthy at the 2012 Oscars

On September 20, 2010, McCarthy was cast in a leading role on the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly.[26] In 2011, McCarthy had a breakout performance in the comedy movie Bridesmaids alongside Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper. McCarthy received an Academy Award nomination for her performance. In fall 2011, after achieving fame from Bridesmaids, she received her first Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on Mike & Molly.[27][28] In June 2011, she hosted the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards.[29] McCarthy later had supporting roles in This Is 40 (2012), the semi-sequel to Judd Apatow's film Knocked Up,[30] and The Hangover Part III (2013). She was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in June 2012 along with 175 others.[31] McCarthy hosted Saturday Night Live on October 1, 2011, on April 6, 2013, on February 1, 2014, and on February 13, 2016.[32] She was nominated three times for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her appearances on the television show from 2012-2014.[28]

In 2013, McCarthy co-starred in the crime comedy Identity Thief with Jason Bateman.[33][34] Identity Thief opened at #1 at the box office, and grossed $174 million worldwide[35] despite negative reviews. In his negative review of the film, film critic Rex Reed controversially made several references to McCarthy's weight, referring to her as "obese" and using pejorative terms to refer to her weight.[36][37] Reed's comments attracted wide criticism from various film critics and the industry at large. Film critic Richard Roeper said, "This just smacks of mean-spirited name-calling in lieu of genuine criticism."[38] In a column for The Huffington Post, Candy Spelling likened Reed's review to bullying.[39]

Later in 2013, McCarthy co-starred with Sandra Bullock in the buddy cop comedy The Heat. The film was released in the United States and Canada on June 28, 2013 to both critical and commercial success.[40] With McCarthy being called "box office gold, The Heat grossed $229 million worldwide.[41] McCarthy co-wrote the script for the movie Tammy, which was released on July 2, 2014. McCarthy's character loses her job and her car, and then learns that her husband has been unfaithful. To get away, she is forced to rely on her alcoholic grandmother (Susan Sarandon) for transportation as they embark on a journey of self-discovery.[42]

McCarthy produced a CBS pilot which starred her husband, Ben Falcone.[43] McCarthy played the female lead, opposite Bill Murray, in the 2014 comedy film St. Vincent, directed and written by Theodore Melfi.[44] On November 19, 2014, it was announced that McCarthy would portray fairy heroine Tinker Bell in the untitled comedy-adventure directed by Shawn Levy.[45] She would also produce the film.[46] In addition, McCarthy was the lead in frequent collaborator Paul Feig's spy comedy Spy (2015),[47][48] a role that earned McCarthy her first Golden Globe Award nomination. McCarthy is the founder of the production company On the Day with her husband Ben Falcone.[4] Tammy was the new company's first project. The film cost $20 million, quite a low budget, and McCarthy, who can command close to $10 million a role, took a smaller upfront salary in exchange for a larger-than-normal cut of the film's proceeds, according to people familiar with the deal.[49]

In May 2015, McCarthy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[50][51][52] In August 2015, Forbes ranked her as the third highest-paid actress of 2015, with earnings of $23 million.[5]

In 2016, McCarthy starred in The Boss, a comedy film based on a character which McCarthy had created in the Los Angeles Groundlings – a wealthy businesswoman "who goes to jail for insider trading, and struggles to reinvent herself as America’s new sweetheart when she's released".[4] Also that year, she played an author and scientist in the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig.[53][54][55][56] McCarthy also announced The Memory of Running, based on the Ron McLarty novel about a war veteran on a cross-country bike pilgrimage, Cousin Irv based on the book by Bruce Eric Kaplan, and Just Do It. In Just Do It, McCarthy will portray a "wife who tries to repair her marriage with her husband through 100 days of continuous sex".[4]

On April 7, 2016, McCarthy announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she would be returning for the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix.[57]

On May 31, 2016, McCarthy was cast as celebrity biographer Lee Israel in the dark comedy-drama film Can You Ever Forgive Me? directed by Marielle Heller. She replaced Julianne Moore who exited the film.[58][59]

Personal life[edit]

McCarthy married her longtime boyfriend, Ben Falcone, an actor and alumnus of The Groundlings, on October 8, 2005.[60][61] The couple have two daughters, Vivian (born May 5, 2007) and Georgette "Georgie" (born March 2010). McCarthy's pregnancy with Vivian was written into the last season of Gilmore Girls. Their daughter Vivian played the younger version of her mother's character in the 2016 movie The Boss.

Falcone often makes cameo appearances in movies and television shows starring McCarthy, such as a third season episode of Gilmore Girls, Bridesmaids, The Heat, Tammy, Identity Thief, Spy, and The Boss.

Since the start of the Mike & Molly series, McCarthy has lost an estimated 75 lb (34 kg). She credits the weight loss to a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, regular exercise, and a "super-boring life" that includes a 7:30 p.m. bedtime.[62]

Fashion line[edit]

McCarthy, who studied Textiles at Southern Illinois University, originally was interested in a career in fashion before she pursued a career in acting. When she first moved to New York City, it was to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. One of her closest friends is shoe designer Brian Atwood. McCarthy also spent time working as the costumer for a dance company.[11]

Following her films, she teamed up with Sunrise Brands to manufacture her first clothing collection, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, for plus-size women. The line will include clothes up to size 28. McCarthy states that "People don't stop at size 12. I feel like there's a big thing missing where you can't dress to your mood above a certain number. Malls segregate plus-size" clothes stores and hide these stores away from other sections of the mall.[63] McCarthy said she "...wants to put an end to body shaming plus-size women."

Her fashion line, Seven7, debuted in August 2015 on the Home Shopping Network, with plans for her designs to be sold in major retailers.[64][65][66][67][68][69][70]



Year Film Role Notes
1998 God Margaret Short film
1999 Go Sandra
2000 Charlie's Angels Doris
2000 Drowning Mona Shirley
2000 Auto Motives Tonnie Short film
2000 Disney's The Kid Sky King Waitress
2002 Pumpkin Cici Pinkus
2002 Third Wheel, TheThe Third Wheel Marilyn
2002 White Oleander Paramedic
2003 Life of David Gale, TheThe Life of David Gale Nico the Goth Girl
2003 Chicken Party Tot Wagner
2003 Kim Possible: The Secret Files DNAmy Voice
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Woman at Crime Scene Only in credits
2006 Cook-Off! Amber Strang
2007 Nines, TheThe Nines Margaret / Melissa / Mary
2007 The Captain Fran Short film
2008 Just Add Water Selma
2008 Pretty Ugly People Becky
2010 Back-Up Plan, TheThe Back-Up Plan Carol
2010 Life as We Know It DeeDee
2011 Bridesmaids Megan Price
2012 This Is 40 Catherine
2013 Identity Thief Diana/Dawn Budgie
2013 The Hangover Part III Cassy
2013 The Heat Det. Shannon Mullins
2014 Tammy Tammy Banks Also screenwriter and producer
2014 St. Vincent Maggie Bronstein
2015 Spy Susan Cooper
2016 The Boss Michelle Darnell Also screenwriter and producer
2016 Central Intelligence Darla McGuckian Cameo[71]
2016 Ghostbusters Dr. Abigail "Abby" Yates
2018 Life of the Party[72] Deanna Filming; also screenwriter and producer


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Jenny Melissa Episode: "1.5"
2000 D.C. Molly 2 episodes
2000–2007 Gilmore Girls Sookie St. James 122 episodes, main cast
2002–2005 Kim Possible DNAmy (voice) 3 episodes
2004 Curb Your Enthusiasm Saleswoman Episode: "The Surrogate"
2007–2009 Samantha Who? Dena 35 episodes
2009 Rita Rocks Mindy Boone Episode: "Why Can't We Be Friends?"
2010 Private Practice Lynn McDonald Episode: "Best Laid Plans"
2010–2016 Mike & Molly Molly Flynn 127 episodes
2011–2016 Saturday Night Live Host 4 episodes
2012 The Penguins of Madagascar Shelley (voice) Episode: "Hair Apparent/Love Takes Flightless"
2016 Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Sookie St. James Main cast

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Rahman, Ray (August 23, 2013). "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 5, 2016. 
  2. ^ "And the 2011 Emmy Award Nominees Are". TV Fanatic. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Oscar nominations announced for supporting actress[dead link]
  4. ^ a b c d "Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone Preview 5 New Film Projects". Variety. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson, Melissa McCarthy Top World's Highest Paid Actresses List". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Jennifer Lawrence tops Forbe's highest-paid actress list with Scarlett Johansson and Melissa McCarthy". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  7. ^ "The World's Highest-Paid Actresses 2016: Jennifer Lawrence Banks $46 Million Payday Ahead Of Melissa McCarthy". Forbes. 23 August 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "Melissa McCarthy Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 29 April 2008. 
  9. ^ "Melissa Mccarthy: Her Moment to Shine" March 21, 2011, People Magazine
  10. ^ "Bob Newhart just can't stand still" September 19, 2002, Herald News
  11. ^ a b "Melissa McCarthy Is Having Her Moment" September 28, 2011, Hollywood Reporter
  12. ^ "5 Things You Didn't Know about Melissa McCarthy's Family Tree » Megan Smolenyak". 14 July 2016. 
  13. ^ "Bio.". Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "‘Mike and Molly’s’ Melissa McCarthy Finds Super-Sized Success" March 22, 2011,
  15. ^ Danaher, Patricia (24 May 2013). "Melissa McCarthy: The Scene Stealer Goes Center Stage". Irish America. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  16. ^ "From JCA to CBS: Emmy winner got acting bug at Joliet school" September 21, 2011, The Herald News
  17. ^ "Melissa McCarthy Biography". Bio. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  18. ^ "Melissa McCarthy". The Groundlings Website. 
  19. ^ "Voice Dnamy". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  20. ^ "The New Classics: TV". Entertainment Weekly. June 17, 2008. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Pretty Ugly People". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  22. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (31 October 2007). "'Samantha' gets full-season pickup". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on September 4, 2008. Retrieved 30 October 2007. 
  23. ^ Sullivan, Brian Ford (11 May 2007). "ABC ADDS 10 NEWCOMERS, RENEWS 'NOTES,' 'ROAD'". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 13 June 2007. 
  24. ^ Barrett, Annie (16 November 2009). "Exclusive: 'Private Practice' makes perfect with 'Gilmore' girl Melissa McCarthy". Inside TV (Entertainment Weekly). Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Melissa McCarthy: Did You Know She Was In...? Before Bridesmaids, the Spy star had popped up in some odd places on the big screen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  26. ^ Barrett, Annie (25 March 2010). "Melissa McCarthy lands lead in CBS comedy pilot. Yay!". Popwatch (Entertainment Weekly). Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "Emmys: Did 'Bridesmaids' help Melissa McCarthy pull off an upset? -". Los Angeles Times. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  28. ^ a b "Melissa McCarthy Emmy Award Winner". Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  29. ^ "CRYSTAL + LUCY AWARDS 2011". Women In Film. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  30. ^ Uddin, Zakia (8 July 2011). "Melissa McCarthy to star in 'Knocked Up' sequel". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  31. ^ "Academy Invites 176 to Membership". The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. June 29, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2013. 
  32. ^ Fowler, Tara (April 7, 2013). "Saturday Night Live recap: Melissa McCarthy brought the heat and hammed it up". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 27, 2013. 
  33. ^ Brian Gallagher (15 August 2011). "ID Theft Gets Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy". Movie Web. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  34. ^ "Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy To Execute ID Theft". The Film Stage. 16 August 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2012. 
  35. ^ Identity Thief at Box Office Mojo
  36. ^ Reed, Rex. "Declined: In Identity Thief, Bateman's Bankable Billing Can't Lift This Flick out of the Red". New York Observer. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  37. ^ "Critic calls Melissa McCarthy 'tractor-sized', 'hippo' in review of new film", Today, February 7, 2013
  38. ^ "Melissa McCarthy Identity Thief Review Is "Mean-Spirited," Says Film Critic Richard Roeper". Us Weekly. February 8, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  39. ^ Candy Spelling, 15 Minutes of Fame, The Huffington Post, February 19, 2013
  40. ^ "The Heat". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  41. ^ "The Heat (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  42. ^ Jeff, Leins (November 7, 2011). "Melissa McCarthy Striking Out with Tammy". News in Film. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  43. ^ NELLIE, ANDREEVA (September 19, 2011). "Next For Emmy Winner Melissa McCarthy: Co-Creating Comedy Series For CBS". Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  44. ^ "Melissa McCarthy May Join The Congregation Of 'St. Vincent De Van Nuys' With Bill Murray". Indiewire. 11 March 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  45. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. "Melissa McCarthy Starring as Tinker Bell In Movie Directed by Shawn Levy - Deadline". Deadline. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  46. ^ "Melissa McCarthy Tinker Bell Movie: McCarthy to Star in Film for Fox - Variety". Variety. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  47. ^ Ford, Rebecca (25 July 2013). "Melissa McCarthy in Talks to Join Paul Feig's 'Susan Cooper'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  48. ^ Cunningham, Todd (12 November 2013). "Melissa McCarthy Spy Spoof 'Susan Cooper' Gets Key 2015 Release Date". Yahoo Movies. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  49. ^ Ben Fritz (26 June 2014). "Melissa McCarthy Is Hollywood's Unlikely Leading Lady". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  50. ^ Jenelle Riley, Marianne Zumberge. "Walk of Fame honoree Melissa McCarthy spies some luck in her life". Variety. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  51. ^ "Melissa McCarthy is honoured on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  52. ^ "Melissa McCarthy Dazzles at Walk of Fame Ceremony". PEOPLE. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  53. ^ "Melissa McCarthy for Ghostbusters". Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  54. ^ "Melissa McCarthy for Ghostbusters 3". Dread Central. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  55. ^ "Melissa McCarthy for Ghostbusters 3". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  56. ^ "Melissa McCarthy is playing Patty, an NYC subway worker". Retrieved 27 January 2014. 
  57. ^ Griggs, Brandon (April 8, 2016). "Melissa McCarthy is joining 'Gilmore Girls' revival". CNN. Retrieved April 10, 2016. 
  58. ^ McNary, Dave (31 May 2016). "Melissa McCarthy to Play Novelist and Literary Forger Lee Israel (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  59. ^ "Melissa McCarthy to Star as Real-Life Forger Lee Israel in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?'". The Wrap. 31 May 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  60. ^ Arieanna (22 October 2005). "Melissa McCarthy gets married!!". Gilmore News. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  61. ^ "BEN FALCONE". 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  62. ^ Wilson, Samantha (April 6, 2016). "Melissa McCarthy: The Secret Behind Her Incredible 75lb Weight Loss Revealed". Hollywood Life. Retrieved May 23, 2016. 
  63. ^ Nidhi Tewari (27 May 2015). "Melissa McCarthy Says Her Clothing Line For Plus-Sized Women Will Break All The Rules". International Business Times. 
  64. ^ "Melissa McCarthy launches clothing line". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  65. ^ "Melissa McCarthy Standing Up for Plus-Size Women". ABC News. 
  66. ^ Jean E. Palmieri (25 November 2015). "Melissa McCarthy Joins Celebrity Designer Rush". Women's Wear Daily. 
  67. ^ "Brand Portfolio /// Sunrise Brands". Sunrise Brands. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  68. ^ "Melissa McCarthy: The Art of Living Fearlessly". MORE. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  69. ^ "Melissa McCarthy's Debut Fashion Line". Vogue. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  70. ^ "HSN to Premiere Melissa McCarthy's First Fashion Collection "Melissa McCarthy Seven7" on August 13". NASDAQ. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  71. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (June 15, 2016). "Film Review: 'Central Intelligence'". Variety. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  72. ^ Kit, Borys (April 8, 2016). "Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone Teaming Up for New Comedy 'Life of the Party' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 4, 2016. 

External links[edit]

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Alec Baldwin
Saturday Night Live host
October 1, 2011
Succeeded by
Ben Stiller
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Justin Timberlake
Saturday Night Live host
April 6, 2013
Succeeded by
Vince Vaughn
Preceded by
Jonah Hill
Saturday Night Live host
February 1, 2014
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Jim Parsons
Preceded by
Larry David
Saturday Night Live host
February 13, 2016
Succeeded by
Jonah Hill