|Born||Melanie Elizabeth Bownds
2 March 1980
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Residence||West Hollywood, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||University of New South Wales|
Rebel Melanie Elizabeth Wilson (born Melanie Elizabeth Bownds; 2 March 1980) is an Australian stand-up comedian, actress and writer. After graduating from the Australian Theatre for Young People in 2003, she began appearing as Toula on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) comedy series Pizza and the sketch comedy series The Wedge. In 2008, Wilson wrote, produced and starred in the musical comedy series Bogan Pride. The following year, she won the Tropfest best actress award for her role in Bargain and made a guest appearance in City Homicide. Shortly after moving to the United States, Wilson was cast as Brynn in the feature film Bridesmaids.
Wilson also appeared in A Few Best Men, What to Expect When You're Expecting and Struck by Lightning, leading Variety to name her one of their "Top Ten Comics to Watch for 2011". She also appeared as Becky in Bachelorette and starred in the musical films Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2 as Fat Amy, a role that earned her several award nominations and wins including the MTV Best Breakthrough Performance Award and a Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress. She then created and starred in Super Fun Night, a television comedy that aired for one season on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC).
Early life and education
Wilson was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Her mother is a professional dog handler. Wilson grew up in the suburbs of Kenthurst, Parramatta and Castle Hill. She attended Tara Anglican School for Girls. She completed her Higher School Certificate in 1997, including second place in the state in food technology.
Wilson has three siblings; sisters Liberty and Annachi and a brother, Ryot. Liberty and Ryot appeared on the first season of The Amazing Race Australia in 2011. Wilson has claimed that her great-aunt was Lillian Bounds, who was married to Walt Disney until his death in 1966. This claim was proven false in 2016 by genealogist Dale Sheldon.[self-published source?]
Wilson's first career choice was mathematics. She told The Sydney Morning Herald, "I was very academic at high school and was always good with numbers." She attended the University of New South Wales, graduating in 2009 with Bachelor of Arts (Theatre and Performance Studies) and Bachelor of Laws degrees. A former Rotary International Youth Ambassador for Australia, she was based in South Africa for one year, where she contracted malaria. She claims the malaria caused hallucinations where she saw herself as an actress who had won an Oscar, convincing her to pursue an acting career.
There has been some debate about Wilson's claims about her background. In May 2015, Australian magazine Woman's Day published a story claiming that Wilson had been misleading about her birth name, age and upbringing. Wilson had previously said in interviews that she was 29 years old, "raised by dog-training 'bogan' parents in the 'ghetto' of Sydney, spent a year in Zimbabwe, climbed into a cage with a leopard, got caught in a shoot-out and then struck down by a severe strain of Malaria from a mozzie in Mozambique where, from her ICU bed, she envisioned herself winning an Oscar and rapping her acceptance speech." Woman's Day called all of this into question and reported that Wilson had, on the contrary, a "very normal, upper-middle-class upbringing" and "added a touch of 'fantasy' to the life she led before becoming a household name." The story was picked up by several other publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, People Magazine, The Chicago Tribune and The Huffington Post. Most notably, Wilson's true birth date was revealed and confirmed as a result of business records filed with the ASIC, which were obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald.
On 16 May 2016, Wilson said print and online articles in Woman's Day, the Australian Women's Weekly, NW and OK! magazine made her out to be a serial liar. According to a defamation writ filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria (Australia), Wilson said her reputation and credit has suffered and she has been humiliated and embarrassed. She is also suing for special damages, claiming she missed out on roles and other ones were terminated because of the articles.
Early career (2002–10)
Wilson studied at the Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP). In 2003 she moved to New York after winning the ATYP International scholarship, which was funded by Nicole Kidman. While she was in New York, Wilson trained with The Second City. She appeared with the Sydney Theatre Company and performed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival. She first came to the public's attention in 2002 with her stage musical The Westie Monologues, which she wrote, starred in and produced in Sydney. Her follow-up stage productions, which she wrote, produced and starred in include Spunks and Confessions of an Exchange Student.
In Australia, Wilson is most known for her roles as Toula on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) comedy series Pizza and as various characters including Lucy, Fat Mandi and Karla Bangs on the sketch comedy series The Wedge. She played an Australian Idol mad schoolgirl in a series of Telstra advertisements shown during Australian Idol from 2004 to 2005. She also had roles in the feature films Fat Pizza and Ghost Rider.
In 2008, Wilson created, wrote, produced and starred in the musical comedy series Bogan Pride on SBS One and also starred in the improvisational Nine Network series Monster House. In 2009 Wilson won the Tropfest Best Actress award for her role in the film Bargain. She has made appearances on the improvisational comedy show Thank God You're Here and the comedy game show Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation. She performed stand-up on the television special The Breast Darn Show In Town and guest starred in the Seven Network drama City Homicide and performed improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Los Angeles.
Move to Hollywood (2011–)
After moving to the United States, Wilson signed to talent and literary agents William Morris Endeavor. Wilson's next film role came in the Judd Apatow film, Bridesmaids, in which she played Brynn, the sister of Matt Lucas' character. Wilson then appeared in the CBS sitcom Rules of Engagement and on the Comedy Central series, Workaholics. She co-hosted the 2010 ARIA Music Awards and performed at the inaugural Variety’s Power of Comedy event in Los Angeles with Lucas and Russell Brand. In early 2011, Wilson filmed A Few Best Men at Fox Studios Australia. She also filmed a role in Small Apartments. Wilson was named one of Variety magazine's "Top Ten Comics to Watch for 2011". In 2012, Wilson had a role in the ensemble comedy What to Expect When You're Expecting, as Janice, and co-starred in the indie film Struck By Lightning.
On 19 August 2011, Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter reported that Wilson had replaced Casey Wilson in Bachelorette. In 2012, Wilson voiced a character in Ice Age: Continental Drift and played Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect. For the latter role, she received critical acclaim and earned various award nominations, including Best Supporting Actress from the San Diego Film Critics Society and Best Actress in a Comedy from the Broadcast Film Critics Association. She won the MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance and shared the Best Musical Moment award with her Pitch Perfect co-stars. Wilson was also nominated for Best Female Performance. Wilson later won the Choice Movie Actress: Comedy award for Pitch Perfect at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards. She had also been nominated for Choice Comedian at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards.
In January 2012, Michael Ausiello of TVLine announced that Wilson would be writing and starring in Super Fun Night, a comedy that follows three friends on a quest to have fun every Friday night. The pilot was picked up by CBS and Conan O'Brien became one of the executive producers. The pilot was later turned down by CBS, but the ABC network picked up the project. A series was ordered and the show began broadcasting on 2 October 2013. The series was cancelled after one season. Wilson played Robin Peck in Michael Bay's Pain & Gain (2013). She hosted the 2013 MTV Movie Awards on 14 April 2013.
In March 2014, the American satellite television network DISH launched a marketing campaign for its Hopper DVR featuring Wilson as the voice of the eponymous computer animated kangaroo. Wilson reprised her role in the sequel Pitch Perfect 2 in 2015, and will also star in 2017's Pitch Perfect 3 with Anna Kendrick. She joined the voice cast for Kung Fu Panda 3, however in September 2015, Wilson was replaced with Kate Hudson. Wilson next appeared in the ensemble comedy How to Be Single, released in February 2016. Nigel M Smith of The Guardian wrote "Wilson is the standout, nailing every pratfall she's dealt, but How to Be Single doesn't make strong use of her character". Wilson also appeared in the action comedy Grimsby. On 14 February 2016, Wilson presented the nominations for the Best Supporting Actor category at the 69th British Academy Film Awards. Wilson is one of sixty celebrities making a cameo in the upcoming Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Wilson appeared as Ursula, the sea witch, in an all-star concert version of The Little Mermaid at The Hollywood Bowl on 3 June, 4 June, and 6 June 2016. She made her West End debut in the musical Guys and Dolls in the role of Miss Adelaide from 28 June to 21 August 2016. She received positive reviews.
Wilson will appear in a remake of Private Benjamin. She has also been cast in The Social Life alongside Amanda Seyfried. In August 2016, it was confirmed Wilson would star in a remake of the 1988 comedy film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
In July 2011, Wilson became a spokesperson for weight loss and nutrition company Jenny Craig in Australia. In January 2012, Wilson told James Wigney and Elle Halliwell of The Daily Telegraph that she had lost 10 kilograms (22 lb) since signing up to the program.
Wilson asserted that the producers of Pitch Perfect had refused to let her lose any more weight during filming, as her contract stated she must stay the same size. She said that once her film commitments were over, she would start her diet again to reach her target weight of 80 kilograms (180 lb). In February 2013, she confirmed that she had ended her agreement with Jenny Craig the previous year.
In July 2015, Wilson stated her support for stricter American gun laws following the 2015 Lafayette shooting, stating, "I don't like getting political but America you really have to follow Australia's example re gun laws. I don't remember a mass shooting in Australia since they overhauled the gun laws. It seems like every week in America there's a shooting. I just want people to be safe, especially people that are doing one of my favorite things in the WORLD - going out to the movies 2 have fun."
|2007||Ghost Rider||Girl in Alley||Cameo|
|A Few Best Men||Daphne Ramme|
|This Means War||Cameo|
|Struck by Lightning||Malerie Baggs|
|What to Expect When You're Expecting||Janice|
|Ice Age: Continental Drift||Raz||Voice|
|Pitch Perfect||Fat Amy|
|2013||Pain & Gain||Robin Peck|
|2014||Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb||Tilly|
|2015||Pitch Perfect 2||Fat Amy|
|2016||How to Be Single||Robin|
|Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie||Flight attendant|
|2017||Pitch Perfect 3||Fat Amy||Pre-production|
|2003–07||Pizza||Toula||Recurring cast; Seasons 3–5, Pizza World and Pizza World Record|
|2006–07||The Wedge||Various characters||Series regular; 48 episodes|
|2007–09||Thank God You're Here||Herself/Various characters||Episodes: "3.04", "3.09", "4.03" & "4.09"|
|2008||Bogan Pride||Jennie Cragg||Series regular; 6 episodes|
|2008||Monster House||Penelope Webb||Series regular; 10 episodes|
|2009||Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation||Generation Y Guest||Episode: "Series 1, Episode 3"|
|2009||City Homicide||Sarah Gilbert||Episode: "Dead Weight"|
|2009||The Breast Darn Show in Town||Herself||Comedy gala|
|2010||Rules of Engagement||Sara||Episode: "Les-bros"|
|2011||Workaholics||Big Money Hustla||Episode: "Straight Up Juggahos"|
|2013||Can of Worms||Herself||Episode: "Season 3, Episode 2"|
|2013||2013 MTV Movie Awards||Host|
|2013–14||Super Fun Night||Kimmie Boubier||Creator, Lead role; 18 episodes|
|2012||Ice Age: Continental Drift – Arctic Games||Raz||Voice|
|2016||The Little Mermaid||Ursula||June 3-6, The Hollywood Bowl|
|Guys and Dolls||Adelaide||June 28-August 21, West End|
Awards and nominations
- Aubusson, Kate (20 May 2015). "Rebel Wilson's birth date revealed in ASIC documents". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
Business records filed with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) list the date of birth for a "Rebel Melanie Elizabeth Wilson" as March 2, 1980
- Miller, Megan (19 November 2011). "The Q&A with actor Rebel Wilson". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
- Fowler, Tara (20 May 2015). "Rebel Wilson Real Age and Name Confirmed". People. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
The Australian Electoral Roll lists her real name as Melanie Elizabeth Bownds, though she later changed her last name to Wilson, as has been previously reported. Last year, however, she told The Australian Women's Weekly that her real name was in fact Rebel, and that Melanie and Elizabeth were middle names she went by at school to avoid being teased.
- "Nangunyah". dogzonline.com.au. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
- "Rebel Wilson on Her Family". The Ellen DeGeneres Show. 11 November 2013. NBCUniversal.
I've got two sisters, Liberty and Annachi and my brother Ryot...and what's her [mother's] name? Sue.
- Field, Melissa (6 November 2011). "Winning Laughs and Losing Weight". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Don't be mocking the moccasins.". The Age. 17 June 2008. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- "Elle interview: Rebel Wilson". Elle Australia. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
- Yamato, Jen (7 September 2012). "From Bridesmaids To Bachelorette: Why Rebel Wilson Is The Most Interesting Woman In Hollywood". Movieline.com. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- "Food Technology 2 unit". boardofstudies.nsw.ed. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
- Rebel Wilson, Craig Ferguson (3 June 2011). The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Worldwide Pants Incorporated.
- Shearer, Geoff (17 May 2011). "Rebel sets pace for siblings". The Courier-Mail. Queensland Newspapers. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Mills, Nancy (11 October 2013). "Funny girl Rebel Wilson's 'Super Fun Night' inspiration". USA Today. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- Sheldon, Dale (1 June 2016). "Rebel Wilson & Walt Disney". The Wandering Genealogist. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- Wilson, Vanessa (29 May 2002). "A push over on stage". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
That lead to the 22-year-old's first play, The Westie Monologues, and her springboard to life as a playwright. And actor. And producer. And theatre company director.
- "Leaders". www.arts.unsw.edu.au. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Blair, Iain (26 July 2011). "10 Comics to Watch – Rebel Wilson: Oz Star Gets Bridesmaids Boost". Variety. Reed Business Information. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "Separating fact from fiction: Will the real Rebel Wilson please stand up?". Woman's Day. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Fowler, Tara (20 May 2015). "Facts vs. Fibs: Rebel Wilson's Real Age Is 35, Records Confirm". People. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Moyer, Justin Wm. (24 May 2015). "Why would Rebel Wilson lie about her age?". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Marcus, Stephanie (19 May 2015). "Rebel Wilson Responds To Claims She's Lying About Her Name And Age". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- "Rebel Wilson's Birth Date Revealed in ASIC Documents". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 May 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
- Ham, Larissa (16 May 2016). "Rebel Wilson sues magazine publisher Bauer Media over stories about her age". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- "Meet the cast – Rebel Wilson". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Pryor, Lisa (25 September 2002). "Rebel off to New York to hone comic craft". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "Rebel Wilson Credits Nicole Kidman With Movie Career". Contactmusic.com. 30 June 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- Bownds, Melanie Elizabeth. "The Westie Monologues". ipaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
- Verity, William (25 November 2002). "Rebel with a cause to liberate westies by poking fun". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Bragge, Lily (9 April 2005). "Comedy". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Knox, David (2 October 2008). "Bogan Pride". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- McManus, Bridget (25 September 2008). "Pride of place in bogan-ville". WAtoday. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 July 2011.
- Kent, Melissa (1 March 2009). "About Town". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Beaumont, Anita (19 May 2009). "Highlights". Newcastle Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "City Homicide: Dead Weight – S03E19". Throng. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "Our Rebel Wilson is Matt Lucas' secret sister in next movie Bridesmaids". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. 24 May 2010. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Knox, David (21 October 2010). "When Rebel met Joan". TV Tonight. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "Aussie Rebel without a pause in America". The Advertiser. News Limited. 26 May 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Murphy, Shaunna (11 July 2011). "'Bridesmaids' scene-stealer Rebel Wilson joins 'What To Expect When You're Expecting'". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- McNary, Dave (25 July 2011). "Wilson rides Colfer's 'Lightning'". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 11 August 2011.
- Borys, Kit (19 August 2011). "'Bridesmaids' Co-Star Ramps Up Movie Roles (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "San Diego Film Critics Nominate Top Films for 2012". San Diego Film Critics Society. 9 December 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
- "'Lincoln' leads the 18th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards nominations with a record 13 noms". Broadcast Film Critics Association. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
- Goodacre, Kate (15 April 2013). "MTV Movie Awards 2013 – The winners in full". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
- "Teen Choice Awards 2013: Live Blog". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. 11 August 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- Wightman, Catriona (22 May 2013). "Teen Choice Awards 2013: First wave nominees in full". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
- Ausiello, Michael (26 January 2012). "Pilot Scoop: CBS Greenlights Super Fun Comedy Starring Bridesmaids Breakout Rebel Wilson". TVLine. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Andreeva, Nellie (5 June 2012). "Rebel Wilson's CBS Comedy Pilot 'Super Fun Night' Close To New Order At ABC". Deadline.com. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- Bricker, Tierney (10 May 2013). "News/ABC Scoop: Rebel Wilson's Super Fun Night, Bridesmaids Star's Conan O'Brien-Produced Comedy Ordered to Series". E! Online. NBCUniversal. Retrieved 2 October 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda. "'Suburgatory', 'Super Fun Night' Canceled by ABC". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Vary, Adam B. (27 March 2012). "Rebel Wilson to Join Michael Bay's True Crime Drama 'Pain and Gain'". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- "Cast – Rebel Wilson". Paramount Pictures. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
- "Rebel Wilson named as host of MTV Movie Awards". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "DISH Launches New Marketing Campaign Featuring Voice of Award-Winning Actress Rebel Wilson as Hopper the Kangaroo". DISH Network. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- "Anna Kendrick And Rebel Wilson To Return For 'Pitch Perfect 3'". Huffingtonpost. 15 June 2015.
- Ford, Rebecca (14 April 2015). "'Kung Fu Panda 3' Release Date Moves Up Two Months". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
- Kit, Borys (4 September 2015). "Kate Hudson to Replace Rebel Wilson in 'Kung Fu Panda 3' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- Ford, Rebecca; Kit, Borys (29 January 2015). "Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Dan Stevens Joining 'How to Be Single' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- Smith, Nigel M (12 February 2016). "How To Be Single review – Rebel Wilson underused in diverting singleton comedy". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- Kroll, Justin. "Rebel Wilson Joins Sacha Baron Cohen in Sony's 'Grimsby' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
- Horton, Helena. "Video: Rebel Wilson calls Oscars 'racist' in hilarious Bafta speech". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 March 2016.
- Miller, Michael (2 December 2015). "Rebel Wilson Shares Pics of Her Absolutely Fabulous Time on the Set of Upcoming Movie". People. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
- Martens, Todd (1 June 2016). "In a post-'Brave,' post-'Frozen' world, why the time is right for Hollywood Bowl's 'Little Mermaid'". latimes.com. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- "Rebel Wilson to make West End debut in Guys and Dolls". WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- "Rebel Wilson set for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake". BBC News. 5 August 2016. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
- Billups, Andrea (9 May 2014). "Rebel Wilson to Star in Private Benjamin Remake". People. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Fleming, Jr., Mike (17 April 2014). "Sony Buys Lauryn Kahn Spec 'I'm In Love With The DJ' For Gary Sanchez". Deadline.com. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
- "Rebel Wilson". Jenny Craig, Australia & New Zealand. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- "Rebel Wilson seeks to slim down for career". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Wigney, James; Halliwell, Elle (22 January 2012). "Why Rebel Wilson will be staying big in Hollywood". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 21 January 2012.
- Christie, Joel (19 February 2013). "Rebel Wilson talks about split with Jenny Craig". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- Wightman, Catriona (3 September 2012). "'Bridesmaids' Rebel Wilson, Matt Lucas live together, annoy neighbours". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
- "Matt Lucas on Rebel Wilson moving out and being the boss". BBC. 29 September 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- Derschowitz, Jessica (Jul 25, 2015). "Rebel Wilson says America needs new gun laws after Lafayette theater shooting". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- "Rebel Wilson condemns US gun laws". Sky News. Jul 26, 2015. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- Noyes, Jenny (Jul 25, 2015). "Rebel Wilson speaks out about gun control after 'Trainwreck' shooting in Louisiana". Daily Life. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- Huver, Scott (4 September 2012). "Rebel Wilson: From "Bridemaids" to "Bachelorette"". NBCUniversal/NBC Bay Area (San Jose, California). Retrieved 22 May 2015.
- "2014 Young Hollywood Awards Nominees Include 'Pretty Little Liars,' 'Fault in Our Stars'". Variety. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
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