|Born||Melanie Elizabeth Bownds
2 March 1980
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Residence||West Hollywood, California, US|
|Alma mater||University of New South Wales|
|Occupation||Comedian, actress, writer, entrepreneur|
Rebel Melanie Elizabeth Wilson (born Melanie Elizabeth Bownds; 2 March 1980) is an Australian stand-up comedian, actress, writer and entrepreneur. After graduating from the Australian Theatre for Young People in 2003, she began appearing as Toula on the 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.
Early life and education
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.
She attended the University of New South Wales, graduating in 2009 with degrees in law and arts (theatre and performance studies). 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 tabloid Woman's Day published a story claiming that Rebel Wilson had been misleading about her birth name, age and upbringing. Wilson had previously said in interviews that she was twenty-nine 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 birthday was revealed and confirmed as a result of business records filed with the ASIC, which were obtained by The Sydney Morning Herald.
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.
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 2015, Wilson reprised her role in the sequel Pitch Perfect 2 and will also star in 2017's Pitch Perfect 3 with Anna Kendrick. She has joined the voice cast for Kung Fu Panda 3, scheduled for release on 26 January 2016; however, in September 2015, Wilson was replaced with Kate Hudson. She will appear in the action comedy Grimsby and a remake of Private Benjamin. She has been cast in The Social Life alongside Amanda Seyfried, and the ensemble comedy How to Be Single.
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."
|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; 17 episodes
Nominated – People's Choice Awards for Favorite Actress in a TV Series
- 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.
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I've got two sisters, Liberty and Annachi and my brother Ryot...and what's her [mother's] name? Sue.
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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.
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