Born: August 26, 1970
Birthplace: Plainfield, Illinois, U.S.
Melissa Ann McCarthy (born August 26, 1970) 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. 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 four 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. 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. 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. In 2016, Forbes named her the world's second highest-paid actress, earning $33 million.
McCarthy was born in Plainfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. to Sandra and Michael McCarthy. She is the cousin of actress and model Jenny McCarthy and professional basketball player Joanne McCarthy. 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. Some of her ancestors were from County Cork. She graduated from St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) in Joliet, Illinois. Her career started with stand-up comedy in Los Angeles, and later in New York City. McCarthy is an alumna of The Groundlings, an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe based in Los Angeles, California.
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. 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. On April 7, 2016, McCarthy announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she would be returning for the show's revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, on Netflix. The latter was released November 25, 2016 and McCarthy appears in one of its four episodes.
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. Also in 2007, McCarthy starred as Dena Stevens on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who?. 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. She guest starred in Rita Rocks and on Private Practice. In 2010, McCarthy played supporting roles in films The Back-Up Plan and Life as We Know It.
On September 20, 2010, McCarthy was cast in a leading role on the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly. 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. In June 2011, she hosted the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards. McCarthy later had supporting roles in This Is 40 (2012), the semi-sequel to Judd Apatow's film Knocked Up, 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. McCarthy hosted Saturday Night Live on October 1, 2011, on April 6, 2013, on February 1, 2014, and on February 13, 2016. 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.
In 2013, McCarthy co-starred in the crime comedy Identity Thief with Jason Bateman. Identity Thief opened at #1 at the box office, and grossed $174 million worldwide 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. 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." In a column for The Huffington Post, Candy Spelling likened Reed's review to bullying.
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. With McCarthy being called "box office gold, The Heat grossed $229 million worldwide. 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.
McCarthy produced a CBS pilot which starred her husband, Ben Falcone. McCarthy played the female lead, opposite Bill Murray, in the 2014 comedy film St. Vincent, directed and written by Theodore Melfi. On November 19, 2014, it was announced that McCarthy would portray fairy heroine Tinker Bell in the untitled comedy-adventure directed by Shawn Levy. She would also produce the film. In addition, McCarthy was the lead in frequent collaborator Paul Feig's spy comedy Spy (2015), 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. 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.
In May 2015, McCarthy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In August 2015, Forbes ranked her as the third highest-paid actress of 2015, with earnings of $23 million.
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". Also that year, she played an author and scientist in the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig. 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".
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.
On February 4 and 11, 2017 she made surprise appearances on Saturday Night Live portraying White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
McCarthy married her longtime boyfriend, Ben Falcone, an actor and alumnus of The Groundlings, on October 8, 2005. The couple have two daughters, Vivian (born May 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.
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.
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. 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.
|2000||Auto Motives||Tonnie||Short film|
|2000||Disney's The Kid||Sky King Waitress|
|2002||Third Wheel, TheThe Third Wheel||Marilyn|
|2003||Life of David Gale, TheThe Life of David Gale||Nico the Goth Girl|
|2003||Chicken Party||Tot Wagner|
|2003||Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle||Woman at Crime Scene||Only in credits|
|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|
|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|
|2016||The Boss||Michelle Darnell||Also screenwriter and producer|
|2016||Central Intelligence||Darla McGuckian||Cameo|
|2016||Ghostbusters||Dr. Abigail "Abby" Yates|
|2018||Life of the Party||Deanna Miles||Post-production; also screenwriter and producer|
|2018||Can You Ever Forgive Me?||Leonore Carol "Lee" Israel||Post-production|
|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|
|2011-2017||Saturday Night Live||Host||5 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||Episode: "Fall"|
|2017||Saturday Night Live||Sean Spicer||2 episodes|