Melissa McCarthy

Melissa Ann McCarthy (born August 26, 1970)[1] is an American actress, comedian, writer, producer and fashion designer. She is the recipient of several accolades, including two Primetime Emmy Awards and has received nominations for two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. McCarthy was named by Time as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016, and she has featured multiple times in annual rankings of the highest-paid actresses in the world.[2][3][4]

McCarthy began appearing in television and films in the late 1990s, and first gained recognition for her role as Sookie St. James in the television series Gilmore Girls (2000–2007). She played Dena in the ABC sitcom Samantha Who? (2007–2009), before starring as Molly Flynn in the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly (2010–2016), for which she won the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Also in 2011, she gained critical acclaim for her performance in the comedy film Bridesmaids, receiving a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

McCarthy went on to star in several commercially successful comedy films, including Identity Thief (2013), The Heat (2013), Tammy (2014), Spy (2015), and The Boss (2016). Her appearances as a host on Saturday Night Live led to a win for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2017. She expanded into dramatic roles by portraying Lee Israel in the biographical drama Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018), for which she received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone are the founders of the production company On the Day, under which they have collaborated on several comedy films. In 2015, she launched her own clothing line for plus-sized women, named Melissa McCarthy Seven7, and she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[5][6]

Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy in 2018 (cropped)
McCarthy in 2018
Melissa Ann McCarthy

August 26, 1970 (age 48)
  • Actress
  • comedian
  • writer
  • producer
  • fashion designer
Years active1997–present
Ben Falcone (m. 2005)
RelativesJenny McCarthy (cousin)
Joanne McCarthy (cousin)
AwardsFull list

Early life

McCarthy was born in Plainfield, Illinois to Sandra and Michael McCarthy.[7][8] She is a cousin of actress and model Jenny McCarthy and professional basketball player Joanne McCarthy.[9] 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.[10][11][12] Some of her forebears were from County Cork.[13] She graduated from St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) in Joliet, Illinois.[14] Her career started with stand-up comedy in Los Angeles, and later in New York City.[15] McCarthy is an alumna of The Groundlings, an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe based in Los Angeles, California.[16]


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

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.[17] In 2000, McCarthy was cast as Sookie St. James, the upbeat and klutzy best friend of Lorelai Gilmore, on The WB television series Gilmore Girls. Throughout the series, Sookie is Lorelai's business partner and cheerleader.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] Also in 2007, McCarthy starred as Dena Stevens on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who?.[21] 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.[22] She guest starred in Rita Rocks and on Private Practice.[23] In 2010, McCarthy played supporting roles in films The Back-Up Plan and Life as We Know It.[24]

2011–present: Mike and Molly, Bridesmaids and success

Melissa McCarthy 2012 (Straighten Crop)
McCarthy in 2012

On September 20, 2010, McCarthy was cast in a leading role on the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly.[25] 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.[26][27] In June 2011, she hosted the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards.[28] McCarthy later had supporting roles in This Is 40 (2012), the spinoff to Judd Apatow's film Knocked Up,[29] 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.[30] McCarthy hosted Saturday Night Live on October 1, 2011, on April 6, 2013, on February 1, 2014, on February 13, 2016, and on May 12, 2017.[31] She was nominated five times for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her appearances on the television show from 2011–2017, winning in 2017.[27]

In 2013, McCarthy co-starred in the crime comedy Identity Thief with Jason Bateman.[32][33] Identity Thief opened at #1 at the box office, and grossed $174 million worldwide[34] 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.[35][36] 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."[37] In a column for The Huffington Post, Candy Spelling likened Reed's review to bullying.[38]

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.[39] With McCarthy being called "box office gold, The Heat grossed $229 million worldwide.[40] 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.[41]

Can You Ever Forgive Me? 01 (44939300051)
McCarthy at an event for Can You Ever Forgive Me? in 2018

McCarthy produced a CBS pilot which starred her husband, Ben Falcone.[42] McCarthy played the female lead, opposite Bill Murray, in the 2014 comedy film St. Vincent, directed and written by Theodore Melfi.[43] On November 19, 2014, it was announced that McCarthy would portray fairy heroine Tinker Bell in the untitled comedy-adventure directed by Shawn Levy.[44] She would also produce the film.[45] In addition, McCarthy was the lead in frequent collaborator Paul Feig's spy comedy Spy (2015),[46][47] a role that earned McCarthy her first Golden Globe Award nomination.

In May 2015, McCarthy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[48][49] In August 2015, Forbes ranked her as the third highest-paid actress of 2015, with earnings of $23 million.[2]

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".[50] Also that year, she played an author and scientist in the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, directed by Paul Feig.[51][52][53][54]

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 dropped out of the film.[55][56] McCarthy's performance as Lee drew high praise and Film Journal International said that her previous film roles "could not anticipate how fearlessly and credibly she inhabits Lee Israel." She received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination.[57]

On February 4 and 11, 2017 she made surprise appearances on Saturday Night Live portraying White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.[58][59] She returned to the show to portray Spicer on April 16[60] and May 13, 2017 (also hosting the latter).

McCarthy appeared in a Super Bowl LI ad for Kia Motors, promoting the Kia Niro. McCarthy played a wannabe environmentalist, who has a series of mishaps befall her such as being capsized by a whale, being charged by a rhino, and falling down a crevasse. The commercial featured the song "Holding Out for a Hero".[61]

Personal life

McCarthy married her longtime boyfriend, Ben Falcone, an actor and alumnus of The Groundlings, on October 8, 2005.[62][63] The couple have two daughters, Vivian, born May 2007, and Georgette, born March 2010. McCarthy's pregnancy with Vivian was written into the last season of Gilmore Girls. Vivian played the younger version of her mother's character in the 2016 movie The Boss. Daughter Georgette also made an appearance in The Boss. Both Falcone and McCarthy have expressed desire for their daughters to focus on their education and pursue professional acting afterwards. Neither child has made appearances in movies since.

Falcone often makes cameo appearances in McCarthy’s movies and TV series, such as a third-season episode of Gilmore Girls, Bridesmaids, The Heat, Tammy, Identity Thief, Spy, The Boss , “Life of the Party”, and The Happytime Murders.

Since the start of Mike & Molly, McCarthy has lost an estimated 75 lb (35 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.[64]

McCarthy is the cousin of actress, model, and television host Jenny McCarthy.[65][66]


In 2013, McCarthy founded the production company On the Day with her husband Ben Falcone.[50] 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.[67]

Production credits



Fashion line

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.[9]

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.[81] Her fashion line, Seven7, debuted in August 2015 on the Home Shopping Network, with plans for her designs to be sold in major retailers.[82][83][84][85][86][87][88]



Year Film Role Notes
1998 God Margaret Short film
1999 Go Sandra
2000 Charlie's Angels Doris
Drowning Mona Shirley
Auto Motives Tonnie Short film
Disney's The Kid Sky King Waitress
2002 Pumpkin Cici Pinkus
The Third Wheel Marilyn
White Oleander Paramedic
2003 The Life of David Gale Nico the Goth Girl
Chicken Party Tot Wagner
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Woman at Crime Scene credit only
2007 Cook Off! Amber Strang
The Nines Margaret / Melissa / Mary
The Captain Fran Short film
2008 Just Add Water Selma
Pretty Ugly People Becky
2010 The Back-Up Plan Carol
Life as We Know It DeeDee
2011 Bridesmaids Megan Price
2012 This Is 40 Catherine
2013 Identity Thief Diana/Dawn Budgie
The Hangover Part III Cassy
The Heat Detective Shannon Mullins
2014 Tammy Tammy Banks Also screenwriter and producer
St. Vincent Maggie Bronstein
2015 Spy Susan Cooper
2016 The Boss Michelle Darnell Also screenwriter and producer
Central Intelligence Darla McGuckian Cameo
Ghostbusters Dr. Abigail "Abby" Yates
2018 Life of the Party Deanna Miles Also screenwriter and producer
The Happytime Murders Detective Connie Edwards Also producer
Can You Ever Forgive Me? Leonore "Lee" Israel
2019 The Kitchen Kathy Brennan Post-production
Super Intelligence Carol Peters Post-production; also producer


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Jenny Melissa Episode: "1.5"
2000 D.C. Molly 2 episodes
2000–2007 Gilmore Girls Sookie St. James Main cast, 7 seasons
2002–2005 Kim Possible DNAmy (voice) 3 episodes
2004 Curb Your Enthusiasm Saleswoman Episode: "The Surrogate"
2007–2009 Samantha Who? Dena Main cast, 2 seasons
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 Main cast, 6 seasons
2011–2017 Saturday Night Live Herself (host); Sean Spicer 9 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"
2017–2018 Nobodies Herself 7 episodes; also executive producer


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External links

Ben Falcone

Benjamin Scott Falcone (born August 25, 1973) is an American actor, comedian and filmmaker. He is married to actress Melissa McCarthy, with whom he has two children. He had co-starring roles in What to Expect When You're Expecting and Enough Said, and also had small roles in Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, The Heat, Spy, and Life of the Party all of which starred his wife.

Falcone made his directorial debut in 2014 with Tammy, which he co-wrote with McCarthy, and also directed, co-wrote and produced The Boss and Life of the Party, all of which starred McCarthy.

Bridesmaids (2011 film)

Bridesmaids is a 2011 American comedy film directed by Paul Feig, written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, and produced by Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, and Clayton Townsend. The plot centers on Annie (Wiig), who suffers a series of misfortunes after being asked to serve as maid of honor for her best friend, Lillian, played by Maya Rudolph. Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, and Wendi McLendon-Covey co-star as Lillian's bridesmaids, with Chris O'Dowd, Rebel Wilson, Matt Lucas, Michael Hitchcock, Jon Hamm, and Jill Clayburgh, in her final film appearance, in supporting roles.Actresses Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig wrote the screenplay following Wiig's casting in Apatow's 2007 comedy film Knocked Up, and budgeted at $32.5 million. Upon its opening release in the United States and Canada on May 13, 2011, Bridesmaids was both critically and commercially successful. The film grossed $26 million in its opening weekend, eventually grossing over $288 million worldwide, and surpassed Knocked Up to become the top-grossing Apatow production to date, and served as a touchstone for discussion about women in comedy.The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. It received multiple other accolades. On January 24, 2012, the film was nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Melissa McCarthy and Best Original Screenplay for Wiig and Mumolo. This made it the first Apatow-produced film to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a 2018 American biographical film directed by Marielle Heller and with a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, based on the confessional memoir of the same name by Lee Israel. Melissa McCarthy stars as Israel, and the story follows her attempts to revitalize her failing writing career by forging letters from deceased authors and playwrights. The film also features Richard E. Grant, Dolly Wells, Jane Curtin, Anna Deavere Smith, Stephen Spinella, and Ben Falcone in supporting roles. Israel took the title from an apologetic line in a letter in which she posed as Dorothy Parker.The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2018, and was released in the United States on October 19, 2018, by Fox Searchlight Pictures. The film grossed just $11 million on a $10 million budget, however it received critical acclaim, with major praise drawn towards McCarthy and Grant's performances, and was named by the National Board of Review as one of their top ten films of 2018. For their performances, McCarthy and Grant earned nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, at the 91st Academy Awards, the 76th Golden Globe Awards, and the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, among other ceremonies. Holofcener and Whitty were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Identity Thief

Identity Thief is a 2013 American comedy film directed by Seth Gordon, written by Craig Mazin, and starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. The film tells a story about a man (Bateman) whose identity is stolen by a woman (McCarthy).

Despite negative critical reception, the film was a commercial success, grossing over $174 million worldwide on a $35 million budget.

Life of the Party (2018 film)

Life of the Party is a 2018 American comedy film directed by Ben Falcone and written by Falcone and Melissa McCarthy. It is the third film directed by Falcone and co-written by the pair, following Tammy (2014) and The Boss (2016). The film, starring McCarthy, Molly Gordon, Gillian Jacobs, Jessie Ennis, Adria Arjona, Maya Rudolph, Julie Bowen, Matt Walsh, Debby Ryan, with Stephen Root and Jacki Weaver, follows a newly divorced mother who returns to college to complete her degree, and ends up bonding with her daughter's friends.

Produced by On the Day Productions and New Line Cinema, the film was released on May 11, 2018, by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

This is a list of winners and nominees of the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. Prior to 1989, the category was not gender specific, thus was called Outstanding Guest Performer in a Comedy Series. These awards, like the other "Guest" awards, were previously not presented at the Primetime Emmy Award ceremony, but rather at the Creative Arts Emmy Award ceremony.

Spy (2015 film)

Spy is a 2015 American action comedy spy film written and directed by Paul Feig. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney,

Peter Serafinowicz, Morena Baccarin and Jude Law; the films also marked the Hollywood debut of actress Nargis Fakhri. It follows the life of a secret agent, Susan Cooper (McCarthy), trying to trace a stolen portable nuclear device.

Produced by Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Feig and Jessie Henderson, the film was theatrically released on June 5, 2015. It received acclaim from critics and was a box office success. It was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for McCarthy.

Super Intelligence

Super Intelligence is an upcoming American action comedy film directed by Ben Falcone and written by Steve Mallory. Melissa McCarthy will star in what will be her fourth collaboration with her husband, Falcone. The film will be released on December 20, 2019 by Warner Bros. Pictures.

Tammy (film)

Tammy is a 2014 American comedy film directed and co-written by Ben Falcone and produced, co-written by, and starring Melissa McCarthy as the title character. The film also stars Susan Sarandon, Allison Janney, Gary Cole, Mark Duplass, with Dan Aykroyd, and Kathy Bates. It was released on July 2, 2014.Although a box office success, grossing $100.5 million from a $20 million budget, it received highly negative reviews from critics with McCarthy and Sarandon receiving Razzie nominations for Worst Actress and Worst Supporting Actress respectively.

The Boss (2016 film)

The Boss is a 2016 American comedy film directed by Ben Falcone and written by Falcone, Melissa McCarthy and Steve Mallory. The film stars McCarthy, Kristen Bell, Ella Anderson, Tyler Labine, Kathy Bates, Annie Mumolo, Timothy Simons, and Peter Dinklage. The film follows a wealthy woman who, after being arrested and losing her fortune, uses her assistant's daughter's Dandelion Girls cookie sales to return to the top. The film was released on April 8, 2016, by Universal Pictures, received generally negative reviews from critics and grossed $78 million worldwide.

The Happytime Murders

The Happytime Murders is a 2018 American black comedy crime film directed by Brian Henson and written by Todd Berger. The film stars Melissa McCarthy, Bill Barretta, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Leslie David Baker, and Elizabeth Banks. The plot, set in a world where puppets and humans co-exist, follows a joint police force who must solve a recent murder spree of retired sitcom stars.

The film was first announced in 2008 by The Jim Henson Company, the production studio of Muppets creator Jim Henson. Various actors, including Cameron Diaz, Katherine Heigl, and Jamie Foxx, were approached to star before McCarthy signed on in May 2017. Filming began in Los Angeles that September, and involved the use of over 120 puppets. The release marks the film debut of Henson Alternative, a banner of The Jim Henson Company that specializes in adult content.

The Happytime Murders was released on August 24, 2018, by STXfilms. It received generally negative reviews from critics and was a box-office bomb, grossing only $27.5 million worldwide against a $40–47 million budget. The film received six nominations at the 39th Golden Raspberry Awards including Worst Picture and Worst Actress for McCarthy, winning the latter award.

The Heat (film)

The Heat is a 2013 American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Paul Feig and written by Katie Dippold. It stars Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, and Jane Curtin. The film centers on FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn and Boston Detective Shannon Mullins, who must take down a mobster in Boston.

The film was released in the United States on June 28, 2013. It received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the chemistry, and performances of Bullock and McCarthy, and was a success at the box office, grossing $229 million worldwide against a $43 million budget.

The Kitchen (2019 film)

The Kitchen is an upcoming American crime drama film written and directed by Andrea Berloff, in her directorial debut. The film stars Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, and Elisabeth Moss as the wives of Irish mobsters who take over organized crime operations in the 1970s in New York City's neighborhood Hell's Kitchen after the FBI arrests their husbands. The film is set to be released in the United States on August 9, 2019.

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