An Overview of Melissa McCarthy

From "Gilmore Girl" to SNL's Sean Spicer Impersonator

Comedian and actress Melissa McCarthy
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Born on August 26, 1970, in Plainfield, Illinois, Melissa McCarthy grew up in the suburbs of Chicago but went on to be one of the most popular female comedic actors of her time. Melissa McCarthy is one of the biggest breakout comedy stars of the 2000s, even though she's been performing comedy since the 1990s. 

Though she dabbled in stand-up, her background is in sketch comedy with "The Groundlings." From there, she moved on to a series of television roles on shows like "The Gilmore Girls," "Samantha Who?" and most recently "Mike & Molly," for which she won an Emmy Award.

It was her appearance in the 2011 comedy "Bridesmaids" that made McCarthy a superstar, turning her into one of the most in-demand comedian actresses in the country practically overnight. With a gift for creating outlandish characters and a genuine knack for physical comedy, McCarthy is a force to be reckoned with.

Melissa McCarthy's Early Career

Growing tired of the small-town Plainfield outside of Chicago and hoping to pursue a career in comedy, McCarthy moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, shortly becoming a member of the Los Angeles-based sketch comedy group "The Groundlings." It wasn't until she joined the cast of the WB series "The Gilmore Girls," though, that McCarthy broke into the mainstream. 

Still, the series ran from 2000 to 2007 and gave McCarthy little celebrity attention outside of the show. She immediately followed the show's finale by joining the cast of the ABC sitcom "Samantha Who?" as a supporting cast member under star Christina Applegate, staying on throughout its run from 2007 to 2009. In 2010, she began starring on the CBS sitcom "Mike & Molly" opposite stand-up comedian Billy Gardell, for which she won an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.

The following year, McCarthy achieved massive mainstream success with her supporting performance in the 2011 comedy film "Bridesmaidsstarring Kristen Wiig. McCarthy's work even earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar Nomination! It was then that she and her producers knew she was headed for the big time. 

Mainstream Success and Recent Work

Her performance in "Bridesmaids" get nominated for an Oscar as well a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA and dozens of critics' groups' awards. Immediately after her nomination, McCarthy was invited to host "Saturday Night Live" for the first time in 2011, a performance for which she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Star in a Comedy Series. 

McCarthy also won the 2012 Comedy Award in addition to taking starring roles in the films "Identity Thief" and "The Heat." McCarthy has also had supporting character roles in a number of films including "Life As We Know It," "The Nines," "Charlie's Angels" and "The Hangover Part III" over the course of those next several years.

Now, she is married and has two children with comedian and fellow "Groundling" Ben Falcone. As of 2017, she has appeared on "Saturday Night Live" several more times and most recently received much acclaim for her portrayal of Trump press secretary Sean Spicer's irate behavior during weekly press briefings.