“Nothing’s more charming than someone who doesn’t take herself too seriously.”— Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy’s rise to the top of comedy scene was a slow but great build, as every small role was a glimpse of what was soon to come. She didn’t burst onto the scene, but had to work hard to get to where she is today—one of the biggest names in Hollywood and a go-to comedian for just about any movie. It looks like she’s starting to pull a Steve Carell, making the transition to more serious roles, where she’ll no doubt shine, but here’s hoping no matter how dramatic the films may be, she doesn’t shy away from throwing in a joke here or there! Here are 42 side-splitting facts about Melissa McCarthy.
42. Project Runway
With someone as talented and funny as McCarthy, it’s surprising that comedy was never part of her original life plan. The actress was initially interested in fashion and studied clothing and textiles at Southern Illinois University. She would drop out before graduating and move to New York with plans to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, but her friend Atwood had other plans for her.
41. Not Enough Shelf Space
McCarthy has been nominated for an Emmy award eight times, three times for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Mike & Molly, and five times for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Saturday Night Live. She’s won twice, once for each show, getting the hardware on her first nomination for Mike & Molly and on her latest nomination for SNL.
40. Friends to the End
McCarthy and popular shoe designer Brian Atwood have been best friends since high school, after meeting each other at a motel party. McCarthy knew that Atwood was into fashion, and they instantly hit it off after she sparked up a conversation about fabric, asking him where he gets his.
39. Voice Work
She voiced the villain DNAmy in three episodes of the popular kid’s animated show Kim Possible, in 2002, 2004 and 2005.
38. Why Buy It When You Can Make It
Thanks to her fashion background, McCarthy designs the majority of the dresses she wears at award shows and premieres for her movies.
37. Origin Story
McCarthy got her comedy training as part of the world-famous Groundlings improv comedy troupe. It’s also where she first met Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, and Maya Rudolph, long before they would come together to make comedy gold in Bridesmaids.
36. Love Story
The Groundlings had a massive impact on McCarthy’s career, and her love life too, as she met her future husband and frequent collaborator, Ben Falcone there. He even got in on the Bridesmaids action and played the Air Marshall her character hits on.
35. My Schedule Is Wide Open
McCarthy can thank another actor’s busy schedule for helping her land her iconic role on Gilmore Girls. Alex Borstein was the first choice to play St. James, but due to scheduling conflicts with MADtv and Family Guy, she had to drop out, and McCarthy ended up with the part that would kick-start her career.
34. Blink and You’ll Miss It
Back when only Gilmore Girls fans knew who she was, McCarthy had a minor role on the show Curb Your Enthusiasm as a saleswoman that gets on Larry David’s nerves. Her performance was fine, but one can only imagine what it would be like today with the years of experience under her belt.
33. A Little Heads up Would Have Been Nice
In 2011, McCarthy and Joshua Jackson announced the nominees for various Emmy categories, but apparently, no one told her she was up for an award for Mike & Molly. When Jackson announced her name, she was genuinely shocked and so overcome with emotions that she could barely get through the rest of the nominees.
32. Trying Something New
McCarthy will try her hand at drama when she stars in the biopic Can You Ever Forgive Me? about famous forger Lee Israel later this year, and she’s also signed on to star in the mob movie The Kitchen with Tiffany Haddish. Either role could see her earn her second, and possibly third, Oscar nomination. Guess we’ll see!
31. Worth Every Penny
Thanks to hard work, successful roles and hilarious performances, Melissa McCarthy has built up a net worth of $60 million dollars, according to CelebrityNetWorth.com
30. A Dress for Every Occasion
She returned to her fashion roots in 2015 when she launched her own fashion line, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, which offers reasonably priced clothing options for women from size 4 to 28.
29. Family Business
Unlike Danny Glover and Donald Glover, Melissa and Jenny McCarthy are actually related—they’re cousins! Jenny even gave Melissa her first acting gig on her short-lived sketch show, The Jenny McCarthy Show.
28. Makeover: Diet Edition
After landing the role of Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls, McCarthy decided to go on an all-liquid diet that resulted in her losing 70 lbs (32 kg) in four months! According to McCarthy, she would never do it again because it drove her crazy, and she would rather have a beer and a burger than starve herself. I’m with ya there, Melissa!
27. Designer by Day, Nanny by Night
Like most actors, McCarthy had a few odd jobs here and there before finding success in the industry. At one point, she was living in Colorado making costumes for a dance company and working as a nanny.
26. Auditioning for Two
McCarthy didn’t let a little thing like a baby growing inside of her stop her from working. She was eight months pregnant with her second child when she auditioned for Mike & Molly, and still got the part.
25. Shake It Off
According to some higher-ups in the industry, being talented and funny isn’t enough to succeed in Hollywood. At least, that’s what one manager believed when he told McCarthy early on in her career that she would never find work if she didn’t lose weight. Obviously, that manager was wrong.
24. Why so Serious?
McCarthy is one of the few actors to be nominated for an Academy Award for a role in a comedy movie. She was nominated for her scene-stealing and breakout performance in Bridesmaids, but ended up losing to Octavia Spencer for her role in The Help.
23. Partner in Crime
McCarthy and her husband Falcone have found the perfect formula when it comes to making movies together. The couple has co-written three movies—Tammy, The Boss, and Life of the Party—that she stars in and he directs.
22. Adding to the Resume
McCarthy has yet to direct a movie, but she did jump behind the camera to direct four episodes of her hit show Mike & Molly.
21. Top of the List
McCarthy has appeared on Forbes’ highest paid actresses list a few times now, but her highest ranking came in 2016, when she made it to number two after earning $33 million dollars that year.
20. Winning Formula
The only director McCarthy has worked with more than her husband is Paul Feig, as the two have teamed up four times in their careers with Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy, and Ghostbusters.
19. A Star in More Ways Than One
On May 19, 2015, McCarthy was awarded the 2,252nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was accompanied by Ellen DeGeneres, Feig and Falcone during the ceremony. Not bad company, if you ask me!
18. People Who Live Together Shouldn’t Work Together
McCarthy may have a successful marriage with Falcone, but she has a much more successful career with Feig. The two films her husband directed—Tammy and The Boss—sit at a rotten 24% and 22%, respectively, on Rotten Tomatoes. On the other hand, the four films Feig has directed—Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy, and Ghostbusters—are certified fresh at 90%, 65%, 94%, and 73%, respectively, on the site. Hopefully, Falcone can get a win with Life of the Party later this year.
17. Mixing It up
McCarthy and Falcone got married in 2005, and McCarthy had a bit of an unorthodox group of bridesmaids. She included longtime friend Atwood in her wedding party as a bridesman.
16. Mommy’s Gotta Go to Work
McCarthy and Falcone have two daughters together, ten-year-old Vivian and 8-year-old Georgette. McCarthy didn’t wait long to get back to work after giving birth though, as she was on set filming the first season of Samantha Who? just three months after having Vivian, and waited just four months after having Georgette to film season one of Mike & Molly.
15. Farmer’s Daughter
McCarthy was born on August 26, 1970, and grew up on a farm in Plainfield, Illinois. When she wasn’t lending a hand in farm duties, she was creating imaginary worlds and characters with her sister to pass the time.
14. Saturday Night McCarthy
When it comes to hosting Saturday Night Live, McCarthy is part of the prestigious Five-Timers Club, and was nominated for an Emmy each time. She even became somewhat of a regular cast member in 2017, when she kept popping up to play former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
13. Classically Trained
McCarthy once tried out a career in stand up, but it didn’t last long, as she got sick of dealing with hecklers. She ended up transitioning to studying theatre, where she trained at The Actors Studio for a few years and even performed in a few stage productions.
12. Off to a Rough Start
McCarthy got her start in stand up comedy after moving to New York and being convinced by Atwood to give it a shot. She admits she had no clue what she was doing her first night, and ended up staying on stage telling weird stories for way longer than she was supposed to.
11. A Very Canadian Heist
In 2011, McCarthy and Mumolo sold a pitch to Paramount Pictures for a movie that has yet to be made and I can’t figure out why. The film would’ve starred McCarthy as a woman who tries to steal the Stanley Cup. Can someone at Paramount finance this movie already!
10. A Producer Needs a Company
McCarthy started her own production company, called On The Day Productions, with Falcone in 2013. They chose the name because apparently, McCarthy doesn’t like over-rehearsing, so she likes to tell actors who want to that “on the day it will be fine.” So far, the company has produced three of McCarthy’s movies, with more on the way.
9. Before They Were Famous
McCarthy’s first taste of the film industry came as a production coordinator for The Weird Al Show. She even appeared in a segment on the show with Octavia Spencer, where they portrayed “fans” and asked Weird Al questions. To be fair, who isn’t a fan of Weird Al?
8. No More Hand Outs
The production job allowed her to stop asking her parents and sister for money to pay her rent and other bills. Before that steady paycheck, McCarthy claims she couldn’t even take five dollars out of the ATM because her funds were that low! She definitely doesn’t have that issue anymore.
7. Guest Host
McCarthy was one of the guest hosts for Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2017 when he was away. One of her guests was Octavia Spencer and she revealed that the two have been friends for nearly 20 years. That Oscar loss must have been easier knowing she lost it to a friend.
6. From a Ray of Sunshine…
In high school, McCarthy was a preppy student, who kept busy with extracurricular activities like cheerleading, playing tennis and being on the student council. That is until one summer, when everything changed…
5. To a Cloud of Darkness
McCarthy did a complete 180 in high school and went through a Goth phase that would earn her the superlative of “Changed the Most in Four Years” in her high school yearbook. Her look consisted of blue and black hair shaved in patches and turtlenecks worn as pants (I don’t even know how that works). I guess if she’s going to go against the norm, shirts as pants is one way to do it!
4. Pass the Tissues
McCarthy was so overcome with emotions when she first spotted a billboard for her show Mike and Molly while driving down Santa Monica Boulevard that she had to pull over at a gas station and cry. Don’t worry, they were happy tears!
3. Save It for Halloween
McCarthy wanted to base her character Megan in Bridesmaids on TV personality Guy Fieri, as he was the first person she thought of when she read the part. But, rather than just draw inspiration from him, she tried to dress and look exactly like him, with the spiked white hair and everything! The idea got nixed immediately, though I’m curious as to how that would have turned out.
2. They Said What?
McCarthy admitted that she was “shocked and heartbroken” after her sitcom Mike & Molly was canceled after 6 seasons. After all, it was one of her first starring roles and she’d achieved much of her film success while still appearing on the show. One of the weirder rumors that was spread after the cancellation was that the show had been axed because McCarthy had lost too much weight after taking diet pills. These rumors were quickly disproven and found to have originated from—you guessed it—a manufacturer of diet pills.
1. The Prodigal Chef Returns
When it was announced that Gilmore Girls would return to screens, many people crossed their fingers that McCarthy would reprise her role as clumsy chef and loyal friend Sookie St. James. She was, after all, the cast member who had achieved the most meteoric rise to success since the show went off the air. After a tense tweet where McCarthy explained that she hadn’t actually been asked to return, she finally revealed on Ellen that she would indeed make it back to Stars Hollow. But when she was asked later how the filming went, she called it a “bloodbath.” Luckily, she wasn’t talking about behind-the-scenes drama and was just making a joke!
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