Melissa McCarthy (born August 26, 1970) is an American actress and comedian.
She debuted in film in 1998 and continued to play character roles. From 2001 to 2007, she played Sookie St. James on the The WB television series Gilmore Girls
. From 2007 to 2009 she played Dena on the ABC sitcom Samantha Who?. She currently stars in the CBS sitcom Mike & Molly, for which she earned an Emmy Award
. In 2011, she starred in the film Bridesmaids.
McCarthy, a cousin of actress Jenny McCarthy
, was born in Plainfield, Illinois, the daughter of Sandy and Michael McCarthy. She was raised on a farm, in a "big, Irish-Catholic family". She graduated from St. Francis Academy (now Joliet Catholic Academy) in Joliet, Illinois. Her career started with stand-up comedy and includes film, television and theater. McCarthy is an alumna of The Groundlings, an improvisational and sketch comedy troupe based in Los Angeles, California.