Melissa McCarthy has quickly become one of our all-time favorite actresses. The brunette beauty is smart, hilarious, super-sweet and totally relatable, and there's nothing we love more than cheering her on. In honor of her birthday on Aug. 26, 2020, Wonderwall.com is celebrating the Illinois native and former stand-up comedian, who started her career as a member of The Groundlings improv troupe, by rounding up her biggest career moments. Keep reading to take a look back at Melissa's greatest hits…
Melissa McCarthy officially arrived in 2000. That year, she appeared in films "Drowning Mona," "The Kid" and "Charlie's Angels." She also portrayed Sookie St. James in the pilot episode of "Gilmore Girls." Melissa would go on to star as the bubbly chef on the hit TV drama until its conclusion in 2007. (She later briefly popped up on the 2016 Netflix reboot "Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life.")
From 2007 to 2009, Melissa McCarthy starred as Dena Stevens, the socially awkward childhood pal of Christina Applegate's Samantha Newly, on "Samantha Who?" Christina scored two Emmy nominations for her work on the short-lived but well-reviewed sitcom, which lasted just two seasons.
"Mike & Molly" debuted in September 2010. Melissa McCarthy starred as fourth grade teacher Molly Flynn, a woman who falls for a police officer after they meet at a Chicago Overeaters Anonymous group. The hit sitcom ran for six seasons until May 2016.
Melissa McCarthy scored her major movie breakthrough in May 2011 when she starred as Megan Price, the hilarious and crude sister of the groom, in "Bridesmaids." The comedy earned rave reviews, countless award nominations and more than $288 million at the worldwide box office against a production budget of $32.5 million. It also made Melissa a household name.
In September 2011, first-time nominee Melissa McCarthy won the Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy series for her work on "Mike & Molly." Since then, she's scored seven more Emmy nominations — multiple nods for both best lead actress in a comedy series for her work on "Mike & Molly" as well as for her work while visiting "Saturday Night Live" — and won in 2017 for her guest-hosting performance on "SNL."
In 2012, Melissa McCarthy officially became an Oscar nominee. The funnywoman was nominated in the best supporting actress category — in which performances in dramas are typically recognized — for her work in the comedy "Bridesmaids."
In February 2013, Melissa McCarthy starred opposite Jason Bateman in "Identify Thief." She played the titular criminal in the comedy, which opened in the No. 1 spot at the box office and grossed nearly $175 worldwide despite garnering mostly negative reviews. (A few months later, she had a brief but memorable role as Alan's love interest, pawnshop employee Cassie, in "The Hangover Part III.")
In June 2013, Melissa McCarthy starred as Boston Detective Shannon Mullins opposite Sandra Bullock's FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn in the buddy-cop comedy "The Heat." The film earned mostly positive reviews and grossed nearly $230 million at the global box office.
In July 2014, Melissa McCarthy was immortalized with a hand and footprint ceremony at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre) in Hollywood. Only the biggest names in the biz are honored by placing their hands and feet in cement to adorn the courtyard of the famed theater and tourist attraction.
In July 2014, Melissa McCarthy made her feature-film writing debut with "Tammy," which she also starred in and produced. Her husband and frequent collaborator, Ben Falcone, co-wrote and briefly appeared in the comedy, which marked his directorial debut. Despite generally negative reviews, "Tammy" performed well at the box office and grossed $100.5 million worldwide against its $20 million production budget.
In October 2014, Melissa McCarthy starred as a single mom whose son befriends a curmudgeonly neighbor in "St. Vincent." The well-reviewed comedy-drama grossed $54.8 million at the global box office and earned a Golden Globe nomination for best comedy or musical.
In May 2015, Melissa McCarthy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a distinction reserved for only the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
In June 2015, Melissa McCarthy starred as Agent Susan Cooper in "Spy." The hit comedy, in which the Emmy winner starred as a highly competent but undervalued CIA analyst, scored a 94 percent fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $235.6 million at the global box office.
In 2016, Melissa McCarthy scored her first Golden Globe nomination. She was nominated in the best actress in a comedy or musical category for her work in "Spy."
In January 2016, Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone teamed up again for "The Boss." The funnywoman co-wrote, produced and starred in the comedy, which her hubby co-wrote, produced and directed. (Ben also had a small role in the film, in which Melissa starred as businesswoman Michelle Darnell, who attempts to revamp her image and reclaim her wealth after she's imprisoned for insider trading.) Like "Tammy," "The Boss" performed well at the box office despite generally negative reviews. It grossed $77.9 million against its $29 million production budget.
For the 2016 "Ghostbusters" remake, Melissa McCarthy starred as scientist Abby Yates alongside fellow comedians Leslie Jones, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon. The movie grossed almost $230 million worldwide, but with the movie's large production and publicity budget, it was considered a box-office failure.
For six seasons, Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardel starred on the CBS sitcom "Mike & Molly." In January 2016, the network announced that the current season would be its last, which seemed to be a surprise to both fans and the stars of the show. "I was shocked and heartbroken when @CBS canceled #MikeAndMolly. I would have shot this show for 50 more years. I'll miss my 2nd family," Melissa shared on Twitter the day the news came out. A few months later, she reprised her role as Sookie St. James on Netflix's "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" ever so briefly due to scheduling conflicts.
In early 2017, Melissa McCarthy debuted her version of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on "Saturday Night Live." After earning widespread praise for her performance, she made multiple appearances as Sean throughout the spring before the real Sean Spicer left his job in the summer of 2017. Melissa's perfect rendition of Sean — the wig! the podium! — will definitely go down as one of her best (if briefest) roles.
Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy partnered up again for the May 2018 comedy "Life of the Party." This is the third movie to be released under Ben and Melissa's joint entertainment production company, On the Day.
Cue the nominations! Melissa McCarthy's performance in 2018's "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" earned her a best actress nomination at the Academy Awards, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and SAG Awards. The biographical film saw Melissa playing Lee Israel, an author forging letters by famous authors and playwrights who had passed.
Next up for the star? Melissa McCarthy confirmed in February 2020 that her next role will be an iconic one. She'll be starring as Ursula in the live action remake of "The Little Mermaid."