|November 12, 1958|
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Megan Mullally was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 12, 1958 to parents Carter Mullally, Jr., a Paramount contract actor, and Martha, a model. At the age of six, the family moved to her father's hometown of Oklahoma City, OK where she studied ballet and performed with Ballet Oklahoma. During the summers, Mullally divided her time between traveling with her mother to Los Angeles, and furthering her ballet studies at the School of American Ballet in New York City. After graduating from the Casady School, Mullally attended Northwestern University in Illinois, where she focused on English literature and art history before leaving to pursue a career as a performer. In the Chicago area, Mullally became a fixture on the local theater scene, regularly appearing in productions over the next several years, during which time she made her feature film debut with a small role in the Tom Cruise breakout hit "Risky Business" (1983). In 1985, Mullally relocated to L.A. and was soon landing small roles in films like "Once Bitten" (1985), starring Jim Carrey, and "About Last Night..." (1986), featuring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. Mullally then landed what should have been a breakthrough role - as the divorced daughter of a best-selling author who returns to live with her mother and grandmother on the short-lived sitcom "The Ellen Burstyn Show" (ABC, 1986-87). Following the show's demise, Mullally made the rounds with guest spots on various television programs like "Murder She Wrote" (CBS, 1984-1996), before being cast as a regular on two more failed series - "My Life and Times" (ABC, 1990-91) and "Rachel Gunn, R.N." (Fox, 1991-92).
While her television career may have been limping along, Mullally did manage to achieve her life-long dream of appearing on Broadway with the revival of the musical "Grease" (1994), starring in the role of Marty alongside Rosie O'Donnell's Rizzo. The following year, she joined the cast of another revival, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (1995), as demure secretary Rosemary Pilkington, who finds love with J. Pierpont Finch (Matthew Broderick). When she returned to Los Angeles, Mullally appeared in "Winchell" (HBO, 1998), as the celebrity journalist's long-suffering wife, before she would at last join the cast of a bona fide breakout hit series and a groundbreaking series featuring a gay character as co-lead - "Will & Grace" (1998-2006). As Karen Walker, the boozy, brassy and wealthy assistant to Debra Messing's Grace Adler, Mullally stole every scene she was in. Along with co-star Sean Hayes as Jack, the outrageously self-obsessed best friend of Eric McCormack's Will Truman, Mullally's character became just as integral to the sitcom's success as the show's two leads. Mullally would go on to win two Emmy Awards for her unpredictable, riotous portrayal of Karen in 2000, and again in 2006. During the run of the series, Mullally maintained an exceptionally busy schedule, finding time to appear in several feature films, including the dismal Brendan Fraser comedy "Monkeybone" (2001), "Stealing Havard" (2002), starring Tom Green and Jason Lee, as well as "Rebound" (2005), featuring Martin Lawrence. Following the bittersweet end of "Will & Grace" Mullally made a brief foray as host of her own daytime talk show with "The Megan Mullally Show" (syndicated, 2006-07); the chat-fest, however, was cancelled mid-season.
Mullally then made a return to the stage in the Broadway production of the musical adaptation of Mel Brooks' classic comedy "Young Frankenstein" (2007) as the mad doctor's fiancée, Elizabeth, the role originated on screen by the great Madeline Kahn, whose skill-set she shared in many ways. She also lent her voice to Jerry Seinfeld's animated feature "Bee Movie" (2007), and in 2008 made a hilarious guest appearance on her friend Tina Fey's "Saturday Night Live"-inspired comedy "30 Rock" (NBC, 2006- ). Mullally took another shot at starring in an ongoing series with "In the Motherhood" (ABC, 2008-09). A show that attempted to mine comedy from real-life anecdotes about child-rearing, it was a failed experiment and was soon cancelled. Around the same time, Mullally had a terrific turn on "Parks & Recreation" (NBC, 2008- ) as the manipulative ex-wife of the curmudgeonly Ron Swanson, played by Mullally's real-life husband, Nick Offerman. In 2009, Mullally joined the cast of the catering comedy "Party Down" (Starz, 2008-2010) for its second and final season. In "Fame" (2009), an unnecessary and largely ignored remake of the popular 1980 original film, Mullally played a vocal coach at the famous NYC School for the Performing Arts. The following year, she joined the cast of the off-the-wall medical drama spoof "Childrens Hospital" (Cartoon Network, 2010- ) as "Chief," the handicapped head of staff at the titular health facility. After voicing a couple different characters on the animated series "Bob's Burger" (Fox, 2011- ), she had a notable guest turn as a rival talk show host on the sitcom "Up All Night" (NBC, 2011- ), starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett.