Actress and writer Mindy Kaling first rose to fame on the workplace sitcom The Office in 2005. She earned six Emmy Award nominations for her work on the series. In 2011, Kaling published her memoir Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, which became a best seller. She debuted her own television series, The Mindy Project, the following year.
Early Life and Career
Born on June 24, 1979, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mindy Kaling is one of television's funniest talents. She wrote and acted in the hit sitcom The Office before creating her own popular series The Mindy Project. Kaling is the daughter of Indian immigrants. Both of her parents were professionals—her mother was a doctor and her father was an architect. According to US Weekly, her parents named her Mindy after one of the lead characters in the sitcom Mork & Mindy, which starred Robin Williams and Pam Dawber.
In her best-selling memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Kaling describes herself as a sensitive and studious child. She was "a respectful and hardworking wallflower," she wrote. Kaling seemed to come out of her shell once she got to Dartmouth College, however. She created her own comic strip, "Badly Drawn Girl," and performed with the Dog Day Players, an improv group. Kaling even took a semester off to intern for Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Kaling had her first taste of comedic success with the play Matt and Ben. She wrote and starred in this celebrity spoof about actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon writing the screenplay for the movie Good Will Hunting. Kaling played Damon, and Brenda Withers, Kaling's friend from Dartmouth, played Ben Affleck. The show was staged in New York City and in Los Angeles. During its Los Angeles run, producer Greg Daniels caught the show and later offered Kaling a job on his new sitcom.
Daniels was developing an American version of the popular British comedy series The Office, and Kaling joined the show as both a writer and an actress. The series debuted in 2005, with Kaling playing Kelly Kapoor, a talkative, pop-culture-obsessed customer-service rep. Kelly also spent a lot of time ruminating over her relationship with her co-worker Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak). Offscreen, Kaling and Novak dated for a time and still remain good friends.
The Office, which also starred Steve Carell and John Krasinski, went on to become a huge hit. Kaling received six Emmy Award nominations as a writer and a producer of the show.
'The Mindy Project' and Other Projects
Bolstered by her success on The Office, Kaling went on to develop her own series, The Mindy Project, which debuted in the fall of 2012. The show made TV history as the first sitcom to star an Indian American. Kaling plays Dr. Mindy Lahiri, a single ob-gyn who is obsessed with romantic comedies. Her character must also cope with her quirky co-workers, including fellow doctor Danny (Chris Messina) and male nurse Morgan (Ike Barinholtz). The Fox show was canceled in May 2015, but Hulu picked it up to continue its fourth season.
In addition to writing, producing and starring in her own show, Kaling has tackled other projects as well. She's appeared in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Unaccompanied Minors, and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and has lent her voice to animated films like Wreck-It Ralph and Inside Out.
In addition to film work, Kaling has become one of Twitter's most popular personalities, with more than 3.8 million followers. She also published a collection of essays titled Why Not Me?, in the fall of 2015.
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