Actress and comedian Melissa Rauch first wowed audiences with her one-woman show, The Miss Education of Jenna Bush, in 2005. She then appeared on such TV shows as Kim & Kath and True Blood before landing the role of Bernadette in the popular sitcom Big Bang Theory in 2009. Rauch also co-wrote and starred in the 2015 comedy The Bronze.
Early Life and Career
Born on June 23, 1980, in Marlboro, New Jersey, actress Melissa Rauch appears as Bernadette on one of TV's most beloved comedies Big Bang Theory. She dreamed of becoming an actress as a child. As she explained to Back Stage, she grew up attending an arts summer camp: "I remember being, like 7 or 8 and being on stage . . . and thinking, 'This is the best feeling ever.'" Rauch also loved performing stand-up comedy at the camp's talent shows.
Rauch pursued her love of performing during her college years. She studied her craft at Marymount Manhattan College, earning her degree in 2002. Rauch worked as a stand-up comedian and eventually starred in her own one-woman show The Miss Education of Jenna Bush. This fictional look at former president George W. Bush's daughter put Rauch on the map in the comedy world. It enjoyed runs in New York and Los Angeles. In 2005, the production received the award for outstanding solo show at the New York Fringe Festival. She co-wrote the play with Winston Beigel, her writing partner whom she met in college and later married. (Beigel now goes by the name Winston Rauch.)
'Big Bang Theory'
On the small screen, Rauch started out as a commentator on VH1's Best Week Ever. She then landed work on such sitcoms as Kath & Kim in 2008. In 2010, Rauch had a recurring role in the popular supernatural saga True Blood. Her biggest break to date came from a guest part on Big Bang Theory. Originally her character, Bernadette Rosenkowski, was also meant to make a brief appearance in the show's third season. But the petite blond aspiring microbiologist won over audiences and became a series regular in the show's fourth season.
In the sitcom, Bernadette becomes involved with fellow scientist Howard Wolowitz (Simon Helberg), a friend of the show's two main stars Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard (Johnny Galecki). Working as a waitress to pay for her schooling, she also befriends Penny (Kaley Cuoco). Bernadette finished her Ph.D. and married Howard over the next few seasons. Rauch explained to the Huffington Post that playing a genius like Bernadette has been a learning experience. "There's science information that's given to me in each script that are things I never thought I would learn. . .My character did experiments with rhesus monkeys. I didn't even know that rhesus monkeys existed."
Projects Beyond the 'Big Bang Theory'
In addition to her work on Big Bang Theory, Rauch has continued to perform live comedy with the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. She and some other comedians reenacted reality television in The Realest Real Housewives. Rauch has also lent her voice to a number of animated series, including Sofia the First.
On the big screen, Rauch and her husband co-wrote and co-produced the 2015 independent comedy The Bronze. Rauch also starred in the project along with Gary Cole and Sebastian Stan.
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