It may seem like Melissa McCarthy is a fresh face in Hollywood, but she's been paying her dues in the biz for more than two decades.
With her buzzworthy buddy movie "The Heat" hitting theaters this weekend and plenty of projects beckoning, McCarthy's fame appears to now be bulletproof — especially from pesky name callers.
Here are a few not-so-mainstream facts about the Plainfield, Illinois-born cutup to satisfy your need for more McCarthy:
A-list Support System: Famous Friends and Oscar-winners:
One of McCarthy's earliest supporters is/was high school friend and fashion designer Brian Atwood, who encouraged her to move to New York City and try stand-up comedy. Bonus fact: McCarthy and Atwood went through an “intense" goth phase in high school. "I think I just loved all of the pageantry of it," McCarthy said of her look, which included clunky combat boots and kabuki makeup.
Another famous friend is Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, with whom McCarthy shared screen time in an "Ask Al" segment for the "Weird Al" show long ago. The two are said to be collaborating on a couple writing projects. Spencer, who is garnering another round of award season buzz with this year's festival hit “Fruitvale Station,” recently told Yahoo! Movies that if anyone can handle intense and sometimes nonsensical media scrutiny, it’s McCarthy.
"I think we expect it in our business but I know Melissa, she is worthy of all the attention she’s getting," Spencer said. "She's a gifted writer, producer, actress, mom, friend, all of the above and if anybody can handle it it's Melissa McCarthy. Trust me, she can handle it."
[Watch Weekend Picks: Get the Lowdown on 'White House Down' and 'The Heat']
Surprisingly, McCarthy’s career in stand-up was short-lived. She found her comedic calling when she moved cross-country and auditioned to be a part of the famous LA improv troupe, The Groundlings, which led to future friendships with fellow famous funny ladies Kristen Wiig, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Annie Mumalo (co-writer of "Bridesmaids," which put McCarthy on the map), as well as her first meeting with her future husband …
Her Real-life 'Bridesmaids' Love
McCarthy’s real-life husband is Ben Falcone, aka her hard-to-get Air Marshall love interest Jon from "Bridesmaids.” The couple met in 1998 at a Groundlings writing class and married in 2005. They have two daughters Vivian, 6, and Georgette, 3, and recently announced the arrival of another new addition to their family, albeit one of the professional, career-enhancing variety. Which leads us to…
Plans For A Hollywood Takeover 'On the Day'
Earlier this year McCarthy and Falcone announced they had started a production company, On the Day, and are already hard at work on three feature films. According to McCarthy, the name On the Day comes from a phrase she utters often when people ask to rehearse a lot before shooting: "Whenever someone wants to really rehearse a part, I always say, 'Oh, on the day, on the day it will be fine.'"
If McCarthy ever tires of the acting/producing gig, she could consider a career in interior design or home renovation. She recently admitted that she is "bonkers" about construction and home renovation in an interview with Parade Magazine, a hobby she shares with her "Heat" co-star Sandra Bullock.
"The minute they’d say, 'And cut,' we’d bolt to our little chairs, flip open our iPads, and look at magazines," Bullock has said of their shared interest. "'I’m tearing down a wall; do you think we should do the window here?’ We’re kindred spirits in that world. If we had a beer den, with Barcaloungers—but our version of that—it’d be great."
Bonus fact (in case you don't already know this one): Melissa McCarthy and actress/comedian/TV host Jenny McCarthy are related; they are first cousins. Melissa briefly worked on Jenny's short-lived NBC show. And as awesomely protective cousins do, Jenny was one of many to publicly criticize film critic Rex Reed for his uncouth rant against McCarthy. Cousins rule.
Watch 'The Heat' Theatrical Trailer: