Megan Mullally (born November 12, 1958) is an American actress, singer and media personality.

After working in the theatre in Chicago, Mullally moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and began to appear in several small roles in film and television productions. She made her Broadway debut in 1994 and she has since appeared in several Broadway musicals since, such as Grease and Young Frankenstein.

From 1998 until 2006, she played Karen Walker on the TV sitcom Will & Grace. She won two Emmy Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards for her performance, and was nominated four times for a Golden Globe Award.

From 2006 until early 2007, Mullally hosted the talk show The Megan Mullally Show, but it was cancelled due to poor ratings. She has since appeared in guest roles in several television programs such as Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Boston Legal and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Mullally appeared in the second season of Party Down. She's currently starring on Adult Swim's Childrens Hospital as Chief.

Early life

Mullally was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of Martha (née Palmer), a model, and Carter Mullally, Jr., an actor who was a contract player with Paramount Pictures during the 1950s.[1] Mullally moved to her father's native Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, at the age of seven.[2] She studied ballet from the age of six and performed in a ballet company during high school. She spent her summers in Los Angeles because of her mother's work.[3]

Following her graduation from Casady School, she attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois; she went on to study English Literature and Art History but after two years she dropped out. However, she became active in local theaters. She worked in Chicago theater for six years.



Mullally moved to Los Angeles in 1981. After two weeks as a client with the William Morris Agency, she began appearing in bit parts in films and television, such as Murder, She Wrote with Angela Lansbury. She made her series debut in The Ellen Burstyn Show and guest starred in popular sitcoms such as Seinfeld, Frasier, Wings, Ned and Stacey, Mad About You, and Just Shoot Me!. She auditioned unsuccessfully for the role of Elaine on Seinfeld; Julia Louis-Dreyfus was cast.

In 1998, Mullally began the role of Karen Walker, Grace Adler's shrill-voiced, pill-popping, eccentric assistant in the NBC sitcom Will & Grace. She won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2000 and 2006, and was nominated in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005. She twice won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, in 2002 and 2003, and with cast members Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, and Sean Hayes, she shared the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2000. She was nominated each year from 2000 until 2003, for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film. Although her own voice has a fairly high range, she developed an exaggeratedly high one for the character. However, in the pilot episode of the series, she used her real voice. Will & Grace ended in May 2006.

In 2005, Mullally "discovered" comedian and actor Bill Hader while he was with the troupe "Animals From The Future," bringing Hader to the attention of Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels.

Following Will & Grace, Mullally hosted her own talk show, The Megan Mullally Show, which was launched in September 2006. It was canceled in early 2007 due to poor ratings.[4][5]

Mullally was the host of the 2006 TV Land Awards. She has been featured in advertisements for M&M's candies, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, and the website CheapTickets. Mullally has a voice cameo as the mother of Neil Patrick Harris' character in a recurring role on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, and guest starred on Campus Ladies. She was in one episode of the drama Boston Legal in 2007.

On July 3, 2008, Mullally appeared in an episode of Kathy Griffin's My Life on the D-List, and appeared on NBC's hit show 30 Rock on October 30 in the episode "Do-Over," alongside her friend Tina Fey. Mullally played a social worker who works for an adoptive agency who made Liz Lemon (Fey) jump through hoops to prove she was qualified to adopt a child.

Starting March 2009, Mullally co-starred in the ABC sitcom In the Motherhood, where she acts out real-life stories submitted by mothers. The final episode of the short-lived sitcom aired on June 25, 2009.[6]

Mullally guest-starred in the Parks and Recreation episode "Ron and Tammy" as Tammy, ex-wife of her real-life husband, Nick Offerman, who plays "Ron Swanson" on the show.[7] She starred in the ensemble comedy series Party Down.

Theater and music

Debut and early years

She made her Broadway debut in 1994 in a revival of Grease in the role of Marty, with Rosie O'Donnell and later appeared in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with Matthew Broderick. She is heard in the cast albums of both productions.

In Los Angeles, she has appeared in her own one-woman show, Sweetheart, in 1999; in Charles L. Mee's The Berlin Circle, for which she won both the LA Weekly Theater Award and the Back Stage West Garland Award in 2000; and in Kelly Stuart's Mayhem in 2003. She is a member of the Evidence Room theater company.

Mullally starred in the Mel Brooks musical, Young Frankenstein, as Elizabeth. The role was made famous by Madeline Kahn in the original film. She is featured on the cast album and performs "Please Don't Touch Me," "Deep Love," and "Surprise." Her character is the wealthy fiancée of the title character, Dr. "Fronkensteen", who breaks her engagement with Frankenstein after falling in love with his monster. Her co-stars included Tony Award-winners Roger Bart, Sutton Foster, Andrea Martin, and Shuler Hensley. Rehearsals for the production began in June 2007 and a pre-Broadway run opened to mixed reviews in Seattle, Washington. The show premiered after previews on November 8, 2007. Mullally performed her final performance at the Foxwoods Theatre (then the Hilton Theatre) on August 3, 2008 to focus on the new television series in which she will play the role of Alicia Silverstone's mother.[8] Michele Ragusa took over the role of Elizabeth following Mullally's departure.

Lips Together, Teeth Apart controversy

Mullally had been set to star as Chloe Haddock in Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of the 1991 play Lips Together, Teeth Apart,[9] opening on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre on April 29, 2010. However, on March 24, Mullally left the production two weeks into rehearsals. Although the company's artistic director Todd Haimes did announce that he was "surprised and disappointed" about Mullally's departure, neither he nor Mullally offered a statement to explain her departure. The New York Times however reported that it happened when director Joe Mantello denied her request that co-star Patton Oswalt, in his theatrical debut, be replaced due to his lack of stage experience. Other sources cite tensions between Mantello and Mullally[10] The production was officially postponed and eventually canceled.[11] (In 2002, Mullally also left a production of He Hunts due to "irreconcilable scheduling conflicts.")[12]


Mullally is also a singer and performs in her own group called The Supreme Music Program.[citation needed] The band has released three albums, The Sweetheart Break-In, Big as a Berry and Free Again!.[citation needed] She recorded a duet with Carly Simon on the track The Right Thing To Do for the Will & Grace: Let the Music Out! soundtrack.[citation needed] The third album from the SMP was originally titled The Many Moods… Vol, 1. However, the title was changed before going to print.[citation needed] The third album, Free Again!, was released online on July 28, 2007.[citation needed] She also had recorded with Meat Loaf.[citation needed]

Karen, the musical

She is scheduled to star in a new Broadway musical entitled Karen: The Musical. This musical will have Mullally reprising her role of Karen Walker from Will & Grace. Mullally said the show may also involve the Will & Grace recurring guest star Leslie Jordan in his role as Beverley Leslie.[13]


Her feature film debut was as a call girl in Risky Business, and she has parts in Stealing Harvard, Anywhere but Here and Rebound. She also is a voice actress who has done work on several cartoons, such as the 1990s version The Flintstones, Batman: The Animated Series, King of the Hill, the Disney feature film Teacher's Pet, and the Dreamworks film Bee Movie. She also had a role in the 2001 film Monkeybone, as the sister of the character played by Brendan Fraser. Mullally played a voice instructor in the film remake of Fame.[14]

Personal life

In 1999, Mullally commented in an interview in The Advocate magazine, "I consider myself bisexual, and my philosophy is, everyone innately is."[15]

Her first marriage, in the mid-1990s, was to talent agent Michael Katcher.[citation needed] In 2003, Mullally married actor Nick Offerman, who guest-starred on Will & Grace during its fourth season and is currently in the cast of the 2009-commenced NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation. Mullally appears in "Ron and Tammy", episode 2.8 of Parks and Recreation, playing Tammy, Ron's conniving ex-wife.



  • Megan Mullally, Biography Resource Center Online. Gale Group, 1999.
  • Jamie Painter Young, Clowning Glory. Back Stage. 19 Dec. 2003: B-38.

External links

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