Melissa McCarthy's 5 Greatest Performances. Happy Birthday to the Emmy Winner!


Happy birthday, Melissa McCarthy! The Plainfield, Illinois, native turns 48 today. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up five of the acclaimed actress and comedian’s most memorable performances on television and the big screen. McCarthy currently stars in R-rated puppet caper The Happytime Murders, now playing in theaters.

In ascending order, here are our picks for Melissa McCarthy’s 5 best performances.

5. Molly Flynn, Mike & Molly (2010-2016) 

McCarthy’s star rapidly launched into the stratosphere following the release of Bridesmaids in 2011. She was already appearing on television sets nationwide on CBS’ Mike & Molly playing schoolteacher-turned-writer Molly Flynn. She memorably won a Primetime Emmy for Best Actress in a Comedy Series in 2011 for an improvised beauty pageant mock-up.

4. Sookie St. James,  Gilmore Girls (2000-2016)

For seven seasons, McCarthy charmed audiences as Stars Hollow’s resident culinary genius and best friend to Lauren Graham‘s Lorelai. By the time Netflix revived the drama for a four-part event called Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, McCarthy had become a bona fide movie star. Still, she appeared in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo. McCarthy has since said she has no plans to revisit the character.

3. Susan Cooper, Spy (2015) 

Paul Feig‘s smart, exciting, gleefully R-rated homage/mockery of the Bond franchise gave McCarthy the best leading role of her career so far. She’s at her most sympathetic and hilarious as long-suffering, highly qualified CIA agent Susan Cooper. A highlight of the tremendously funny picture is McCarthy’s insult-laden exchanges with another female comedic virtuoso, Rose Byrne. Feig and McCarthy bring out the best in each other, and Spy 2 can’t come soon enough.

This role earned McCarthy a Golden Globe nod for Best Actress (Musical or Comedy).

Related: 5 Of the Best Female-Driven Spy Movies of All Time

2. Sean Spicer, Saturday Night Live (2017) 

Twitter and other social media went bananas when McCarthy made her first surprise appearance as former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer in 2017. From lines like “I’m here to swallow gum and I’m here to take names,” to prop comedy with a Moana doll, to that weaponized podium, McCarthy’s “Spicey” was instantly hailed as comedy gold.

This sketch became so popular and widely seen that now it’s hard to hear the word “spicy” in everyday life without thinking “Spicey!” Audiences and critics were quick to get the Emmy buzz out there, and lo and behold McCarthy won her second trophy, for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series, in September 2017.

1. Megan Price, Bridesmaids (2011) 

She works for the government, she loves Wilson Phillips, and she bought an 18-wheeler just because she could. Our choice for Melissa McCarthy’s most unforgettable role is Megan, the scene-stealing bridesmaid from Paul Feig’s near-masterpiece about female rivalry and friendship. The actress’s real-life husband Ben Falcone appeared as “Not Air Marshal John,” whom Megan invited to the restroom to “not rest.”

One of the most extraordinary, bizarre, screamingly funny comedic performances by an actress in a supporting role since Madeline Kahn‘s work in Blazing Saddles, this role earned McCarthy nods for an Academy Award, a SAG Award and a BAFTA.

McCarthy is one of the best improvisers in film comedy today. If you haven’t watched her in the outtakes and bloopers on the Bridesmaids Blu-ray and DVD, you must. You’ll laugh until it hurts, and you’ll also just marvel reverently at her astonishing raw talent.

From STX Films, The Happytime Murders is now playing nationwide. Happy Birthday, Melissa!

What is your all-time favorite Melissa McCarthy moment? Let us know in the comments!

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