You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Walk of Fame Honor: Melissa McCarthy Spies Some Luck In Her Life

Laughter-filled upbringing gave comedy star go-for-broke confidence

When it comes to comedy, Melissa McCarthy admits she was “hit with a lucky stick.”

Growing up in Illinois, the actress says she was always surrounded by funny people, particularly women. “And a bunch of funny men who think women are really funny – I didn’t grow up with a sense that people thought any differently,” she says.

The actress and comedienne has gone on to become one of comedy’s brightest stars and will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 19. That’s the same week her movie “Spy” opens, a romp in which she plays a CIA agent who gets out from behind the desk for her first time to go undercover.

Kristen Wiig, who starred in “Bridesmaids” with McCarthy, says, “Working with Melissa doesn’t ever seem like work … at all. We always laugh so much and have the best time. She is so incredibly good at what she does and has such a unique voice, I find when I’m doing a scene with her I want to just watch!”

Spy” is written and directed by Paul Feig, who cast McCarthy in her breakout role in 2011’s “Bridesmaids.” That film not only made $288 million worldwide, but also earned her an Academy Award nomination for supporting actress and launched McCarthy into a string of hit features, including “Identity Thief,” “The Heat” and “Tammy.”

The Feig-McCarthy collaborations have become something of a touchstone for supporters of gender parity in comedy. Feig has been vocal in his preference for female-driven humor. “Melissa can say ‘fuck’ a thousand times and it’s poetry,” Feig told Variety earlier this year. “A group of guys being bawdy and dirty and nuts, and a group of women being the same way, is a completely different feel.”

Lovable, go-for-broke characters were a staple of McCarthy’s early years in Los Angeles, where she trained and performed with the prestigious improv and sketch group the Groundlings, cradle of such comedy luminaries as Wiig and Will Ferrell.

Jim Rash, a fellow Groundling who worked on stage with McCarthy, tells Variety, “You just hope you can keep up.

“You just have to fight in the best possible way to be in this space because she’s hard not to watch. She’s not just funny, she’s specific, so you’re just hoping the audience sort of glances over at you for two seconds. And that’s the best possible person to be on stage with because it just makes you better.”

Success in films like “Go” and “Charlie’s Angels” followed, along with seven seasons on the WB program “The Gilmore Girls.”

When that series ended, McCarthy said she was interested in returning to TV. “But I wanted to do the lead in a half-hour comedy and I didn’t know what my options would be,” she says.

In 2010, Chuck Lorre created “Mike & Molly,” a romance between two people who meet in an Overeaters Anonymous group. McCarthy landed the title role of Molly and won an Emmy Award for it.

For now, audiences can catch McCarthy on the bigscreen, doing her best James Bond. “It was so incredibly fun,” she says of playing an action hero. “We had the freedom to do anything we wanted, full out, to never feel embarrassed or silly for trying it. It was truly a joy.”

Tip Sheet
WHAT: Melissa McCarthy receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
WHEN: 11 a.m., May 19
WHERE: 6927 Hollywood Blvd.
WEB: walkoffame.com

More Scene

  • Kiernan Shipka and Ross LynchMTV Movie

    MTV Movie & TV Awards: What You Didn't See on TV

    Many of the biggest stars in movies and television — including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kiernan Shipka, Sandra Bullock, Tessa Thompson and Brie Larson — came together to present and receive honors at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards, hosted by “Shazam!” star Zachary Levi. And while non-attendees are able to enjoy [...]

  • Dan Stevens

    'Legion' Star Dan Stevens Says His Character Would Fight Thanos, 'Wreak Havoc' in MCU

    Dan Stevens said his powerful, telepathic mutant Legion would do some serious damage if he ever crossed over from the eponymous FX series into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Legion would wreak havoc. He’d probably take on Thanos, let’s see that,” he told Variety on the red carpet at the premiere of the trippy, mind-bending superhero series [...]

  • Anthony Anderson LADF

    Why Anthony Anderson and Billie Jean King are Giving Back with the Dodgers Foundation

    Celebrities and athletes came together at the Dodgers Foundation Blue Diamond Gala to celebrate the team’s commitment to supporting youth and to catch a glimpse of the event’s headliner: Bruno Mars. Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss were honored at the fifth annual event, which raised over $3 million for programs benefiting Los Angeles youth. [...]

  • Shia LaBeouf poses at the premiere

    Shia LaBeouf to Host Birthday Fundraiser for Slauson Rec. Theater Company

    Shia LaBeouf is celebrating his 33rd birthday by giving back. The actor, who turned 33 on June 11, will host a fundraising concert later this month for the Slauson Rec Theater Company, a 10-month-old free performing arts program he co-founded in downtown Los Angeles. The night will also include a preview of the Slauson Rec [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content