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Biography: Mindy Kalling

Mindy Kaling is a quadruple threat to be reckoned with.

Kaling is an actor, producer, writer and director on the critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning NBC show The Office. Additionally, she is a New York Times best-selling author and has recently written a pilot for FOX, which she will star in, write and executive produce.

Kaling can currently be seen on the eighth season of The Office, where she stars as Kelly Kapoor. She has written more than 18 episodes for the show, including Niagara, for which she received an Emmy nomination.

She has also ventured into directing and was recently named an executive producer of The Office. In 2009, she debuted as a director with the episode Subtle Sexuality.

In early 2004, Kaling was hired as a writer and performer for the American version of The Office. At first, executive producer Greg Daniels wasn’t sure where to use her on screen in the series, until a point in the episode Diversity Day required Steve Carell’s insensitive character, Michael Scott, to be slapped by a minority character. In a 2007 interview with The A.V. Club, Kaling stated that the Kelly character is “an exaggerated version of what I think the upper-level writers believe my personality is.”

The Office has been nominated for and has won multiple awards, including Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards, Television Critics Association Awards, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Emmy Awards. Kaling was singled out when she was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series  for the episode titled Branch Wars. This year, The Office was nominated for two SAG Awards, including Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. In 2011, Kaling and the writers of the show were nominated for a WGA Award for outstanding achievement in television writing for a comedy series.

In 2011, Kaling penned her first book, titled Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), which was published by the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. The book is a collection of comic essays detailing moments from a woman’s life, including everything from relationships to fashion, and was featured on the best-selling lists of The New York Times and USA Today. The New York Times stated that Kaling is “like Tina Fey’s cool little sister. Or perhaps…the next Nora Ephron.” The Daily Beast called the book “funny” and “witty,” and The Huffington Post described it as “something that avoids the common female memoir trap of being overly self-deprecating, yet still maintains a relatable quality to her character.”

Kaling was last seen on the big screen, opposite Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, in No Strings Attached. In the film, she played Portman’s roommate and a fellow medical student. Kaling’s performance received rave reviews and was singled out by The New York Times as the source of some of its best comic moments. She also starred alongside Ben Stiller and Amy Adams in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. She made her film debut as the object of Paul Rudd’s unwanted affections in the Judd Apatow-directed comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin. She then voiced the Tourist Mom character in the blockbuster animated comedy Despicable Me and also made an appearance as a waitress in the film Unaccompanied Minors. In 2007, she had a small part in License to Wed, starring fellow The Office actors John Krasinski, Angela Kinsey and Brian Baumgartner.

Kaling’s past television appearances include a 2005 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which she played Richard Lewis’ assistant. She further exemplified her comedic skills with her stand-up comedy featured on the CD Comedy Death-Ray and with a guest-writing credit for one episode of Saturday Night Live, in April 2006. In 2007, Kaling was featured on Rolling Stone’s Hot List as “Hot Hyphenate” for writing and acting on The Office, and again in 2009, as “Hot Network Hope” for her deal with NBC, and as one of Variety’s “10 Screenwriters to Watch.” She was featured in 2009 on Entertainment Weekly’s “The 25 Funniest Actresses in Hollywood” list.

Kaling is currently scribing The Low Self-Esteem of Lizzie Gillespie with fellow The Office writer Brent Forrester. In addition to co-writing the romantic comedy, she will executive produce and have a supporting role in the film.

On the side, Kaling writes about shopping in a blog called Things I Bought That I Love. Her Twitter feed was recently featured in Esquire under “Women We Love: The Endorsements—Things We Are Riveted by, Intrigued With, and Incapable of Not Adoring.”

Kaling currently resides in Los Angeles.

This biography/filmography of Mindy Kalling is courtesy of Universal Pictures, Relativity Media and The Five-Year Engagement

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