You may remember American actress Melissa Rauch best, who played the character Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory.
What you probably didn't know is that smoke is a triple threat. She is not only an actress but also a model and comedian. What has she been up to since the show ended in 2019?
Rauch was born on June 23, 1980 to parents Susan and David Rauch, a Jewish family living in Marlboro Township, New Jersey. In addition, the actress has a younger brother Ben Rauch.
In a quote fromIMDb, said Rauch: "It was clear to me very early on that I wanted to be an actor. I went to an arts camp called Brookdale Arts Camp in New Jersey from the age of 6 and was a consultant there until high school.”
His interest in acting continued while he attended Marlboro High School. His bat mitzvah even had a "Comedy Club" theme. Rauch attended Marymount Manhattan College, where he graduated in 2002 with a BFA.
While in college, Melissa did stand-up comedy in Manhattan and soon made a name for herself on the New York comedy scene. She had a one-woman show, "The Miss Education of Jenna Bush," which portrayed Jenna Bush Hager, the former president's daughter. The show has received critical and audience acclaim, many of its shows have sold out.
Some of Rauch's earliest work was featured on the TV show Best Week Ever VH1. She appeared in several films including Delirious, I Love You, Man and The Condom Killer before landing a role on the hit CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory.
Alongside these films, Rauch has appeared as a recurring character in a variety of television shows, including the sitcom Kath & Kim, the horror drama True Blood, and even the children's animated series Sofia the First.
A Teoria makes Big Bang
Arguably Rauch's most notable role was as the clever and intimidating Bernadette Maryann Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
Bernadette becomes a love interest for main character Howard Wolowitz, and the two eventually marry, have two children together, and move into Howard's childhood home over the course of the series.
The character Rauch, first introduced in Season 2, appeared in 209 episodes over the course of the series and became a sideline staple of the showJohnny Galecki,Kunal Nayyar,Simon Helberg,Kaley Cuocoe Jim Parsons.
Bernadette can be described as a feisty, ruthless, manipulative, and often competitive young woman with a high-pitched voice.
Despite her size, she is considered intimidating, primarily due to her sharpness, aggressive demeanor, and occasional signs of mania.
While auditioning for the role, Rauch explained that the outfit she wore in the audition essentially became the template for her character's costume.
Rauch revealed that he added glasses to his portrayal of Bernadette in his audition to set himself apart from the various actors who auditioned for the role.
"I wore glasses, although I didn't say Bernadette wore glasses," Rauch recalled. "There were so many girls at the audition, so I thought I had to do something different."
The writers appreciated this seemingly tiny assistance in her audition so much that she became an integral part of her character on the television series.
While Bernadette appears as one of the main recurring characters in The Big Bang Theory, many fans have had negative feelings about how her character has changed and evolved over the seasons.
TogetherRedditPage, fans said: "She was such a great character and she was so nice, but after she got married she just took the plunge out of nowhere." Many have referred to the character as a "slut", stating that she treats Howard terribly. One fan even claimed that the character has no redeeming qualities.
As a supporting character, Melissa initially earned $40,000 per episode. After being installed as a series regular, she was traded in at $175,000 per episode and has been able to command for the last two seasons$425,000 per episode, with the help of her co-stars, who took $100,000 in pay cuts to increase her and Mayim Bialik's salary.
The five leads, Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, and Kunal Nayyar, have earned $900,000 per episode over the last two seasons.
What did she do after The Big Bang Theory?
During and after her stint on The Big Bang Theory, Rauch continued to appear in Are You Here, The Laundromat and even voiced the role of Harley Quinn in the 2017 animated film Batman and Harley Quinn.
She also starred in The Bronze, a 2016 film in which she also served as executive producer and screenwriter. The film is loosely inspired by the life of Tonya Harding.
Where is Melissa Rauch now?
Rauch can still be seen in a variety of films and on television. One of her most exciting starring roles will be as Judge Abby Stone in the reboot of NBC's hit series Night Court.
The series is scheduled to air during the 2022-23 television season and will star John Larroquette in his role as Dan Fielding.
Alongside her acting career, Rauch has developed a notable interest in charities. She is the co-founder and staunch advocate ofOskar Kinder, a national childhood cancer charity that sponsors and supports thousands of children diagnosed with cancer each year across the country.
Rauch has been married to Winston Beigel, an American screenwriter, director and producer, since 2007.
Beigel has been at Rauch's side throughout her career, supporting and sometimes even teaming up with her to help her achieve some of her incredible achievements. He is also involved with the charity Oscar's Kids.
Although the couple have two children together, Sadie and Brooks Rauch, their personal journey of having children has not been easy. Before becoming pregnant with her first child, Rauch struggled with fertility issues and has been open about her experience of having a miscarriage, which she described as "one of the deepest sadness I've ever felt in my life."
Although overjoyed with her pregnancy, Rauch was scared and reluctant to share the information about her pregnancy status due to her previous traumatic experiences with this miscarriage. Luckily, she gave birth to their healthy daughter, Sadie, in 2017.
Just two years later, Rauch became pregnant with her second child, Brooks, but the experience was terrifying for her in a whole different way. Eventually, due to the global pandemic, Rauch gave birth to the boy alone. Although the hospital allowed partners, Beigel was unable to attend because she had to take care of her daughter.
Rauch shared powerful words for mothers who have been going through similar experiences during the pandemic.
"You are not alone. We are all...in this matter. As I was reminded, you can do this, you will do this, and you will do this with the ferocity of all the mighty warriors who have come before you have brought life - and hope - to this world in the darkest of times."
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