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Hugh Laurie

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James Roday

Melanie Lynskey Biography

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Birth Name: Melanie Lynskey
Born: 05/16/1977
Birth Place: New Zealand

Melanie Jayne Lynskey was born on May 16, 1977 in Plymouth, New Zealand. Lynskey originally wanted to become a film critic, but her life took a different turn when, at 16 years old, she was recruited from her high school during an open casting call and was cast in director Peter Jackson's crime drama "Heavenly Creatures," a true story based on the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case in New Zealand. For her feature film debut, Lynskey played the role of Pauline Parker, a dumpy and outcast teenager whose forbidden relationship with her best friend Juliet Hulme (Kate Winslet) spirals out of control. Lynskey received critical acclaim for her compelling performance, including a Best Actress award at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards in 1995. Following her win, Lynskey completed high school and attended Victoria University in Wellington. Shortly after relocating to the States and specifically, Los Angeles, she appeared in the 1998 fantasy-romance "Ever After: A Cinderella Story," a modern interpretation of the classic fairytale featuring Drew Barrymore in the iconic role of Cinderella and Angelica Huston as the wicked stepmother. Unlike Cinderella's other mean stepsister, Lynskey was the stepsister who was kind and caring, albeit a little naïve and clumsy.

Lynskey went on to have many scene-stealing roles in films like "But I'm a Cheerleader" (1999), "Coyote Ugly" (2000), and the 2002 comedy "Sweet Home Alabama," as a childhood friend of Reese Witherspoon and a young, small-town mother who hangs out in bars with her baby. Lynskey worked steadily as a film actress, but she also made inroads on television. In 2003, she guest starred on "The Shield" (fX, 2002-08), in a chilling role as one-half of a couple who is suspected of torture and murder. The chilling way in which she manipulated the show's resident premier detective, Dutch Wagenbach (Jay Karnes), was entirely memorable and a clear indicator of her versatility. One of her more famous television roles was on the hit CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men," the sitcom which chronicled the goings-on of Charlie Harper (Charlie Sheen), a womanizing bachelor whose laid-back lifestyle is interrupted when his uptight and recently divorced brother, Alan (Jon Cryer) and his nephew Jake (Jones), moves into his beach house. In a series that featured an endless stream of supermodel types who fell for Harper's charm, Lynskey stood out as his cute yet daft stalker neighbor. She left the show in 2005, and then reprised her role in 2012; this time, her obsessive character focused her sights on Sheen's replacement, Ashton Kutcher.

The talented actress stayed busy with a string of television guest roles as well as notable appearances in films like "Show of Hands" (2008), "The Informant!" (2009), as the supportive wife of an FBI whistleblower (Matt Damon) and in Jason Reitman's award-winning film "Up in the Air" (2009), where she played a teary-eyed young bride and the sister of a corporate "downsizer" (George Clooney) who leads an isolated life. Lynskey also earned praises for her small but memorable role in Sam Mendes' heartwarming drama "Away We Go," as a seemingly content adoptive parent who hides a painful secret. In 2012, after many years of playing sweet, supportive best friend or wife roles, Lynskey played against type in the critically acclaimed romantic comedy "Hello I Must Be Going," as an unemployed divorcée who moves back in with her parents and starts living like a sullen teenager, until she meets and falls in love with an actual teenager (Christian Abbott). Critics and audiences alike raved about Lynskey's earnest and sexy portrayal of a young woman who led an empty life but unexpectedly turns it around with the help of a more hopeful teenager. That same year, Lynskey also impressed in the feature film "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," as the very disturbed aunt of an introvert high school freshman (Logan Lerman) who opens up when he becomes friends with a popular teenager and his sister.

By Candy Cuenco