Kaley Cuoco's bubbly and down-to-earth personality underscored her role as the thinking man's crush on the hit comedy series "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS, 2007- ). Playing an aspiring actress who befriends her intelligent but socially inept neighbors, Cuoco exuded a perfect blend of innocence and confidence, breaking the mold of the typical blonde bombshell. Prior to her breakout role, Cuoco overcame the impossible when John Ritter, her TV dad on "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter" (ABC, 2002-05) passed away unexpectedly in 2003. Ready to give up on her acting career, Cuoco decided to honor the beloved actor's legacy and did so by giving a heartwarming performance in the Ritter-dedicated episode, "Goodbye." Yet it was her comedic talent and charisma on "The Big Bang Theory" that established Cuoco as one of television's most relatable and likeable young stars, leading to big-screen work in films like indie comedy "Authors Anonymous" (2014) and Kevin Hart hit "The Wedding Ringer" (2015).
Kaley Christine Cuoco was born on Nov. 30, 1985 in Camarillo, CA, to Gary Carmine Cuoco, a realtor, and Layne Ann Wingate, a homemaker. The future star began her acting career at age six when she was cast in a Barbie commercial. Besides acting, Cuoco's other childhood passion was playing tennis; she once ranked in the Southern California Tennis Association's regional amateur division. With an impressive resume as a commercial model, the young Cuoco was cast in her first major acting role opposite Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson in the film "Quicksand: No Escape" (1992). Two years later, the budding actress played the young version of Ellen DeGeneres' character on the comedy series, "Ellen" (ABC, 1994-98). She eventually co-starred with the comedienne in the episode titled "Shallow Gal" for DeGeneres' second sitcom, "The Ellen Show" (CBS, 2001-02). After landing minor roles in feature films - from the futuristic thriller "Virtuosity" (1995) with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, to the romantic comedy "Picture Perfect" (1997) with Jennifer Aniston - Cuoco was cast to play actress Maureen McCormick in the biopic, "Growing Up Brady" (NBC, 2000). The film followed the behind-the-scenes romances, rebellions and catfights of the actors who embodied one of the most iconic TV families of all time, "The Brady Bunch" (ABC, 1969-1974).
Her star turn in "Growing Up Brady" prepared the actress for a featured role on "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," on which Cuoco played a dim-witted teenager obsessed with boys, staying out past her curfew, and butting heads with her straight-laced father (John Ritter). "8 Simple Rules" brought the lighthearted family sitcom back to television, with Ritter's hilarious timing and physical comedy antics at the show's forefront. Her spot-on role also earned Cuoco a Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Breakout Star: Female in 2003. Sadly, the actor's shocking death on Sept. 11, 2003 due to heart failure almost halted production of the series permanently. Ritter's untimely passing also took an emotional toll on the cast, especially Cuoco, who later revealed she wanted to quit the show. With the support of her cast, including TV mom Katey Sagal, she continued working on "8 Simple Rules." The series returned on Nov. 4, 2003 with an emotional episode dedicated to Ritter titled "Goodbye." Even though viewers tuned in to watch the comeback episode, overall ratings for "8 Simple Rules" considerably dropped post-Ritter, which prompted the network to cancel the show in 2005 after a variety of funny men stepped in to fill his shoes - namely James Garner and David Spade - to no avail.
Following the cancellation of "8 Simple Rules," Cuoco joined the cast of the supernatural series "Charmed" (The WB, 1998-2006) as a young witch who is able to time travel and amplify the powers of others around her. Her recurring stint on "Charmed" was originally written around a spin-off series for Cuoco; however, that project never saw the light of day. The actress also dabbled in films, including the 2004 big screen thriller "The Hollow" and the Lifetime movie "To Be Fat Like Me" (2007) that required the actress to wear a fat suit. She also voiced the character Brandy Harrington on the animated series, "Brandy and Mr. Whiskers" (The Disney Channel, 2004-06). In 2007, Cuoco was cast as the sexy girl-next-door on the CBS comedy series, "The Big Bang Theory." She played a blonde bombshell waitress and aspiring actress who lives across the hall from a pair of socially awkward physicists (Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki). The trio's hilarious onscreen chemistry was reminiscent of the John Hughes teen classic, "Weird Science" (1985), about two "geeks" who fall head-over-heels in love with a beautiful, confident woman. "The Big Bang Theory" did well in the ratings and launched the careers of its young cast to Hollywood's A-list. For her work on "Big Bang," she received Teen Choice nominations in 2010 and 2011 for Choice TV Actress: Comedy. Her TV success led to more film work, including a voice role in animated comedy "Hop" (2011), a supporting role in Hank Williams biopic "The Last Ride" (2011), a key role opposite Rob Lowe in Lifetime original movie "Drew Peterson: Untouchable" (2012), and leading roles in the comedies "Authors Anonymous" (2014) and "The Wedding Ringer" (2015), starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad. Cuoco next starred in indie comedy-drama "Burning Bodhi" (2015). Cuoco also had a small voice role in the Bryan Cranston/James Franco comedy "Why Him?" (2016) and appeared in a cameo as herself in Jeff Garlin's comedy "Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie" (Netflix 2017).
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made TV-move debut in "Quicksand: No Escape" (USA Network) with Donald Sutherland and Tim Matheson
Played a young Angela in "My So-Called Life" (ABC)
Appeared on an episode of "Northern Exposure" (CBS)
Made feature film debut in "Virtuosity," starring Denzel Washington and Kelly Lynch
Had a small role in "Picture Perfect," starring Jennifer Aniston
Cast as Bonnie on the CBS sitcom "Ladies Man"
Portrayed Maureen McCormick in the NBC TV-movie "Growing Up Brady"
Landed breakthrough role as the eldest daughter of John Ritter's character on the ABC sitcom "8 Simple Rules"
Cast in the NBC miniseries "10.5"
Voiced the character of Brandy Harrington on the Disney Channel's "Brandy and Mr. Whiskers"
Co-starred in the ABC Family original movie "Crimes of Fashion"
Joined the eighth season of The WB show "Charmed" as a young witch in training
Starred in the Lifetime movie "To Be Fat Like Me"
Began playing struggling actress Penny on CBS sitcom "The Big Bang Theory"
Co-starred in the live-action/CGI film "Hop"
Co-starred in Hank Williams biopic "The Last Ride"
Played murder victim Stacy Peterson in Lifetime TV movie "Drew Peterson: Untouchable"
Starred in indie comedy "Authors Anonymous"
Co-starred in Kevin Hart/Josh Gad comedy "The Wedding Ringer"
Had a voice-only cameo in the James Franco/Bryan Cranston comedy "Why Him?"
Appeared as herself in comedy "Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie"
Cast as Cassandra Bowden in TV movie "The Flight Attendant"