Melissa Ivy Rauch (/ˈrʃ/;[3] born June 23, 1980) is an American actress and comedian.[4][5][6] She is best known for her role as Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Early life

Rauch was born in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, to Susan and David Rauch. She and her brother, Ben, were raised in a Jewish household.[7]

She attended Frank Defino Central Elementary School in Marlboro.[8][9] She developed an interest in acting while attending Marlboro High School.[10]

Rauch attended Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she received a BFA degree. While going to school, Melissa performed stand-up comedy around Manhattan, and soon made a name for herself on the NYC comedy scene. Her one-woman show, "The Miss Education of Jenna Bush", in which she portrayed Jenna Bush, the former President's daughter, garnered critical acclaim and played to sold-out audiences (Outstanding Solo Show and TheaterMania's Audience Favorite Award—New York International Fringe Festival/HBO's US Comedy Arts Festival).[citation needed]


Some of Rauch's early work was as a regular contributor to VH1's Best Week Ever television show.[11]

In 2009, Rauch began playing the recurring role of Bernadette Rostenkowski, a co-worker of Penny who began to date Howard Wolowitz, in the third season of TV's The Big Bang Theory.[12] The following season her character became Howard's fiancée and Rauch was promoted to a series regular. The characters married in the season five finale. In December 2011, Rauch and fellow cast members of The Big Bang Theory received the first of four nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.[13][14][15][16]

Other acting credits include True Blood (on which she had a recurring role in 2010 as Summer, a girl who likes Hoyt), The Office, the American remake of the Australian TV series Kath & Kim, Wright v Wrong, and the film I Love You, Man.

Rauch is also part of the cast of the comedic stage show The Realest Real Housewives with Casey Wilson, June Diane Raphael, Jessica St. Clair and Danielle Schneider. The show began running at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in 2011.[17]

Rauch co-wrote and co-produced the film The Bronze, in which she plays the lead character of Hope Annabelle Greggory, a bronze medal-winning gymnast who is still living in the glory of her triumphant moment in sports history twelve years after the fact. The Bronze had the honor of opening the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. Rauch was named one of the "Breakout Stars" of the festival for her critically acclaimed performance in the film.[citation needed]Variety said, "Rauch, who co-wrote the screenplay with her husband Winston, has never carried a film before. But she delivers the best breakthrough comedic performance by an actress since Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids." [18][19] Sony Pictures Classics released the film in March 2016.[20]

Personal life

Rauch is married to writer Winston Rauch (né Beigel), who collaborated with her on The Miss Education of Jenna Bush and other projects.[21][22] Rauch modeled the voices of Bernadette after her parents: the "sweet, high-pitched purr" is modeled after her mother, while the "eerie, haranguing imitation" of Mrs. Wolowitz is modeled after her father.[21] Both are "very different" from Rauch's real voice.[23]


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Delirious Megan
2009 I Love You, Man Woman Jogger Yelling at Sidney
2009 The Condom Killer Audra Short
2013 In Lieu of Flowers Carrie
2014 Are You Here Marie
2015 The Bronze Hope Annabelle Greggory Also writer
2016 Ice Age: Collision Course Francine (voice)
Year Title Role Notes
2007 12 Miles of Bad Road Bethany 3 episodes:
"The Dirty White Girl" (season 1: episode 2)
"Collateral Verbiage" (season 1: episode 4)
"Moonshadow" (season 1: episode 6)
2008–09 Kath & Kim Tina Season 1 (recurring; 6 episodes)
2009–present The Big Bang Theory Dr. Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz Season 3 (recurring; 5 episodes)
Season 4–present (series regular; 89 episodes)
2010 The Office Cathy Duke 1 episode
2010 True Blood Summer Season 3 (recurring; 6 episodes)
2010 Wright vs. Wrong Daisy Cake TV movie
2014 Jake and the Never Land Pirates First-Mate Mollie (voice) 1 episode
2014 Teenage Fairytale Dropouts[24] Miss Macabre 1 episode
"Something Wicked This Way Substitutes"
2015 Sofia the First Tizzy (voice) 1 episode[25]
2015 Scooby-Doo! and the Beach Beastie Kiki (voice) TV Movie


  1. ^ Harper, Carol (6 June 2014). "Melissa Rauch movie 'The Bronze' to shoot June 29 in Amherst". Morning Journal. Lisbon, Ohio. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  2. ^ Hawk, Jason (9 June 2014). "'Bronze' to film downtown". Oberlin News. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  3. ^ Deerwester, Jayme (17 November 2011). "Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch Five Questions". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  4. ^ Gostin, Nicki (December 11, 2011). "'The Big Bang Theory' Star Melissa Rauch On Nerds, New Jersey And 'Real Housewives'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ Mead, Wendy. "Melissa Rauch Biography". A&E. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Melissa Rauch – Gallery". Maxim. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Melissa Rauch: Biography". TV Guide. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  9. ^ "Winston Beigel". 14 August 2005. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  10. ^ Considine, Bob (17 May 2011). "Take Five With Melissa Rauch". The Star-Ledger. Newark. Retrieved 2015-02-04. I also had a terrific theater teacher at Marlboro High School who taught me a great deal and was very encouraging. There wasn't a ton to do in Marlboro, so for me, it was either hang outside the Wawa or put on a show. 
  11. ^ "Profiles in Panelism: Melissa Rauch". Best Week Ever. 29 May 2008. 
  12. ^ Riley, Jenelle (29 November 2012). "'The Big Bang Theory' Cast On Being Part of an Ensemble". Backstage. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  13. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®" (Press release). Screen Actors Guild. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  14. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®" (Press release). Screen Actors Guild. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  15. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®" (Press release). Screen Actors Guild. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  16. ^ Johnson, Zach (10 December 2014). "SAG Awards 2015: Complete List of Nominations!". E! News. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  17. ^ Trachta, Ali (29 January 2011). "The Realest Real Housewives at UCB: A Celebration of the Best Show Ever + Paul Scheer". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  18. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin. "5 Reasons The Bronze Could be a Breakout Comedy in 2015". Variety. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  19. ^ "10 Sundance Breakout Stars Led by Melissa Rauch, Julia Garner and the 'Knock Knock' Girls". TheWrap. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  20. ^ Pedersen, Erik. "Ex-Relativity Pic The Bronze Lands at Sony Pictures Classics". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  21. ^ a b Getlen, Larry (March 24, 2013). "Screaming success". New York Post. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  22. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (19 August 2005). "Jenna Bush Takes Center Stage in New York". People. Retrieved 2015-02-04. 
  23. ^ "Melissa Rauch of Big Bang Theory Does S&M-Inspired Photo Shoot for Maxim". The Huffington Post. November 16, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Ánima Estudios – Mobile Uploads". Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  25. ^ "Second Season of Disney Junior's Hit Series "Sofia the First" Debuts Friday, March 7 on Disney Channel". The Futon Critic (Press release). Disney Channel. 7 February 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-04.