Indian-American writer, actress, and producer known for The Office and The Mindy Project
"Vera Mindy Chokalingam known professionally as Mindy Kaling, is an American actress, comedian and writer.
Kaling is known for creating, writing, producing and starring in the Fox/Hulu sitcom The Mindy Project (2012–17). She is also known for her work on the NBC sitcom The Office (2005–13), where she portrayed the character Kelly Kapoor. In addition to acting on the show, she was a writer, executive producer, and occasional director throughout most of the series' run. Awards for her work on The Office include a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series in 2010…
Kaling graduated from Buckingham Browne & Nichols, a private school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1997. The following year, she entered Dartmouth College, where she was a member of the improvisational comedy troupe The Dog Day Players and the a cappella group The Rockapellas, was the creator of the comic strip Badly Drawn Girl in The Dartmouth (the college's daily newspaper), and was a writer for the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern (the college's humor magazine).
Kaling graduated from Dartmouth in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in playwriting. She was a classics major for much of college and studied Latin, a subject she has been learning since the seventh grade.
While a 19-year-old sophomore at Dartmouth, Kaling was an intern on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Kaling said she was a terrible intern, "less of a 'make copies' intern and more of a 'stalk Conan' intern." Kaling has said that she never saw a family like hers on TV, which gave her a dual perspective she uses in her writing….
Kaling devised her stage name after discovering while doing stand-up comedy that emcees would have trouble pronouncing her last name, Chokalingam, and sometimes made jokes about it. She toured solo as well as with Craig Robinson before he was on The Office.
In August 2002, Kaling portrayed Ben Affleck in an off-Broadway play called Matt & Ben, which she co-wrote with her best friend from college, Brenda Withers—who played Matt Damon. The play was named one of Time magazine's "Top Ten Theatrical Events of The Year" and was "a surprise hit" at the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival. Initially, Withers and Kaling had, "for their own entertainment, mockingly pretend to be the best friends Matt Damon and Ben Affleck; that pretending spawned Matt & Ben, the goofy play that reimagined how Damon and Affleck came to write the movie Good Will Hunting."
Kaling wrote a blog, Things I've Bought That I Love, which reemerged on her website on September 29, 2011. The blog was written under the name Mindy Ephron, "a name Kaling chose because she was amused by the idea of her 20-something Indian-American self as a long-lost Ephron sister."
In 2004, when The Office producer Greg Daniels was working to adapt The Office from the BBC TV series of the same name, he hired Kaling as a writer-performer after reading a spec script she wrote. He said, "She's very original ... If anything feels phony or lazy or passé, she’ll pounce on it."
When Kaling joined The Office, she was 24 years old and was the only woman on a staff of eight. She took on the role of character Kelly Kapoor, debuting in the series’s second episode, "Diversity Day."
Kaling and her fellow writers and producers of The Office were nominated five consecutive times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series. In 2010, she received a nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series with Daniels for the episode, "Niagara."
In 2012, Kaling pitched a single-camera comedy to Fox called The Mindy Project, which Kaling wrote and produced. Fox began airing the series in 2012.
Kaling notes that she is sometimes described as a pioneer, as there are not yet very many Indian-American women on television. Fox canceled the series in May 2015 but was later picked up by Hulu for a 26-episode fourth season and a 16-episode fifth season. In March 2017, Kaling announced that the show's sixth season, due to air starting September 2017, would be the last. The series concluded on 14 November 2017.
In November 2016, ABC Studios announced that Kaling and Ed Weeks, a co-star of The Mindy Project, would be executive producers of an ABC network comedy series written by Weeks and Hannah Mackay. The series centers on liberal lesbian couple Laurel and Marisa who move with their teenage son to Laurel's conservative hometown in Kansas.
After her film debut in The 40-Year-Old Virgin with Steve Carell, Kaling appeared in the film Unaccompanied Minors as a waitress. In 2007, she held a small part in License to Wed starring fellow The Office actors John Krasinski, Angela Kinsey, and Brian Baumgartner. Kaling was in the 2009 film Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian as a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum tour guide, and voiced Taffyta Muttonfudge in Disney's animated comedy film Wreck-It Ralph. In 2011, she played the role of Shira, a doctor who is a roommate and colleague of the main character Emma (played by Natalie Portman) in No Strings Attached. Kaling also made an appearance as Vanetha in The Five-Year Engagement in 2012.
In June 2016, it was confirmed that Kaling would star alongside Helena Bonham Carter, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Rihanna in Ocean's 8, the all-female version of Ocean's Eleven. It was also reported in September 2016 that she will play Mrs. Who in A Wrinkle in Time, the live-action Disney adaptation of the novel.
In 2011, Kaling published a memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), which appeared on the New York Times best-seller list. Her second book, Why Not Me?, covers the many events that have happened in her life since 2011, and was published on September 15, 2015. Why Not Me? launched at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list.
In 2012, Kaling was included in the Time 100 list of influential people. In 2014, she was named one of Glamour magazine's Women of the Year." (1)