Melanie Lynskey
Birth Date:
May 16, 1977
Birth Place:
New Plymouth, New Zealand
5' 8
New Zealander
New Plymouth Girls High School, New Plymouth, New Zealand
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Heavenly Creature


“I don't think I'll ever be a movie star.” Melanie Lynskey

New Zealand actress Melanie Lynskey received international recognition after starring opposite Kate Winslet in her film debut, fellow New Zealander Peter Jackson's Oscar-nominated movie "Heavenly Creatures" (1994). Among TV viewers, she is best recognized as Rose, Charlie Sheen's character's sweet and zany neighbor/stalker, on the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" (2003-present).

Meanwhile, she has starred in such films as "Ever After" (1998), "Detroit Rock City" (1999), "Coyote Ugly" (2000), "Snakeskin" (2001), "Sweet Home Alabama" (2002), "Shattered Glass" (2003) and "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006). Considered one of New Zealand's most internationally successful actors, Lynskey will star in the upcoming films "This Must Be the Place" and "The Informant."

On the small screen, Lynskey has appeared in the TV shows "The Shield," "Drive," "Psych," and "The L Word," as well as in the miniseries "Rose Red" (2002) and "Comanche Moon" (2008).

The 5' 8" dark-haired, milky-skinned, voluptuous actress, who was named one of E! Online's “Sizzlin' Sixteen” in 2003, lived (May 1999 - November 2004) with actor Andrew Howard. She is now married to actor Jimmi Simpson.


Childhood and Family:

In New Plymouth, New Zealand, Melanie Jayne Lynskey, nicknamed “Mel,” was born on May 16, 1977. She has three younger brothers and one younger sister.

After graduating from New Plymouth Girls High School, in New Plymouth, New Zealand, Lynskey studied English literature at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand.

During the filming of the miniseries “Rose Red” (2002), Lynskey met New Jersey-born actor Jimmi Simpson (born in 1975). They were married on April 14, 2007, in Queenstown, New Zealand, and now live in Los Angeles.

Lynskey, a vegetarian, has a dog named Mouse. She has a production company called Velvet Morning Productions and is friends with actress Natasha Lyonne, “Detroit Rock City” (1999) co-star Sam Huntington, and actress Emily Deschanel, the sister of Zooey Deschanel.

Two and a Half Woman


“The first audition I ever did, the casting director said, ‘I don't know why you're here. You're never going to work in America. You don't look right. You don't have the right kind of personality. I don't even know if you can do an American accent. Maybe you can try England.’ Other people were nice, but that's the first thing I ever heard when I came here. It made me more determined.” Melanie Lynskey

Having studied acting for over five years, Melanie Lynskey, who initially had ambitions to become a film critic, made her feature film debut at age 17 opposite Kate Winslet in fellow New Zealander Peter Jackson's acclaimed drama feature "Heavenly Creatures" (1994), which was based on the notorious 1954 Parker-Hulme murder. She was discovered by Jackson's partner and co-writer Fran Walsh at the last minute while they were scouring local high schools for Parker lookalikes. For her performance in the film, Lynskey, who received coaching from co-star Sarah Peirse for her role, won a Best Actress award at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards. While the film launched the career of Winslet, who went on to become a major star, Lynskey unfortunately had to wait a full four years before getting another significant role.

“I think the hardest thing was to go back to school. It's a pretty catty environment at an all-girls school and things happened. For example, '60 Minutes' (1993) came to do a story on me and followed me around for a day. At school you just don't need that. And then I would have to go to New York or Sydney for a week and take time out. And while they were amazing experiences, it was hard because I had these two completely separate lives. I think a lot of people resented that. It put me outside of them a bit.” Melanie Lynskey

Lynskey teamed up again with Jackson in a small role in "The Frighteners" (1996; starring Michael J. Fox) and was cast as one of the stepsisters in "Ever After: A Cinderella Story" (1998; starring Drew Barrymore). Meanwhile, she also auditioned for roles in “The Crucible” (1996), “Scream” (1996) and “Cousin Bette” (1998).

In 1999, Lynskey appeared in Adam Rifkin's "Detroit Rock City," was cast opposite Wil Wheaton in "Foreign Correspondents," and co-starred in "But I'm a Cheerleader.” She also turned down a role in “Mansfield Park” and was at one time supposed to appear in an episode of “Angel,” in a role written especially for her by the show's producer, Joss Whedon.

Entering the new millennium, Lynskey, who was considered for the role of Valerie in “Little Nicky,” had a supporting role in "Coyote Ugly," as Piper Perabo's best friend. The following year, she was nominated for the Best Actress Award at the New Zealand Film and TV Awards for her role as adventure-hungry Alice in Gillian Ashurst's award-winning New Zealand film, “Snakeskin” (2001). She also portrayed Rachel 'Sister' Wheaton in the miniseries scripted by horror novelist Stephen King, "Rose Red" (2002).

On making "Rose Red" (2002), Lynskey recalled, “I wasn't allowed to do anything quirky, or to have an interesting accent, so the challenge lay in making her as interesting as I could without making her unusual. And that was hard!”

Also that year, she was cast opposite Reese Witherspoon in "Sweet Home Alabama" and was FilmForce’s “Celeb of the Day” on October 18, 2002.

“I always try to do something really different from the last thing. After 'Abandon' (2002), where I was this creepy girl, I just wanted to play someone happy, and then 'Sweet Home Alabama' (2002) came along, which was perfect.” Melanie Lynskey

Lynskey was cast as Rose, Charlie Sheen's character's sweet and zany neighbor/stalker, on the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men" (2003-present). On Charlie Sheen's reaction to her New Zealand accent, Lynskey revealed, "He turned around and said, 'What's this, uh, voice? What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm just talking.' Then he said, 'Hmmm. Is that some kind of actor-y thing?'

She also commented on working with Sheen, “We get on terribly. I can't stand him. No, he's great. He's really quiet and shy and sweet.”

About the success of "Two and a Half Men" (2003), Lynskey said, “It seems funny to me that it's all worked so well. I have so much respect for the people who do this. It's so hard to keep the energy up and to make people laugh.”

During her "Two and a Half Men" stint, Lynskey had a recurring role as Marcy (2003), the friendly neighborhood psychopath, on FX Networks' crime drama "The Shield," and starred opposite Hayden Christensen in the film "Shattered Glass" (2003). She was also cast in Clint Eastwood's WWII drama, "Flags of Our Fathers" (2006), and starred in Peter Paige's feature directorial debut, "Say Uncle" (2006).

“You always see those movies that have amazing casts and it's funny to be in one of them. It's a list of all these fantastic people, and, oh, me as well.” Melanie Lynskey

Melanie recently appeared in the lesbian-related comedy film "Itty Bitty Titty Committee" (2007; with Melonie Diaz and Carly Pope) and starred as a single mother in Anthony McCarten's film adaptation of his own romantic drama/comedy novel, "Show of Hands" (2008).

“I always thought I'd be in New Zealand doing theater. Everything I've done is greater than my greatest dreams.” Melanie Lynskey

Meanwhile, she also co-starred on Fox's now-canceled drama series "Drive" (2007), guest-starred in two 2008 episodes of "The L Word," and appeared in the miniseries "Comanche Moon" (2008). She will soon complete her upcoming film projects, "This Must Be the Place," a comedy directed by Sam Mendes in which she co-stars with Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Krasinski, and "The Informant," a dark comedy thriller directed by Steven Soderbergh inspired by Kurt Eichenwald's 2000 fact-based book. In the movie, she co-stars as Matt Damon's character’s wife Ginger.

“If I ever have time off and don't know what's coming up next, I get really nervous and think, ‘Oh well, it's probably over.’” Melanie Lynskey


  • New Zealand Film and TV Awards: Best Actress, “Heavenly Creatures,” 1995

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