Megan Mullally is an American actress widely known for playing the character of Karen Walker in the NBC series, Will & Grace. The role has earned her several awards and nominations, including two Primetime Emmy Awards and four Golden Globe Award nominations. She is also known for her sensational guest role of Tammy Swanson, the second ex-wife of a character played by her husband Nick Offerman, in the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation.
While it is her husband who gets most of the press in her family, Mullally is arguably the more talented one of the duo and one of the most successful comedy actors in Hollywood, particularly on television. Acting further happens to be just one of her many careers which is why we find her so impressive.
Megan Mullally First Aspired to Become a Ballet Dancer
The multi-award-winning actress was born in Los Angeles, California, USA on November 12, 1958. She is the daughter of Carter Mullally Jr and Martha Palmer. Her father was an actor with Paramount Pictures in the 1950s while her mother was a model.
Megan was raised in Oklahoma City where she had much of her early education. She had an interest in dancing at an early age and so learned ballet when she was six years old. As a result of this, she was able to participate in the Oklahoma City Ballet while she was in high school and was also able to study at the School of American Ballet in New York.
Mullally completed her senior year of high school at Casady High School, Oklahoma. She then furthered her education by enrolling at Northwestern University in Illinois. While studying Art History and English Literature, she started having an interest in acting as so began participating in theatre productions in downtown Chicago. As her theatre presence grew in strength, up to eight shows per week, Mullally opted to drop out of university to focus on the profession.
From Appearing in Commercials to Becoming a TV Icon
Megan Mullally began her career as an actress with small roles in The Children Nobody Wanted in 1981 and Risky Business in 1983. She then appeared in the TV movie First Steps and the TV series American Playhouse before opting to relocate to Los Angeles to further her acting career.
The first job Mullally was able to land in Los Angeles was in a McDonald’s commercial where she featured alongside John Goodman. She was reportedly on the brink of missing her rent when she secured a central role in an episode of Murder, She Wrote, in 1988. At the time, the young actress had appeared in only nine credited works, most of which were minor roles. The only exception was a recurring role in The Ellen Burstyn Show as Molly Brewer Ross across 13 episodes.
Between 1988 and 1998, Mullally’s career revolved around minor and recurring roles in TV movies and TV shows. Her few multi-episode appearances during that period include My Life and Times, Fish Police, Rachel Gunn, R.N, and Dear John USA. She made one-off appearances in Seinfeld, Frasier, and Mad About You. Before her one-episode appearance as Betsy in Seinfeld, she auditioned for the co-starring role of Elaine Benes which went to actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
The turning point of Megan Mullally’s TV career came in 1998 when she landed the role of Karen Walker in the NBC sitcom, Will & Grace. Not only did the show provide the earnings stability that had been missing in her 19-year career but it also made her famous.
In her role as Karen, Megan played a prominent part in one of the period’s most popular comedies. She starred in every episode of the show in its original eight-year run between 1998 and 2006. Megan continued her ever-present role on the show in the revival run between 1998 and 2020.
Additional Successes in Acting and Her Work as a TV Host
Will & Grace made Megan Mullally a respectable name in the comedy section of Hollywood. Comedic acting roles subsequently kept coming in for the actress, and so did TV hosting gigs. In the latter role, she has been able to host her very own show, The Megan Mullally Show, which lasted for just one year from 2006 and 2007. She has also hosted Saturday Night Live, the 2006 TV Land Awards, and guest-hosted Late Show with David Letterman.
In regards to acting, Mullally made notable appearances on shows like 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, and Parks & Recreation. She voiced multiple characters in the animated sitcom Bob’s Burgers and had a recurring role in Children’s Hospital for eight years between 2008 and 2016. For movies, she has appeared in projects like The Disaster Artist, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Date and Switch, and The Kings of Summer among several others. Another notable film role she had was voicing the character of Grandma Linda in Hotel Transylvania 2.
For all her successes onscreen, Megan Mullally has not abandoned her theatre roots. Following her initial success in downtown Chicago, she made her Broadway debut in 1994 in a revival of Grease. She has made other appearances since, in plays like Young Frankenstein, You Never Know, Annapurna, and It’s Only a Play.
Megan Mullally is also a Singer and a Member of a Touring Band
Beyond her work as an actress, Megan Mullally is a member of the Supreme Music Program band. The band has released three albums thus far; The Sweetheart Break-In, Big as Berry, and Free Again!
She was also a member of another band called Nancy & Beth with Stephanie Hunt. The duo formed the band in 2012 and have performed on tour alongside Megan’s husband. Nancy & Beth have gone on a couple of national and international tours. In the US, they have performed in Los Angeles, Chicago, Connecticut, Boston, and New York.
The Accolades Her Numerous Talents Have Gotten Her
When Megan Mullally started her career, like every other actor, she faced degrees of uncertainty. But her talent and hard work has kept her in the profession for more than four decades, seeing her bring tens of characters to life. Along the line, she has received multiple recognitions, most of which are for her role in Will & Grace. Still, she has received accolades for others like The Ellen Burstyn Show, Children’s Hospital, The Kings of Summer, and Parks & Recreation.
Mullally’s awards cabinet includes four Golden Globes nominations, eight Primetime Emmy Award nominations (two wins), two American Comedy Awards nominations (one win), and six Gold Derby TV Awards nominations. She came second in one of the latter, as Comedy Guest Actress of the Decade.
Other noteworthy awards and achievements include twelve Screen Actors Guild Awards, for which she has won four. She also has two Teen Choice Awards and a Daytime Emmy Award nomination for her role in Sofia the First.
Megan Mullally’s Career of Over Four Decades Has Seen Her Amass Quite a Fortune
With more than four decades as a professional actor, it is not just her award cabinet that has grown in content. The Los Angeles born comedian, actress, and singer has also seen a substantial rise in her earnings, giving her an estimated net worth of $15 million.
Undoubtedly, her acting career is the leading source of her wealth, specifically her multi-year role in Will & Grace. At the peak of the show, Megan was reportedly earning up to $400,000 per episode. Following the show’s revival in 2017, she and her castmates reportedly earned $250,000 per episode.
The actress has also made money from her music career. She was also paid handsomely for publishing a book she co-authored with her husband and is still making money by starring in commercials. Since her early acting gig in a McDonald’s commercial, she has appeared in others like M&M’s, Old Navy, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! And CheapTickets.
Thanks to her wealth Megan and her husband have been able to drop a few million on a couple of houses. They once owned a house in Hollywood with a value of $9.97 million. They currently live in four-bedroom, 3.5 bathrooms Bel Air mansion bought for $4.15 million. Aside from their houses, which Megan spares no expense in decorating, they also spend on a lot of vacations, according to their Instagram pages.
Megan Mullally Has Been Married Twice
Megan Mullally makes the news more for her work than her personal life although she is known to be married to Parks & Recreation star, Nick Offerman. But while her union with Nick is her longest and most prominent relationship, it is not her first.
Before she found fame via Will & Grace, Mullally was married to a talent agent named Michael A. Katcher. Unfortunately for us and perhaps fortunately for Megan, details about their marriage remains elusive. There is no public trail of their marriage, and we only know they were husband and wife for four years between 1992 and 1996.
Megan Met Nick While Working on a Play
Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman met while they were working on The Berlin Circle, a local play in Los Angeles in 2000. According to the couple, it was an instant connection, and despite an initial hesitation not to date a co-worker, the attraction proved too strong.
Although the couple has 11 years between them, with Nick being the younger one, they have become comedy’s funniest and most durable couple. Three years after they met, they eloped and got married in September 2003. Their wedding held one day before the Emmys and had only 20 people in attendance, including Megan’s Will & Grace co-stars. The actress famously wore her wedding dress to the Emmys the following day.
Megan and Offerman have remained married ever since, with zero children and two dogs. The couple gave up on children after trying for a year with zero success.
Megan and Nick Have Also Become Creative Partners
Seeing that it was their work as actors that brought them together, the couple have decided to actively continue to work together. The two of them have appeared together in several projects and in each other’s shows.
Nick Offerman made a guest appearance in two episodes of Will & Grace while Megan Mullally had a recurring role in Parks and Recreation. The two have also worked together on The Kings of Summer, Smashed, Bob’s Burgers, and Hotel Transylvania 2.
Offscreen, they appeared in the play, Annapurna, together. They also co-wrote the book, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told which was released in October 2018. As mentioned above, Megan and Nick have also gone on tour as musicians together.