Melissa Rauch is best known for her portrayal of eccentric microbiologist Bernadette on the long-running and astronomically successful sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. Although most of the show’s iconic cast members led very different lives before the show, the pre-The Big Bang Theory life is arguably the most fascinating.
Rauch had acted long before The Big Bang Theory graced the small screen, earning fleeting roles in comedies like Kath and Kim and Best week ever. Although she received short-lived acclaim for these roles, the star had yet to land her breakout role.
After languishing in obscurity for several years, Rauch’s financial situation deteriorated to the point that she began living off unemployment checks. Here’s how in the midst of this destitute situation, Rauch landed the role of Bernadette, which gradually propelled her to stardom and millionaire status.
Melissa Rauch struggled to land roles in Hollywood
Melissa Rauch moved to Los Angeles in the mid-2000s after her one-woman show, Jenna Bush’s Miss Education, caught the attention of a Hollywood agent. The 42-year-old hoped the move would revitalize her acting career. However, it didn’t take long after his big move to realize that his dreams would not come true.
“We made a showcase of [‘Miss Education’ in L.A.],” she said In the wings in 2020, “and not many people showed up because not many people see theater in LA – so that was another lesson.”
Despite this setback, Rauch continued to pursue his dreams of stardom, landing short-lived roles on shows like true blood and Kath and Kim. Although the star often did well in auditions, she almost exclusively booked roles in comedy shows that never aired or were discontinued almost as soon as they premiered.
In fact, the first decade of Rauch’s career was marred by such devastating bad luck that she failed an audition to model for TGI Fridays.
“They said, ‘We just need a close-up of your hands serving the fajitas,’ or whatever,” Rauch recalled in an interview with In the wings, “and no kidding, I heard the director say, ‘Jesus Christ!’ They were so raw and beat up. I didn’t get the job.”
Melissa Rauch perceived unemployment before the Big Bang theory
It took years to write obscure shorts like The Condom Killer and compose songs like Partially stalked love between fleeting acting gigs before Melissa Rauch landed the iconic role of Bernadette.
By then, years of unsuccessfully trying to make a name for herself in Hollywood had drained the star’s finances so badly that she began living off unemployment checks.
I was a fan of the show when I got the audition,” Rauch revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. “That week I had gone to the unemployment office to get my unemployment check. I had to go to that seminar on how to get a job. It was horrible. It was a dark week! I got the audition in my email, and it said The Big Bang Theory, and it was a show that I was watching. I was excited and pissed off thinking there was no way.
Landing a role in The Big Bang Theory was a dream come true for Melissa Rauch
While most fans would agree that Melissa Rauch’s portrayal of Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz was nearly flawless, her audition was far from perfect. The Batman and Harley Quinn The star was so nervous that she momentarily picked up a Canadian accent midway through her performance.
“There were a ton of girls at the audition. When they brought me in for a second time for all the producers, they had narrowed it down to six of us,” she said. The Hollywood Reporter.
“In the audition, for some reason, I had to say the word ‘about’ and it came out ‘abouuuut’, and Chuck [Lorre] asked me if I was Canadian. My nerves made me sound Canadian!
So Rauch was understandably over the moon when the show’s casting team called her back with some positive news. “I got the call on my ride back to my shitty apartment, and I was so excited,” she said. “I stepped over the homeless man who was sleeping outside my building, opened the door and shouted to my husband that I had the role. It was for an episode at the time, and it was a dream come true.”
At the start of her The Big Bang Theory tenure, Rauch earned a hefty salary of $75,000 per episode. However, as the show neared its final chapter, Rauch earned over $500,000, making her one of the highest-earning actresses on television. In addition, Rauch earned a lot of money by acting in major productions like Ice Age: Collisionwhich gradually inflated his net worth to $20 million.