Kathy Kinney

Last updated

Kathy Kinney
Born (1954-11-03) November 3, 1954 (age 68)
Stevens Point, Wisconsin, U.S.
Medium Stand-up comedy, television, film, voice
Years active1986–present
Notable works and roles Newhart and Mimi Bobeck on The Drew Carey Show

Kathy Kinney (born November 3, 1954, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin) is an American actress, voice actress, and comedian. She gained considerable popularity in the late 1990s for playing Mimi Bobeck, the outrageously made-up, flamboyantly vulgar, and vindictive nemesis of Drew Carey on the sitcom The Drew Carey Show . [1] She had been involved in television, feature film, and stage work for years.



Early life

Kinney was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, [2] the daughter of Irish American parents Harold Kinney, an automobile dealer, and Marian Kinney. [3] Her father died when she was 15 years old. [2]

After high school, Kathy Kinney worked for the California Conservation Corps between 1972 and 1974. After completing a six-month Back Country season in Kings Canyon, she left the program with thousands of dollars in scholarships. She attended the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point in the seventies and officially received her degree in 2016. [4] In 1976, she moved to New York City, where she found work as a secretary at WCBS-TV. [2] Her boss enjoyed hunting, and sometimes she chatted with him about his hunting trips, occasionally quipping, "So, did you kill anything this week?" She used this experience to inspire herself for the role of Mimi. During this time at WCBS she worked nights at New York comedy clubs to improve her improvisational comedy skills. This led to a job teaching improv classes. Director Bill Sherwood attended; he later wrote a part for her in his 1986 film, Parting Glances .


Armed with the success of Parting Glances, Kinney visited friends in Los Angeles, and decided to permanently move there to pursue a career in acting. In L.A., Kinney worked regularly as a character actress, getting small roles in various TV series such as Seinfeld (Season 4, Episode 22, "The Handicap Spot)," Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (with Drew Carey, contemporaneous with The Drew Carey Show 's second season), Grace Under Fire, Full House, Boy Meets World, The Larry Sanders Show, and My Name Is Earl. Her first memorable television role is generally considered her regular stint on Newhart as Miss Goddard, the town librarian (1989–1990). [2]

Kinney has avoided auditions for what she calls "the heavy-girl roles". Critics occasionally grumble that Mimi Bobeck, her character on The Drew Carey Show, is a waddling fat joke, but her weight has never seemed to be the point of a fat joke. "One time I had to say to Drew, 'Aw, you're just fat,' as the ultimate put-down. I personally don't like it, but if fat jokes slip in because they're funny, I don't care." She is, however, less comfortable about being typecast because of her weight. "Once in a while I would lose some weight, just by accident, and someone would say to me, 'You're going to diet yourself out of a career,'" she said. "And I tell them 'I'm losing weight, not my talent.' Why is it the first thing [some people] look at is the shape? It points up to me the prejudice that still exists."

The Drew Carey Show aired from 1995 - 2004. Mimi was originally intended for a one-time appearance on the pilot, [2] when she interviewed for a cosmetics job at Winfred-Louder. When she was turned down due to her garish makeup, Mimi raised a fuss and threatened to sue. Positive public reaction prompted the Mimi storyline to continue (the store hired her as a secretary to prevent her from suing). [5]

Kinney has also appeared in the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? , again working with Drew Carey. Kinney's filmography includes Arachnophobia , Stanley & Iris , Scrooged , Three Fugitives , Lenny the Wonder Dog , and This Boy's Life . In 2006 she visited Iraq with former co-star Drew Carey and his Improv All-Star Team, a series of USO performances for American troops; film of her appearance appears in the documentary Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie .

In 2008, Kinney became the co-creator and star of MrsP.com, an entertainment website for children. [1] Kinney portrays Mrs. P, an eccentric redhead who loves books and reads classic children's stories from her magical library. [6] After nearly two years in development, the site launched in beta on November 10, 2008.

On March 24, 2009, Kinney appeared in character as Mimi in the beginning of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson . A week later (April Fools' Day), Kinney reprised her role as Mimi during that day's The Price Is Right , [1] hosted by Carey, appearing as a guest model. [7] She repeated the role on April Fool's Day 2010, this time usurping the post of executive producer. She replaced the show's announcer with a man in a monkey suit along with using four male models. [7]

She guest starred on The Penguins of Madagascar as Rhonda the walrus, Marlene's disgusting roommate, in the 2009 episode "Roomies." Rhonda made a second appearance in the episode "The Hoboken Surprise" in 2011.[ citation needed ]

In March 2010, Kinney co-authored with Cindy Ratzlaff a book entitled Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-up Woman's Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life You Deserve, published by Harlequin. [6]

Kinney also guest-starred on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. [1] Beginning in March 2011, Kinney appeared in Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza.

In September 2019, Kinney appeared on American Housewife. She played the lunch lady in the episode "Bigger Kids, Bigger Problems" and she reunites with former co-stars Drew Carey, Ryan Stiles and Diedrich Bader as part of ABC's Cast from the Past Week.



1986 Parting Glances Joan
1988 Scrooged IBC Nurse
1989 Three Fugitives Receptionist
1990 Stanley & Iris Bernice
Arachnophobia Blaire Kendall
1991 The Linguini Incident Denise
1993 This Boy's Life Marian
Mr. Jones Homeless Lady
2000Business of ActingHerselfDocumentary
Picking Up the Pieces Mrs. Tatler
Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel Red Neck Nurse
Behind the SeamsFreddie
2003Bitter JesterHerselfDocumentary
2004Al Roach: Private InsectigatorBetty EarwigginsShort film
2005 Lenny the Wonder Dog Lisa Lathers
2010Starter HomeSandiShort film


1988 Inherit the Wind Woman at DepotTV movie
Promised a MiracleCindy WilsonTV movie
1989-1990 Newhart Prudence Godard9 episodes
1990 Grand MargeSeason 2 episode 8: "Lady Luck"
1991TagteamInstructorTV movie
Dream On NoraSeason 2 episode 9: "Play Melville for Me"
1992 Cruel Doubt Skeptical NeighborMini-series
The Larry Sanders Show Dog TrainerSeason episode 1: "What Have You Done for Me Lately?"
Step by Step The ProctorSeason 2 episode 1: "S.A.T. Blues"
1993 Seinfeld BystanderSeason 4 episode 22: "The Handicap Spot"
Fallen Angels Mrs. SullivanSeason 1 episode 3: "The Quiet Room"
1994 Bakersfield P.D. Mrs. BlaisherEpisode 17: "Last One Into the Water"
1995 Full House Mrs. BedrosianSeason 8 episode 14: "Super Bowl Fun Day"
Boy Meets World RifkinSeason 2 episode 16: "Danger Boy"
Grace Under Fire NurseSeason 2 episode 18: "Emmet Bypass"
Runway OneProprietor of MotelTV movie
1995-2004 The Drew Carey Show Mimi Bobeck / Mimi Bobeck CareyMain role - 233 episodes
1996 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Katie BanksSeason 4 episode 9: "Ghosts"
1997 Coach Mimi BobeckSeason 19 episode 15: "Viva Las Ratings"
1998 General Hospital WaitressEpisode: April 2, 1998
The Brian Benben Show The FacilitatorEpisode 3: "Brian's Got Back, Part 1"
Whose Line Is It Anyway? HerselfSeason 1 episode 6: September 9, 1998
Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place Mimi BobeckSeason 2 episode 6: "Two Guys, a Girl and a Psycho Halloween"
1998-1998 ABC TGIF Mimi Bobeck2 episodes - Previews of upcoming episodes of The Drew Carey Show
1999 Chicken Soup for the Soul Episode: "The Seed Jar"
The Hughleys Mimi Bobeck CareySeason 2 episode 1: "Young Guns"
1999-2000 The Norm Show Mimi Bobeck Carey / BettyAlso known as Norm Show
2 episodes
1999-2001 Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot Jenny the MonkeyAlso known as The Big Guy and Rusty
Credited as Kathryn Kinney
26 episodes
1999-2003 Hollywood Squares Herself / Mimi - Panelist25 episodes
2002 Pepper Ann Mama Destructo (voice)2 episodes
2001Drew Carey's Improv All-StarsHerself
Nikki Vegas WomanSeason 1 episode 12: "Let It Ride"
Rock & Roll Back to School SpecialMimi Bobeck (Money) CareyTV special
2002 Pyramid Herself / Celebrity Contestant1 episode
3-South Voice
Episode 2: "Stomach Pump"
What's New, Scooby-Doo? Sheriff Ellen PerkinsVoice
Season 1 episode 14: "Scooby-Doo Christmas"
2003 Fillmore! O'Farrell's MomVoice
Season 1 episode 13: "A Forgotten Yesterday"
CatDog BratVoice
Season 3 episode 8: "Harasslin' Match/Dog the Not-So-Mighty"
2004Green Screen ShowHerselfEpisode #1.2
2007 My Name Is Earl Officer Bowman3 episodes
2009-2010 The Price Is Right Mimi Bobeck2 episodes
2009-2011 The Penguins of Madagascar Rhonda2 episodes
2009-2013 The Secret Life of the American Teenager Bunny / Butcher Shop Lady33 episodes
2011 Working Class DotEpisode 5: "Lunch Lady"
Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza Herself / Performer19 episodes
Love Bites KarenEpisode 5: "Stand and Deliver"
Segment: "Not to Speak"
2016 Baby Daddy JudySeason 5 episode 15: "Unholy Matrimony"
2019 American Housewife Lunch LadySeason 4 episode 3: "Bigger Kids, Bigger Problems"
2020 Stumptown Franny LewisEpisode 12: "Dirty Dexy Money"

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  1. 1 2 3 4 Melissa, Melissa (August 26, 2009). "Kathy Kinney and the emancipation of Mimi". Las Vegas Sun . Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Storm, Jonathan (December 3, 1996). "She's The Big Draw On 'Drew' As Sharp-tongued Mimi, Kathy Kinney Holds Her Own With Funnyman Drew Carey. Who's The Person Behind The Muumuu And All That Makeup?". philly.com. Philadelphia Media Network . Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  3. Kathy Kinney Biography, filmreference.com; accessed January 5, 2018.
  4. Kathy Kinney Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  5. "Your Town Stevens Point: Kathy Kinney: A Wisconsin Girl at Heart". WSAW-TV. December 19, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  6. 1 2 "Kathy Kinney, Who Played Drew Carey's TV Nemesis, Looks Back On Iconic 'Mimi' Role". The Huffington Post . November 3, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  7. 1 2 Dawidziak, Mark (March 30, 2010). "Kathy Kinney reprising Mimi character on Drew Carey's 'The Price is Right'". The Plain Dealer . Retrieved March 2, 2016.