When the curtains fell on the iconic sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” in 2019, fans were left with a bittersweet feeling.
The show had become a staple in many households, and its characters had grown on us like family. Among the standout performances was Melissa Rauch’s portrayal of the feisty and lovable Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz.
With her distinctive voice and impeccable comedic timing, Rauch quickly became a fan favorite. But as the lights dimmed on the sets of Caltech and the Cheesecake Factory, many wondered: What’s next for Melissa Rauch?
The small in stature but not in talent that is Melissa Ivy Rauch was born in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, on June 23, 1980. Melissa and her little brother Ben were raised in the Jewish faith by their parents Susan and David Rauch.
It wasn’t until Melissa was in high school that she started to think acting was for her. After graduating from Marlboro High School, Melissa went on to earn her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts in 2002 from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City.
A fun fact is that her brother Ben is a composer, writer, and actor. He had a short run on Gossip Girl and popped up in one episode with his big sis on Big Bang.
While at Marymount Manhattan College, Melissa made a name for herself in the stand-up comedy scene, starting with Manhattan, but then taking her talents to NYC. She started her career with the one-woman show playing Jenna Bush Hager in “The Miss Education of Jenna Bush,” where she rightly so performed to sold out shows.
Melissa started on-screen on the VH1 series Best Week Ever in 2004, and would contribute to the show until 2008. We miss that show. Her first movie role was in the 2006 dramedy Delirious starring Steve Buscemi and Alison Lohman, where she played Megan.
Rauch had a busy 2008 to 2009, when she popped up in the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel bromance film I Love You, Man, had a short run on the series Kath & Kim from 2008 until 2009, and a small uncredited role in the star-studded dramedy Adventureland in 2009.
In 2009 Melissa wrote, produced, and starred in the short The Condom Killer, with her husband also writing and producing the project.
The Big Bang Theory
Melissa’s next role would bring a bit more female power to a mostly male cast in the TV series that made it cool to be nerdy, The Big Bang Theory.
Initially, Melissa was a guest role in 2009, appearing as Microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski in season three for five episodes as a potential love interest for the creepy but lovable Howard Wolowitz.
In the fourth season, she was promoted to the main cast – along with Mayim Bialik – for the remainder of the series.
Melissa used a distinctive voice for the show, drawing inspiration from her mother for the high notes and her father for the explosive lower yelling voice. She had the uncanny ability to sound like Howard’s mother when shouting, and it was a fan favorite to see her bust it out.
All good things must come to an end, and in 2019, after playing Bernadette for 209 episodes, Melissa and the cast gave their final bow, leaving us with twelve seasons of geek-filled love.
What did Melissa do after The Big Bang Theory?
While Melissa was on the show for a decade, she still managed to appear in quite several projects along the way. On TV, Rauch popped up in shows like The Office in 2010 and six episodes of True Blood in 2010.
With a voice like hers, she happily lent it to animated shows like Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Teenage Fairytale Dropouts in 2014, Sophia the First and Scooby-Doo! and the Beach Beastie in 2015, Blaze and the Monster Machines in 2017, Robot Chicken in 2019, and Animaniacs in 2020. That’s a lot of voice-over work, and not even all of it.
Rauch still acted in feature films, like the 2014 dramedy Are You Here with Owen Wilson and Amy Poehler, Flock of Dudes with Hannah Simone and Hilary Duff in 2016, and in Ode to Freedom with Martin Freeman and the Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman film The Laundromat in 2019.
What is Melissa Rauch doing now?
Post “The Big Bang Theory,” Melissa Rauch has been anything but idle. One of her most notable recent endeavors is her involvement in “Night Court.”
“Night Court” is a renewal of the iconic 80s sitcom. The series centers around Abby Stone portrayed by Rauch, who is the daughter of the late Harry Stone. Abby steps into her father’s shoes, taking up his position at the Manhattan Municipal Court.
The show is described as a continuation of the original story, with Abby Stone taking the reins as Judge in the courtroom. Alongside Rauch, the series features other supporting actors, including John Larroquette and India de Beaufort. The series is penned by Dan Rubin, a renowned TV writer and producer.
If you want to know what Melissa is up to in her personal life, while her time doing the comic con rounds is done, she posts to her personal Instagram account regularly.
Rauch has been married to her husband Winston Rauch since 2009. Winston is a director, writer, and executive producer, most recently for an episode of a revived version of the series Night Court that happens to star Melissa.
The couple share two children. Their daughter Sadie was born in 2017, and their son Brooks was born in 2020. What’s really cool about this couple is that Winston’s last name is Beigel, but he changed his name to Rauch when he married Melissa.
No obstacle is too tall for this powerhouse to overcome. Well, not physically, the woman isn’t even five feet tall. It may have all started with the Big Bang for Melissa Rauch, but it certainly wasn’t the end. We know we’ll see Melissa’s career expand over the next fourteen billion years. Or so. Until then, we can’t wait for that Big Bang reunion, or for the new spinoff show to drop.