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Kathy Kinney was born November 3, 1954 and is an American actress. She is a versatile character actress who 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. She had been involved with television, feature films, and stage work for years.
Kinney was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the daughter of Marian and Harold Kinney, an automobile dealer, and grew up in an Irish American family. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and in 1976 moved to New York City, where she found work as a secretary at WCBS-TV. 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 her for the role of Mimi. During this time at WCBS she also worked nights at New York comedy clubs to improve her improvisational comedy skills. This eventually led to a job teaching improv classes. One such class had in its attendance Bill Sherwood, a director. 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 hard as a character actress, getting small roles in various TV series such as Seinfeld(Episode 22 Season 4, The Handicap Spot,) Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Grace Under Fire, Full House, The Larry Sanders Show, and My Name Is Earl. Her first memorable television role is generally considered her regular stint on Newhart as Ms. Goddard, the town librarian (1989-1990).
Kinney has avoided auditions for what she calls "the heavy-girl roles". Critics occasionally grumble that Mimi, 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 says. "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 Mimi Bobeck character was written only into the pilot of the Drew Carey Show. The character interviewed for a cosmetics job at Winfred-Louder and when not hired, for obvious reasons, raised a big fuss and threatened to sue. Positive public reaction prompted the Mimi storyline to continue, as the store hired her as a secretary to prevent her from suing.
In addition to her television roles, Kinney has also appeared in several movies, including Arachnophobia, Stanley & Iris, Three Fugitives, and This Boy's Life.
In 2008, Kinney became the co-creator and star of http://www.MrsP.com, an entertainment website for children. Kinney portrays the character "Mrs. P", an eccentric redhead who loves books and reads classic children's stories from her magical library. After nearly two years in development, the website launched its beta site on November 10, 2008.
On March 24, 2009, Kinney appeared in character as Mimi in the beginning of the The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. She later appeared in character as a guest model on The Price Is Right on April Fools' Day.
She guest stars in The Penguins of Madagascar as Rhonda the Walrus, Marlene's disgusting roommate in "Roomies".