As a Midwestern farm girl transplanted to Los Angeles, "The Big Bang Theory’s" Penny doesn’t have much luck in her quest to become a famous actress. After years of striking out, the waitress-by-default finally decides to ditch show business for a sensible day job.
Kaley Cuoco may fully inhabit Penny’s skin in the hit CBS sitcom, but she may not be able to relate to her character’s dashed Hollywood dreams. The 28-year-old Cuoco has been acting in films and on television for most of her life, recently joining co-stars Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki in signing lucrative new three-year deals for the nerdy fan favorite series.
Forbes magazine has listed Cuoco as one of the top-earning actresses on TV, pulling down an estimated $11 million a year, including $1 million an episode going forward for "Big Bang." The show has drawn nearly 20 million viewers on average per episode and commands hefty syndication fees on cable’s TBS.
With modeling and commercial credits that started when she was about 6 years old, Cuoco launched into entertainment soon after and has worked steadily ever since. Her projects include TV series "8 Simple Rules," "Charmed" and "My So-Called Life" as well as movies such as "Growing Up Brady," "Wasted" and "Authors Anonymous." She’s provided voices for animated shows including Disney Channel’s "Brandy and Mr. Whiskers" and Fox’s "Bratz."
She’s also an active brand spokeswoman, having appeared as a wish-granting genie in a 2013 Super Bowl ad campaign for Toyota’s Rav-4 and, briefly, as a Twitter endorser for DirecTV’s Hopper service. She co-starred with William Shatner, playing his daughter in a series of popular commercials for Priceline.com.
As the girl who’s often smarter than her genius boyfriend and neighbors on "Big Bang," Cuoco has been nominated for numerous industry honors, winning a People’s Choice Award and a Critics Choice Television Award.