Versatile actress and comedian Merrin Dungey was first seen on television in the mid 1990s playing guest roles in such TV shows as "Martin," "Babylon 5," "Living Single," "Caroline in the City," "ER," "Murphy Brown," "Seinfeld," "Tracey Takes On...," "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" and "The West Wing." Later guest appearances include roles in "Jesse," "City of Angels," "Friends," "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Boston Legal" and "Grey's Anatomy." Dungey has also played reoccurring roles in various TV series, including the short-lived series based on the 1995 film, "Party Girl" (1996), The WB sitcom "Grosse Pointe," (2000-2001), Kitty Kenarban (2000-2004) on Fox’s critically acclaimed sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle," Susannah Rexford on The WB dramatic series "Summerland" (2004-2005), the ABC series "Alias" (2001-2006), and Kelly Palmer (1999-2007) on the CBS Emmy nominated sitcom "The King of Queens."
On the big screen, the 5' 8" actress could be seen in the films "Deep Impact" (1998), "Edtv" (1999) and "The Sky Is Falling" (2000).
Ballerina and Ice Skater
Childhood and Family:
Born on August 6, 1971, in Sacramento, California, to Don Dungey, a general services manager, Merrin Dungey has been entertaining audiences since strapping on her ballet shoes at the age of four. Dungey, who also plays the piano, also ice skated before hosting a local teen talk show at age 18.
Dungey graduated from Rio Americano High School, in Sacramento, California, in 1989. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater from U.C.L.A. During her sophomore year at U.C.L.A., she became the youngest person ever to win the U.C.L.A. School of Theater's top acting prize.
In March 2008, Dungey announced she was expecting her first child.
The King of Queens
Merrin Dungey began hosting a local teen talk show at age 18. She then began to appear in commercials and after graduating from U.C.L.A., the aspiring actress developed a one-woman show called “Black Like Who?” for the HBO Comedy Workspace.
Dungey subsequently signed with the William Morris Agency and began receiving television roles. From the mid to the late 1990s, she was spotted as a guest in an episode of the Fox sitcom starring comedian Martin Lawrence, "Martin," the science fiction television series "Babylon 5," Fox’s sitcom "Living Single," NBC’s sitcom starring Lea Thompson, "Caroline in the City," NBC’s hit medical drama "ER," CBS’ sitcom starring Candice Bergen, "Murphy Brown," the sitcom "Seinfeld," HBO’s sketch comedy series created and starred in by British-American comedienne Tracey Ullman, "Tracey Takes On...," NBC’s sitcom "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," NBC’s political drama "The West Wing," and USA Network’s fantasy-based television series "G vs E." She also co-starred with Christine Taylor and Swoosie Kurtz in the short-lived series based on the 1995 film, "Party Girl" (1996).
Dungey first appeared on the big screen in Mimi Leder's sci-fi drama disaster movie "Deep Impact" (1998; starring Elijah Wood, Téa Leoni, Morgan Freeman, Leelee Sobieski, Vanessa Redgrave, and Robert Duvall), and Ron Howard’s comedy "Edtv" (1999; starring Matthew McConaughey, Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson, Ellen DeGeneres, Martin Landau, Rob Reiner, Elizabeth Hurley, and Dennis Hopper), an adaptation of the 1994 French Canadian movie "Louis 19, le roi des ondes." From 1999 to 2007, Dungey played the recurring role of Kelly Palmer, Deacon's (played by Victor Williams) agreeable, soft-spoken wife and Carrie's (played by Leah Remini) best friend, on the CBS Emmy-nominated American sitcom, "The King of Queens."
Entering the new millennium, Dungey began playing the recurring roles of Joan (2000-2001) on The WB sitcom "Grosse Pointe" and Kitty Kenarban (2000-2004) on Fox’s critically acclaimed sitcom starring Frankie Muniz, "Malcolm in the Middle." She also co-starred as evil twin Francie Calfo/Allison Doren on ABC’s series starring Jennifer Garner, "Alias" (2001-2006), and Susannah Rexford, Ava's (played by Lori Loughlin) best friend, business partner, and roommate, on The WB dramatic series "Summerland" (2004-2005). During this time, Dungey was also cast in the films "The Sky Is Falling" (2000; starring Michelle Pfeiffer's sister Dedee Pfeiffer), an independent dramatic comedy by writer/director Florrie Laurence, "Odessa or Bust" (2001; with Red Buttons, Jason Schwartzman, Jason Alexander, and Gina Hecht), a 12-minute fantasy comedy by Brian Herskowitz, and "Scream at the Sound of the Beep" (2002), a film by Lori Fontanes starring Katharine Towne. TV viewers could catch her in the unsold space TV series pilot "Beyond" (2006) and guest starring in an episode of NBC’s sitcom starring Christina Applegate, "Jesse," CBS’ short-lived medical drama "City of Angels," NBC’s hit sitcom "Friends," and HBO’s sitcom starring "Seinfeld" writer, co-creator, and executive producer Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
Dungey was last seen on television in 2007 gust-starring in an episode of ABC’s legal series "Boston Legal" and in dual episodes on ABC’s prime time television medical drama "Grey's Anatomy."