BILLY GARDELL

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Soap Synopses - BY JAY BOB­BIN

Wil­liam Gardell Jr. was born on Aug. 20, 1969, in Swiss­vale, Pa. The el­dest of three children, he re­lo­cated at a young age with his sib­lings and di­vorced mother to Florida, where he later did odd jobs at a com­edy club. Even­tu­ally, he started per­form­ing in the site’s open-mic nights, and he worked his way up to be­com­ing an open­ing act for Ge­orge Car­lin (whom he cred­its as one of his in­flu­ences) and Den­nis Miller. Gardell cites his grand­mother as be­ing one of his big­gest sup­port­ers in start­ing his ca­reer in com­edy, and his tele­vi­sion work started with a guest role on “The King of Queens.” Af­ter that, he had mul­ti­ple-episode runs on such shows as “Judg­ing Amy,” “Yes, Dear,” “Lucky,” “The Prac­tice,” “Heist” and “My Name Is Earl.” He also did sin­gle episodes of se­ries in­clud­ing “Des­per­ate Housewives,” “Bones,” “CSI: Crime Scene In­ves­ti­ga­tion” and “Las Ve­gas.”

In 2010, Gardell got the call to star in a se­ries of his own, along with an ac­tress whose fame soon would ex­plode, thanks largely to her turn in the movie “Brides­maids” ... Melissa McCarthy. “Mike & Molly” ran on CBS from 2010 to 2016, with the two stars play­ing a Chicago cou­ple who met at a sup­port group for overeaters and then nav­i­gated ro­mance while deal­ing with their friends and rel­a­tives.

Gardell be­came a game-show host in 2015-16, pre­sid­ing over “Monopoly Mil­lion­aires’ Club,” taped in Las Ve­gas and adapt­ing the long-pop­u­lar board game with such fa­mil­iar el­e­ments as the Board­walk and the Com­mu­nity Chest in­cluded.

Among Gardell’s movies are “Bad Santa,” “You, Me and Dupree” and “Jersey Boys.” He also sup­plied the voice of Santa for the movie-in­spired TV spe­cial “Ice Age: A Mam­moth Christ­mas.”

The new TV sea­son brings Gardell back to se­ries work in a re­union with “Mike & Molly” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Chuck Lorre. Pre­mier­ing Mon­day, Sept. 23, CBS’ “Bob Hearts Abishola” casts Gardell as a busi­ness­man who falls for the Nige­ria-na­tive nurse (Fo­lake Olowofoyek­u) who treats him when he has a heart at­tack.

Ded­i­cated Pitts­burgh Steel­ers fan Gardell and his wife Patty have a teenage son, Wil­liam III.

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