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.