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Jenny McCarthy Biography

A snapshot of late night talk show host and comedian Jenny McCarthy


Jenny McCarthy Biography

Jenny McCarthy will soon have her own talk show, produced by Oprah Winfrey.

Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images

Most fans of Jenny McCarthy remember her from her heyday in the 1990s - a Gen X Playboy model that broke the mold of sexy girl next door or sexy woman you can never have - the mainstays of Playboy in that era.

No, McCarthy was a balls-to-the-wall tomboy who got a kick out of fart jokes and toilet humor. And once you understood that dichotomy, you were a fan.

McCarthy was born Jennifer Ann McCarthy on Nov. 1, 1972, in Evergreen Park, Ill. She grew up in a Irish-Catholic household, the second of four sisters, and attended Catholic school: Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School. Though McCarthy has referred to herself as a school outsider - and outcast who was regularly picked on - she also served as cheerleader for two boys' schools, Brother Rice High School and St. Laurence High School.

She is perhaps best known - or at least widely known - for her work with Playboy magazine. McCarthy posed for the adult magazine in 1993 and was named Playmate of the Year the same year.

The notoriety led to a television gig for The Playboy Channel. McCarthy hosted Hot Rocks, a show that featured uncensored music videos. After a year on the program, McCarthy was lured away by MTV.

MTV likely knew that McCarthy's Playboy status, mixed with her frat boy humor, would attract even more of the network's coveted young male viewership. They made her the co-host of Singled Out, a dating show, and McCarthy became an instant success. That success led to guest work with the World Wrestling Federation and her own MTV sketch comedy program, The Jenny McCarthy Show (not to be confused with her new talk show of the same name.

The sketch show got enough acclaim and viewership for McCarthy to launch her own sit-com, a short-lived affair named Jenny that was cancelled after 17 episodes. Parenthood
Though she starred in a number of B-movies throughout the 2000s (including BASEketball and Scream 3), McCarthy was better known for her role off the screen.

McCarthy married filmmaker John Mallory Asher in 1999 and the two had a son, Evan. Evan, the couple would later find, suffered from autism, a condition for which McCarthy has blamed childhood vaccinations for causing. Her struggles with her son would lead her to numerous daytime talk shows, where she became an advocate for autism research and an expert as the parent of an autistic child.

That expertise led to a series of books, including Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism, Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds, and Healing and Preventing Autism.

She's also the author of several parenting books and humorous tomes, including Love, Lust & Faking It: The Naked Truth About Sex, Lies, and True Romance.

Talk show time
Though her television work as continued unabated - McCarthy is the star of a handful of TV movies, pilots and regular guest spots on sit-coms and talk shows - talk of McCarthy hosting her own show has been around since at least 2009.

That show was going to unfold as a daytime program, perhaps a mash-up of Rachael Ray and The View. It would focus on McCarthy's success as an author and the ups and downs of a mother with an autistic child. The show could have been produced by Oprah Winfrey and likely would have found life on the OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

Cut to four years later and McCarthy is back with a brand new take on talk shows, The Jenny McCarthy Show. This time she's breaking out of her good mother persona and falling back on the persona that made her famous - the self-deprecating, little bit nerdy, totally goofy girl next door that will get you in trouble.

The show is described as giving viewers an all-access pass to McCarthy's penthouse apartment every Friday night for a loud and rambunctious party. Rather than a house band, she'll have a house deejay, and she'll keep company with close friends, celebrity guests - even the production crew and the party's bartender.

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