Big Bang Theory had never failed to make its audience laugh. Throughout its 12 seasons, episodes were filled with funny moments about a bunch of nerds. The series is considered a classic today, months after it aired its finale. Giving credit to its feel-good plot and cinematography, many of its fans today continue to re-watch the show.
In its 12 years of airing, the characters stayed true to their iconic personalities. But outside the screen, what is the cast like? If you’ve ever had the same question, we laid down the CBS show’s characters along with the actors who played them.
SHELDON COOPER – JIM PARSONS
Sheldon Cooper is one of the most popular characters in the show, with his robotic personality and incredibly high IQ. Over the course of the series, the genius’ lacking social skills becomes more and more apparent. His awkward yet hilarious interactions with other characters in the show make him a crowd favorite.
The man behind Sheldon is actor-producer Jim Parsons, who has been in the industry for quite some time. He was part of other popular films like Hidden Figures and The Muppets. After saving up investment money from his projects, Parsons married his long-time partner, Todd Spiewak, in 2017.
LEONARD HOFSTADTER – JOHN GALECKI
Living with Sheldon wasn’t experimental Physicist Leonard Hofstadter’s dream, but it was their co-living relationship that made the series even more entertaining. Their “roommate agreement” won’t easily be forgotten. Soon, Sheldon moved in with Amy, and Leonard was on his own. By the show’s seventh season, Leonard finally coughed up the courage to propose to love interest Penny.
Behind the scenes, John Galecki was doing an excellent job in portraying Leonard’s character. After his career started with Roseanne, he landed the iconic role of a scientist in the show. As additional insurance, Galecki performs duet band on the side.
MRS. KOOTHRAPPALI – ALICE AMTER
Mrs Koothrappali’s appearance on Big Bang Theory was limited to a certain degree, but that doesn’t make her any less interesting. She was Raj’s mother on the show and only appeared on a screen when on a video call with Raj and his sister.
The role was played by none other than British actress Alice Amter. Initially, she was set for a one-time appearance as Mrs Koothrappali. However, the popularity of the character eventually made them stay throughout 10 seasons of the show. The star has been living in the U.S. for over 20 years, and her career in Hollywood grew when she landed the role.
PRIYA KOOTHRAPPALI – AARTI MANN
Accomplished attorney Priya Koothrappali entered the show when the character came to the U.S. to stay with her brother Raj. During her stay, she dated one of the main characters, Leonard Hofstadter, when he and love interest Penny were on a break.
Many actors of The Big Bang Theory were supposed to make guest appearances. However, the fanbase’s demand got them to extend their stay. Aarti Mann was one of them. The Indian-American actress graduated from NYU, and after paying off her student loans, she went to pursue a career in acting. Mann played in other films like The Memsahib and Heroes.
RAJESH KOOTHRAPPALI – KUNAL NAYYAR
There’s no denying that Rajesh Koothrappali had an undeniable charm. However, his quirky character wasn’t as lucky with the ladies. Throughout the show, the astrophysicist struggled with selective mutism social anxiety order, which restricted him from talking to women outside his family. He even went so far as to needing a drink just to spark a conversation with a girl.
Kunal Nayyar first came to the U.S. to study at the University of Portland. Sometime during his stay, he decided to pursue his Finance Degree while acting on the side. His role in The Big Bang Theory was his first big project.
PENNY – KALEY CUOCO
No comedy series is complete without the stereotypical “dumb blonde,” and for The Big Bang Theory, this came in the form of Penny’s character. A pharma sales rep that dreams of making it as an actress, she was a breather from all the scientists in the show. As someone who wasn’t as nerdy, it was through Penny that the scientific world of the characters was better explained.
Kaley Cuoco’s success is nothing compared to the character she played on the show. Considered as one of TV’s top-paid actresses, Cuoco had multiple talents including tennis that steered her away from bankruptcy.
HOWARD WOLOWITZ – SIMON HELBERG
Compared to everyone else on the show, Howard Wolowitz was considered average. While everyone else was pursuing multiple careers, he was constantly teased for being “only an engineer.” Fortunately for him, he became an astronaut halfway into the series. In the end, he married Bernadette and had two kids with her.
American actor, comedian, and musician Simon Helberg won a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his character in the show. He continued to appear in other TV shows after The Big Bang Theory. He is much less dorky in real life, but still as determined to keep his excellent credit score.
AMY FARRAH FOWLER – MAYIM BIALIK
Amy Farrah Fowler was Sheldon Cooper’s love interest, whom he met through online dating. She was a neurobiologist character with an edge in her personality. With that, she was a delightful addition to the cast. After an up-and-down relationship, the two characters finally tied the knot in the show’s 11th season.
No one else could have played the part better than Mayim Bialik, who is a neuroscience PhD holder in real life. The accomplished actress has published several helpful books since her career’s rise in the ‘90s. With her wit, she must have built up her career without a need for a financial advisor.
STUART BLOOM – KEVIN SUSSMAN
His comic book shop seemed hopeless at first, and Stuart Bloom applied for countless business loans to keep it alive. Fortunately, the business soon reached incredible success, thanks to Twitter exposure. He was a babysitter for Howard’s kids, and he briefly lived with Howard’s mother as a caregiver. Like the other characters on the show, Stuart didn’t have it easy when it came to the ladies.
Actor-comedian Kevin Sussman grew his following from his role as Walter in ABC’s Ugly Betty. He was a guest star on the sixth season of The Big Bang Theory and was soon promoted to a series regular. He portrayed Stuart’s character for over a decade.
MARY COOPER – LAURIE METCALF
Shelton’s mother, Mary, was a devout Born-Again Christian. Because of her strong faith, she continuously bombarded Shelton with countless lectures and home remedies based on her beliefs. Although it seemed overwhelming at times, Mary was always a lovable mom that many of the show’s fans loved.
Academy Award-nominee Laurie Metcalf was always passionate about her roles. Her role in coming-of-age film Lady Bird landed her a prestigious nomination. In fact, she bagged countless awards, including Primetime Emmy Awards and Tony Awards, throughout her four-decade career. Mortgage rates aren’t a problem for someone as successful as Metcalf!
DR. BEVERLY HOFSTADTER – CHRISTINE BARANSKI
The Big Bang Theory boasted insanely smart characters, and Dr Beverly Hofstadter was one of them. Aside from being an award-winning psychiatrist and author, she was an acclaimed neuroscientist. Her role on the show wasn’t constant, as if she was continually calling a moving company. She would appear on one episode and miss the next. However, the fans’ opinions of her were strong: Despite her credentials, she was arguably a terrible mother.
Who else could have played the role better other than veteran stage and screen actress Christine Baranski? The actress, singer, and producer is a 15-time Emmy Award nominee. One of her notable projects includes The Good Fight.
DR. V.M. KOOTHRAPPALI – BRIAN GEORGE
Like his wife, Dr V.M. Koothrappali only appeared through Skype calls with his son, Raj. The gynaecologist’s iconic scenes mostly consist of nagging Raj to finally grow up and pursue a career. His first physical appearance on the show was after his divorce, where he attended a Christmas Party and met the cast.
Brian George is no less than a veteran in Hollywood. The Israeli-Indian actor, voice artist, comedian, and singer rose to fame for his appearance as Babu Bhatt, a chef, in Seinfeld. His career definitely gave him the liberty to swipe his credit cards without having to think twice.
BARRY KRIPKE – JOHN ROSS BOWIE
Among the roster of successful scientists was Barry Kripke, a PhD holder and plasma physicist turned string theorist. Many remember him from his lisp, which was caused by his rhoticism. He was a friend to most of the characters, but his friendship was Sheldon wasn’t smooth-sailing.
John Ross Bowie never ran out of TV show appearances. While he was gaining fame from The Big Bang Theory, he was also playing Jimmy DiMeo on Speechless. The comedian likewise appeared on other comedy series like Episodes and Children’s Hospital. His success makes us want to wish he held online classes on comedy!
WIL WHEATON – WIL WHEATON
Wil Wheaton didn’t need to put on a show when he guest-starred in The Big Bang Theory. His influence was enough that the directors didn’t feel the need to inject a new character. The Star Trek actor played as himself, in a context of a former child actor hit bankruptcy, and was in rivalry with Sheldon. Although things heated up between the two, he slowly softened towards the end of the show.
American actor, blogger, and writer Wil Wheaton is best known for his role as Wesley Crusher on the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Additionally, he starred in other popular films like Stand By Me and Toy Soldiers.
BERNADETTE ROSTENKOWSKI-WOLOWITZ – MELISSA RAUCH
No fan of The Big Bang Theory could forget Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz’s high-pitched voice and petite height. Despite her size and seemingly innocent disposition, Bernadette wasn’t one to back down from a fight. She was the show’s bully – and no less than a successful microbiologist. Throughout the show, everyone was waiting impatiently for her to divorce her husband, Howard.
When Melissa Rauch got pregnant, taking a break simply wasn’t an option. Her unexpected pregnancy was written onto the show so the star could continue filming. Rauch’s passion and determination to keep working is undoubtedly admirable, and her insurance company must be glad!
BERT KIBBLER – BRIAN POSEHN
The socially awkward Bert Kibbler was a delightful addition to The Big Bang Theory’s cast. His good-guy image balanced the chaos that was happening in every episode, and fans were always looking forward to his appearances. He was a Caltech geologist who won a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.
In real life, Brian Posehn had a busy career as well. Apart from acting, he did voice acting, music, writing, and comedy. His notable roles include Jim Kuback on Mission Hill and Brian Spukowski on Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program. On-screen and off-screen, it seems Kibbler’s credit report is sparkly clean.
LESLIE WINKLE – SARA GILBERT
Experimental physicist Leslie Winkle was a unique character in the show. Dubbed as Leonard’s female counterpart, Leslie was usually seen wearing her black-framed glasses and zippered hoodie. The quirky thing about her role was that she often uses laboratory equipment to prepare food. She last appeared in Season 3 before making a cameo on Season 9.
Another Roseanne star that landed a role in The Big Bang Theory was Sara Gilbert. Early in the run, she and co-star Johny Galecki were dated briefly. Among her many accomplishments as an actress, director, and producer, apart from an impressive credit score, was winning two Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
DEBBIE WOLOWITZ – CAROL ANN SUSI
The mystery of Howard’s mom came from the fact that she was never seen on-screen. She was only a voice that screamed at Howard from a different room or over the phone. In fact, the name “Debbie” was only revealed in the finale of Season 7. Leading up to the episode, she was simply referred to as “Mrs Wolowitz.”
Veteran American actress Carol Ann Susi deserves the credit for the voice behind the funny character. She made her first TV appearance in Kolchak: The Night Stalker and had extensive experience in live theatre. Indeed, it was heartbreaking news when Susi passed away in 2014 because of cancer.
ZACK JOHNSON – BRIAN THOMAS SMITH
Zack Johnson’s character was entertainingly clueless. He was Penny’s on-and-off boyfriend whom she got married to in Las Vegas. The two eventually called an attorney and got annulled. He was often portrayed as the stupid one, as he seems to misunderstand even the slightest bit of sarcasm. He was a friendly, non-aggressive addition to the cast.
The Amazing Race contestant Brian Thomas Smith is a regular on TV commercials, including popular ones for brands like Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr, Bud Light, Pop Chips, Honda, Burger King, and Buick. He also appeared in Fear Factor, Two and a Half Men, and 100 Greatest TV Quotes & Catchphrases.