Caroline Gilchrist Rhea (born April 13, 1964) is a Canadian stand-up comedian and actress who was the original host of the reality television show The Biggest Loser on NBC until she was replaced by Alison Sweeney after the end of the third season. She is also known for her role as Hilda Spellman from Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and for replacing Rosie O'Donnell as the hostess of her syndicated talk show, renamed The Caroline Rhea Show. Rhea provides the voice for Linda Flynn-Fletcher, the mother of Phineas and Candace Flynn, on the Disney Channel series Phineas and Ferb.

Early life

Rhea was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Marjorie, an antiques dealer, and David Rhea, an obstetrician and gynecologist. On the set of the sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the cast referred to her as Cathy, a name that has stuck with her in her comedic career. She has two sisters, Cynthia and Celia. She attended The Study, an all-girls private school in Westmount, Quebec and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

Career

Her film debut was as a bikini-clad extra in the film Meatballs III, shot on location near Montreal. She moved to New York in 1989 to study stand-up comedy at the New School for Social Research.

Rhea has said that her true training came from her first gigs at the comedy club, Catch a Rising Star. Performing around New York City, she quickly gained a reputation in the city's competitive comedy scene. These performances were augmented with appearances on MTV's Half-Hour Comedy Hour, Comic Strip Live and Caroline's Comedy Hour. She decided to move to Los Angeles for a career in Hollywood, debuting in NBC television series Pride & Joy co-starring with Jeremy Piven. She gained fame for her role as Aunt Hilda on the ABC and (later) The WB's Sabrina the Teenage Witch, as well as being a regular on the latest incarnation of Hollywood Squares.

In 2002, Rhea landed her own syndicated daytime talk show, The Caroline Rhea Show. Rosie O'Donnell hand-picked Rhea as her replacement. In 2004, Rhea became the first host of the series, The Biggest Loser on NBC, a weight loss reality show in which overweight members of two teams try to lose the most weight. After her 3rd season, Rhea was replaced by Alison Sweeney. In 2005, Rhea was in the movie The Perfect Man, playing a co-worker of Jean (Heather Locklear).

She has appeared in Comic Relief 8, as well as the Ms. Foundation's "Women of Comedy from Caroline's Comedy Club" (no relation to Rhea). She appeared as a contestant in 2001 on a special edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, winning $125,000 for charity. She had her own stand-up special as part of Bravo's three-part Funny Ladies series, along with Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone. Rhea has had a recurring role on the hit Disney Channel Original Series, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody as Ilsa Shickelgubermeiger-Von Helsing der Keppelugerhofer, an inspector turned manager of the rival hotel. In the series, she is well known for a large mole on her cheek. She has appeared on Disney's Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire as the mother and also Christmas with the Kranks in 2004. She has competed on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown and GSN's World Series of Blackjack.

She now does the voice of Linda Flynn in Phineas and Ferb, an animated show with Ashley Tisdale, Mitchel Musso, and Alyson Stoner. Rhea will next appear on the upcoming Fox animated series Two Dreadful Children. Caroline Rhea also plays Noleta Nethercott on the TV series Sordid Lives: The Series. She has also been in the original Lifetime Television movie To Be Fat Like Me with Kaley Cuoco. Rhea stars as a down on her luck waitress alongside Justin Guarini and Mircea Monroe in the Marvista Entertainment production of Fast Girl. Rhea has also done a live webcast with author, Meg Cabot.

Rhea currently hosts the television series Cake Walk: Wedding Cake Edition, which premiered September 7 2011.

Personal life

Rhea and her longtime boyfriend Costaki Economopoulos were engaged on December 31, 2010. Their daughter Ava was born in New York on Thursday, October 23, 2008.

According to Economopoulos they are no longer together.

Rhea currently resides in Los Angeles and New York, but vacations in Kennebunk, Maine.

Filmography

Film

Year

Title

Role

Notes

1987

Meatballs III: Summer Job

Beach Girl #4 (uncredited)

1996

Shot, TheThe Shot

Casting Director

1999

Man on the Moon

'Fridays' Melanie

2000

Ready to Rumble

Eugenia King

2001

Happy Birthday

Monica

2004

Christmas with the Kranks

Candi

2005

Perfect Man, TheThe Perfect Man

Gloria

2008

Fast Girl

Maddie

2009

Love N' Dancing

Bonnie

Television

Year

Title

Role

Notes

1993

Fools for Love

Caroline Rhea

TV movie

1995

Pride & Joy

Carol Green

6 episodes

1996

Drew Carey Show, TheThe Drew Carey Show

Bonnie

Episode: "What the Zoning Inspector Saw",

Episode: "Drew's the Other Man"

1996-2003

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch

Hilda Spellman

142 episodes

1997

Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist

Caroline (voice)

Episode: "Big Fat Slug"

1999

Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Herself

HBO Special

2000

Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire

Lynette Hansen

TV movie

2001

Santa Claus Brothers, TheThe Santa Claus Brothers

Mrs. Claus

TV movie

2002

Fillmore!

Mrs. Konquist (voice)

Episode: "Nappers Never Sleep"

2004-2006

The Biggest Loser

Herself

Host

2005-2006

Suite Life of Zack & Cody, TheThe Suite Life of Zack & Cody

Ilsa

Episode: "Hotel Inspector", "Cookin' with Romeo and Juliet" & "Bowling"

2007

Two Dreadful Children

(voice)

TV movie

2007

To Be Fat Like Me

Madelyn

TV movie

2007-present

Phineas and Ferb

Various (voice)

82 episodes

2008

Sordid Lives: The Series

Noleta Nethercott

13 episodes

2009

Larry the Cable Guy's Hula-Palooza Christmas Luau

Shopper #1 / Grandma / Mrs Claus

TV movie

2011

Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension

Various (voice)

TV movie

2012

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Mrs. Diston

TV movie, post-production

See also

List of Quebec comedians,

List of Canadian comedians