Lauren Lapkus is an American actress who appeared on the hit sitcom Big Bang Theory, playing the girlfriend of Stuart, the comic book store owner, and has appeared in several hit shows like Orange is the New Black and lent her voice to the series Harvey Girls Forever!
Background Information and Early Life
Lauren Lapkus was born Dorthea Lauren Allegra Lapkus on September 6, 1985, in Evanston, Illinois. The actress was interested in acting early and would film sketches with her older brother.
Lapkus attended Evanston Township High School, where she participated in the school’s variety show and student revue.
Lapkus began attending improv classes at the iO Theater while still in high school. After graduation, she attended DePaul University and performed improv most evenings.
The actress graduated from college in 2008 and moved to New York City, where she belonged to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. After some time in New York, she moved to Los Angeles to further pursue her career.
While Lapkus has built her resume over the years, she started small and appeared in several short films early in her career. Some of her initial credits include Dog DNA (2011), Plastic Hearts (2011), Manhattan Mixup (2012), and 3D Printer (2013).
She also appeared in several episodes of Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2010), The Parent Project (2010-2011), Video Game Reunion (2011), and The Back Room (2011).
Are You There, Chelsea?
In 2012, Lapkus played Dee Dee in 12 episodes of the sitcom Are You There, Chelsea, which was based on the 2008 book by Chelsea Handler.
The series was canceled after one season, with some critics saying it didn’t compare to the wit of the original book.
Are You Here
Lapkus played Delia Shepherd in the 2013 comedy-drama film Are You Here, which centers around a bipolar man who inherits his father’s fortune.
The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and starred Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis, and Amy Poehler. Despite an all-star cast, Are You Here fell flat amongst critics.
The actress appeared in the 2015 science-fiction action film, playing Vivian, an employee working in the park’s control room.
The film was the first in the Jurassic World trilogy and starred Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Vincent D’Onofrio. Jurassic World grossed $1.6 billion worldwide and was praised by critics, with many calling it the best Jurassic Park sequel.
In 2015, Lapkus appeared in the television sitcom Clipped, which aired on TBS for one season. The show centered around a group of co-workers who attended the same high school but were in different crowds.
Clipped starred Mike Castle and Ashley Tisdale, with Lapkus playing the role of the receptionist Joy.
The Earliest Show
Lapkus appeared in six episodes of the comedy web series The Earliest Show, where she played Samantha Newman.
The actress was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series.
The largely improvised web series follows Samantha and Josh (Ben Schwartz), morning show co-hosts who deal with Josh’s on-air failed marriage proposal.
From 2017-2019, Lapkus played Jess in nine episodes of the HBO comedy-drama series Crashing. The show ran for three seasons and centered around a stand-up comedian pursuing a comedy career after discovering his wife cheated on him.
Big Bang Theory
Between 2018 and 2019, Lapkus played Denise, Stuart’s girlfriend, and assistant manager of his comic bookstore, in eight Big Bang Theory episodes.
Denise is very interested in comics, like Stuart, and soon befriends Sheldon (Jim Parsons) as he discovers her extensive knowledge of comics.
Her affection for Stuart grows when he can "out trivia" Mark Hamill on Star Wars Trivia at Amy and Sheldon’s wedding.
Orange is the New Black
Lapkus played Susan Fischer in the hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black which starred Laura Prepon and Taylor Schilling.
The actress appeared in 14 episodes of the series, playing an understanding and forgiving correctional officer, and left the show when her character was fired for standing up for the inmates.
The Wrong Missy
In 2020, Lapkus starred in the romantic comedy The Wrong Missy with David Spade. The movie revolves around Spade’s character, Tim Morris, accidentally inviting Lapkus’s character, Missy, on a corporate retreat.
While the film failed to receive positive reviews from critics, many praised Lapkus’s performance.
Lapkus has lent her voice in numerous animated shows, including Bob’s Burgers (2016), TripTank (2016), Clarence (2017), Harvey Girls Forever! (2018-2020), Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2020), and Inside Job (2021), and voiced Vivian in the 2015 Lego Jurassic World video game.
What is she doing now?
Lapkus continues to act and often does voice-over work, including appearing in 17 episodes of the crime comedy-drama series Good Girls, where she played Phoebe Donnegan.
The actress also voiced Jennifer Sh’reyan in eight episodes of the adult animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks.
Lapkus is also set to executive producer and star in the indie film Another Happy Day, a postpartum depression comedy. The actress stars as Joanna, a new mom who self-admittedly is awkwardly embracing motherhood.
The actress also started a podcast in 2014 titled With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus, where she puts the guest in the host’s seat and allows them to decide Lapkus’s character. However, Lapkus has not released new episodes since 2019.
Fans of the actress can keep up with the star by following Lapkus on Instagram, where she often posts about future projects and gives a peek into her home life.
Lapkus married Chris Alvarado, an actor, and improviser, on May 3, 2014, but the couple announced their separation on Valentine’s Day, 2016, and divorced later in the year.
The actress married actor and comedian Mike Castle on October 5, 2018, and had a baby daughter named Holly in 2021.
Castle is best known for his work in Netflix’s Brews Brothers and has appeared in shows like Clipped (along with Lapkus), Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Sirens.