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Kunal Nayyar
Kunal Nayyar by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Nayyar at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1981-04-30) 30 April 1981 (age 41)
Hounslow, London, England
Alma mater University of Portland (BA)
Temple University (MFA)
Occupation Actor
Years active 2004–present
(m. 2011)

Kunal Nayyar (born 30 April 1981) is a British-born Indian-American actor known for his role as Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali in the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory that aired from 2007 to 2019.

According to Forbes, Nayyar was third on the list of world's highest-paid TV actors for 2015, tied with co-star Simon Helberg and with Mark Harmon and Ashton Kutcher, with earnings of US$20 million after The Big Bang Theory. Forbes again placed him third in its world's highest-paid TV actors list in 2018, his revenues rising to $23.5 million in that year.

Early life

Nayyar was born in Hounslow, London, to a Punjabi family. When he was 4 years old, his family returned to India, and he grew up in New Delhi. He attended St Columba's School in New Delhi, where he played badminton for the school team. His parents live in New Delhi.

In 1999, Nayyar moved to the United States to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from the University of Portland, Oregon. He started taking acting classes and appeared in several school plays while working on his degree.

After participating in the American College Theater Festival, Nayyar decided to become a professional actor. He then attended Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he received a Master of Fine Arts in acting.


Kunal Nayyar
Nayyar on a tour for The Big Bang Theory in 2008

After graduating, Nayyar found work doing American television ads and plays on the London stage. He first gained attention in the US for his role in the West Coast production of Rajiv Joseph's 2006 play Huck & Holden, where he portrayed an Indian exchange student anxious to experience American culture before returning home. In 2006, Nayyar teamed up with Arun Das to write the play Cotton Candy, which premiered in New Delhi to positive reviews.

Nayyar made a guest appearance on the CBS drama NCIS in the season four episode "Suspicion", in which he played Youssef Zidan, an terrorist.

Nayyar's agent heard about a role for a scientist in an upcoming CBS pilot and encouraged him to audition for the part. This led to his casting in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, where he plays astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali.

In 2011 he co-hosted the Tribute to Nerds show with co-star Simon Helberg at the comedy festival Just for Laughs.

Nayyar voiced Gupta in Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012. During the same year he completed the shooting of his first film, Dr. Cabbie, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The film was produced by Bollywood actor Salman Khan.

From 5 May to 29 June 2015 Nayyar performed in an off-Broadway production, The Spoils, written by and starring actor Jesse Eisenberg. The production transferred to London's West End in 2016.

He then voiced Guy Diamond in DreamWorks' animated movie Trolls, released in November 2016.

Personal life

In December 2011, Nayyar married Neha Kapur, a model, actress, and Femina Miss India 2006. Nayyar published a book about his career journey, Yes, My Accent is Real in September 2015.

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