If you’re a fan of ‘90s TV, you may be curious to know what happened to Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. For nearly a decade, Kathy Kinney played the iconic sitcom character, but after the show went off the air in 2004, the actress became much less visible in the celebrity spotlight. So whatever happened to the woman who played the flamboyant and devious Mimi Bobeck? Here’s a look at what the 67-year-old actress is up to today.
Kathy Kinney’s Acting Career
Kathy Kinney was born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on November 3rd, 1954. From the start, she says she was inspired by entertainment and make-believe.
“I think that I had a very well-rounded but creative, full-of-imagination childhood,” Kinney said in a 2016 interview with the Wausau Daily Herald. “I grew up on the block with a very large cemetery and played in that cemetery almost every day. In there, I created all these worlds I could lose myself in—a headstone became my horse as I galloped across the plains, and mausoleums were the dance halls where I tap-danced as a showgirl.”
As a young adult, Kinney became interested in comedy and began honing her improvisation skills at New York City comedy clubs. In 1986, she landed a role in the movie Parting Glances, which inspired her to move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career full-time. She started getting bit parts in early ’90’s movies such as Stanley & Iris, Arachnophobia, This Boy’s Life, and played small but notable character roles on TV shows like Seinfeld, Grace Under Fire, Full House, Boy Meets World and The Larry Sanders Show. In 1995, she landed the career-changing role of Mimi Bobeck on The Drew Carey Show.
Originally, Mimi was only supposed to appear in the pilot episode of The Drew Carey Show, but Kinney’s performance was so impressive that she was written into the series as a regular cast member. For the next nine years, Kinney played one of the most recognizable characters on TV, which the actress says she’s still grateful for to this day.
“It was about me playing this woman who had the biggest, best self-esteem in the world, you know,” Kinney explained in a 2018 interview with Parade magazine. “And the space between who I really was and who Mimi the character was, became much smaller until we sort of merged. Now, I don’t wear blue eyeshadow—in fact, I’m really happy to not wear any makeup at all anymore. But I think, you know, everybody should be allowed or given the gift to play someone as vivid as her, because it certainly changed my life for the better.”
After a very successful run, The Drew Carey Show went off the air in 2004. Kinney continued to work in TV, though to a scaled-back degree, appearing on shows like My Name Is Earl, The Penguins of Madagascar, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and Love Bites. She also reprised her role as Mimi Bobeck for two guest spots on The Price Is Right (hosted by former co-star Drew Carey) in 2009 and 2010, and appeared on 19 episodes of Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza in 2011.
Her New Ventures
Today, Kathy Kinney has expanded her career beyond movies and television. In 2010, along with her longtime friend Cindy Ratzlaff, she wrote the book Queen of Your Own Life: The Grown-Up Woman’s Guide to Claiming Happiness and Getting the Life You Deserve. Designed to be an inspirational self-help guide for women, the book uses “humor and common sense [to] offer you our tried-and-true actions to blast away at the societal tall tale that young is beautiful and old is just old,” the authors write in the intro. “With our seven simple steps, we will help you let go of the negative thoughts that keep you from fully admiring and accepting yourself just the way you are—a woman in full bloom, valuable, sensual, vibrant, wise, and more beautiful than ever.”
In 2013, Kinney and Ratzlaff published a follow-up book, Queenisms: 101 Jolts of Inspiration. They also launched a lifestyle brand and website based on their books, Queenofyourownlife.com. The former sitcom star says she loves sharing inspirational messages with her fans and encourages them to be their own cheerleaders in life. “How often do you stop and make eye contact with yourself and say, ‘This day is going to be a great adventure and you’re the person brave enough and bold enough to enjoy it?’” she told the Wausau Daily Herald. “It’s about taking the time to send yourself a positive message.”
The Queen of Your Life brand also has a YouTube channel, which features webisodes and videos messages of inspiration from Kinney.
Despite becoming a published author and entrepreneur, Kinney still loves to play fun characters. She’s the co-creator of MrsP.com, a storytelling website for kids that features the actress as a sweet and lively woman (Mrs. P.) who reads classic children’s stores from her Magic Library.
Kathy Kinney’s Net Worth
According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, Kathy Kinney has an approximate net worth of $5 million. Because The Drew Carey Show ran long enough to make it into syndication, we’re guessing a big chunk of her fortune comes from residuals from the show, in addition to the nine years of TV paychecks she collected. Her books were also quite popular and are still being sold in major bookstores and on Amazon.
We’re so glad to see this iconic sitcom actress is doing well!