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Rajesh Koothrappali
Kunal Nayyar

­Kunal Nayyar's role in THE BIG BANG THEORY is his first as a regular on a television series, although he previously had a guest starring role on "NCIS," on the Network.

Recently, Nayyar completed production on the animated feature film "Ice Age: Continental Drift," which is slated for release in 2012. He also hosted "A Tribute to Nerds," at the 2011 Montreal "Just for Laughs" Comedy Festival.

His theater acting credits include "Huck and Holden" at the Dahlia Theater in Los Angeles, for which Nayyar was awarded Best Male Lead in a Play on the West Coast by the Garland Awards, and "Love's Labour's Lost" at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

Nayyar also penned the critically-acclaimed play, "Cotton Candy," which continues to run in New Delhi.

Always a performer, Nayyar began acting in musicals and plays at a young age. After high school, he left India for the United States where he majored in business and took many acting classes at the University of Portland (Portland, Oregon). In his senior year, he was nominated as the best actor in his play, "The Rose Tattoo," and was given an invitation to the American College Theater Festival (ACTF) to compete in an acting competition, where he eventually won the Mark Twain Award for comic brilliance as well as a fellowship to the prestigious Sundance Theater Lab. He went on to receive his Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) from Temple University in Philadelphia.

While in school, Nayyar played badminton and competed at state level in the region of North India. He is also a fanatical fan of cricket. He is said to have a killer shoulder shimmy. According to Nayyar, Wikipedia says his name means "one who sees beauty in everything" and it comes from a Himalayan bird known as the Painted Snipe.

He was born in London, England, and spent most of his younger years growing up in New Delhi, India. He currently resides in Los Angeles. Nayyar's birth date is April 30.