Caroline Rhea is a Canadian stand-up comedian and actress best known as the original host of the reality show The Biggest Loser.
She is also known for her role as Hilda on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, and for replacing Rosie O'Donnell as the hostess of her syndicated talk show, renamed The Caroline Rhea Show.
Rhea was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to an American father, David Rhea, and a Canadian mother, Margery. She has two sisters, Cynthia and Celia. She attended The Study, an all-girls private school in Westmount, Quebec.
Rhea is fluent in English and French. 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 and Joy, co-starring with Jeremy Piven.
She gained most fame for her role as "Aunt Hilda" on Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, as well as being a regular on the most recent 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. However, the show only lasted one season as it was cancelled in June 2003 due to low ratings.
The Caroline Rhea Show was similar to the more successful The Ellen DeGeneres Show; both programs were daytime talk shows that were run like night time talk shows, with monologues and house bands and celebrity (and sometimes non-celebrity) guests.
Behind the scenes, reportedly, Rhea's large breasts were at one time the source of tension between the host and the show's executives. During the show's brief run, Rhea often donned low-cut blouses in which her ample cleavage would be exposed, which was considered to be a taboo on what is supposed to be a family-friendly program.
Producers told Rhea, "advertisers think breasts on the show is a no-no." In one instance in particular, Rhea donned a low-cut blouse in which a considerable amount of her cleavage was visible during an interview segment with Pierce Brosnan.
In a brief article entitled "Caroline Rhea's Cups Runneth Over", New York magazine reported that Telepictures, the television syndication firm which produced the show, believed she went too far during that particular instance and she was subsequently scolded for it by Hilary Estey McLoughlin, the general manager of the firm.
However, Rhea refuted the story by insisting that she and McLoughlin never argued about her bustline.
Rhea also hosted The Biggest Loser, which began in 2004, in which overweight members of two teams try to lose the most weight.
The show proved to be so popular it was aired in more than 70 countries. Rhea stayed on the show for three seasons until NBC announced on February 20, 2007 that she will no longer be hosting it due to her returning to stand-up comedy.
She was replaced by Days Of Our Lives star Alison Sweeney.
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 also appeared as a contestant on a special edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
She had her own stand-up special as part of Bravo's three-part Funny Ladies series, along with Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone. She also had a recurring role on the hit Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack and Cody as Ilsa Shickelgrubermeiger-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.
Rhea has also appeared in the feature films Meatballs III: Summer Job (1986), The Shot (1996), Man on the Moon (1999), Ready to Rumble (2000), Happy Birthday (2001), Christmas with the Kranks (2004), The Perfect Man (2005), and Fast Girl (2007).
In addition, she has had roles in the made-for-TV movies Fools for Love (1993), Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire (2000), On the Edge (2001), The Santa Claus Brothers (2001), and To Be Fat Like Me (2007).
She also lent her voice to the video game Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: Spellbound (1998).