At the age of 6, Cuoco debuted in the television film Quicksand: No Escape, followed by a role in an episode of My So-Called Life. She then appeared in films like Virtuosity, Picture Perfect, Can’t Be Heaven, and Alley Cats Strike.
In 2001, Cuoco landed her first television main role as Bonnie Stiles in Ladies Man season 2, and just a year later, she starred as the oldest Hennessy daughter, Bridget, in the ABC sitcom 8 Simple Rules. At this point, Cuoco’s acting career was simply beginning, as over the years, she would gain mainstream recognition.
In September 2007, Cuoco was introduced as Penny, the waitress and aspiring actress who befriended a nerd-centric group in The Big Bang Theory. Penny became the love interest of Leonard Hofstadter (Johnny Galecki), and despite the drastic intellectual and socioemotional differences between her and the rest of The Big Bang Theory’s characters, she managed to build and maintain meaningful relationships with them. Cuoco’s portrayal of Penny earned her multiple nominations and awards, including a Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Even before The Big Bang Theory ended, Cuoco founded Yes, Norman Productions. Most of her acting credits after the CBS sitcom’s ending fall under her own production company. In a multi-year agreement with Warner Bros.
Television, Yes, Norman Productions obtained the rights to Chris Bohjalian’s 2018 novel The Flight Attendant and developed a mystery thriller of the same name. From 2020, Cuoco plays Cassie Bowden, and her performance and The Flight Attendant garnered positive reviews and accolades. The DC Universe animated series Harley Quinn was also released under the production outfits’ collaborative deal, with Cuoco voicing the lead character Dr. Harleen Quinzel.