A veteran of several failed TV sitcoms, sassy Leah Remini finally scored a hit when she was cast as comedian Kevin James's wife on the CBS series The King of Queens (1998).
Born June 15th, 1979 in Brooklyn, NY, Remini moved to Los Angeles as a teen. After leaving school at 14, Remini held a variety of jobs for a couple of years before deciding to try acting. Though she was advised to lose her Brooklyn accent, Remini quickly landed a guest role on ABC's gifted high schoolers sitcom Head of the Class. Working steadily from the late '80s on, Remini guest starred on a number of comedies, including Friends, Cheers (as Carla's daughter), and a year-long stint on Saved By the Bell, and began to amass a resumé of short-lived series. After starring in Living Dolls in 1989, Remini was cast in The Man in the Family (1991) and First Time Out (1995); though Fired Up (1997) looked promising, it too failed after leaving its post-Seinfeld time slot. Along with the sitcoms, Remini also appeared in the TV movie Getting Up and Going Home (1992) and Glory Daze (1996), a coming-of-age feature starring then unknown Ben Affleck.
A seasoned TV actress by 1998, Remini got to put her New York roots (and accent) to successful use in The King of Queens, a family comedy in the Everybody Loves Raymond vein. As blue collar James' pretty, levelheaded wife Carrie, Remini proved an adept foil to James and a flamboyant Jerry Stiller; The King of Queens became Remini's first bona fide ratings hit.