Robert McElhenney III (/ˈmækəlhɛni/ MAK-əl-hen-ee; born April 14, 1977) is an American actor, writer, producer, podcaster and businessman. He is best known for his role as Ronald "Mac" McDonald on the FX/FXX comedy series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005–present), a show he co-created with Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton and on which he continues to serve as an executive producer and writer. He is also known for playing Ian Grimm on the Apple TV+ comedy series Mythic Quest (2020–present), which he co-created with Day and Megan Ganz as executive producers.

Rob McElhenney
McElhenney in 2016
Born
Robert McElhenney III

(1977-04-14) April 14, 1977 (age 47)
Occupations
  • Actor
  • writer
  • producer
  • podcaster
  • businessman
Years active1996–present
Spouse
(m. 2008)
Children2
RelativesMarcus McElhenney (cousin)

In September 2020, McElhenney became the co-owner of the Welsh football club Wrexham A.F.C. with Ryan Reynolds; this was covered in the Emmy Award-winning FX sports documentary series Welcome to Wrexham (2022–present), for which he won an Emmy Award as one of the executive producers.

Early life edit

Robert McElhenney III was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 14, 1977. Both of McElhenney's parents were of Irish descent.[1] He was raised Catholic.[2] Through his father, he is a cousin of Olympic rower Marcus McElhenney. When he was eight years old, his parents divorced after his mother came out as a lesbian.[2] He and his two younger brothers were primarily raised by their father, though their parents remained close after the divorce.[2] His two brothers are gay,[2] and he describes himself as having "always been part of the gay community".[3] Through his father's subsequent marriage, he also has a half-sister and step-brother.

McElhenney attended Waldron Mercy Academy and St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Philadelphia.[4][5][6] He later briefly attended Temple University[7] and then temporarily lived on the Fordham University campus with friends, but chose not to enroll.[2]

Career edit

 
McElhenney in July 2016

McElhenney had his first major acting role with a small part in the 1997 film The Devil's Own, though his role was cut out of the final edit. He followed this with small parts in the films A Civil Action, Wonder Boys, and Thirteen Conversations About One Thing. He later had more substantial parts in the films Latter Days and The Tollbooth, and a guest role in the Law & Order episode "Thrill". When he was 21, a screenplay he wrote was optioned with Paul Schrader attached to direct, but the project fell through after a year of edits and rewrites.[8]

Initially based in New York City, McElhenney moved to Los Angeles at the age of 25.[8] When he was 27 years old, he was waiting tables between acting jobs and had met Glenn Howerton through his agent, as well as meeting Charlie Day while shooting a horror film in New York City.[8] His idea for a sitcom starring himself, Howerton, and Day came from a suggestion originally made by one of his closest childhood friends.[2] The pilot was filmed on a budget of $200 and pitched to various cable networks.[9] After receiving offers from many of the networks, McElhenney chose to sign with FX as they allowed him more creative freedom, and the show was eventually titled It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. McElhenney was contracted as its showrunner, while both Howerton and Day were listed as executive producers.[8]

McElhenney has said that 50 weeks per year are taken up by acting, producing, and writing for It's Always Sunny, though he did find time to appear in the Lost episode "Not in Portland". This was a result of him meeting Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, who is a fan of It's Always Sunny. He later reprised his Lost role in another episode. He is a fan of Game of Thrones and said that he was thrilled when the series' creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss asked him if they could write an episode of It's Always Sunny. He and his co-producers accepted the offer,[10] resulting in the episode "Flowers for Charlie" in 2013. In 2019, he had a cameo appearance as an extra in the Game of Thrones episode "Winterfell".

In July 2015, McElhenney was confirmed by Mojang as the director of the upcoming animated Minecraft movie,[11] but he later left the project.[12]

In 2017, McElhenney appeared in a guest role as a police officer in the acclaimed Fargo episode "The Law of Non-Contradiction". He received praise for his performance from critics, who saw many of his character's traits and plot points as references to It's Always Sunny.[13][14]

In 2020, McElhenney co-created the Apple TV+ comedy series Mythic Quest alongside Charlie Day and Megan Ganz. He also stars as Ian Grimm on the show and serves as a writer and executive producer. The series has received critical acclaim, with the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes giving the series an 89% approval rating.[15]

Since November 2021, McElhenney, Day and Howerton have been releasing The Always Sunny Podcast.[16][17] The three discuss topics of all sorts with the general framing of the podcast usually focusing on the creators discussing each episode of the show, sharing behind-the-scenes information, and what was going on to inspire the episodes. Cast members from the show also appear to discuss their own characters, and how they got into the show.

Business interests edit

In 2009, McElhenney and his wife Kaitlin Olson along with others purchased Skinner's Bar, now Mac's Tavern at 226 Market St in Philadelphia.[18][19][20]

On September 23, 2020, it was announced by the Wrexham Supporters Trust that a business partnership had been formed by McElhenney and Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds and that they were in talks to purchase the Welsh football team Wrexham AFC.[21] On November 16, 2020, it was confirmed that the two had successfully taken over the club after receiving the backing of the Wrexham Supporters Trust.[22][23] On April 22, 2023, Wrexham achieved promotion to League Two and also became National League champions under their ownership. This marks a return for Wrexham to the English Football League after a 15 year absence.[24] Club Necaxa´s backers purchased 5% of Wrexham AFC in April 2024[25] and both owners, in turn, purchased a minority stake in Club Necaxa.

On June 7, 2022, McElhenney announced the launch of a new entertainment-tech company named Adim, co-founded by himself, Chase Rosenblatt, Melissa Kaspers, Spencer Marell, and Richard Rosenblatt.[26]

In 2023, McElhenney along with his It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-stars Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day launched an Irish American Whiskey company to bottle the spirit of Paddy's Pub, named Four Walls as a tribute to the four walls of the bar they call home on the show.[27][28]

On June 26, 2023, it was announced that both Ryan Reynolds and McElhenney were part of an investor group that bought a 24% equity stake in the Alpine F1 Team.[29]

Personal life edit

 
McElhenney and his wife Kaitlin Olson in July 2010

McElhenney hired actress Kaitlin Olson to play Dee Reynolds on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and became romantically interested in her "around season 2" of the series. He has called her "the funniest woman in show business".[8] They were married in California on September 27, 2008.[30] They have two sons.[31][32] Olson went into labor with their first son while at a Philadelphia Phillies game.[31]

In July 2023, McElhenney announced that he had been diagnosed with "a host of neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities".[33]

Body edit

In preparation for the seventh season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, McElhenney put on 60 lb (27 kg) of fat and let his beard grow out to give extra humor to his character and add a new comedic direction for the season. His co-star Charlie Day described the weight gain as "disgusting" and said that the rest of the cast was "a little on the fence about it for his own personal health and safety". McElhenney subsequently lost 23 lb (10 kg) in a month after the season was finished filming, and lost the rest of the weight later in the year in time to film the next season.[34][35]

In preparation for the show's 13th season, he transformed his body again, though this time he became excessively fit and athletic. He later joked in an Instagram post that it was "a super realistic lifestyle and an appropriate body image to compare oneself to".[36]

Influences edit

McElhenney has named The Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Norman Lear, George Carlin, Gary David Goldberg, Larry David, and David Sedaris as his comedic influences.[37]

Filmography edit

Film edit

Year Title Role Notes
1997 The Devil's Own Kevin Scenes deleted[2]
1998 A Civil Action Teenager on property
2000 Wonder Boys Student Scenes deleted[2]
2001 Thirteen Conversations About One Thing Chris Hammond
Campfire Stories Ricky
2002 Long Story Short Trent
2003 Latter Days Elder Harmon
2004 The Tollbooth Simon Stanton

Television edit

Year Title Credited as Role Notes
Writer Director Producer Actor
1997 Law & Order No No No Yes Joey Timon Episode: "Thrill"
2004 ER No No No Yes Andy Fesh Episode: "Where There's Smoke"
2005–present It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Yes Yes Executive Yes Ronald "Mac" McDonald Also creator
2007–2010 Lost No No No Yes Aldo 2 episodes
2011–2012 How to Be a Gentleman No No Consulting No 9 episodes
2012 Unsupervised No No Executive No 13 episodes
2014–2017 The Mindy Project No No No Yes Louis "Lou" Tookers[38] 4 episodes[38][39]
2015 On the Record with Mick Rock. No No Executive No 6 episodes
2017 Fargo No No No Yes Officer Oscar Hunt Episode: "The Law of Non-Contradiction"
2018–2019 The Cool Kids No No Co-executive[40] No 22 episodes
2019 Game of Thrones No No No Yes Ironborn soldier Episode: "Winterfell"
2020–present Mythic Quest Yes Yes Executive Yes Ian Grimm Also co-creator
2022–present Welcome to Wrexham No No Executive Yes Himself Also co-creator

Web edit

Year Title Role Notes
2021–present The Always Sunny Podcast Himself/host 77 episodes

Music videos edit

Year Artist Title Notes
2021 Imagine Dragons "Follow You" Co-starring with Kaitlin Olson, both appearing as themselves[41]

Video games edit

Year Title Role Notes
2022 FIFA 23 Himself Voice role[42]

References edit

  1. ^ "'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's' Rob McElhenney talks about upcoming 'gay marriage' episode". Greg in Hollywood magazine. August 7, 2010. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h McElhenney, Rob (July 9, 2016). "Interview with Rob McElhenney". WTF Podcast (Interview). Interviewed by Marc Maron.
  3. ^ "'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' Season Finale: Rob McElhenney On Keeping The Gang Together For A Shining Season". deadline.com. November 7, 2018. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  4. ^ ""It's Always Sunny" star Rob McElhenney returns to St. Joe's Prep". Philly.com. September 23, 2009. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  5. ^ "'It's Always Sunny's' Rob McElhenney spoke at St. Joe's Prep today". Philly.com. September 11, 2014. Archived from the original on January 26, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2016.
  6. ^ "WMA Notable Alumni".
  7. ^ "'Sunny' star still a Philly guy at heart - The Temple News". temple-news.com. March 24, 2009. Retrieved September 19, 2023.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Episode 582 - Rob McElhenney". WTF with Marc Maron Podcast. March 5, 2015. Archived from the original on June 25, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  9. ^ "McElhenney interview". Archived from the original on December 26, 2007. Retrieved November 3, 2007.
  10. ^ Huffington Post Archived January 3, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved January 2, 2015
  11. ^ "We've chosen a director for the Minecraft movie!". July 21, 2015. Archived from the original on August 11, 2015 – via Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Minecraft Movie Delayed After Rob McElhenney Leaves Project". Destructoid. August 4, 2018. Archived from the original on April 5, 2022. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  13. ^ "Gloria heads to Hollywood for a Fargo highpoint". The A.V. Club. May 3, 2017. Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  14. ^ "'Fargo' Review: Carrie Coon Heads to La La Land in Bananas Episode That Upends Expectations For Year 3". IndieWire. May 3, 2017. Archived from the original on May 6, 2017. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  15. ^ "Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved February 16, 2020.
  16. ^ "The Always Sunny Podcast on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  17. ^ "The Always Sunny Podcast". Spotify. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  18. ^ "About". Mac's Tavern. December 17, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  19. ^ "Mac and Dee from "Always Sunny" getting into bar business for real". Philadelphia Inquirer. Philly.com. December 17, 2009. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  20. ^ "Mac and Dee from "Always Sunny" getting into bar business for real | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/17/2009". Philly.com. December 17, 2009. Archived from the original on November 5, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  21. ^ "Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney make shock bid for Wrexham AFC". the Guardian. September 23, 2020. Archived from the original on September 24, 2020. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  22. ^ "DONE DEAL: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney acquire Wrexham AFC". The Non-League Paper. November 16, 2020. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  23. ^ "Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney: Hollywood stars to take over Wrexham". BBC Sport. November 16, 2020. Archived from the original on November 16, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  24. ^ "REPORT : Wrexham AFC 3-1 Boreham Wood". www.bbc.com. April 22, 2023. Retrieved April 22, 2023.
  25. ^ "Wrexham Adds Club Necaxa Backers in Reciprocal Soccer Investment". Sportico. Retrieved April 29, 2024.
  26. ^ Otterson, Joe (June 7, 2022). "Rob McElhenney Among Co-Founders of Entertainment-Tech Company Adim". Variety. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  27. ^ "Our Story".
  28. ^ "Four Walls".
  29. ^ "Reynolds and McElhenney take stake in F1's Alpine". BBC Sport. Archived from the original on June 26, 2023. Retrieved June 26, 2023.
  30. ^ "OK! Exclusive: Kaitlin Olson & Rob McElhenney Wed". OK!. October 1, 2008. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved October 12, 2008.
  31. ^ a b "Kaitlin Olson, Rob McElhenney Welcome Son Axel Lee". People.com. September 2, 2010. Archived from the original on September 27, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
  32. ^ Johnson, Zach (April 10, 2012). "Meet Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney's Son Leo Grey!". US Weekly. US Magazine. Archived from the original on September 11, 2018. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  33. ^ Carras, Christi (July 13, 2023). "Rob McElhenney diagnosed with 'neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 4, 2024.
  34. ^ "Fat Mac: Rob McElhenney Goes Into Graphic Detail About 'Sunny' Weight Gain". Reuters. August 10, 2011. Archived from the original on November 10, 2015. Retrieved July 6, 2021.
  35. ^ Maerz, Melissa (September 16, 2011). "Rob McElhenney: How To Get Fat for TV". TV Article. Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  36. ^ Jussim, Matthew. "'It's Always Sunny' Star Rob McElhenney's Body Transformation Is Insane". Men's Journal. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  37. ^ "I am Rob McElhenney AMA!". Reddit. October 16, 2013. Archived from the original on March 11, 2022. Retrieved March 11, 2022.
  38. ^ a b Dos Santos, Kristin (July 31, 2014). "The Mindy Project Just Cast an It's Always Sunny Star as Morgan's Cousin and It's Perfect". Eonline. Archived from the original on August 11, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  39. ^ Mindy Kaling [@mindykaling] (July 3, 2014). "Get ready. #themindyproject" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  40. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (September 5, 2017). "Fox Orders 'The Cool Kids' Retirement Community Comedy Pilot From 'It's Always Sunny' Trio & Kevin Abbott". Deadline. Retrieved November 16, 2022.
  41. ^ Imagine Dragons - Follow You (Official Music Video), March 16, 2021, retrieved November 24, 2022
  42. ^ "FIFA 23 Easter Egg Features Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney". Game Rant. January 6, 2023.

External links edit