Curvaceous blonde Jenny McCarthy has tried to forge an acting career based on the strength of her vivacious and sometimes raunchy persona, but has had only moderate success. Prior to entering the entertainment industry as a Playboy centerfold, McCarthy studied nursing at Southern Illinois University. While scrambling through her second year, she decided that modelling would be more lucrative and dropped out. Though she possesses a wholesome, athletic beauty, her figure proved too voluptuous for high fashion modelling, so she marched to the Chicago offices of Playboy, handed them photos of herself and ended up chosen Miss October 1993. She was subsequently elected Playmate of the Year. This, in turn, led to an erotic video pictorial. Despite her notoriety as a pinup girl, McCarthy's initial bid for stardom in Hollywood met with failure, until her manager/boyfriend Ray Manzella doggedly convinced executives at MTV to audition her for the network's upcoming game show Singled Out, a ludicrous riff on The Dating Game in which contestants made fools of themselves to win dates with beautiful or handsome strangers. She won the part of co-host and soon proved herself the show's one redeeming feature. Realizing her potential, the network hired McCarthy as a vee-jay and then allowed her to develop her own show, which ended up a short-lived sketch comedy show. She then starred in the short-lived NBC sitcom, The Jenny McCarthy Show (1997). She made her film debut with a tiny role in Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) and had her first major role in the abysmal comedy The Stupids, as a neurotic film star opposite comedian Tom Arnold. In 1998, McCarthy co-starred in David Zucker's BASEketball. She had a supporting role in the comedy Diamonds.
McCarthy had the distinction of appearing on both Scream 3, and the spoof Scary Movie 3. She published two books about pregnancy and motherhood. She wrote and starred in the romantic comedy Dirty Love, but the film had a limited theatrical run. In 2006 she appeared as a very sexy mom in the teen comedy John Tucker Must Dies, and she gained some off-screen notoriety by being romantically involved with Jim Carrey.