Kunal Nayyar was born on April 30, 1981 in London, England, UK, is a British-Indian actor. He was raised in New Delhi. He is known for his role as Rajesh Koothrappali on the hit CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
Nayyar was born to a Punjabi family and moved to India when he was four years old.
He attended St Columba’s School in New Delhi, India, where he played badminton for the school team. In 1999 he moved to the US to earn a BS in Business (BSS) from the University of Portland. While he was working on his degree he started taking acting classes and appeared in several school plays. After he participated in the American College Theater Festival and won its Mark Twain Prize for Comic Brilliance, he resolved to become a professional actor. He then attended Temple University, where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Acting (MFA).
After graduating, Nayyar found work doing American television ads and plays on the London stage. He first gained attention in the US for his role in the West Coast production of Rajiv Joseph’s 2006 play Huck & Holden where he portrayed an Indian exchange student anxious to experience American culture before returning home. In 2006, Nayyar teamed up with Arun Das to write the play Cotton Candy, which premiered in New Delhi to positive reviews. Nayyar made a guest appearance on the CBS drama NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) in the episode “Suspicion” (Season 4, Episode 12), in which he played Youssef Zidan, an Iraqi terrorist. His agent heard about a role for a scientist in an upcoming CBS pilot and encouraged him to audition for the part. This led to his casting in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory, on which he plays astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali.
In 2011 he co-hosted the Tribute to Nerds show with co-star Simon Helberg at Just For Laughs comedy festival.
Nayyar married Miss India 2006 winner Neha Kapur in December 2011.