Caroline Gilchrist Rhea (born April 13, 1964) is a Canadian stand-up comedian and actress who voices Linda Flynn-Fletcher on Phineas and Ferb. She was also the original host of the reality show The Biggest Loser on NBC, until Alison Sweeney took her place after the end of the third season. She is also known for her role as Hilda Spellman on Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and for replacing Rosie O'Donnell as the hostess of her syndicated talk show, renamed The Caroline Rhea Show.
Rhea was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Marjorie, an antiques dealer, and David Rhea, an obstetrician and gynecologist. She has two sisters, Cynthia and Celia. She attended The Study, an all-girls private school in Westmount, Quebec. Her film debut was as a bikini-clad extra in the film Meatballs III, shot on location near Montreal. She moved to New York in 1989 to study stand-up comedy at the New School for Social Research.
Rhea has said that her true training came from her first gigs at the comedy club, Catch a Rising Star. Performing around New York City, she quickly gained a reputation, and a name in the city's competitive comedy scene. These performances were augmented with appearances on MTV's Half-Hour Comedy Hour, Comic Strip Live and Caroline's Comedy Hour. She decided to move to Los Angeles for a career in Hollywood, debuting in NBC's Pride & Joy co-starring with Jeremy Piven. She gained most famе for her role as "Aunt Hilda" on ABC and The WB's Sabrina the Teenage Witch, as well as being a regular on the latest incarnation of Hollywood Squares, with Tom Bergeron and Whoopi Goldberg.
In 2002, Rhea landed her own syndicated daytime talk show, The Caroline Rhea Show. Rosie O'Donnell had hand-picked Rhea as her replacement. Rhea next went on to host the autumn series, The Biggest Loser on NBC, which was the first weight loss reality show in which overweight members of two teams try to lose the most weight, which began in 2004. Her show proved to be so popular in the first season, that The Biggest Loser would continue to air the show in around 70 countries, making Rhea a star phenomenon. She hosted the show for three seasons. In 2005, Rhea was in the movie The Perfect Man, playing a co-worker of Jean (Heather Locklear).
She has appeared in Comic Relief 8, as well as the Ms. Foundation's "Women of Comedy from Caroline's Comedy Club" (no relation to Rhea). She appeared as a contestant on a special edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with Orlando Jones, Jack Black and Denis Leary. She walked away with $125,000. She had her own stand-up special as part of Bravo's three-part Funny Ladies series, along with Joan Rivers and Paula Poundstone. Rhea has had a recurring role on the hit Disney Channel Original Series, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody as Ilsa Shickelgrubermeiger-Von Helsing der Keppelugerhofer, who is an inspector turned manager of the rival hotel. In the series, she is well known for a large mole on her cheek. She has appeared on Disney's Mom's Got a Date with a Vampire as well as Christmas with the Kranks in 2004. She has competed on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown and GSN's World Series of Blackjack.
Rhea will next appear on the upcoming Fox animated series Two Dreadful Children. Caroline Rhea also plays Noleta Nethercott on the TV series Sordid Lives: The Series. She has also been in the original Lifetime Television movie To Be Fat Like Me with Kaley Cuoco. She also stars as a down on her luck waitress alongside Justin Guarini and Mircea Monroe in the Marvista Entertainment production of Fast Girl.