Melissa McCarthy has won the 2011 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series for her role as Molly Flynn in the CBS show "Mike & Molly," marking the actress' first win and nomination and first such prize for the program.
The 41-year-old beat Tina Fey of "30 Rock," Amy Poehler of "Parks and Recreation," Tina Fey of "30 Rock," Laura Linney of "The Big C," Martha Plimpton of "Raising Hope" and last year's winner - Edie Falco of "Nurse Jackie."
The nominees all appeared on stage as their names were announced, earning standing ovations from the likes of Kate Winslet and others in the audience.
McCarthy appeared visibly shocked at her win, saying she was at her "first and best pageant."
"I just want to say thank you - holy smokes!" she said.
"Mike & Molly" debuted in 2010. McCarthy plays a school teacher who falls for a police officer, portrayed by Billy Gardell, after meeting him in a weight loss support group. "Mike & Molly" will return for a second season on September 26.
The show raised controversy last year when a writer for Marie Claire magazine said she would be "grossed out" if she had to watch an overweight couple kissing on a show. She later apologized. Her words angered scores of fans, some of whom organized a "Big Fat Kiss-in" protest, and the show's creator.
McCarthy also played Sookie St. James on the series "Gillmore Girls," which aired between 2000 and 2007. She later portrayed Dena on the comedy show "Samantha Who?," which starred Christina Applegate and ended its run in 2009.
McCarthy earned praise by many critics for her role as Megan in the comedy film "Bridesmaids," which was released in May. She has also appeared in movies such as "White Oleander," "Charlie's Angels," "The Back-up Plan" and "Life as We Know It." McCarthy is set to appear in the 2012 movie "This is Forty," a Judd Apatow comedy film seen as a sequel to hit hit 2007 movie "Knocked Up."
The 2011 Emmy Awards ceremony was held at L.A. Live's Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, September 18 and was hosted by "Glee" actress Jane Lynch. Check out a full list of nominees and winners.