Kunal Nayyar (born April 30, 1981) is a British Indian actor best known for his role as Raj Koothrappali on the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
Nayyar was born in London, England and raised in New Delhi, India. He attended St Columba's School in New Delhi, where he played badminton for the school team.
In 1999, Nayyar moved to the US to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Business (Finance) from the University of Portland, Oregon. Working on his degree, he started taking acting classes and appeared in several school plays.
After participating in the American College Theater Festival, Nayyar decided to become a professional actor. He then attended Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he received a Master of Fine Arts in Acting.
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 in the CBS drama NCIS in the episode "Suspicion" (season 4, episode 12), in which he played Youssef Zidan, an Iraqi terrorist.
Nayyar's 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 the Just for Laughs comedy festival.
As of 2012, he is working on his first movie, Dr. Cabbie, in which he will be opposite famous Indian actress Katrina Kaif's sister, Isabell. He is shooting Dr. Cabbie in Toronto, Canada.
Nayyar married Miss India 2006 winner Neha Kapur in December 2011.