New Zealand actor Melanie Lynskey plays Kathleen in The Last of Us TV show. Fans will recognize her from her role in the hit HBO series Yellowjackets as Shauna.

Melanie Lynskey has starred in 86 different projects ranging from critically acclaimed TV series to blockbuster films.

Melanie Lynskey’s character is entirely new to The Last of Us franchise and is one of the many surprising deviations from the original 2013 game featured in the show.

Born16 May 1977
BirthplaceNew Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand
Height1.7 m / 5 ft 6
SpouseJason Ritter
Social Media LinksTwitter – @melanielynskey
Instagram – msmelanielynskey
Melanie Lynskey in The Last of Us Episode 4
Credit – HBO

Who Is Melanie Lynskey From The Last of Us?

Melanie Lynskey is an award-winning actress who rose to fame thanks to her roles in critically acclaimed indie films and iconic TV series like Two and a Half Men.

She has worked with several famous directors, including Steven Soderbergh, Jason Reitman, Peter Jackson, and Clint Eastwood.

Lynskey joins the absolutely star-studded cast of The Last of Us, which also includes famous sitcom actors, other HBO alumni, and, of course, the Mandalorian himself.

Melanie Lynskey as Shauna in Yellowjackets
Melanie Lynskey as Shauna in Yellowjackets – Credit – HBO

Who Is Kathleen in The Last of Us?

Kathleen is the leader of the surviving people in Kansas City who overthrew the oppressive FEDRA government and captured the Kansas City QZ.

She is desperately hunting down the survivor Henry and his younger brother Sam who she believes were responsible for her brother’s death.

Kathleen is an entirely new character made for The Last of Us TV show and did not appear in the game in any capacity.

She is joined by her partner Perry, who acts as the leader of her soldiers and her own personal bodyguard. Together, they share a dark secret that they hide from the rest of their group.

Melanie Lynskey as Kathleen in The Last of Us TV Show
Credit – HBO

What Happens to Kathleen in The Last of Us?

In her desperate attempts to get revenge on Henry for getting her brother murdered by FEDRA, Kathleen is unfortunately killed by Clickers.

While pursuing Henry, Sam, Joel, and Ellie, Kathleen and her partner Perry are brutally killed. This comes shortly after a giant infected appears and begins killing Kathleen’s men.

After that, Kathleen is never seen again. Her short-lived reign over Kansas City was plagued by her desperation to seek revenge, which was ultimately her downfall.

Kathleen shooting an Infected in The Last of Us TV Show
Credit – HBO

All Melanie Lynskey Movies, TV Shows & More

  • Heavenly Creatures (Film) 1994 – Pauline Parker
  • The Frighteners (Film) 1996 – Deputy
  • EverAfter (Film) 1998 – Jacqueline
  • Foreign Correspondents (Film) 1999 – Melody
  • Detroit City Rock (Film) 1999 – Beth
  • But I’m a Cheerleader (Film) 1999 – Hilary
  • The Cherry Orchard (Film) 1999 – Dunyasha
  • Measureless to Man (Short) 1999 – ???
  • Coyote Ugly (Film) 2000 – Gloria
  • Snakeskin (Film) 2001 – Alice
  • Shooters (Film) 2002 – Marie
  • Rose Red (TV Mini-Series) 2002 – Rachel Wheaton (3 episodes)
  • Abandon (Film) 2002 – Mousy
  • Sweet Home Alabama (Film) 2002 – Lurlynn
  • The Shield (TV Series) 2003 – Marcy Lindhoff (2 episodes)
  • Claustrophobia (Film) 2003 – Lauren
  • Shattered Glass (Film) 2003 – Amy Brand
  • The Nearly Unadventurous Life of Zoe Cadwaulder (Short) 2004 – Zoe Cadwaulder
  • Say Uncle (Film) 2005 – Susan
  • Park (Film) 2006 – Sheryl
  • Flags of Our Fathers (Film) 2006 – Pauline Harnois
  • Itty Bitty Titty Committee (Film) 2007 – Plastic Surgery Lady (uncredited)
  • Drive (TV Series) 2007 – Wendy Patrakas (7 episodes)
  • Comanche Moon (TV Mini-Series) 2008 – Pearl Coleman (3 episodes)
  • Psych (TV Series) 2008 – Emily Bloom (1 episode)
  • The L Word (TV Series) 2008 – Clea Mason (2 episodes)
  • Show of Hands (Film) 2008 – Jess
  • A Quiet Little Marriage (Film) 2008 – Monique
Melanie Lynskey in Heavenly Creatures
Melanie Lynskey as Pauline Parker in Heavenly Creatures – Credit – Miramax Films
  • Away We Go (Film) 2009 – Munch
  • Up in the Air (Film) 2009 – Julie Bingham
  • The Informant! (Film) 2009 – Ginger Whitacre
  • Leaves of Grass (Film) 2009 – Colleen
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia (TV Series) 2009 – Kate (1 episode)
  • Helena from the Wedding (Film) 2010 – Alice
  • Memphis Beat (TV Series) 2010 – Annaliese Jones (1 episode)
  • Win Win (Film) 2011 – Cindy
  • Touchback (Film) 2011 – Macy
  • Hello I Must Be Going (Film) 2012 – Amy
  • House M.D (TV Series) 2012 – Natalie Tavares (1 episode)
  • The Life & Times of Tim (TV Series) 2010 – 2012 – Becky (6 episodes)
  • Eye of the Hurricane (Film) 2012 – Amelia Kyte
  • Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (Film) 2012 – Karen
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Film) 2012 – Aunt Helen
  • Putzel (Film) 2012 – Sally
  • Teddy Bears (Film) 2013 – Hannah
  • Happy Christmas (Film) 2014 – Kelly
  • They Came Together (Film) 2014 – Brenda
  • Chu and Blossom (Film) 2014 – Miss Shoemaker
  • We’ll Never Have Paris (Film) 2014 – Devon
  • Goodbye to All That (Film) 2014 – Annie Wall
  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour: Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars (Podcast Series) 2014 – Fondal (1 episode)
  • Over the Garden Wall (TV Mini-Series) 2014 – Beatrice (voice) (8 episodes)
  • Digging for Fire (Film) 2015 – Squiggy
  • Two and a Half Men (TV Series) 2003 – 2015 – Rose (63 episodes)
  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour: Beyond Belief (Podcast Series) 2014 – 2015 – Joanna, a witch/Pearl
  • Key and Peele (TV Series) 2015 – Fiance (1 episode)
Melanie Lynskey in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Melanie Lynskey as Aunt Helen in The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Credit – Summit Entertainment
  • Jake and the Never Land Pirates (TV Series) 2014 – 2015 – Pearl (voice) (2 episodes)
  • The Intervention (Film) 2016 – Annie
  • Rainbow Time (Film) 2016 – Lindsay
  • The Great & The Small (Film) 2016 – Margaret
  • Animals (TV Series) 2016 – Linda (voice) (1 episode)
  • Togetherness (TV Series) 2015 – 2016 – Michelle Pierson (16 episodes)
  • Little Boxes (Film) 2016 – Gina McNulty-Burns
  • Folk Hero & Funny Guy (Film) 2016 – Becky
  • Our Ex-Wife (TV Movie) 2016 – Sara
  • I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore. (Film) 2017 – Ruth
  • XX (Film) 2017 – Mary (segment “The Birthday Party”)
  • 1 Mile to You (Film) 2017 – Coach Rowan
  • American Dad! (TV Series) 2017 – Sharon (voice) (1 episode)
  • Girlboss (TV Series) 2017 – Gail (3 episodes)
  • Triggered (Film) 2017 – Janice
  • Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later (TV Mini-Series) 2017 – Laura (2 episodes)
  • The Changeover (Film) 2017 – Kate Chant
  • Sunshine (TV Mini-Series) 2017 – Zara Skelton (4 episodes)
  • Sadie (Film) 2018 – Rae
  • Future-Worm! (TV Series) 2016 – 2018 – Megah (voice) (13 episodes)
  • Summer Camp Island (TV Series) 2018 – Sun (voice) (3 episodes)
  • Castle Rock (TV Series) 2018 – Molly Strand (10 episodes)
  • Easy (TV Series) 2019 – Beth (1 episode)
  • Mrs. America (TV Series) 2020 – Rosemary Thomson (9 episodes)
  • Young Sheldon (TV Series) 2021 – Professor Ericson (2 episodes)
  • Mom (TV Series) 2021 – Shannon (1 episode)
  • Lady of the Manor (Film) 2021 – Hannah
  • Don’t Look Up (Film) 2021 – June Mindy
  • Candy (TV Mini-Series) 2022 – Betty Gore (5 episodes)
  • The Last of Us (TV Series) 2023 – Kathleen (2 episodes)
  • Yellowjackets (TV Series) 2022 – 2023 – Shauna (11 episodes)
Melanie Lynskey in Yellowjackets
Melanie Lynskey as Shauna in Yellowjackets – Credit – HBO

5 Facts About Melanie Lynskey

She Has Won 15 Awards

Melanie Lynskey is a critically acclaimed actor with 15 awards under her belt. Recently, she won the Critics Choice Television Best Actress in a Horror Series Award for her role as Shauna in Yellowjacks.

She also won the Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Individual Performance for her role as Annie in The Intervention.

She’s Originally From New Zealand

Many fans may be surprised to learn that Melanie Lynskey is actually from New Zealand as she predominantly plays American roles.

Her accent has fooled numerous directors in the past, including Jason Reitman, who she managed to trick into giving her a role by simply never speaking to him in her authentic New Zealand accent during her audition.

She Was Picked Out of 500 People For Her First Role

Melanie Lynskey’s first role was as Pauline Parker in the Peter Jackson thriller, Heavenly Creatures. Despite being cast straight out of High School, Lynskey actually beat 500 other girls to the role.

Before she was cast, 500 other people auditioned for the role of Pauline Parker but were apparently not right for the role. Fortunately, Lynskey was perfect and ended up winning Best Actress at the 1995 New Zealand Film Awards.

Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet in the movie Heavenly Creatures
Melanie Lynskey as Pauline Parker in Heavenly Creatures – Credit – Miramax Films

She’s Regarded as an Indie Queen

While Melanie Lynskey has starred in bigger projects like Two and a Half Men, she has always been regarded as an Indie Queen for her continued roles in small projects.

She frequently picks more interesting and complex characters and has previously stated that she only picks bigger projects to allow her to do more creative films.

She Has Co-Starred With Jeffrey Pierce Before

Both Melanie Lynskey and Jeffrey Pierce, who co-star as Kathleen and Perry in The Last of Us TV show, had previously been in the show Castle Rock together.

Lynskey played Molly Strand for ten episodes, while Pierce had the smaller role of Young Alan Pangborn for just five episodes.

Melanie Lynskey as Molly Strand in Castle Rock
Melanie Lynskey as Molly Strand in Castle Rock – Credit – Hulu

FAQs About Melanie Lynskey

Does Melanie Lynskey Have Any Children?

Yes, Melanie Lynskey has one daughter.

Is Melanie Lynskey Married?

Yes, Melanie Lynskey is married to Jason Ritter. She was married to actor Jimmi Simpson in 2007; however, they divorced in 2014.

Does Melanie Lynskey Use Social Media?

Yes, Melanie Lynskey uses both Twitter and Instagram. She can be found at @melanielynskey on Twitter and msmelanielynskey on Instagram.

Former Staff Writer
Whether it's an indie platformer or a 100-hour JRPG, Tom loves talking about games. So much so, he made it his career. Since starting in 2020, he's covered a wide range of topics at sites including TheGamer and The Game Crater.