Happy birthday Will Ferrell!

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Will Ferrell (born July 16, 1967) is an American comedian, impersonator, actor, writer, and producer. Getting his start with The Groundlings in Los Angeles, he is now one of the most profitable figures in Hollywood. He has appeared in such notable comedies as Old School (2003), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), and Step Brothers (2008).

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Ferrell was born John William Ferrell in Irvine, California to Betty Kay and Roy Lee Ferrell Jr. His mother was a teacher and his father was the keyboardist for the band The Righteous Brothers. His parents divorced amicably when Ferrell was eight years old.

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As a child, Ferrell was reserved. At University High School in Irvine, he was a kicker for the football team. He also played on the soccer team and was captain of the basketball team, in addition to being a member of student council. His first taste of comedic success came as one of the school's morning announcers. He and his co-host would write and perform comedy routines, at the approval of the school principal. (Image source)

Ferrell went on to attend the University of Southern California, where he studied sports broadcasting and was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. At an internship in the sports department of a local television station Ferrell realized he wasn't interested in a career in sports broadcasting. Not long after, he successfully auditioned for the comedy troupe The Groundlings in Los Angeles.

During his time with The Groundlings, Ferrell landed a few small television roles such as parts on Fox's Living Single and ABC's Grace Under Fire. He caught the attention of Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, who came to Los Angeles looking for talent. He was invited for a second audition, where he showed off his impersonations. Soon enough, he was in New York City for SNL's fall season.

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Ferrell's first season on the show was the season after Michaels had cycled out much of the show's talent. It took a few seasons for the show to regain popularity, but when it did, Ferrell was "the glue that [held] the show together," according to Michaels in a People magazine interview.

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Ferrell transitioned onto the big screen with the SNL spinoff A Night at the Roxbury (1998). SNL did their best to keep their prized talent on the show, offering Ferrell more than $350,000 to remain on the show, but ultimately, he left the show a year later.

Soon his film career was in full swing. He came out with the hits Old School (2003), Elf (2003), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky and Bobby (2006), Blades of Glory (2007), and Step Brothers (2008).

 

In April 2007, Ferrell released the website "Funny or Die" with his long-time collaborative partner, Adam McKay. The site started with videos of McKay's two-year-old daughter acting in the role of an irreverent, drunken landlady that harasses Ferrell for his rent. Now, the site features a host of other comedic videos.

Ferrell returned to SNL to impersonate then-president George W. Bush. He later refused to meet Bush in person, citing not just his craft, but also his politics as his reasons. The impersonation was not flattering, and Ferrell reprised the part in 2009 for a one-man Broadway show called You're Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush.

He currently co-produces the HBO series Eastbound & Down.

Ferrell is one of the most profitable figures in Hollywood, earning $8 at the box office for every $1 that he is paid. He has been nominated for and won countless awards, and was the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2011.

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Wednesday, 16 July 2014
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