When you think of great comedians of all time you think of names like George Carlin, Richard Pryor or Bob Hope but Will Ferrell’s name should get a mention among the greats. Ferrell is one of those comedic talents that comes along every twenty years that has the look, the talent and the charisma to make an audience erupt in hysterical laughter.
Ferrell, 48, was born in Irvine, California to Betty Kae, a school teacher, and Roy Lee Ferrell Jr., a musician, on July 16, 1967. Ferrell attended University High School in Irvine, California where he was a kicker for the football team. His love for comedy began in high school as he and a friend would perform comedy skits at talent shows.
After high school Ferrell attended the University of Southern California majoring in Sports Broadcasting. While in college he earned an internship at a local television station and there he realized he did not enjoy being a sports broadcaster. After graduating with a degree in Sports Information in 1990, Ferrell took odd jobs until he took his mother’s advice and found something he really enjoyed doing. He moved to Los Angeles and successfully auditioned for the comedy group, The Groundlings, where he spent time improving on his improvisational skills.
After several successful years with The Groundlings, Ferrell successfully auditioned for Saturday Night Live (SNL) and became a regular cast member in 1995. During his seven year career at SNL, Ferrell made a name for himself by doing spot on impressions of George W. Bush, Harry Caray, Robert Goulet, Ted Kennedy and Alex Trebek. With his newfound popularity in 1998 Hollywood came calling with a script for Ferrell to star in a feature film entitled A Night at the Roxbury. Although the movie was slammed by critics and was a box office bomb by earning only $30 million Ferrel was not detoured.
After leaving SNL after seven seasons in 2002, Ferrell began making movies full time. His first starring role after leaving SNL was Old School in 2003 which earned him an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Comedic Performance. His next movie was Elf in 2003 which earned him yet another MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Comedic Performance. After that Ferrell had a consistent number of hit movies such as The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Talladega Nights: The Ricky Bobby Story (2006), Blades of Glory (2007), Semi-Pro (2008), Land of the Lost (2009), The Other Guys (2010), The Campaign (2012), Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), The Lego Movie (2014), Daddy’s Home (2015) and Zoolander 2 (2016).
With the success of his films Ferrell is one of Hollywood’s top cash cows by earning an estimated $20 million dollars a film. Not only is he an actor and a comedian but he is also an executive producer of the HBO series Eastward and Down and The Chris Gethard Show. Ferrell is also a part owner of a streaming video site called Funny or Die where short comedy films are uploaded and voted on by users.
Ferrell is married to Viveca Paulin and the couple have three children together Magnus, Matthias and Axel. The family resides in New York City.