Jim Carrey, a Canadian-born actor who became a naturalized American citizen in 2004, is an actor and producer famous for his rubbery body movements and flexible facial expressions. The two-time Golden Globe-winner rose to fame as a cast member of the Fox sketch comedy "In Living Color" (1990) but leading roles in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), Dumb & Dumber (1994) and The Mask (1994) established him as a bankable comedy actor.
James Eugene Carrey was born 17 January, 1962, in Ontario, Canada, and is the youngest of four children. Carrey was a natural performer even as a child, to the point of regularly doing stand-up routines for his classmates in junior high.
Following a period of severe financial hardship that included living with his family in a camper van, Carrey made his stand-up debut in Toronto after his parents and siblings got back on their feet. Determined to pursue his dream to be a comic, Carrey dropped out of high school to work on his act. He moved to Los Angeles in 1979 and eventually caught the attention of Rodney Dangerfield, who signed Carrey to open for him during his tour. Carrey also worked on breaking into film around this time, landing small roles until he met Damon Wayans on the set of Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), in which both actors played aliens. Wayans and his brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans, recruited Carrey for the cast of "In Living Color" (1990), where he quickly became a stand-out thanks to his array of outrageous comedic personalities such as Fire Marshal Bill.
Following his time on "In Living Color" (1990), Carrey appeared in roles that capitalized on his physical comedic ability, breaking out as a star with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), a film that proved to be a box-office smash. Later, his performance in Liar Liar (1997) earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor, and would mark a turning point in his career. Two films that followed, The Truman Show (1998) and his turn as Andy Kaufman in the biopic Man on the Moon (1999), each netted Carrey a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
Although Carrey maintains a foothold in the comedy world with films such as Bruce Almighty (2003) and Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011), he's also capable of turning in nuanced dramatic performances, as demonstrated in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and the drama/comedy Yes Man (2008). In 2013, he co-stars with Steve Carell in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013).
Carrey has one child with his first wife, Melissa Carrey, whom he divorced in 1995. He married actress Lauren Holly in 1996, but they split less than a year later.
The youngest of four children born to Percy (an accountant and aspiring jazz saxophonist) and Kathleen, Jim Carrey was an incurable extrovert from day one. As a child he performed constantly, for anyone who would watch, and even mailed his résumé to "The Carol Burnett Show" (1967) at age 10. In junior high he was granted a few precious minutes at the end of each school day to do stand-up routines for his classmates (provided, of course, that he kept a lid on it the rest of the day).
Carrey's early adolescence took a turn for the tragic, however, when the family was forced to relocate from their cozy town of Newmarket to Scarborough (a Toronto suburb). They all took security and janitorial jobs in the Titan Wheels factory, Jim working 8-hour shifts after school let out (not surprisingly, his grades and morale both suffered). When they finally deserted the factory, the family lived out of a Volkswagen camper van until they could return to Toronto. Back on firmer ground, Carrey decided to strike out into the comedy club scene. He made his (reportedly awful) professional stand-up debut at Yuk-Yuk's, one of the many local clubs that would serve as his training ground in the years to come. He dropped out of high school, worked on his celebrity impersonations (among them Michael Landon and James Stewart), and in 1979 worked up the nerve to move to Los Angeles. He finessed his way into a regular gig at The Comedy Store, where he impressed Rodney Dangerfield so much that the veteran comic signed him as an opening act for an entire season.
During this period Carrey met and married waitress Melissa Womer, with whom he had a daughter (Jane). The couple would later go through a very messy divorce, freeing Carrey up for a brief second marriage to actress Lauren Holly. Wary of falling into the lounge act lifestyle, Carrey began to look around for other performance outlets. He landed a part as a novice cartoonist in the short-lived sitcom "The Duck Factory" (1984); while the show fell flat, the experience gave Carrey the confidence to pursue acting more vigorously.
He scored the male lead in the ill-received Lauren Hutton vehicle Once Bitten (1985), and a supporting role in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), before making a modest splash with his appearance as the alien Wiploc in Earth Girls Are Easy (1988). Impressed with Carrey's lunacy, fellow extraterrestrial Damon Wayans made a call to his brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans, who was in the process of putting together the sketch comedy show "In Living Color" (1990). Carrey joined the cast and quickly made a name for himself with outrageous acts (one of his most popular characters, psychotic Fire Marshall Bill, was attacked by watchdog groups for dispensing ill- advised safety tips).
Carrey's transformation from TV goofball to marquee headliner happened within the course of a single year. He opened 1994 with a starring turn in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), a film that cashed in on his extremely physical brand of humor (the character's trademark was talking out his derrière). Next up was the manic superhero movie The Mask (1994), which had audiences wondering just how far Carrey's features could stretch. Finally, in December, he hit theaters as a loveable dolt in the Farrelly brothers' Dumb & Dumber (1994) (his first multi-million dollar payday).
Now a box-office staple, Carrey brought his manic antics onto the set of Batman Forever (1995), replacing Robin Williams as The Riddler. He also filmed the follow-up to his breakthrough, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), and inked a deal with Sony to star in The Cable Guy (1996) (replacing Chris Farley) for a cool $20 million--at the time, that was the biggest up-front sum that had been offered to any comic actor. The movie turned out to be a disappointment, both critically and financially, but Carrey bounced back the next year with the energetic hit Liar Liar (1997). Worried that his comic shtick would soon wear thin, Carrey decided to change course. In 1998, he traded in the megabucks and silly grins to star in Peter Weir's The Truman Show (1998) playing a naive salesman who discovers that his entire life is the subject of a TV show, Carrey demonstrated an uncharacteristic sincerity that took moviegoers by surprise. He won a Golden Globe for the performance, and fans anticipated an Oscar nomination as well--when it didn't materialize, Carrey lashed out at Academy members for their narrow-minded selection process.
Perhaps inspired by the snub, Carrey threw himself into his next role with abandon. After edging out a handful of other hopefuls (including Edward Norton) to play eccentric funnyman Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon (1999), Carrey disappeared into the role, living as Kaufman -- and his blustery alter-ego Tony Clifton -- for months (Carrey even owned Kaufman's bongo drums, which he'd used during his audition for director Milos Forman).
His sometimes uncanny impersonation was rewarded with another Golden Globe, but once again the Academy kept quiet. An indignant Carrey next reprised his bankable mania for the Farrelly brothers in Me, Myself & Irene (2000), playing a state trooper whose Jekyll and Hyde personalities both fall in love with the same woman (Renée Zellweger). Carrey's real-life persona wound up falling for her too--a few months after the film wrapped, the pair announced they were officially a couple. By then, Carrey had already slipped into a furry green suit to play the stingy antihero of Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). He plans to take a break from the limelight after the holiday flick (as he puts it, "I'm looking forward to getting out of America's face"). Is there another Carrey reinvention in the works? If so, he's not talking.
|Lauren Holly||(23 September 1996 - 29 July 1997) (divorced)|
|Melissa Carrey||(28 March 1987 - 11 December 1995) (divorced) 1 child|
Flexible body movements
Frequently plays a character who wears green or is green
Makes weird facial expressions in his more comical roles. A lot of times, the expression is accompanied by an equally weird voice or laugh.
In dramatic roles, often plays a character who discovers a bizarre truth about the foundations of his life
Wild erratic manner of speaking
His characters often have catchphrases
Characters lacking in manners or social awareness
Frequently imitates Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley in his movies (the Mask (1994), Man on the Moon (1999), Bruce Almighty (2003), etc).
Dropped out of high school at 16.
During the filming of Me, Myself & Irene (2000), he and the production crew attended a private music show Phish at the guitarist/vocalist house in Careystock, Vermont. There he sang two songs with Phish, "Hey You" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive and "Come Together" by The Beatles. [6/24/99]
Ranked #54 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Chosen by "People" magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World. 
At age 10, he sent his resume to Carol Burnett.
He appeared at the 20th anniversary special for The Comedy Store wearing nothing but a sock on his penis.
At one point his family lived out of their car/trailer.
Performed "Rocket Man" on stage with Elton John at one of John's concerts. 
At one point he and his family all worked as janitors at a factory to make a living.
Relationship with Renée Zellweger ended while they were already engaged and had marriage plans. 
December, 2001: Announces his intention to become a United States citizen.
As of 2001, his total of nine MTV movie awards is the most won by any person.
Received U.S. citizenship in October 2004 and maintains a dual citizen of both the United States and his native Canada.
As a child, he used to wear his tap shoes to bed just in case his parents needed cheering up in the middle of the night.
Performed his first stand-up routine (with disastrous results) in a yellow suit and tails (made by his mother) similar to what he would later wear in The Mask (1994).
Melissa Carrey filed court papers in Los Angeles Superior Court requesting more child support, saying that $10,000 a month "is not sufficient" to meet the needs of their 15-year-old daughter Jane Carrey, who wants to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. An April 21 hearing is scheduled on the support request. [1/30/03]
Ranked #5 in Star TV's Top 10 Box Office Stars of the 1990s (2003).
Many of his characters are ordinary men whose lives are changed by supernatural or otherwise unseen forces. As in The Mask (1994) (" (Ipkiss happens to find the mask), The Majestic (2001) (Appleton is unlucky and suffers amnesia), Liar Liar (1997) (His son's birthday wish comes true), Bruce Almighty (2003) (Divine intervention), The Truman Show (1998) (He finds his life is a TV show), and so on.
His characters from Dumb & Dumber (1994), The Mask (1994), Batman Forever (1995), Bruce Almighty (2003), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Man on the Moon (1999) and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)) are losers who want to be recognized and be famous.
There is some sort of a bathroom scene and car scene in almost every one of his movies.
Has said that his least favorite movie is The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969).
Owns his own $25-million plane.
October 2004 - Became a U.S. citizen.
He has said that Joel, his painfully shy, lovelorn character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), is closer to what he's like when he's not "on," and that making the film led him to reflect on his past relationships and why they didn't work out.
Attended Agincourt Collegiate Institute (High School), in Scarborough.
He donated a signed head-shot to Rocky Stone to be auctioned off to raise money to buy more toys for less fortunate kids as part of the Toy Mountain Campaign 2004.
While getting his start in Los Angeles, one of his frequent stops was at the Comedy Store.
Went through depression in the 1980s while struggling to make ends meet as a comedian.
Wrote letters to Tupac Shakur when Tupac was in prison to help him laugh and smile. Tupac said that Carrey was his favorite actor.
Briefly attended Aldershot High School in Burlington, Ontario.
Bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle and got a vanity license plate for it which read "NO TAG" as a joke. This resulted in Jim receiving numerous traffic tickets in the mail that were meant for other people. As it turns out, when filling out a ticket, police officers write "no tag" in the license plate number slot on the ticket when the offending vehicle has no license plate. In some cases, this was interpreted as the actual license plate number, as it was in Jim's case, which caused the tickets to be routed to him.
Was considered for the roles of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) and Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), both of which eventually went to Johnny Depp.
His performance as "Ace Ventura" in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) is ranked #97 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
Was originally offered the lead role in the movie The Master of Disguise (2002).
Was a straight-A student until he dropped out.
He has been nominated for 5 Golden Globes, but although more recognised for his comedic performances, the only two Globes he's won were for dramatic performances. (The Truman Show (1998) and Man on the Moon (1999)).
Possibly out of slapstick to his nationality, his "Dick Harper" character of Fun with Dick and Jane (2005) has been compared by fans to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
First actor to reach 20 million dollar salary mark (for The Cable Guy (1996)) in 1996. The first actress to do so was Julia Roberts, four years later, who was paid the same amount for her role in Erin Brockovich (2000) in 2000.
On September 13th, 2006, Carrey fired his agent of 15 years, Nick Stevens.
Often his protagonist (or antagonist) roles are associated with the color green. The Mask (1994), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), "The Riddler" in Batman Forever (1995), the alias 'Mr. Red Green' in Fun with Dick and Jane (2005). The Red Green reference in Fun With Dick and Jane might have been a nod to a Canadian comedy, "The Red Green Show" (1991).
Turned down the offer to induct Jerry Lawler into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2007, for he believed the people in the audience would have come to the ceremony to see him, not the legends being honored that night.
Nicole Kidman calls him her best male friend.
At one time, Carrey was slated to star as the lead in Meet the Parents (2000) and even contributed jokes to the screenplay, such as the main character being named "Focker".
With the exception of his "Ace Ventura" character, Carrey has a reputation of not repeating the same character twice in a sequel (Batman & Robin (1997)) or prequel (Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd (2003)).
Studies acting with legendary coach Larry Moss.
Is a vegetarian.
A fan of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (1969).
Jack Nicholson has called him the "Jack Nicholson of the next generation".
As of 2009, he is only one of six performers who won a Golden Globe Award as Best Lead Actor/Actress in a Motion Picture Drama without being nominated for an Oscar for that same role (his for The Truman Show (1998)). The others are Spencer Tracy in The Actress (1953), Anthony Franciosa in Career (1959), Omar Sharif in Doctor Zhivago (1965), Shirley MacLaine for Madame Sousatzka (1988) and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road (2008).
Was considered for the role of Ted Stroehmann in There's Something About Mary (1998).
As a kid, he was a member of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets.
The characters played by him in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), The Mask (1994) and Dumb & Dumber (1994) later all became TV cartoons, whereas his "Grinch", "Horton" and "Riddler" characters were already cartoons.
Publicist is Marleah Leslie.
He had never heard of "Doctor Who" (1963) until being offered the role of the Eighth Doctor in Doctor Who (1996) (TV), which was the key factor into turning down the role, as he felt he would cause outrage amongst Doctor Who fans if the role wasn't played by a Doctor Who fan.
Lives in Los Angeles and Malibu, California.
Jim and his girlfriend, Jenny McCarthy, have ended their five-year romance [April 6, 2010].
Is grandfather to daughter Jane Carrey's son, Jackson Riley Santana, born February 26th, 2010. Father of the boy is Jane's husband Alex 'Nitro' Santana, singer of the band "Blood Money".
According to Biography, Jim wrote himself a check for $10 million dollars in 1983, post-dated 10 years, hoping to be able to cash it by then. The episode also featured a clip from a 1999 interview where Jim stated he put the check in his father's pocket after he passed away on September 13, 1994. [October 13, 2010].
A lifelong fan of the Pink Panther movie series, especially Inspector Clouseau's house servant Cato (as played by Burt Kwouk).
I tend to stay up late, not because I'm partying but because it's the only time of day when I'm alone and I don't have to be on, performing.
Until Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), no actor had considered talking through his ass.
I've been dubbed the man most responsible for the dumbing of America, so obviously I don't put much stock into thoughts like (the theme of the 'dumbing down' of contemporary comedy). People love to laugh, and most people can find humor in just about anything, which is great. Trying to label or categorize comedy is ridiculous. I mean, if you laugh at a fart joke, does that make you a moron? I don't think so.
Maybe there is no actual place called hell. Maybe hell is just having to listen to our grandparents breathe through their noses when they're eating sandwiches.
That's the trouble with being me. At this point, nobody gives a damn what my problem is. I could literally have a tumor on the side of my head and they'd be like, 'Yeah, big deal. I'd eat a tumor every morning for the kinda money you're pulling down.
I'm charming, but I dip into the Prozac now and then.
I don't believe in this fairy tale of staying together for ever. Ten years with somebody is enough. In ten years, you can give a lot of love.
I have no intention of giving up my Canadian heritage, and all those who loved and supported me. My upbringing in Canada made me the person I am. I will always be proud to be a Canadian.
[after recording a cover of The Beatles' "I Am the Walrus"] There! I did it! I defiled a timeless work of art! For my next trick, I will paint a clown face on the Mona Lisa while using the shroud of Turin as a dropcloth.
[on being asked what his personal motto is] Always turn your wheel in the direction of the skid.
The power of the subconscious mind! With the power of the sub-conscious mind I can learn how to do anything...I could...learn how to dance, or, yodel like an Austrian.
If there'd been Ritalin when I was a kid, I wouldn't be here now.
The best possible thing you can get out of a relationship is that you're with somebody who encourages you to be the best version of yourself.
(1996, on choosing projects) Very rarely do I jump up and say on my own, 'I must do this!' I have a lot of people who look at material and give me their opinions. It's like the President-he doesn't make a move without his aides, which is a smart way to be if you trust the opinions of the people on your team.
(1996, on $20 million paydays) See, the number in the paper is one thing, but then there's 35 percent off the top for commissions, then there's taxes, so the $20 million check becomes $5.5 million. That's amazing money, but it's not $20 million. Believe me, I don't gloat about the money. People have lost fortunes that make mine look microscopic. You can never count on it for sure. People that do that are asking for trouble.
(1996) Money doesn't faze me at all. It goes into an account and then I basically do what I need to do with it. The money takes a little of your fear away-you know, fear of the future. This country is pretty scary if you don't build some kind of nest egg for yourself. I don't go buy Maseratis, because I've never been impressed with stuff like that at all. I'll probably end up with two houses, someplace to escape to and someplace in the city, I'm pretty basic. I understand the dynamic of people who medicate themselves with things, but it always seemed hollow to me.
(1996) I'm just a freak like the rest of us. I'd say I've had an even flow of neediness through my whole life, and I got kind of clever about it early. I remember starting out imitating records in the back of the classroom, and when the teacher singled me out and tried to make me feel embarrassed by saying, 'Get up and do that in front of the whole class,' it marked the end of all normal life. I got up, did it in front of the whole class and learned that committing myself to getting a reaction was very addicting. For sure, I have an unnatural need to be noticed or liked. But I don't necessarily gear everything to an audience, going, 'What are they going to want?', I'm not afraid to become a different thing, because I believe talent finds its audience. It's just like the Beatles. They didn't stay put. They changed, made a lot of enemies, lost fans, gained new ones.
(1996) I dyed my hair black just before I started shooting The Cable Guy (1996) and immediately got completely in the doldrums. I couldn't lift myself out of it, because every time I looked in the mirror, I didn't like myself. It definitely put me in a weird place.
Even if I am being over the top or crazy, I want to do something original. There is nothing that makes me happier than when someone says: 'I watched The Mask 300 times when I was a kid.' I look forward to when I am 80 and people come up to me going: 'It was you, dude.' That's an amazing feeling.
It is as if I am starting out every time I make a film. And I swear to you I don't feel any more secure than I used to, or jaded in any way. There was a moment when I thought 'I am not sure I want to be part of this big thing that is Hollywood.' I looked at it cynically for a minute. Then I sat on my couch and realized the value of what I do. We free people from concern. It is what everyone needs in this day and age. There is nothing better and it started out that way.
I was always trying to make my mother laugh because she was sick or depressed or whatever. Many comics start out by trying to heal their family. That's how you get good. Your drunken grandparents leave and you turn around as a seven-year-old child and imitate them. That is how it began for me, bringing comic relief to my family. It really is comic relief, people don't just want to see it, they need it. I need it more than they do and that is why I am on this side of the camera because I am a really needy person.
(2001, on his first comedy show) My mother dressed me in a polyester suit, and I got booed off the stage, and I didn't go back for two years. But then when I went back, I was gangbusters.
My focus is to forget the pain, mock the pain, reduce it.
[on Ireland] I love the whole culture, obviously. You have the best musicians, the best poets. Great artists come out of Ireland.
These mass shootings and daily body counts are an invitation for us to become more civilized and to deal with our addiction and entitlement to violence. Not to shut our eyes and ears and scream at those with a different opinion than ours to 'fuck off and go back to Canada'.
|Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)||$350,000|
|The Mask (1994)||$540,000|
|Dumb & Dumber (1994)||$7,000,000|
|Batman Forever (1995)||$20,000,000|
|Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)||$15,000,000|
|The Cable Guy (1996)||$20,000,000|
|Liar Liar (1997)||$20,000,000|
|The Truman Show (1998)||$12,000,000|
|Man on the Moon (1999)||$12,000,000|
|Me, Myself & Irene (2000)||$20,000,000|
|How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)||$20,000,000 + merchandising|
|"In Living Color" (1990)||$25,000/episode|
|Bruce Almighty (2003)||$25,000,000|
|Yes Man (2008)||36.2% of profit|
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