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Jim Carrey - Biography


Comedian and actor Jim Carrey
Photo by Pascal le Segretain/Getty Images


January 17, 1962

Jim Carrey Overview:

Very few comedy stars have ever achieved the success of Canadian-born Jim Carrey, who came to public attention on the 1990s sketch series In Living Color but exploded into the stratosphere in the mid-'90s thanks to a run of hit comedy films that included both Ace Ventura movies, Dumb & Dumber and Liar, Liar. Known for a manic energy that recalls Robin Williams and a ridiculously expressive face reminiscent of Jerry Lewis, critics dismissed Carrey early on but audiences couldn't get enough of him. Carrey eventually won critics over, too, in a series of dramatic roles, including a dead-on impression of comedian Andy Kaufman in the 1999 film Man on the Moon. Carrey's star eventually faded a little, but there's little denying he's one of the biggest comedy successes the movies have produced.

Quick Jim Carrey Facts:

  • Jim Carrey was born and raised in Ontario, Canada.
  • He began performing comedy at open mics and clubs in Toronto in the late '70s and early '80s before being discovered by Rodney Dangerfield and going on tour as his opening act.
  • Carrey moved to the U.S. in the early 1980s and made his television debut on Evening at the Improv in 1982.
  • After continuing to perform stand-up and attempting to get an acting career going throughout the 1980s, Carrey's big break came after he was cast on the Fox sketch series In Living Color in 1990, where he remained for five season.
  • In 1994, Carrey starred in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a critically-derided star vehicle that made him the biggest comedy star in the world practically overnight. Over the next several years, Carrey starred in a series of hugely successful movies and eventually commanded $20 million to star in The Cable Guy in 1996, then the largest salary ever paid to an actor.

Jim Carrey on 'In Living Color':

After working alongside Damon Wayans in 1989's Earth Girls are Easy, Carrey was recommended by Damon for his brother Keenan's new sketch series on Fox, In Living Color. Carrey joined the show when it launched in 1990, on which he was one of the few white actors in a predominately black cast that included both Wayans brothers, David Alan Grier and eventually Jamie Foxx. During the show's run, Carrey created a number of popular and memorable characters, including Fire Marshal Bill, Vanilla Ice, Overly Confident Gay Man and female body builder Vera de Milo. Though his appearances were eventually cut back after his film career took off, Carrey was one of the few cast members to remain with the show for all five seasons.

Select Jim Carrey Filmography:

  • Once Bitten (1985)
  • Earth Girls are Easy (1989)
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
  • The Mask (1994)
  • Dumb and Dumber (1994)
  • The Cable Guy (1996)
  • Liar Liar (1997)
  • The Truman Show (1998)
  • Man on the Moon (1999)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
  • The Majestic (2001)
  • Bruce Almighty (2003)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  • Yes Man (2008)

Additional Jim Carrey Facts:

  • Jim Carrey auditioned to join the cast of Saturday Night Live in the 1981-82 season, but was turned down by show producer Lorne Michaels. He finally came back to host (after becoming the biggest movie star in the country) in 1996.
  • He starred on his own short-lived NBC sitcom, called The Duck Factory, but the show was canceled during its first season.
  • Before breaking out as a movie star in the mid-'90s, Carrey had supporting roles in a number of movies including The Dead Pool, Earth Girls are Easy, Peggy Sue Got Married and Pink Cadillac.
  • Carrey, who was born and raised in Canada, finally became a U.S. citizen in 2004.
  • He was inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2004.
  • Carrey won two consecutive Best Actor Golden Globe Awards (plus an additional three nominations) in 1998 and 1999 for his roles in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon (in which he played comedian Andy Kaufman), but has never been nominated for an Academy Award.
  • He has publicly stated that he suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
  • He has been romantically linked to Jenny McCarthy, Laurie Holden (his Majestic co-star), Renee Zellwegger (his Me Myself & Irene co-star) and was briefly married to his Dumb & Dumber co-star Lauren Holly.
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