Charity Ferrell Biography & Facts
John William Ferrell (; born July 16, 1967) is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer. Ferrell first established himself in the mid-1990s as a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live, where he performed from 1995 to 2002, and has subsequently starred in comedy films such as Elf (2003), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Kicking & Screaming (2005), Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Semi-Pro (2008), Step Brothers (2008), and Land of the Lost (2009). He founded the comedy website Funny or Die in 2007 with his writing partner Adam McKay. Other notable film roles include The Other Guys (2010), The Campaign (2012), Get Hard (2015), Holmes & Watson (2018), and the animated films Curious George (2006), Megamind (2010) and The Lego Movie film franchise (2014–2019).
Ferrell is considered a member of the "Frat Pack", a generation of leading Hollywood comic actors who emerged in the late 1990s and the 2000s, including Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn, Paul Rudd, and brothers Owen and Luke Wilson. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his work on Saturday Night Live, and three Golden Globe Award nominations for acting in The Producers (2005) and Stranger than Fiction (2006) and for producing Vice (2018). He was also named the best comedian of 2015 in the British GQ Men of the Year awards. Ferrell received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 24, 2015.
Ferrell was born on July 16, 1967, in Irvine, California, to Betty Kay (née Overman; born 1940), a teacher who taught at Old Mill School elementary school and Santa Ana College, and Roy Lee Ferrell Jr. (born 1941), who played saxophone and keyboards for the Righteous Brothers. His parents were both natives of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. They moved to California in 1964. Ferrell's ancestry includes English, German, and Irish. As an infant Ferrell suffered from pyloric stenosis and had a pyloromyotomy to correct the condition. He has a younger brother, Patrick.When he was eight years old, his parents divorced. Ferrell said of the divorce: "I was the type of kid who would say, 'Hey, look at the bright side! We'll have two Christmases'." The divorce was amicable, and both parents were committed to their children. The biggest problem was his father's line of work. As a person in show business, his paychecks were never steady, and he traveled from home for months at a time. Growing up in this environment made Ferrell not want to go into show business and instead have a steady job.Ferrell first attended school at Culverdale Elementary and later attended Rancho San Joaquin Middle School, both in Irvine. He attended University High School in Irvine, and was a kicker for the school's varsity football team. He was also on the soccer team and captain of the basketball team, as well as serving on the student council. Ferrell called third grade "a pivotal year." He realized he could make his classmates laugh if he pretended to smash his head against the wall, or if he tripped and fell on purpose, and said it was a great way to make friends. He said the dullness of Irvine contributed to the growth of his humor:
Growing up in suburbia, in safe, master-planned Irvine, there was no drama so we had to create it in our heads. My main form of entertainment was cracking my friends up and exploring new ways of being funny. I didn't have to have the survival mode instinct like other comics, who grew up in tough neighborhoods. I had the opposite. For me, I grew up in Mayberry, and the humor broke the boredom. And there was a lot to make fun of.
In his senior year of high school, Ferrell and a friend would perform comedy skits over the school's intercom system, with cooperation from the principal; the two had to write their own material. Ferrell also performed comedic skits in the school's talent shows. He was voted "Best Personality" by his classmates. He enrolled at the University of Southern California, where he studied sports broadcasting and joined the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. In college, he was known for a few pranks. On occasion, he would dress in a janitor's outfit and stroll into his friends' classes. He was also known for streaking around campus with a few other people from the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Ferrell earned an internship at a local television station in the sports department, but he did not enjoy the work.After graduating with a B.A. degree in sports information in 1990, he knew he did not want to do broadcasting. He took up a job as a hotel valet where, on his second day, he tore a baggage rack off the top of a van by trying to drive it under a low beam. He also worked as a teller at Wells Fargo, but came up short $300 the first day and $280 the second; he was not stealing the money, but was just careless and error-prone. In 1991, encouraged by his mother to pursue something he liked, Ferrell moved to Los Angeles. He successfully auditioned for the comedy group The Groundlings where he spent time developing his improvisation skills.
Before joining The Groundlings, Ferrell's attempts at standup comedy had little success. He started in the advanced classes and grew to love improvisation. He realized he also liked to impersonate people, and one of his favorites was Harry Caray, the Hall of Fame baseball announcer. Soon he began to create original characters, and by 1994 he had joined The Groundlings. With fellow Groundlings member Chris Kattan, he created the Butabi Brothers, who go out to dance clubs to try to pick up women but are constantly rejected. While taking classes, Ferrell got a job at an auction house via his friend Viveca Paulin. The job was ideal as it was flexible enough for him to audition and go to rehearsals while also being employed. By 1995 he was receiving small roles, including appearances in TV series Grace Under Fire and Living Single, low-budget films such as A Bucket of Blood, as well as commercials. One winter, he served as a mall Santa Claus.
Saturday Night Live
After SNL's decline in popularity in 1994–1995, and in need of new cast members for the next season, a producer saw The Groundlings and asked Ferrell, Kattan, and Cheri Oteri to audition for SNL's main producer, Lorne Michaels. Ferrell joined Saturday Night Live in 1995 and left in 2002 after a seven-year tenure. He has hosted the show five times, thereby becoming a member of the show's Five Timers Club.During his time on SNL, Ferrell made a name for himself with his impersonations, which included US President George W. Bush, Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray, singer Robert Goulet (crooning a cappella pieces of music by Sisqó, Baha Men, and The Notorious B.I.G.), singer Neil Diamond, Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton (who favored Ferrell's impersonation), Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, United States Attorney General Janet Reno, convicted Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, game show host Alex Treb.... Discover the Charity Ferrell popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Charity Ferrell books.