Born in Irvine, California, on July 16, 1967, John W. Ferrell (a.k.a. Will Ferrell), by his own account, was a typically normal child. Once comfortable in high school, however, he began with the jokes and started causing disturbances in class.
Showing flashes of his future self, Ferrell even invaded the school's public address system, doing different impersonations while announcing the morning news.
will ferrell in grace under fire Following graduation, Will attended the University of Southern California and studied sports information. He got his bachelor's degree and initially wanted to become a broadcaster. It took time, and a few failed jobs, for Will to realize that it was comedy, not journalism, that was his calling.
When he finally gave in to his innate talents as a comedian, Ferrell shone. He joined the popular Los Angeles improv group, The Groundlings, and was soon well-known and capable enough to receive guest spots on the shows Grace Under Fire and Living Single .
snl gave ferrell big break Soon, with the help of friend and fellow Groundling Chris Kattan, Ferrell got his biggest break; a chance on Saturday Night Live . Unfortunately, during his first season in 1995, Will had a hard time adapting to the demands of the popular NBC show. Often, he came out flat on television, appearing more nervous than relaxed.
After refocusing on his work, Ferrell returned to SNL inspired. Viewers of the show noticed a new star in Will, who soon became popular for his impersonations of former Attorney General Janet Reno, President George W. Bush and Jeopardy host Alex Trebek.
In addition to these bits, he starred in several reoccurring skits (remember the peppy Spartan cheerleader?) that made SNL a high-rated show once again.
ferrell does snl movies & austin powers During his run, Ferrell was able to experiment on the big screen as well. He played Mustafa in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997) and then did three SNL skit spinoff films: A Night at the Roxbury (1998), Superstar (1999) and The Ladies Man (2000). All the while cracking people up on TV, Ferrell continued to develop his onscreen skills in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Zoolander (both in 2001).
ferrell leaves snl for big screen With all this work in film, the lure of the big paychecks and serious stardom could not be ignored. In 2002, Ferrell left Saturday Night Live to pursue his movie career.
Critics agreed that he left behind a legacy, highlighted by an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Performance in a Variety series for the 2000-2001 season. Will was also the highest paid SNL actor ever prior to leaving.
will ferrell is elf, goes to old school Now on his own, Ferrell did not take long to strut his stuff. He started out with a bang in the hilarious comedy Old School (2003) and drew praise after guest hosting the Late Show with David Letterman .
The praise continued as Will's 2003 Christmas movie Elf was so popular, there was even talk of an Oscar nomination for him.
will ferrell has future as anchorman In 2004, Will became a father when wife Viveca Paulin gave birth to their son, Magnus.
He will have to take time away from his son, however, to promote several of his upcoming films, including Anchorman, A Confederacy of Dunces (both in 2004), Curious George , and Bewitched (both in 2005) .