Feb 19, 2012
Having had little success in television movies and several low-budget films, Carrey was cast as the title character in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective which premiered in February, 1994, making more than $72 million domestically despite receiving mixed critical reception. The film spawned a sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), in which he reprised the role of Ventura. High profile roles followed when he was cast as Stanley Ipkiss in The Mask (1994) for which he gained a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, and as Lloyd Christmas in the comedy film Dumb and Dumber (1994).
Between 1996 and 1999, Carrey continued his success after earning lead roles in several highly popular films including The Cable Guy (1996), Liar Liar (1997), in which he was nominated for another Golden Globe Award and in the critically acclaimed films The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, in 1998 and 1999, respectively. Both films earned Carrey Golden Globe awards. Since earning both awards, Carrey continued to star in comedy films, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) where he played the title character, Bruce Almighty (2003) where he portrayed the role of unlucky TV reporter Bruce Nolan, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004), Fun with Dick and Jane (2005), Yes Man (2008), and A Christmas Carol (2009). Carrey has also taken on more serious roles including Joel Barish in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) alongside Kate Winslet and Kirsten Dunst, which earned him another Golden Globe nomination, and Steven Jay Russell in I Love You Phillip Morris (2009) alongside Ewan McGregor.
Carrey was born in Newmarket, Ontario, the son of Kathleen (née Oram), a homemaker, and Percy Carrey, a musician and accountant. He has three older siblings, John, Patricia, and Rita. He was raised Roman Catholic. His mother was of French, Irish, and Scottish descent and his father was of French Canadian ancestry (the family's original surname was Carré). After his family moved to Scarborough, Ontario, when Carrey was 14 years old, he attended Blessed Trinity Catholic School, in North York, for two years, enrolled at Agincourt Collegiate Institute for another year, then briefly attended Northview Heights Secondary School for the remainder of his high school career (all together, he spent three years in Grade 10).
Carrey lived in Burlington, Ontario, for eight years and attended Aldershot High School, where he once opened for 1980s new wave band Spoons. In a Hamilton Spectator interview (February 2007), Carrey remarked, "If my career in show business hadn't panned out I would probably be working today in Hamilton, Ontario at the Dofasco steel mill." When looking across the Burlington Bay toward Hamilton, he could see the mills and thought, "Those were where the great jobs were." At this point, he already had experience working in a science testing facility in Richmond Hill, Ontario.
In 1979, under the management of Leatrice Spevack, Carrey started doing stand-up comedy at Yuk Yuk's in Toronto, where he rose to become a headliner in February 1981, shortly after his 19th birthday. One reviewer in the Toronto Star raved that Carrey was "a genuine star coming to life." In the early 1980s, Carrey moved to Los Angeles and started working at The Comedy Store, where he was noticed by comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who signed the young comedian to open Dangerfield's tour performances.
Carrey then turned his attention to the film and television industries, auditioning to be a cast member for the 1980–1981 season of NBC's Saturday Night Live. Carrey was not selected for the position (although he did host the show in May 1996, and again in January 2011). Joel Schumacher had him audition for a role in D.C. Cab, though in the end, nothing ever came of it. His first lead role on television was Skip Tarkenton, a young animation producer on NBC's short-lived The Duck Factory, airing from April 12, 1984, to July 11, 1984, and offering a behind-the-scenes look at the crew that produced a children's cartoon. Carrey continued working in smaller film and television roles, which led to a friendship with fellow comedian Damon Wayans, who co-starred with Carrey as an extraterrestrial in 1989's Earth Girls Are Easy. When Wayans' brother Keenen began developing a sketch comedy show for Fox called In Living Color, Carrey was hired as a cast member, whose unusual characters included masochistic, accident-prone safety inspector Fire Marshall Bill, and masculine female bodybuilder Vera de Milo.
Carrey made his film debut in Rubberface (1981), which was released as Introducing...Janet. Later that year, he won the leading role in Damian Lee's Canadian skiing comedy Copper Mountain, which included his impersonation of Sammy Davis Jr. Since the film had a less than one hour runtime consisting largely of musical performances by Rita Coolidge and Rompin' Ronnie Hawkins, it was not considered a genuine feature film. Two years later, in 1985, Carrey saw his first major starring role in the dark comedy Once Bitten, in the role of Mark Kendall, a teen virgin pursued by a 400-year-old female vampire, played by Lauren Hutton. After supporting roles in films such as Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), and The Dead Pool (1988), Carrey did not experience true stardom until starring in the 1994 comedy Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, which premiered only months before In Living Color ended. Ace Ventura was panned by critics, and earned Carrey a 1995 Golden Raspberry Award nomination as Worst New Star. But the film was as embraced by fans as it was derided by critics. The Ventura character became a pop icon, and the film made Carrey a superstar. It was a commercial success, as were his two other starring roles from that year: The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. In 1995, Carrey appeared as the Riddler in Batman Forever and reprised his role as Ace Ventura in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Both films were successful at the box office and earned Carrey multi-million-dollar paychecks. Carrey earned $20 million for his next film, The Cable Guy (directed by Ben Stiller), a record sum for a comedy actor. The film did not do well with critics, but Carrey quickly rebounded with the successful Liar Liar, a return to his trademark comedy style.
Carrey took a slight pay cut to play a more serious role to star in the critically praised science-fiction film The Truman Show (1998), a change of pace that led to forecasts of Academy Award nominations. Although the movie was nominated for three other awards, Carrey did not personally receive a nomination, leading him to joke that "it's an honor just to be nominated...oh no," during his appearance on the Oscar telecast. However, Carrey did win a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama and an MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance. That same year, Carrey appeared as a fictionalized version of himself on the final episode of Garry Shandling's The Larry Sanders Show, in which he deliberately ripped into Shandling's character. In 1999, Carrey won the role of comedian Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. Despite critical acclaim, he was not nominated for an Academy Award, but again won a Best Actor Golden Globe award for the second consecutive year. In 2000, Carrey reteamed with the Farrelly Brothers, who had directed him in Dumb and Dumber, in their comedy, Me, Myself & Irene, about a state trooper with multiple personalities who romances a woman played by Renée Zellweger. The film grossed $24 million on its opening weekend and $90 million by the end of its domestic run.
In 2003, Carrey reteamed with Tom Shadyac for the financially successful comedy Bruce Almighty. Earning over $242 million in the U.S. and over $484 million worldwide, this film became the second highest grossing live-action comedy of all time. His performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2004 earned high praise from critics, who again predicted that Carrey would receive an Oscar nomination; the film did win for Best Original Screenplay, and co-star Kate Winslet received an Oscar nomination for her performance. (Carrey was also nominated for a sixth Golden Globe for his performance).
In 2004, he played the villainous Count Olaf in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, which was based on the popular children's novels of the same name. He was also inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame that year. In 2005, Carrey starred in a remake of Fun with Dick and Jane, playing Dick, a husband who becomes a bank robber after he loses his job. In 2007, Carrey reunited with Joel Schumacher, director of Batman Forever, for The Number 23, a psychological thriller co-starring Virginia Madsen and Danny Huston. In the film, Carrey plays a man who becomes obsessed with the number 23, after finding a book about a man with the same obsession. Carrey has stated that he finds the prospect of reprising a character to be considerably less enticing than taking on a new role. The only time he has reprised a role was with Ace Ventura. (Sequels to Bruce Almighty, Dumb and Dumber, and The Mask have all been released without Carrey's involvement.) As of December 2010, Carrey's films grossed over $2.3 billion in total.
Family and relationships
Carrey has been married twice, first to former actress and Comedy Store waitress Melissa Womer on March 28, 1987; the two were divorced in late 1995. Their only child, a daughter named Jane Erin Carrey, was born on September 6, 1987, in Los Angeles County. After his separation from Womer in 1994, Carrey began dating his Dumb and Dumber co-star Lauren Holly. They were married on September 23, 1996; the marriage lasted less than a year.
In December 2005, Carrey began dating actress and model Jenny McCarthy. They made their relationship public in June 2006. She announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on April 2, 2008, that the two were then living together, but had no plans to marry; as they do not need a "piece of paper." In April 2010, Carrey and McCarthy ended their near five-year relationship.
In Los Angeles on February 27, 2010, Carrey announced via his Twitter account that he had become a grandfather when his daughter Jane gave birth to her first child with musician husband Alex Santana, who performs in the band Blood Money under the stage name Nitro. He announced that his grandson's name was Jackson Riley Santana.
On the 11th season of the reality show singing competition American Idol, Carrey's daughter Jane auditioned during the January 22, 2012 episode. Jane was put through to the Hollywood round, but was put out after the first round. Jane was later sent home after the first round of Hollywood.
Carrey received U.S. citizenship in October 2004 and remains a dual citizen of both the United States and his native Canada.
Carrey discussed his bouts of depression in a November 2004 interview on 60 Minutes.
Friendship with Eckhart Tolle
Carrey is a great admirer and friend of author Eckhart Tolle, and in June 2009, Carrey gave an introduction for Tolle when together they headlined the first conference of the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment.
Carrey has been a critic of the scientific consensus that no evidence links the childhood MMR vaccination to the development of autism, and wrote an article questioning the merits of vaccination and vaccine research for the Huffington Post. With former partner Jenny McCarthy, Carrey led a "Green Our Vaccines" march in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the removal of toxins from children's vaccines, out of a belief that children had received "too many vaccines, too soon, many of which are toxic".