Quick Will Ferrell Facts:

  • Will Ferrell was born and raised in Irvine, California.
  • In the early 1990s, Ferrell became a member of the West Coast-based improvisational sketch group The Groundlings.
  • He joined the cast of late night sketch show Saturday Night Live in 1995, quickly becoming the show’s biggest breakout star. He remained with the show until 2002, creating dozens of memorable and iconic characters during his time there.
  • Just one year after leaving SNL, Ferrell became a full-fledged movie star thanks to his performances in Old School and Elf. More hit movies came in the years that followed, making Ferrell one of the biggest and most bankable movie stars in the business for a while.
  • In 2007, Ferrell co-created and launched the hugely popular comedy web site Funny or Die.
  • He made his Broadway debut in the 2009 production of You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush, for which he received a Tony nomination.

Will Ferrell at Saturday Night Live:

After spending several years with the Groundlings in Los Angeles (alongside Chris Kattan and Cheri Oteri), Ferrell auditioned for Saturday Night Live prior to the show’s 1995-96 season. The previous cast was almost entirely purged (after a troublesome year) and a cast of entirely new faces (including Kattan, Oteri, Molly Shannon and Jim Breuer) were brought in. Thanks to his versatility and a deep bench of characters (many of which were created during his time with the Groundlings), Ferrell quickly became the show’s biggest breakout star. Among his memorable characters were:

  • George W. Bush (impersonation)
  • One half of the Spartan Cheerleaders (with Cheri Oteri), an overly enthusiastic pair of teenagers who made up ridiculous cheers and dances
  • Harry Carey, an impersonation of the legendary Chicago sports broadcaster
  • Tom Wilkins, co-host (again with Oteri) of talk show Morning Latte
  • Alex Trebek, an impression of the Jeopardy! host, who constantly clashed with contestant Sean Connery (as played by Darrell Hammond)
  • Robert Goulet, an impression of the famous singer/entertainer
  • Steve Butabi, one half of the clubbing Butabi brothers (with Chris Kattan) of the “Roxbury” sketch (inspiring the 1998 box office flop A Night at the Roxbury)
  • James Lipton, an impression of the host of Inside the Actor’s Studio
  • Gene Frenkel, cowbell player for Blue Oyster Cult

Will Ferrell Movies:

Though he had a few supporting roles in movies like Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Zoolander and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back during his time at Saturday Night Live, it wasn’t until after Ferrell left the sketch show that he became a leading man and a giant movie star, starring in several of the most successful comedies of the 2000s. Some of his film highlights include:

  • A Night at the Roxbury (1998) (Based on the SNL sketch)
  • Superstar (1999) (Based on the SNL sketch)
  • Old School (2003)
  • Elf (2003)
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
  • Kicking and Screaming (2005)
  • The Producers (2005)
  • Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
  • Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2005)
  • Blades of Glory (2007)
  • Step Brothers (2008)
  • Land of the Lost (2009)
  • The Other Guys (2010)
  • Everything Must Go (2011)
  • Casa de Mi Padre (2012)
  • The Campaign (2012)

Additional Will Ferrell Facts:

  • He was nominated for an Emmy in 2001 for his work on Saturday Night Live.
  • He was nominated for back to back Golden Globe awards in 2006 (for The Producers) and 2007 (for Stranger Than Fiction).
  • In 2001, Ferrell became the highest paid cast member on Saturday Night Live.
  • Ferrell has provided voice for work several animated series and films, mostly notably The Man with the Yellow Hat in the animated Curious George feature film in 2006 and the titular character in 2010’s Megamind.
  • Ferrell is a co-producer of the HBO series Eastbound & Down, on which he also has a recurring role.