Will Ferrell is one of the most popular Hollywood actors of all time. Will is known worldwide for the TV show ‘Saturday Night Live’ and comedy movies. He has some amazing contributions to film and comedy. But, despite his jolly, demeanor, Will has had a lot to overcome to become such a respected and beloved figure in our community.
Let’s take a look back at his amazing accomplishments and what his thoughts on success are.
Will was born on July 16, 1967 in Irvine, California, United States. His mother was a teacher and his father was a musician. They got divorced when Will was eight years old. He did his schooling first at Turtle Rock Elementary and then at Rancho San Joaquin Middle school in Irvine. He enjoyed sports while in school. He realized early that he was a gifted comedian.
Famous for his manic star turns and show-stealing cameos which clearly display his extraordinary talent in creating memorable witty performance, Will Ferrell has really stood out as one of the most celebrated comedic actors Hollywood ever has. A native of Irvine, California born John William Ferrell on July 16, 1967 to Lee and Kay Ferrell, Will grew up as a big comedy fan who first discovered the excitement of performing when he successfully entertained his schoolmates of Irvine’s University High School with various disguised voices in daily morning announcements over the public access system. Even so, the desire to be a comedian had not really occurred to his mind for he at that time was more interested in becoming a sports broadcaster which led him to take sports information major at the University of Southern California after his high school graduation in 1986.
Obtained his degree several years later, Will delightfully made his way to earn a job as a sportscaster for a weekly cable show, but soon realized that the profession was not what he really wanted and subsequently turned his attention to comedic acting. Failed to flourish his new career through some performances in comedy clubs and college coffee houses, he then enrolled in improvisational comedy classes held by The Groundlings in the year 1991, eventually was included in the group alongside Chris Kattan, Ana Gasteyer, plus Cheri Oteri. It was during his time with this troupe that he learned about an open audition for a new fresh face in the 1995-1996 season of “Saturday Night Live” (1975) and decided to go for a try when it came to Los Angeles.
Managed to impress the show’s producers who consequently put him in, Will gradually rose to widespread recognition through his superb impersonations of either fictional character or real person, most notable being that of U.S President George W. Bush among his versions of Neil Diamond, Harry Caray and Alex Trebek. Following the trails of his former fellow SNL performers, like Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy, who ventured into other projects after their career took off, he confidently crossed to big screen production, appearing in “Men Seeking Women” (1997), “A Night at the Roxbury” (1998), and “Dick” (1999) while also made brief yet impressive enactment as Mustafa in the 1997 and 1999 installments of “Austin Powers.”
The turn of the millennium saw Will happily married his Swedish sweetheart, Viveca Paulin, in August 2000 before moved further in Hollywood to gain fair success in his 2001 movies, “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” and “Zoolander” which both scored well in the box-office. Still in the same year, he wonderfully received an Emmy nomination in Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program category for his appearance in one of SNL episodes with host Alec Baldwin, but this attainment apparently could not prevent his determination to leave the show by the following year. Put full concentration on film features, he delightfully was able to prove that the bold decision he had taken was not a wrong one as both of his 2003 pictures, namely “Old School” and “Elf”, made fabulous commercial results during its run in theatres.
Box Office Success
Soared to international recognition through these two movies, particularly “Elf” which garnered more than 220 million U.S. dollar worldwide while also gained positive reviews from the critics, Will then was included as one of the Frat Pack members together with the likes of Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, and Owen brothers. Joyously welcomed his first son, Magnus Paulin, on March 7, 2004, he next continued to well-maintain his career, starring in “Anchorman” (2004), “Bewitched” (2005), also “The Producers” (2005); the latter being a perfect vehicle to enable him acquired the best supporting actor nomination at Golden Globe Awards in 2006. The year he scored the nod, in the meantime, also marked the releases of two more films he toplined namely “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and “Stranger Than Fiction.”
Much to Will’s delight, “Talladega Nights” performed marvelously on the box office by garnering nearly $163 million around the globe while “Fiction” received positive reviews from most critics. The joy was completed by the end of the year when his second child Mattias Ferrell got delivered on December 30, 2006. What’s more, HFPA turned out to once again recognize his performance through the latter flick so that he, for the second time, was bestowed a Golden Globes nomination in 2007 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy slot. Floating high on all of the attainments, he smoothly glided on his path to land handfuls of stints throughout the rest of 2000s, among others were those in “Semi-Pro” (2008), “Step Brothers” (2008), and “Land of the Lost” (2009), in between serving as producer alongside Adam McKay in both “King Dork” (2008) and “Stepfather” (2009) for Paramount Vantage.
Giving Inspiration To The Next Generation
Some would say his greatest advice came from his commencement speech at USC in 2017. Even during his time at the University of Southern California, the SNL legend frequently had his friends and classmates in stitches after crashing lectures in character.
But despite going on to star in popular films like “Anchorman” and “Elf,” Ferrell told USC’s graduating class of 2017 that the fear of failure never goes away. It’s what you do in spite of it that matters.
“Yeah, I moved back home for a solid two years, I might add,” Ferrell told the graduates. “And I was lucky, actually. Lucky that I had a very supportive and understanding mother, who is sitting out there in the crowd, who let me move back home. And she recognized that while I had an interest in pursuing sportscasting, my gut was telling me that I really wanted to pursue something else. And that something else was comedy.”
In the beginning, Ferrell wasn’t always sure that he could even make a living in show business.
“Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t extremely confident that I would succeed during this time period, and after moving back to LA there were many a night where in my LA apartment, I would sit down to a meal of spaghetti topped with mustard, with only $20 in my checking account, and I would think to myself, ‘Oh well I can always be a substitute schoolteacher,'” he said.
Despite his eventual professional success, Ferrell said that his fear of failure has never quite left him. However, he credited another fear with keeping him going, despite his early setbacks.
“You’re never not afraid,” he said. “I’m still afraid. I was afraid to write this speech. And now, I’m just realizing how many people are watching me right now, and it’s scary. Can you please look away while I deliver the rest of the speech? But my fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of ‘what if.’ What if I never tried at all?”
Ferrell left the USC audience with some insight for the graduates who don’t have “it all figured out” yet.
“To those of you graduates sitting out there who have a pretty good idea of what you’d like to do with your life, congratulations,” Ferrell said. “For many of you who maybe don’t have it all figured out, it’s okay. That’s the same chair that I sat in. Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result. Trust your gut, keep throwing darts at the dartboard. Don’t listen to the critics and you will figure it out.”