James Eugene Carrey
6′ 2″ (1.88 m)
The youngest of four children born to Percy (an accountant and aspiring jazz saxophonist) and Kathleen, Jim Carrey was an incurable extrovert from day one. As a child he performed constantly, for anyone who would watch, and even mailed his résumé to “Carol Burnett Show, The” (1967) at age 10. In junior high he was granted a few precious minutes at the end of each school day to do stand-up routines for his cllassmates (provided, of course, that he kept a lid on it the rest of the day). Carrey’s early adolescence took a turn for the tragic, however, when the family was forced to relocate from their cozy town of Newmarket to Scarborough (a Toronto suburb). They all took security and janitorial jobs in the Titan Wheels factory, Jim working 8-hour shifts after school let out (not surprisingly, his grades and morale both suffered). When they finally deserted the factory, the family liived out of a Volkswagen camper van until they could return to Toronto.
Back on firmer ground, Carrey decided to strike out into the comedy club scene. He made his (reportedly awful) professional stand-up debut at Yuk-Yuk’s, one of the many lo
He finessed his way into a regular gig at The Comedy Store, where he impressed Rodney Dangerfield so much that the veteran comic signed him as an opening act for an entire season. During this period Carrey met and married waitress Melissa Womer, with whom he had a daughter (Jane). The couple would later go through a very messy divorce, freeing Carrey up for a brief second marriage to actress Lauren Holly.
Wary of falling into the lounge act liifestyle, Carrey began to look around for other performance outlets. He landed a part as a novice cartoonist in the short-lived sitcom “Duck Factory, The” (1984); while the show fell flat, the experience gave Carrey the confidence to pursue acting more vigorously. He scored the male lead in the ill-received Lauren Hutton vehicle Once Bitten (1985), and a supporting role in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), before making a modest splash with his appearance as the alien Wiploc in _Earth Girls Are Easy (1
Carrey’s transformation from TV goofball to marquis headliner happened within the course of a single year. He opened 1994 with a starring turn in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), a film that cashed in on his extremely physical brand of humor (the character’s trademark was talking out his derrière). Next up was the manic superhero movie Mask, The (1994), which had audiences wondering just how far Carrey’s features could stretch. Finally, in December, he hit theaters as a loveable dolt in the Farrelly brothers’ Dumb & Dumber (1994) (his first multi-million dollar payday).
Now a box-office staple, Carrey brought his manic antics onto the set of Batman Forever (1995), replacing Robin Williams as The Riddler. He also filmed the follow-up to his breakthrough, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), and inked a deal with Sony to star in Cable Guy, The (1
Perhaps inspired by the snub, Carrey threw himself into his next role with abandon. After edging out a handful of other hopefuls (including Edward Norton) to play eccentric funnyman Andy Kaufman in ‘Man on the Moon (1999)’ , Carrey disappeared into the role, living as Kaufman–and his blustery alter-ego Tony Clifton–for months (Carrey even owned Kaufman’s bongo drums, which he’d used during his audition for director Milos Fo
An indignant Carrey next reprised his bankable mania for the Farrelly brothers in Me, Myself & Irene (2000), playing a state trooper whose Jekyll and Hyde personalities both fall in love with the same woman (Renée Zellweger). Carrey’s real-life persona wound up falling for her too–a few months after the film wrapped, the pair announced they were officially a couple. By then, Carrey had already slipped into a furry green suit to play the stingy antihero of Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). He plans to take a break from the limelight after the holiday flick (as he puts it, “I’m looking forward to getting out of America’s face”). Is there another Carrey reinvention in the works? If so, he’s not talking.