[Image credit: First We Feast]
Will Ferrell is a comedy icon with a storied career in TV and film that span decades. He stars alongside fellow comedic legend Julia Louis-Dreyfuss in the new Downhill movie, in theaters now. But how is he with spicy food? Find out as he takes on the wings of death with host Sean Evans in an especially improvisational Hot Ones.
Along the way, Will Ferrell shares behind-the-scenes stories from beloved movies like Anchorman and Old School, discusses the origins of his famous Harry Caray impersonation on Saturday Night Live, and expresses sincere shock that Seinfeld and Friends fans don’t always get along.
Will Ferrell is an American actor, comedian, producer, writer and businessman. He first established himself in the mid-1990s as a cast member on the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live, and has subsequently starred in comedy films such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Talladega Nights (2006), Step Brothers (2008), The Other Guys (2010) and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013), all but one of which he co-wrote with his comedy partner Adam McKay. The two also founded the comedy website Funny or Die in 2007. Other film roles include Elf, Old School (both 2003), Blades of Glory (2007), Daddy’s Home (2015), and the animated films Megamind (2010) and The Lego Movie (2014).
Ferrell is considered a member of the “Frat Pack”, a generation of leading Hollywood comic actors who emerged in the late 1990s and the 2000s, including Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell, Vince Vaughn, and brothers Owen and Luke Wilson. He received an Emmy Award nomination for his work on Saturday Night Live, and three Golden Globe Award nominations for acting in The Producers (2005) and Stranger than Fiction (2006) and for producing Vice (2018). He was also named the best comedian of 2015 in the British GQ Men of the Year awards. Ferrell received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 24, 2015.
Ferrell was born in Irvine, California, to Betty Kay (née Overman; born 1940), a teacher who taught at Old Mill School elementary school and Santa Ana College, and Roy Lee Ferrell Jr. (born 1941). His parents were both natives of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. They moved to California in 1964. Ferrell’s ancestry includes English, German, and Irish. He has a younger brother, Patrick.
When he was eight years old, his parents divorced. Ferrell said of the divorce: “I was the type of kid who would say, ‘Hey, look at the bright side! We’ll have two Christmases’.” The divorce was amicable, and both parents were committed to their children. The biggest problem was his father’s line of work. As a person in show business, his paychecks were never steady, and he traveled from home for months at a time. Growing up in this environment made Ferrell not want to go into show business and instead have a steady job.
Will first attended school at Culverdale Elementary and later attended Rancho San Joaquin Middle School, both in Irvine. He attended University High School in Irvine, and was a kicker for the school’s varsity football team. He was also on the soccer team and captain of the basketball team, as well as serving on the student council. Ferrell called third grade “a pivotal year”. He realized he could make his classmates laugh if he pretended to smash his head against the wall, or if he tripped and fell on purpose, and said it was a great way to make friends.
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