Will Ferrell is an award-winning comedian known for appearing in multiple movies and television shows such as Starsky & Hutch. Additionally, he has several upcoming projects planned.
He first made waves on the big screen with comedies like Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, earning roles in satirical Get Hard and animated mega-hit The Lego Movie thanks to his acting prowess.
Will Ferrell’s Biography
John William Ferrell was born July 16, 1967, in Irvine, California, and is an American actor, comedian, producer, and writer who has appeared in multiple films and television shows. Known for his impersonations of dimwitted characters as well as impersonations during reading morning announcements in different voices to draw laughs. Will Ferrell attended University High School where he played varsity football before studying sports journalism at USC before leaving to pursue comedy acting with The Groundlings improv group in Los Angeles.
After multiple television guest appearances, he was invited to make his mark on Saturday Night Live as one of its breakout stars in the role of club-going Butabi Brothers alongside Kattan and Oteri. Soon thereafter he made waves among audiences with his impressions of people such as Alex Trebek to President George W. Bush, as well as numerous impressions. Outside SNL he has appeared in multiple film comedies; including Mustaffa from Mike Myers’s international man of mystery movies as Mustaffa; Old School (2003) and Anchorman (2004) respectively. Will Ferrell lend his voice to animated characters such as Bob Oblong from Family Guy as well as Miles “Chatterbox” Musket in Fifteen Minutes of Shame?
DeWitt has appeared in multiple television programs, such as Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and Grace Under Fire. Additionally, he has written and produced short videos for Funny or Die.
Ferrell is also an avid baseball fan, participating in the 2015 Cancer for College charity event by playing for 10 major league baseball teams in one day. He was featured during the 2010 Superbowl Halftime show as a performer – as well as several charity events for National Children’s Cancer Foundation.
Will Ferrell’s Career
Will Ferrell is one of Hollywood’s most beloved comedians, best known for the college classic Old School and other movies such as Spy and Spy 2, as well as being part of the “Frat Pack”, alongside Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Steve Carell and Luke Wilson. Additionally, he serves as director and entrepreneur. Upcoming projects for Will include Get Hard: the action comedy; Strays the animated film; Greta Gerwig’s Barbie (2023).
He began his television career by joining The Groundlings’ improvisational and sketch comedy troupe before becoming one of the cast members on Saturday Night Live (SNL). On SNL he quickly gained notoriety for his impressions of athletes, politicians, and celebrities; since 1995 he has been a regular on SNL earning numerous accolades and awards for his talents.
He got his break in films when he appeared in Old School and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, both comedies that earned multiple nominations and awards nominations for him as an actor. Since then he has written and produced various comedies, eventually winning multiple awards including being honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor as recently as 2011. Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and Lily Tomlin all have made appearances alongside him onscreen!
He currently stars as a regular on the Netflix hit series Luke Cage and has many projects planned for the future. Additionally, he hosts a podcast network to support up-and-coming comedians as well as Gloria Sanchez Productions which specializes in female-led comedy.
Ferrell remains active within USC as an alum, appearing at numerous sporting events and hosting the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s 75th Anniversary Gala. Additionally, he supports Cancer for College which helps children diagnosed with cancer attend college.
He told graduates not to give up pursuing their dreams even when facing setbacks, even though life may present them with setbacks. Since it’s impossible to predict how people will view us in the future, he encouraged them to try new things – including possibly trying giving birth on an airplane, which he joked would hopefully subdue and drag off by security personnel!
Will Ferrell in The Groundlings
Will Ferrell would amuse his classmates as a high schooler by reading out announcements over an intercom in different voices, which led him to study sports journalism at USC and work as a cable news producer in Los Angeles. But his true love was comedy, so he began training with The Groundlings of Los Angeles where he met Cheri Oteri and Chris Kattan – fellow SNL cast members that would later feature prominently on SNL alongside Will. While with them, Will honed his impersonation skills further!
After graduation, he joined The Groundlings as a main stage member, developing many beloved characters. Additionally, he made many guest appearances on television shows such as Fox’s Living Single and ABC’s Grace Under Fire; his impressions of George W. Bush, Harry Caray, Neil Diamond, and James Lipton earned many laughs while his performances also appeared in several blockbuster movies.
Ferrell auditioned for Saturday Night Live alongside fellow Groundlings Oteri and Kattan in 1995, becoming a cast member for seven years while hosting five times. Additionally, he made appearances in Old School as an actor and in various other comedies.
The Groundlings has an established tradition of sending its members to SNL, beginning with Laraine Newman in 1975. Ferrell and other current SNL cast members such as Will Forte, Heidi Gardner, and Mikey Day were trained with this improv group before joining their ranks on-screen.
Ferrell went on to star in several successful movies after leaving SNL, including Elf and The Other Guys. Additionally, he became known as an animated voice actor in films such as Semi-Pro and Step Brothers.
In 2019, Ferrell joined forces with iHeart Radio to establish the Big Money Players Network, featuring 10 comedy podcasts written and unwritten comedy podcasts, plus plans for a sequel to the Anchorman movie series. His success serves as an example that it is possible to rise from humble origins and become a Hollywood superstar; further, Ferrell serves as an inspiring role model to young artists; his success shows it is possible to realize dreams even when obstacles present themselves in life.
Will Ferrell in Saturday Night Live
After graduating from university, Ferrell found his foothold in entertainment through an internship at NBC’s sports department. Soon thereafter he discovered his talent for comedy and soon after returned home with his parents to pursue it further. Will Ferrell took acting courses and performing local theatre before being accepted to Los Angeles-based improv group The Groundlings where he met future SNL cast members such as Jon Lovitz, Maya Rudolph, and Kristen Wiig (among many others). Furthermore, he honed his impersonation skills before landing television roles like Fox’s Living Single and ABC’s Grace Under Fire respectively.
After years with The Groundlings, Ferrell auditioned for SNL on producer Lorne Michaels’ advice, and was cast as a regular for seven years as Doug alongside Chris Kattan as well as numerous characters including President George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ricky Bobby – being revered as one of its finest cast members ever! Ferrell remains considered one of the greatest cast members to ever grace SNL.
After leaving SNL in 2002, he turned his focus towards film acting and writing; often in collaboration with Adam McKay (his former SNL co-star). They made several popular box office hits together such as Old School and Elf (which follows a man brought up in Santa’s village) which received much critical acclaim. Since then he has also appeared in other comedies such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy as well as NASCAR comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby among many others.
He’s also dabbled in television, appearing as one of Steve Carell and other Groundlings alumni on The Expendables on HBO as well as hosting Deal or No Deal game show. Additionally, he had a notable recurring role on Family Guy that earned him an Emmy nomination in 2015.
Students of SDA were delighted to hear such an esteemed comedian discuss their careers. Briana James and Akwasi Degraft both appreciated how open Ferrell was in discussing his own experiences and mistakes – something they hadn’t previously been exposed to in school settings.