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Real Name: James Eugene Carrey
Birthday: January 17, 1962



Jim Carrey went from a life of poverty in his native Canada to become the highest paid comic actor in the world. Encouraged by his father, he began performing comedy routines at stand-up clubs in Toronto at age fifteen. While not exactly winning over the crowds, he returned to the same club two years later with a more professional delivery and caught the eye of booking agents who hired him to open for Rodney Dangerfield in Las Vegas. Again, his young age worked against him and he returned north where he acted in the Canadian television movie "Rubberface" (1981), playing a struggling stand-up comic.

After appearing on "The Tonight Show", he caught his first role as a draft dodger whose death is unwittingly unmasked by a con artist in Richard Lester's comedy "Finders Keepers" (1984). He did better as a cartoon artist in the "The Duck Factory" (1984), from producer Jay Tarses about life in an animation studio. He began to alternate between working comedy clubs and supporting roles in features, notably as a back-up singer buddy to Nicolas Cage in "Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986). 

The comic also got roles in two Buddy Van Horn-directed Clint Eastwood vehicles, "The Dead Pool" (1988) and "Pink Cadillac" (1989), after Eastwood had seen the comedian do an impression of him. But it took his joining the group of Fox's "In Living Color" in 1990 for him to have the opportunity to truly display his talent. Though Keenan and Damon Wayans received most of the credit, it was Jim's presence from the outset that was integral to the show's success.

He made the leap to leading man with the surprise smash hit "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" (1994) with Courtney Cox. A non-stop showcase for his brand of physical and verbal humor, "Ace Ventura" featured outrageous riffs, including an extended sequence where he talked out of his butt. While most critics dismissed the film, audiences flocked to the theaters and made him a celebrity. "The Mask" (1994) filmed at the same time as the "Ace" movies, firmly established his box-office power as it grossed over $30 million in its first weekend. His character was an everyday guy who finds a magical mask that turns him into an over sexed cartoon superhero.  The film also boasted an extended song and dance sequence with Jim belting out the Desi Arnaz rumba number "Cuban Pete.”

He followed these successes with another box office hit "Dumb and Dumber" (1994) with Lauren Holly, which, while thin on plot and script depth, further showed his flair for trashy physical comedy. He kept on rolling when he wore an orange wig and skin-tight green jumper to play the Riddler in "Batman Forever" (1995) with Drew Barrymore. Not unlike Jack Nicholson's Joker or Michelle's Pfeiffer's Cat Woman, his scoundrel made the film, walking away with the best lines and reviews. The sequel, "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" (1995), opened with a record $46 million box office draw its first weekend. The press thought it was better than the first one, but many considered it lazily conceived and his performance nowhere near as dazzling the second time. Although it featured the memorable sight of him passing through the colon of a hippopotamus.

The darkly comic "The Cable Guy" featuring Jack Black (1996) tanked at the box office, more because of a poor script and Ben Stiller's misguided direction than Carrey, who made the most of the raw material. As a lonely, slightly menacing cable television installer who enters the life of one of his customers (Matthew Broderick), he got to showcase his trademark craziness with touches of compassion, but not everybody appreciated the added elements to his performance. His core audience of teens did not like the evil aspects, and word of mouth killed the movie after its initial opening, ending his four-picture run of films that grossed over $150 million in the United States alone. 

"Liar Liar" (1997) restored his "big money" credentials by earning more than $185 million by the end of the year. In a classic role, Jim managed to put the joke over with his tricks while actually playing a recognizable human being, and his convincing sincerity gave every indication that his wish to be a serious actor was about to come true.

He then played Truman Burbank, the star of the most popular program on television in "The Truman Show" (1998), where poor Truman is followed by hidden cameras since child birth and eventually learns that his whole life has been broadcast as a 24-hour-a-day television show. The combined brilliance of the director and screenwriters provided him a successful change of pace, and the actor's performance earned him awards. 

He campaigned heavily for the part of Andy Kaufman in "Man on the Moon" (1999), working with writer Judd Apatow and hiring a production crew to film an audition tape. As the wildly inventive Kaufman, he could give full power to his genius for impressions and improvisation while at the same time showcasing the tortured soul of the late comic. 

In a classic example of art imitating life, he suffered neck injuries recreating the scene in which Kaufman injured his neck in the ring with pro wrestler Jerry Lawlor. Lawlor, playing himself, reacted to the actor's spitting in his face with a little ad-libbed pile-driving of his own. For all the marketing effort, the film was ultimately little more than a standard film, hitting all the milestones but offering little insight into what drove Kaufman mad.

He next returned to early style of comedy, reuniting with the Farrelly brothers for "Me, Myself and Irene" (2000), a far-out romantic comedy that pitted him against himself searching for the love of Renee Zellweger. Although there were some inspired moments of lunacy, the film failed to reach the comic highs of earlier efforts. 

Better yet was his next film, playing the Christmas curmudgeon in a big-screen, live-action version of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (2000) for director Rob Howard. Although the expanded screen story missed the mark occasionally, he did a great job in one of his wildest, and most appropriately hilarious, performances ever.

In another apparent bid to gain credibility as a "serious" actor, he signed on to  "The Majestic" (2001), a 1950s fable about a troubled, amnesiac Hollywood playwright who becomes mistaken for a small California town's long-lost WWII hometown hero. Continuing his trend of balancing dramatic roles with screwball comedy, the comedian next became the central character of the hit "Bruce Almighty" (2003) starring Jennifer Aniston, about a television newsman who unexpectedly receives God's omnipotent abilities when the Lord decides to take a break. 

He delivered one of his best performances and most rewarding projects, teaming with director Michel Gondry and the famous screenwriter Charlie Kauffman for "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) with Kirsten Dunst, a delightful romance in which his character Joel Barish undergoes a procedure designed to erase away all memories of his recently heartbreaking relationship with a free spirit (Kate Winslet) only to decide he wants to preserve her in his mind. Although the film was not a smash hit, it was the best attempt to tap both the actor's considerable serious and comedic talents to date. Later that same year he followed up with another outstanding performance, this time in his more familiar high-comic mode, adding incredible talent to the children's classic tale "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" (2004) playing the amusingly evil Count Olaf.

He then starred opposite Tea Leoni in the comedy, “Fun With Dick and Jane” (2005), a remake of the 1976 film starring Jane Fonda and George Segal. In the updated version, he and Leoni played Dick and Jane Harper, a married couple so desperate to retain their suburban home and cars after Dick loses his job that they resort to armed robbery. Meanwhile, Jim was cast against type in Joel Schumacher’s psychological thriller “The Number 23” (2006) where he played a man obsessed with a rare book that he becomes convinced it is based on his own life.

In 2008, he starred in the remake of the classic, "Horton Hears A Who" (2008). The story about an imaginative elephant who hears a cry for help coming from a tiny speck of dust floating through the air. Suspecting there may be life on that speck and despite a surrounding community which thinks he has lost his mind, Horton is determined to help. 

Next was the comedy "Yes Man" (2008) about a guy who challenges himself to say "yes" to everything for an entire year. Based on the memoir by Danny Wallace. He was then hired and cast in the comedy drama "I Love You Phillip Morris" (2009), a true story of Steven Russell, a married father whose exploits land him in the Texas criminal justice system. He falls madly in love with his cellmate (Ewan McGregor), who eventually is set free. 

In the can and awaiting release are the animated comedy "A Christmas Carol" (2009) a animated retelling of Charles Dickens classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions. Next is the action adventure film "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" (2009) that picks up with Ripley at the time he gained celebrity status through a "Believe it or Not" column that chronicled his search for the greatest oddities in the world. Along the way, he starts to respect his unusual human discoveries as more than mere conquests to be documented.


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