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Chris Farley was an American comedian and actor known for his roles on Saturday Night Live and in films like Tommy Boy and Beverly Hills Ninja.
Chris Farley - Full Episode (49:46)
Chris Farley - Dreams (2:00)
Chris Farley - Inner Demons (2:20)
The full biography of the "Saturday Night Live" actor.
After succeeding as a live improv comedy actor, Chris Farley did whatever it took to get the laugh, even by throwing himself into the audience.
Chris Farley followed his dreams of improvisational comedy and live performance.
Chris Farley's substance abuse and drinking problems began from a family struggle on his career choice of stage performing and live comedy.
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Born on February 15, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin, Chris Farley studied improv before joining Saturday Night Live in 1990. He turned his small-screen success into a film career with projects like Wayne's World and Coneheads, and later took the lead in Tommy Boy, Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja. Farley abused drugs and alcohol heavily, and was found dead from an overdose on December 18, 1997, in Chicago.
"I used to think that you could get to a level of success where the laws of the universe didn't apply. But they do. It's still life on life's terms, not on movie-star terms. I still have to work at relationships. I still have to work on my weight and some of my other demons."
"Once I thought that if I just had enough in the bank, if I had enough fame, that it would be all right. But I'm a human being like everyone else. I'm not exempt."
"The great comics can fall on their faces, but then they can say, 'Oh, baby, you're the greatest.' They show their heart and their vulnerability."
Actor and comedian Christopher Crosby Farley was born on February 15, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin, the middle child of five siblings. A boy who took to making other students laugh during his Catholic grade school years, he later studied theater and communications at Marquette University. Post-graduation, Farley performed with the Ark Improv theater group and the Improv Olympic Theater in Chicago. There, he was mentored by Del Close, who also taught John Belushi, the famed comedian whom Farley looked up to.
After joining the cast of the Second City theater, Chris Farley was discovered by Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels. He made his cast debut in 1990 and quickly became known for skits that included doing a Chippendales dance alongside Patrick Swayze, playing motivational honcho Matt Foley (named after a real-life reverend who was friends with Farley) and hosting "The Chris Farley Show," in which he fumblingly interviewed guests like Jeff Daniels and Martin Scorsese. Farley often had a distinctly physical brand of comedy that self-deprecatingly played upon his large size.
Farley was also able to parlay his SNL success into a big-screen career, making his film debut as a security guard in Wayne's World (1992) and starring in its 1993 sequel. Farley was then featured in Coneheads (1993) and Airheads (1994) before landing his first lead role in the hit Tommy Boy, in which he co-starred with friend and comic partner David Spade. After Farley was featured in the Adam Sandler comedy Billy Madison (1995), he and Spade reunited for 1996's Black Sheep. The following year, Farley again appeared in a lead role in the martial arts vehicle Beverly Hills Ninja.
Outside of his movie stardom, the comedian had major personal demons. Having grown up with a father consumed by alcoholism and Farley himself consumed by fame's spotlight, he struggled with drugs and liquor, was in and out of rehab more than a dozen times within a two-year span and regularly engaged in highly excessive, out-of-control behavior. Farley spoke of feeling pressured to constantly be an attention-getter, even when not in front of the camera. His manager publicly expressed concern over his client's well-being via a magazine article, and Spade shared similar sentiments over his friend's health in an interview.
On December 18, 1997, Chris Farley was found dead in his Chicago apartment after an extreme binge of substance use and party-hopping. It was later declared that he died of an overdose of cocaine and morphine exacerbated by advanced heart disease.
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