Ed Helms was born on January 24, 1974 in Atlanta. He pursued a video-editing career while doing improv comedy, eventually landing a role on The Daily Show. He later starred in the Emmy Award–winning NBC sitcom The Office and in 2009 was a lead in the blockbuster film The Hangover. Helms is also a singer and guitarist/banjo player who presents an annual bluegrass festival.
Background and Early Career
Edward P. Helms was born on January 24, 1974, in Atlanta. Helms pursued theatrical arts in high school and played guitar before going on to attend Oberlin College in Ohio. He switched from being a geology major to focus on cinema, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in film theory and technology in 1996. During college he also made time for performance pursuits, studying improv and singing in the a capella group The Obertones.
After Oberlin, he moved to New York City, where he worked as a video editor while also doing stand-up comedy and improv, including a stint with the city's Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. He eventually quit editing and did commercial voice-over work.
'The Daily Show' and 'The Office'
In 2002, Helms auditioned for Jon Stewart's The Daily Show and landed a spot on the popular cable comedy series, staying on for four years. After work on shows like Arrested Development and Sunday Pants, he landed a recurring role on the hit NBC sitcom The Office, in which he portrayed Andy Bernard, a disgruntled employee who's prone to show his more open, sensitive side in spontaneous song, allowing Helms to showcase his musical prowess as a banjo player and singer. The Emmy Award–winning Office has run for nine seasons, with 2013 slated as its final year.
By the mid -2000s, Helms had also started to hit the big screen. In 2006, his voice was featured in the baseball-themed animated film Everyone's Hero. The following year, Helms appeared in the comedic indie I'll Believe You and the satirical biopic Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. That year also saw Helms appearing with former Office co-star Steve Carell in the sequel Evan Almighty, a comedic, contemporary retelling of the story of Noah's Ark. Helms starred in more film comedies in 2008, including Meet Dave, Semi-Pro and Lower Learning.
Major Success With 'The Hangover'
In 2009, Helms was featured in Night at the Museum: Battle at the Smithsonian and then became a marquee name with the unexpected blockbuster The Hangover, a summer comedy co-starring Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. The film focused on a trio of men who went to Las Vegas for a friend's bachelor celebration only to awaken in a hazy, undone state. Helms, who played a dentist who ironically discovers he's missing a tooth from the previous night's shenanigans, sang "Stu's Song," a piano-driven ode to finding his lost friend. The Hangover went on to earn more than $465 million worldwide.
Helms co-starred in 2011's The Hangover Part II, set in Thailand; the sequel became an even bigger international box-office success than its predecessor. That year, Helms was also the lead and executive producer of the salesperson comedy Cedar Rapids, with 2012 bringing him major roles in Jeff, Who Lives At Home and Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.
Helms is a co-star in the third installment of The Hangover, slated for a 2013 release. He also continues to enjoy musical pursuits by co-presenting the L.A. Bluegrass Situation, an annual festival that hosts bluegrass/Americana performances from a variety of artists.
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