Michael Cera Biography

Film Actor, Television Actor, Actor (1988–)
Michael Cera is a Canadian actor and comedian best known for his role on the critically acclaimed television show Arrested Development and the film Superbad.


Michael Cera was born on June 7, 1988, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. He started his career in commercials but his first big opportunity came with the critically acclaimed Fox series, Arrested Development which won six Emmys and two Golden Globes. In 2007, Cera starred in the hit films, Super Bad and Juno. Cera splits his time between Los Angeles and his family home, just west of Toronto.

Early Acting Career

Actor and comedian Michael Cera was born on June 7, 1988, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, as the second of three children. Cera was the only boy born to Linda Cera and her husband, Luigi, a Sicilian immigrant who made a living working as a repairman for Xerox. While not cut from acting stock, Cera says his family is a creative bunch. His older sister Jordan is a painter, his younger sister Molly, is a "really good writer," and both his parents are "really, really funny."

At an early age Cera showed an interest in acting and, with his parents' support, he started doing television commercial work by the time he was 8. The spots included an unpaid gig for Tim Horton's and then a paid gig for Pillsbury, which featured the young actor poking the company's Doughboy in the stomach. With his mother as his chaperone, Cera embarked on a demanding audition schedule, trying out for some 200 commercials, none of which yielded any work and finally prompted a tired mother and son to turn their back on that part of the business.

Instead, Cera began pursuing meatier parts, taking on roles in various Canadian and American television shows. He was the voice behind Little Gizmo in the Emmy-winning cartoon series, Rolie Polie Olie, work that eventually led to other voice parts on cartoon programs such as PBS's The Berenstain Bears and the FOX/ABC production, Braceface. Then, at the age of 12, Cera caught a big break when he earned a regular spot on the comedy, I Was a Sixth Grade Alien.

Around that same time, Cera took another big step forward on the big screen. He had a supporting role as Abbie Hoffman's son in Steal This Movie; another prominent part in the sci-fi thriller Frequency; and a starring gig in the 3-D Imax movie, Ultimate Gs. Two years later, Cera showcased his talents as a young Chuck Barris in the George Clooney directed, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

Big Break

In 2001, Cera landed a role in the FOX sitcom, The Grubbs. But the program never made it to the air, getting canceled after just eight episodes were filmed. Cera later claimed he was "devastated" by the early hook, but he wasn't done with television completely. And his earlier experience on The Grubbs and the timing of its cancelation helped pave the way for Cera to look over the script for another sitcom, Arrested Development, a Ron Howard produced show that was still very much in its infancy.

Cera, who cites Larry David and Bill Murray as two big comedic influences, loved what he read. Especially the character George Michael, the 13-year-old son whose father, Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman), returns home to run the family business and look after his highly dysfunctional parents and siblings.

"Even making a tape, reading the lines with my mom, was so much fun," recalled Cera, who was one of the first actors cast in the show. To maintain some sort of normal family life, Cera and his mom relocated to Los Angeles during the show's production. During this time he also completed his high school degree online.

While the program shed the celebrity spotlight on Cera, Arrested Development never gained the audience share that FOX demanded. In 2006, despite a heap of critical praise, not to mention six Emmy awards and two Golden Globes, the show came to an end.

Career Breakthroughs

Still, in terms of professional development, the program was nothing but a boost for Cera and his career. A year after the show's cancelation, the actor co-starred with Jonah Hill in the 2007 smash hit, Super Bad, which chronicles a single night in the life of two awkward high school seniors. That same year, Cera turned in another big performance as the friend and impregnator of his best friend in Juno, a surprise hit that earned some $200 million in the box office and nabbed Cera a nomination from the Canadian Comedy Awards.

Other movies followed, including Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (2008), Year One (2009) and Youth in Revolt (2009). And after months of buzz, in early 2009, Cera finally signed on to do a movie version of Arrested Development. There's also been talk of Cera playing Gilligan in the upcoming remake of Gilligan's Island.

Demonstrating a desire to take on a smaller, under-the-radar projects, Cera has appeared in a host of low budget, quirky productions including a medical satire, Children's Hospital, produced for the Web, and a hilarious recreation of the famous duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. In 2006 he teamed up with friend and fellow actor Clark Duke to create a series of comedic sketches that appeared on their Web site, clarkandmichael.com, and eventually the CBS Internet channel, Innertube.

Cera also reprised his role in the series Arrested Development as George Michael in 2013. After the series' cancellation in 2003, it was available for streaming through Netflix. The cult following that the series attracted in its heyday only grew with its added availability, and it was rebooted for one final season accessible exclusively streaming on Netflix. All other recurring members of the series returned to reprise their roles as well.

In many ways, the sometimes nervous, sometimes awkward characters Cera plays on screen are a reflection of his own personality. Cera, who plays guitar and is in a band, still seems humbled by his success. Surprised by it even. "I've been kind of insanely lucky," he has said. "You don't have much control, but I've been in these movies that I really like and everyone else seems to like, too, which is kind of crazy."

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