Filmography at a Glance
His fame as a comedic actor was cemented in Hollywood blockbuster movies, such as “The Mask,” “Bruce Almighty,” “Dumb & Dumber,” “Batman,” “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Ace Ventura; When Nature Calls” and “Liar Liar.”
He has also reinvented his onscreen persona to take on more profound and thought provoking roles in other successful Hollywood blockbuster films, such as “Man on the Moon,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Majestic,” and “The Truman Show.”
Jim Carrey is Born
Carrey, born in Newmarket Canada, was the youngest of four. He preceded his three older siblings—John, Patricia and Rita. His parents are Percy and Kathleen.
From even a very young age, Jim Carrey found both escapism and pleasure in acting and comedy. His teachers even encouraged him by allowing him to give a few minutes to do a stand-up comedy routine for his class and classmates at the end of each school day.
Growing Up in Canada
During Jim Carrey’s teenage years, his parents experienced financial problems and the family was forced to move out and relocate to a more affordable home in Toronto. His father, to make ends meet, took security and janitorial jobs just to keep food on the table and to avoid being evicted. During this time, Jim Carrey was enrolled in the Blessed Trinity Catholic School in North York, where he was schooled for two years before returning to Toronto and attending the Agincourt Collegiate Institute. Throughout these years, Jim’s parents found themselves in such overwhelming financial difficulties that they even lost their home and were forced to live in their Volkswagen, camping on relative’s lawn, and receiving charity from them. Jim, although still only a teenager, helped out however he could (necessity being the mother of inspiration) and he would work up to eight-hour shifts every day after school to help support his parents and siblings.
Due to their financial hardships and constraints, Jim Carrey had no alternative but to drop out of high school. And at the age of 16, he took the opportunity to work in some of Toronto’s comedy clubs doing his acts that would later make him famous, including impersonations of celebrities, such as Jimmy Stewart and Michael Landon.
Adds another Nationality
With moderate success doing acts at the Toronto Comedy Club Circuit, he decided to leave his country, thinking that he had nothing to lose. At the age of 17, in 1979, he moved to Los Angeles and began doing his impersonation acts at The Comedy Store. Fortunately for Jim, Rodney Dangerfield was a regular patron of The Comedy Store and he took notice of the funny young man. Dangerfield, also an entrepreneur and a comedian himself, saw his potential and signed Jim Carrey to open his Rodney Dangerfield’s tour performances. These tours took Jim Carrey across the USA and Canada. Through this, Jim was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn from Rodney, a seasoned and successful comedic actor.
After achieving success doing opening performances for Rodney Dangerfield, Jim Carrey realized that he didn’t want to be typecast as a standup comedian ending up in Vegas doing routines, so he turned his energy and efforts to television and film entertainment.
In 1980, Jim Carrey auditioned for a place on the Saturday Night Live Team on NBC. He was unsuccessful. It wasn’t until 1984 that he first landed a lead role on television in “Skip Tarkenton.” Jim acted as young animation producer on NBC's “The Duck Factory.” Over a decade later, in 1996, Jim’s persistence gave him the opportunity to host Saturday Night Live Show in May—a role that he relished, gaining even more public admiration for his impersonations and routines, which broadened his fan base.
If you have ever seen the movie “Earth Girls are Easy,” then you have seen one of Jim Carey’s first Hollywood movie premieres. His very first film debut is the short film “Rubberface” (1981). However, to pay the bills, Jim still continued playing other small character parts in film and television.
The big jumpstart to Jim’s wider and mainstream publicity was when he was hired as a cast member for a new television series called “In Living Color” produced by Fox. He was shot up to prominence with his hilarious characters, such as Vera de Milo, the female bodybuilder and Fire Marshall Bill, the safety inspector. Carrey’s performances were edgy and controversial—just how a new show needed to be. However, some of the television censors viewed his routines as irresponsible, It did him good and gave him more publicity. Soon, Hollywood began to become more interested in this young, crazy actor–comedian.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Makes News
Jim Carrey’s life, however, was not an overnight success fairytale story. He actually didn’t see success at the box office for almost ten years. However, his commitment, persistence, and passion for comedy acting secured his fame. With his wildly funny facial expressions and off the scale sense of humor, he finally found success in his Hollywood comedy film “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” Although the film critics turned their noses up at it and their thumbs down, it did help launch Jim Carrey’s performance and wit to a mass audience that laughed and were intrigued by this crazy new actor. It was well with him even if he earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination as Worst New Star in 1994.
The film was a huge commercial success and soon to follow were two other huge commercial successes “Dumb and Dumber” and “The Mask,” both released in 1994. Jim received multiple awards for the role he played in these films including, Favorite Actor in Comedy by Blockbuster Videos, Favorite Male Newcomer by Blockbuster Video, Favorite Movie Actor by Kid’s Choice Award, Newcomer of the Year by London Critics Circle Film Award Nominated–MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Jim Carrey’s successes in later movies were next seen as he played the Riddler in “Batman Forever” add to that the sequel of the Ace Ventura movie, “When Nature Calls.” Again, Jim received awards for his roles in these movies, such as Kid’s Choice Award, People Choice Awards, MTV Movie Favorite Actor, and a nomination for the Funniest Actor for American Comedy. Both these films were massively successful at the box office, earning Jim Carrey millions of dollars for his role.
The Cable Guy Controversial News
Fame invited gossip for Jim Carrey in the late 1990s when he was reported to have been paid a massive $20,000,000 in “The Cable Guy.” This is not only a world-breaking record amount for a comedic actor; it also placed Jim Carrey as the highest paid Hollywood actor in the history of film. Unfortunately, the film was both panned by critics and the audience, possibly due to all the media hype and talk about Jim’s sign on salary. However, it’s more probable that the public was expecting a light–hearted role from Jim Carrey instead of his dark character in the movie. Not to be down for the count, Hollywood reinvested in Jim Carrey in the film Liar Liar, which was a huge success.
In an effort to redefine himself as a serious Hollywood star and actor, Jim Carrey made a strategic decision after reading the script of “The Truman Show” in 1998. The movie was nominated for three other awards, and Jim won a Golden Globe for the Best Actor in a Drama as well as an MTV Movie Award for the Best Male Performance.
In 1999, Carrey won the role of comedian Andy Kaufman in “Man on the Moon” where he got the Best Actor Award from the Boston Society of Film Critics, Best Actor Award from the Golden Globe, and Funniest Actor from the American Comedy nomination. He was also nominated Best Male Performance in the Canadian Comedy Award for Film, Actor of the Year in the London Critics Circle Film, Best Male Performance in the MTV Movie, Best Actor Award in the Online Film Critics Society, Best Actor Award in the Satellite Award, and in the Screen Actors Guild Award.
In 2000, “Me, Myself and Irene,” a movie about a Canadian state trooper with multiple personalities, was shown. He starred opposite Renee Zellweger in that film.
Carrey married Melissa Womer in 1997 and they had a daughter they named Jane. Sadly, this marriage ended in 1995. Jim was again briefly married to Lauren Holly who he met on the set of the movie “Dumb & Dumber,” however, this marriage only lasted three years. Since his divorce, Jim has never remarried but instead had a long-term relationship with Jenny McCarthy, which ended in April 2010.
High Profile Addiction
In 2010, Jim told the public about his battle with depression and prescription drugs (i.e. Prozac). Jim became an example of someone who was able to get off his addiction. Since then, he has encouraged others to also do their best in living a drug–free life. Jim Carrey became an inspirational speaker about how to overcome personal challenges. He speaks to people in a Jim Carrey fashion and does it with a lot of sense of humor.
Becomes a Hero of Hungry People
Jim Carrey's journey to success was not easy. With his hilarious impersonations, hyperactivity, clowning routines, his waxing and satirical improvisations, passion for his craft, and drive he was able to get to where he is now. He continues to give back today with his A Better U Foundation, started in 2005, that helps promote global food shortages, rebuild economic activity in small villages, and empower local farmers. His foundation continues to help those in Haiti, Mali and Madagascar. According to Jim, he’s not a scientist; however, he knows when an idea is doable or not.
He is an active advocate of SRI or System of Rice Intensification. In 2010, Jim Carrey had the opportunity to address the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City where he talked about the success and future of SRI. The following is what he said:
“The Better U Foundation is committed to sharing the exciting news about SRI and ensuring that its dramatic early success is only the beginning. With the goal of empowering others by supporting transformational and sustainable ideas, the Better U Foundation is committed to cultivating a better universe.”
Today, we celebrate Jim Carrey as an extraordinary person. He has made us laugh and inspired us by openly discussing his real life challenges. He is giving back in a big way with his foundation to make the world a better place.
- 1994: Ace Ventura Awarded Favorite Actor – Comedy by Blockbuster Videos, Favorite Male Newcomer By Blockbuster Video, Favorite Movie Actor by Kid’s Choice Award, Newcomer of the Year by London Critics Circle Film Award Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
- 1994: The Mask Awarded Newcomer of the Year by London Critics Circle Film Award
- 1994: Nominated Best Actor by Golden Globe
- 1994: Dumb and Dumber Awarded Nominated Best Comedic Performance by MTV.
- 1995: Batman Forever Nominated Best Villain by MTV.
- 1995: Ace Ventura When Nature Calls. Kid’s Choice Award for Best Comedic Performance, Awarded Best Male Performance by MTV, Awarded Favorite Actor in a Comedy Movie by People’s Choice, Nominated Funniest Actor for the American Comedy Award
- 1996: The Cable Guy Awarded Favorite Movie Actor by Kid’s Choice Award, Awarded Best Comic Performance by MTV
- 1997: Liar Liar Awarded for Favorite Actor – Comedy by Blockbuster Entertainment, Awarded Best Comic Performance by MTV, Nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actor Motion Picture, and Nominated Favorite Movie Actor for the Kid’s Choice Award
- 1998: The Truman Show, Awarded Best Actor Golden Globe, Best Male Performance Award by MTC, Nominated Favorite Actor- Drama by Blockbuster Entertainment. Nominated Best Actor Chicago Film Critics Association Award, Nominated Best Actor Saturn Award, Nominated Favorite Movie Actor for the Kid’s Choice Award
- 1999: Man on the Moon, Best Actor Award by Boston Society of Film Critics, Best Actor Award by Golden Globe, Nominated Funniest Actor by American Comedy. Nominated Best Male Performance by Canadian Comedy Award for Film. Nominated for the Year by London Critics Circle Film, Nominated Best Male Performance by MTV Movie, Nominated for Best Actor Award by Online Film Critics Society, Nominated for Best Actor Award the Satellite Award, Nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award.
- 2000: Me, Myself & Irene. Nominated by MTV for Best Comedic Performance. Nominated Favorite Actor in Comedy by Blockbuster Entertainment
- 2000: How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Awarded Favorite Actor by Blockbuster Entertainment, Awarded Favorite Actor by Kid’s Choice Award, Best Villain Award by MTV Movie, People’s Choice Award Favorite Star in a Motion Picture Comedy, Nominated for a Golden Globe Motion Picture & Comedy and Nominated Best Actor Award for Satellite Nominated for the Canadian Comedy Nominated for Best Actor Empire Award.
- 2003: Bruce Almighty. Awarded Favorite Movie Actor by Kid’s Choice Award, MTV Award, Movie Actor Comedy Teen Choice Award, and Nominated Best Comedic Performance MTV Movie Award.
- 2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Award for Best Actor San Diego Film Critics Society, Award for Best Ensemble Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Nominated for a BAFTA Best Actor in a Leading Role. Nominated Best Actor Award for Empire, Nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, Nominated for Best Actor by Online Film Critics Society. Nominated for a People's Choice Award for Favorite Leading Man Nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Actor
- 2004: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Awarded Favorite Funny Male Star, People’s Choice Award. Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Bad Guy, Nominated Best Villain by MTV Movie. Nominated Favorite Movie Actor, Kid’s Choice Award Nominated Teen Choice Award.
- 2005: Fun with Dick & Jane. Nominated Favorite Movie Actor by Kid’s Choice Award. Nominated Choice Actor Comedy by Teen Choice Award
- 2007: The Number 23. Awarded Choice Movie Actor by Teen Choice Award.
- 2008: Horton Hears a Who. Nominated for a Favorite Voice in an Animated Movie by Kid’s Choice Award
- 2008: Yes Man. Awarded MTV Best Comedic Performance. Awarded a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Funny Male Star. Nominated Favorite Movie by Kid’s Choice Award
- 2009: I Love You Phillip Morris
- 2010: A Christmas Carol. Awarded Kids Favorite Voice Kid’s Choice Award
- 2011: Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Nominated Favorite Movie Actor, Kid’s Choice Award