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Starting in Comedy
Carrey dropped out of high school and began to work in comedy clubs with an act that included impersonations of celebrities such as Michael Landon and Jimmy Stewart.
In 1979, he moved to Los Angeles and started working in The Comedy Store, where he was noticed by comedian Rodney Dangerfield. Dangerfield liked Carrey's act so much that he signed Carrey up to open Dangerfield's tour performances.
Carrey began to work occasionally in television and in small parts in movies, which eventually led to a friendship with Damon Wayans. When Damon's brother Keenen was putting together a sketch comedy show for Fox called In Living Color, Carrey was hired as a cast member. Carrey's unusual characters and on-screen behavior caught America's attention.
Carrey made a forgettable film debut in Rubberface (1981). Four years later, he had a starring role in the dark comedy Once Bitten as Mark Kendall, a teen virgin who is pursued by a 400-year old vampire (Lauren Hutton). Carrey, however, did not experience box office success until almost a decade later when he got a starring role in the comedy Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, which premiered only months before In Living Color ended. The film was panned by the critics, and helped earn him a 1994 Golden Raspberry Award nomination as Worst New Star. However, the film was a commercial success, as were two other releases that same year, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber.
The following year Jim Carrey appeared as the Riddler in Batman Forever and reprised his role as Ace Ventura in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Both films were successful at the box office and earned Carrey multi-million dollar paychecks.
Carrey made headlines when it was revealed that for his next film, The Cable Guy, he was paid twenty million dollars, a record payday for a comedic actor. The attention drawn to his salary, coupled with negative reviews and the character's dark mood in contrast to his other performances, all contributed to the film's box office failure. Jim Carrey quickly rebounded with the successful Liar Liar, a return to his trademark style.
Despite the regular comedy successes, Jim Carrey took a chance and a slight paycut to star in The Truman Show (1998), a change of pace that led to forecasts of an Academy Award nomination which did not happen, leading Jim Carrey to appear on the show and joke "it's an honor just to be nominated...oh no." The same year, Carrey got to flex more of his acting muscles with an appearance as the fictionalized vBold textersion of himself on Garry Shandling's The Larry Sanders Show, making an unforgettable impression by ripping deliberately into Shandling's character and exposing a not so funny man behind the mask.
In 1999 Carrey fought hard and won the role of comedian Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. Several actors including Edward Norton were interested in the role, but Carrey's audition, including an act with the bongo drums Kaufman used in his performances, helped him win the role. Coincidentally, Carrey was born 13 years to the day after Kaufman.
Jim Carrey continues to appear in successful comedies as well as more dramatic roles. His performance in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) earned high praise from critics, who once again incorrectly predicted that Carrey would receive his first Oscar nomination.
Carrey was born and grew up in the Toronto suburb of Newmarket, Ontario to a family with some French Canadian roots (the original surname was Carree). A comedian from an early age, Carrey mailed his rйsumй to The Carol Burnett Show when he was 10 years old. The teachers in Carrey's high school gave him a few minutes at the end of each school day to do a stand-up comedy routine for his classmates.
The Carrey family fell on hard times and were forced to move to the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, where they took security and janitorial jobs in the Titan Wheels factory. Carrey began working eight-hour shifts each day after school. Eventually, the Carrey family adjusted by living on a relative's lawn out of the family Volkswagen van until they could move back into town.
Carrey has been married twice, first to Melissa Womer with whom he had a daughter, Jane, then to actress Lauren Holly in a marriage that lasted less than a year.
More recently, Carrey became a (dual) U.S. citizen on October 7, 2004. He went public about his bouts with depression in a November 2004 60 Minutes interview, where he also spoke of growing up during his family's tough times.
The All-Night Show (1980, Series)
All in Good Taste (1982)
Cooper Mountain: A Club Med Experience (1983, TV)
The Sex and Violence Family Hour (1983)
The Duck Factory (1983, Series)
Finders Keepers (1984)
Once Bitten (1985)
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
The Dead Pool (1988)
Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All (1989)
Pink Cadillac (1989)
In Living Color (1990, Series)
High Strung (1991)
The Itsy Bitsy Spider (1992, Cartoon)
Doing Time on Maple Drive (1992, TV)
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
The Mask (1994)
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Batman Forever (1995)
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)
The Cable Guy (1996)
Liar Liar (1997)
The Truman Show (1998)
Simon Birch (1998)
Man on the Moon (1999)
Me, Myself and Irene (2000)
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
The Majestic (2001)
Peacan Pie (2003, Short)
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)
The Number 23 (2006)
Used Guys (2007)
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