Steve Carell

Steven John Carell (/kəˈrɛl/; born August 16, 1962)[1] is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director. He is best known for his portrayal of boss Michael Scott on the NBC sitcom The Office (2005–2013), on which he also worked as an occasional producer, writer and director. He was recognized as "America's Funniest Man" by Life magazine.[2] Carell has received numerous accolades for his performances in both film and television, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy for his work on The Office.

Steve Carell
Steve Carell November 2014.jpg
Carell at the 2014 Montclair Film Festival
Born
Steven John Carell

(1962-08-16) August 16, 1962 (age 58)
Alma materDenison University
Occupation
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • writer
  • producer
  • director
Years active1989–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 1995)
Children2

Carell gained recognition as a correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from 1999 to 2005. He went on to star in several hit comedy films, such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) and its 2013 sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Evan Almighty (2007), Get Smart (2008), Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and The Way, Way Back (both 2013). He also voice acted in Over the Hedge (2006), Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and the Despicable Me franchise (2010–present).

In the 2010s, Carell received further attention for more dramatic roles. His role as wrestling coach and convicted murderer John Eleuthère du Pont in the drama film Foxcatcher (2014) earned him, among various honors, nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor,[3] the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.[4] He also received acclaim for his starring roles in Little Miss Sunshine (2006), The Big Short (2015), and Battle of the Sexes (2017), the latter two earning him his eighth and ninth Golden Globe Award nominations, respectively.[5][6] In 2018, he re-teamed with Anchorman and The Big Short director Adam McKay for the Dick Cheney biographical film Vice, in which he portrayed Donald Rumsfeld, and played journalist David Sheff in the drama film Beautiful Boy.

Carell returned to television as the co-creator of the TBS comedy series Angie Tribeca (2016–2018), which he developed with his wife, Nancy Carell. He received critical acclaim for his starring role as Mitch Kessler in the Apple TV+ drama series The Morning Show (2019–present), for which he received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He also returned to comedy with the lead role of General Mark R. Naird in the Netflix sitcom Space Force (2020–present).

Early life

The youngest of four brothers, Carell was born at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts, and raised in nearby Acton, Massachusetts. His father, Edwin A. Carell (b. 1925), was an electrical engineer,[7][8] and his mother, Harriet Theresa (née Koch; 1925–2016),[9] was a psychiatric nurse. His maternal uncle, Stanley Koch, worked with scientist Allen B. DuMont to create cathode ray tubes.[10] His father is of Italian and German descent and his mother was of Polish ancestry.[11] His father's surname was originally Caroselli; it was changed to Carell in the 1950s.[12]

Carell was raised Roman Catholic[13] and was educated at Nashoba Brooks School, The Fenn School, and Middlesex School. He played ice hockey and lacrosse while in high school.[14] He played the fife, performing with other members of his family, and later joined a reenacting group portraying the 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment of Foot. He attributed his interest in history to this,[15] earning a degree in the subject from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, in 1984.[16][17]

While at Denison, Carell was a member of Burpee's Seedy Theatrical Company, a student-run improvisational comedy troupe, and was a goalie on the school's Big Red hockey team for four years.[18][19] He also spent time as a disc jockey under the name "Sapphire Steve Carell" at WDUB, the campus radio station.[20]

Career

Early work

Carell stated that he worked as a USPS mail carrier in Littleton, Massachusetts, but quit after seven months because his boss told him he was not very good at the job and needed to be faster.[21] Early in his performing career, Carell acted onstage in a touring children's theater company, later in the comedy musical Knat Scatt Private Eye, and in a television commercial for the restaurant chain Brown's Chicken in 1989.[22]

The Dana Carvey Show (1996)

In 1991, Carell performed with Chicago troupe The Second City where Stephen Colbert was his understudy for a time. Carell made his film debut in a minor role in Curly Sue. In spring 1996 he was a cast member of The Dana Carvey Show, a short-lived sketch comedy program on ABC. Along with fellow cast member Colbert, Carell provided the voice of Gary, half of The Ambiguously Gay Duo, the Robert Smigel-produced animated short which continued on Saturday Night Live later that year. While the program lasted only seven episodes, The Dana Carvey Show has since been credited with forging Carell's career.[23] He starred in a few short-lived television series, including Come to Papa and Over the Top. He has made numerous guest appearances, including in "Funny Girl," an episode of Just Shoot Me! Additional screen credits include Brad Hall's short-lived situation comedy Watching Ellie (2002–2003) and Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda.

The Daily Show (1999-2005)

Carell was a correspondent for The Daily Show from 1999 to 2005, with a number of regular segments including "Even Stevphen" with Stephen Colbert[24] and "Produce Pete."[25][26]

The Office (2005-2011)

In 2005, Carell signed a deal with NBC to star in The Office, a remake of the British TV series of the same name. In the series, a mockumentary about life at a mid-sized paper supply company, Carell played the role of Michael Scott, the idiosyncratic regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Although the first season of the adaptation suffered mediocre ratings, NBC renewed it for another season due to the anticipated success of Carell's film The 40-Year-Old Virgin,[27] and the series subsequently became a ratings success. Carell won a Golden Globe Award and Television Critics Association Award during 2006 for his role in The Office. He received six Primetime Emmy Award nominations[28] for his work in the series (2006–2011). Carell earned approximately US$175,000 per episode of the third season of The Office, twice his salary for the previous two seasons. In an Entertainment Weekly interview, he commented on his salary, saying, "You don't want people to think you're a pampered jerk. Salaries can be ridiculous. On the other hand, a lot of people are making a lot of money off of these shows."[29]

Carell was allowed "flex time" during filming to work on theatrical films. Carell worked on Evan Almighty during a production hiatus during the second season of The Office.[30][better source needed] Production ended during the middle of the fourth season of The Office because of Carell's and others' refusal to cross the picket line of the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike. Carell, a WGA member,[31] has written two episodes of The Office: "Casino Night" and "Survivor Man." Both episodes were praised, and Carell won a Writers Guild of America Award for "Casino Night."[32] On April 29, 2010, Carell stated he would be leaving the show when his contract expired at the conclusion of the 2010–2011 season because he wanted to focus on his film career.[33] However, according to interviews in The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Carell did not actually plan to leave at the time and was only "thinking out loud" during the interview, but after his statement failed to elicit a reaction from NBC, he decided it was best to move on.[34]

His last episode as a main character, "Goodbye, Michael," aired April 28, 2011, with his final shot showing Carell walking to a Colorado-bound plane to join his fiancée, Holly Flax, in Boulder, Colorado. Although he was invited back for the series finale in 2013, Carell originally declined believing that it would go against his character's arc.[35] Ultimately Carell did reprise the role briefly in the series finale.[36][37]

In 2018, during the press day for Welcome to Marwen, Carell was asked about participating in a revival of the series. Carell told Collider reporter Christina Radish, "I'll tell you, no... The show is way more popular now than when it was on the air. I just can't see it being the same thing, and I think most folks would want it to be the same thing, but it wouldn't be. Ultimately, I think it's maybe best to leave well enough alone and just let it exist as what it was...I just wouldn't want to make the mistake of making a less good version of it. The odds wouldn't be in its favor, in terms of it recapturing exactly what it was, the first time."[38]

Comedic roles (2004-2013)

 
Carell at the Academy Awards in 2007

Carell's first major film role was as weatherman Brick Tamland in the 2004 hit comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Struck by Carell's performance in the film, Anchorman producer Judd Apatow approached Carell about creating a film together, and Carell told him about an idea he had involving a middle-aged man who is still a virgin.[39] The result was the 2005 film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which Carell and Apatow developed and wrote together, starring Carell as the title character. The film made $109 million in domestic box office sales[40] and established him as a leading man. It also earned Carell an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance[41] and a WGA Award nomination, along with Apatow, for Best Original Screenplay.[citation needed]

Carell played Uncle Arthur, imitating the camp mannerisms of Paul Lynde's original character, in Bewitched, a TV adaptation co-starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. He also voiced Hammy the Squirrel in the 2006 computer-animated film, Over the Hedge and Ned McDodd, the mayor of Whoville, in the 2008 animated film Horton Hears a Who! He starred in Little Miss Sunshine during 2006, as Uncle Frank.[42]

His work in the films Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Bewitched established Carell as a member of Hollywood's so-called "Frat Pack," a group of actors who often appear in films together, that also includes Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, and Luke Wilson. Carell acted as the title character of Evan Almighty, a sequel to Bruce Almighty, reprising his role as Evan Baxter, now a U.S. Congressman. The film received mostly negative reviews. Carell starred in the 2007 film Dan in Real Life, co-starring Dane Cook and Juliette Binoche.

 
Co-star Miranda Cosgrove and Carell at a premiere for Despicable Me 2, June 2013

Carell played Maxwell Smart in the 2008 film Get Smart, an adaptation of the TV series starring Don Adams. It was successful, grossing over $230 million worldwide.[43] During 2007, he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[44][45] Carell starred with Tina Fey in Date Night during late 2008 and the film was released on April 9, 2010 in the U.S. He voiced Gru, the main character in the Universal CGI film Despicable Me along with Russell Brand, Miranda Cosgrove, and Kristen Wiig. He reprised the role in the 2013 sequel Despicable Me 2 and in the third installment of the film franchise Despicable Me 3 in 2017.

He has several other projects in the works, including a remake of the 1967 Peter Sellers film The Bobo. He is doing voice-over work in commercials for Wrigley's Extra gum. Carell has launched a television division of his production company, Carousel Productions, which has contracted a three-year overall deal with Universal Media Studios, the studio behind his NBC comedy series. Thom Hinkle and Campbell Smith of North South Prods., former producers on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, were hired to manage Carousel's TV operations.[46]

Dramatic roles (2014–2019)

In 2014, Carell starred in the true crime drama film Foxcatcher alongside Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum in which Carell played the millionaire and convicted murderer John Eleuthère du Pont. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and has received widespread acclaim.[47] Carell was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor and the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Carell played activist Steven Goldstein in the gay rights drama Freeheld, replacing Zach Galifianakis, who dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.[48] The film co-stars Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, and Michael Shannon, and was released in October 2015.

He followed this with another biographical drama, The Big Short, in which he portrayed banker Steve Eisman, whose name was changed in the film to Mark Baum. Directed by Adam McKay, the film stars Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, and it was released in December 2015. The film also received widespread critical acclaim, earning Carell a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Actor. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

In 2016, he replaced Bruce Willis in Woody Allen's Café Society (2016), alongside Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg.[49] The film premiered at the 69th Cannes Film Festival opening the festival. The film is certified fresh with the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes reading, "Café Society's lovely visuals and charming performances round out a lightweight late-period Allen comedy whose genuine pleasures offset its amiable predictability."[50]

In 2017, Carell headlined the biographical comedy-drama Battle of the Sexes, portraying tennis star Bobby Riggs, with Emma Stone co-starring as Billie Jean King. The film received critical acclaim and both Carell and Stone received Golden Globe nominations.[51] Carell also starred as Larry "Doc" Shepherd in the film Last Flag Flying.

In 2018, Carell starred in three films. He led the addiction drama Beautiful Boy as real life father David Sheff, whose son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) struggles with drug addiction. He also played Donald Rumsfeld in Adam McKay's political satire, Vice, about the life of former Vice President Dick Cheney (Christian Bale). The film received mixed reviews,[52] and went on to be nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.[53] His third 2018 role was starring as Mark Hogancamp of Marwencol in Robert Zemeckis' Welcome to Marwen. The film received a 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, with the critical consensus reading, "Welcome to Marwen has dazzling effects and a sadly compelling story, but the movie's disjointed feel and clumsy screenplay make this invitation easy to decline."[54] The movie was a box office failure, grossing $12.7 million against a budget of around $49 million.[55]

In 2019, Carell returned to television to star in the Apple TV+ drama series The Morning Show opposite Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.[56] Carell played Mitch Kessler, a morning news show anchor who is struggling to maintain relevance after being fired due to a sexual misconduct accusation. The Morning Show received a two-season order from Apple, with the first season premiered in the fall of 2019[57] and the second season in 2020.[58]

Return to comedic roles

Carell reunited with Greg Daniels for the Netflix workplace comedy series Space Force, based on the proposed space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces: the United States Space Force.[59] He also starred in the film Irresistible, written and directed by Jon Stewart.[60]

Personal life

 
Carell and wife Nancy at the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7, 2010

On August 5, 1995, Carell married Saturday Night Live alumna Nancy Walls, whom he met when she was a student in an improvisation class he was teaching at Second City.[61] They have two children, Elisabeth Anne "Annie" (born May 2001) and John "Johnny" (born June 2004).[62]

In addition to working with Carell as a fellow correspondent on The Daily Show, Nancy acted with him on The Office as his realtor and short-lived girlfriend Carol Stills. She also cameoed as a sex therapist in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and played Linda in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. They also created the TBS comedy series Angie Tribeca starring Rashida Jones, which premiered on January 17, 2016.

In February 2009, Carell bought the Marshfield Hills General Store in Marshfield, Massachusetts.[63][64]

In 2020, Carell joined several other Hollywood celebrities in donating money to the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF), a nonprofit that "pays bail for those who could not otherwise afford it".[65]

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Carell stated that his inspirations for acting and comedy are Steve Martin, Peter Sellers, John Cleese, Bill Cosby, and George Carlin.

Filmography

Film

Key
  Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Curly Sue Tesio Credited as Steven Carell
1998 Tomorrow Night Mailroom Guy without Glasses
Homegrown Party Extra with Funny Pants Uncredited
2003 Street of Pain Mark Short film
Bruce Almighty Evan Baxter Credited as "Steven Carell"
2004 Sleepover Officer Sherman Shiner
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Brick Tamland
Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie Direct-to-DVD
2005 Melinda and Melinda Walt Wagner
Bewitched Uncle Arthur
The 40-Year-Old Virgin Andy Stitzer Also writer and executive producer
2006 Little Miss Sunshine Frank Ginsburg
American Storage Rich Short film
Over the Hedge Hammy Voice
Hammy's Boomerang Adventure Voice, Short film
2007 Evan Almighty Evan Baxter
Knocked Up Himself Uncredited cameo
Dan in Real Life Dan Burns
Stories USA Mark Ronson Segment: "Street of Pain"
2008 Horton Hears a Who! Ned McDodd Voice
Get Smart Maxwell Smart Also executive producer
2010 Date Night Phil Foster
Despicable Me Gru Voice
Dinner for Schmucks Barry Speck
2011 Crazy, Stupid, Love Cal Weaver Also producer
2012 Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Dodge Petersen
Hope Springs Dr. Bernie Feld
2013 The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Burt Wonderstone Also producer
Despicable Me 2 Gru Voice
The Way, Way Back Trent
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Brick Tamland
2014 Neighbors TV News Uncredited cameo
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Ben Cooper
Foxcatcher John Eleuthère du Pont
2015 Minions Young Gru Voice cameo
Freeheld Steven Goldstein
The Big Short Mark Baum
2016 Café Society Phil
2017 Despicable Me 3 Gru and Dru Voices
Battle of the Sexes Bobby Riggs
Too Funny to Fail Himself Documentary
Last Flag Flying Larry "Doc" Shepherd
2018 Beautiful Boy David Sheff
Vice Donald Rumsfeld
Welcome to Marwen Mark Hogancamp
2020 Irresistible Gary Zimmer
2021 Minions: The Rise of Gru   Gru Voice, Post-production

Television

Key
  Denotes series that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Dana Carvey Show Various characters 8 episodes; also writer
1996–2011 Saturday Night Live Gary Voice
13 episodes
1997 Over the Top Yorgo Galfanikos 12 episodes
1998 Just Shoot Me! Mr. Weiland Episode: "Funny Girl"
1999–2005 The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Himself (correspondent) 277 episodes
2000 Strangers with Candy Teacher Episode: "Behind Blank Eyes"
2002–2003 Watching Ellie Edgar 16 episodes
2004 Fillmore! Mr. Delancey Voice
Episode: "Field Trip of the Just"
Come to Papa Blevin 12 episodes
2005–2011,
2013
The Office Michael Scott 149 episodes
Writer ("Casino Night" and "Survivor Man")
Director ("Broke", "Secretary's Day", and "Garage Sale")
2005, 2008,
2018
Saturday Night Live Himself (host) 3 episodes
2007 The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show Brian Episode: "T-Bones TV"
2011 Life's Too Short Himself Episode: "1.4"
2012 The Simpsons Dan Gillick Voice
Episode: "Penny-Wiseguys"
2013 Web Therapy Jackson Pickett 3 episodes
2016–2018 Angie Tribeca 40 episodes
Creator and executive producer
Writer and director ("Pilot")
2019 The Kelly Clarkson Show Himself (announcer) 1 episode
2019–present The Morning Show Mitch Kessler 10 episodes
2020–present Space Force Mark R. Naird 10 episodes; also creator and executive producer

Video games

Year Title Voice role
2002 Outlaw Golf Commentator
2003 Outlaw Volleyball Commentator
2010 Despicable Me Gru

Web series

Year Title Role Notes
2020 Some Good News Entertainment correspondent Episode 1

Awards and nominations

For his contributions to the film industry, Carell received the 2,570th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2016.[66]

References

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External links