Personal detailsName: Will Ferrell
Born: 16 July 1967 (Age: 46)
Where: Irvine, California, USA
Height: 6' 3"
Awards: 1 Emmy and 1 Golden Globe Nomination
All about this star
The continuing ability of Saturday Night Live to churn out film stars is nothing short of a marvel. Throughout its 30 year history they have come in seemingly endless waves. First came Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. Next would be Eddie Murphy and Jim Belushi, then Mike Myers, Chris Rock and Adam Sandler. And then . . . nothing. Almost a decade of nothing. Until it scored another breakthrough when a 7-year SNL veteran, one the show's most popular performers and certainly the highest-paid in its history, suddenly made his mark in Hollywood, first as a pathetic perennial teenager, then as an over-sized elf. This was Will Ferrell who quickly, incredibly quickly, went on to become one of Tinseltown's most prolific and best-known stars.
He was born John William Ferrell on the 16th of July, 1967, in Irvine, California, just inland from Newport Beach and a few miles south of Los Angeles. His father, Lee, was a musician who joined The Righteous Brothers' band that same year, playing keyboards and saxophone. But, though the group were still riding high on such hits as You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' and Unchained Melody, Lee would soon quit to help raise young Will and his brother Patrick, born in 1970 (once the kids were grown, he'd actually rejoin The Righteous Brothers, playing and touring with them right up to the death of singer Bobby Hatfield in 2003).
Irvine was a rather conservative place, very white, very middle-class, very Republican. But the Ferrells, Lee and wife Kay, a junior college English professor, were slightly outside the norm, living in the town's only apartment complex. Through his parents young Will was made aware of both the importance of education and the possibility of an "alternative" existence and, despite Lee and Kay's divorce in 1975 his natural intelligence and work ethic would make him a top student. He was also a big guy and a fine baseball - and football - player. At football he was a heavyweight defence specialist, always sent on to mark the opposition's top attackers. As the years passed, though, and the violence of the game grew ever more spectacular, he would switch to kicking duties, figuring that the best place for him was the one where opponents were actually penalised for hurting him. Further proof of that intelligence. It was also a worthwhile exercise as the many hours of kicking practice would teach him both to focus and "remain in the moment" - absolutely essential when he'd later move into onstage improv and live TV.
Ferrell's famed sense of humour was also much in evidence during his time at Irvine's University High School.