Chris Farley

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Chris Farley
A close-up of Farley smiling at the camera
Farley featured in a BBC promotional photo for Saturday Night Live.
BornChristopher Crosby Farley
(1964-02-15)February 15, 1964
Madison, Wisconsin
DiedDecember 18, 1997(1997-12-18) (aged 33)
John Hancock Center, Chicago, Illinois
Cause of deathCocaine intoxication and morphine overdose
Resting placeResurrection Catholic Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin
NationalityAmerican
Alma materMarquette University
OccupationComedian, actor
Years active1989–1997
Notable work(s)Saturday Night Live
Influenced byJohn Belushi
ParentsTom Farley, Sr.
Mary Anne Farley
RelativesJohn P. Farley (brother)
Kevin Farley (brother)
 
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Chris Farley
A close-up of Farley smiling at the camera
Farley featured in a BBC promotional photo for Saturday Night Live.
BornChristopher Crosby Farley
(1964-02-15)February 15, 1964
Madison, Wisconsin
DiedDecember 18, 1997(1997-12-18) (aged 33)
John Hancock Center, Chicago, Illinois
Cause of deathCocaine intoxication and morphine overdose
Resting placeResurrection Catholic Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin
NationalityAmerican
Alma materMarquette University
OccupationComedian, actor
Years active1989–1997
Notable work(s)Saturday Night Live
Influenced byJohn Belushi
ParentsTom Farley, Sr.
Mary Anne Farley
RelativesJohn P. Farley (brother)
Kevin Farley (brother)

Christopher Crosby "Chris" Farley (February 15, 1964 – December 18, 1997) was an American comedian and actor. Farley was best known for his loud energetic comedy style and physical comedy, and was a member of Chicago's Second City Theatre[1] and cast member of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live between 1990 and 1995. Farley and Chris Rock were introduced as two of the show's new cast members in early 1990.[2][3] Similar to his idol, John Belushi, Farley died of a speedball overdose at the age of 33. On August 26, 2005, Farley was posthumously awarded the 2,289th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which is located in front of iO West.[4]

Contents

Early life

Farley was born in Madison, Wisconsin. His father, Thomas "Tom" Farley, Sr., owned an oil company, and his mother, Mary Anne (née Crosby), was a housewife.[2][5] He had four siblings: Tom Jr., Kevin, John, and Barbara. His cousin, Jim, is a vice president at Ford Motor Company.[6][7] Farley's family are traditionally Irish American, and Farley attended numerous Catholic schools in his hometown, including Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart. According to Joel Murray, a fellow Second City cast member, Chris would "always make it to Mass".[8] Many of his summers were spent as a camper and counselor at Red Arrow Camp, near Minocqua, Wisconsin.

Farley graduated from Marquette University in 1986, with a concentration in communications and theater.[9] After college, he worked with his father at the Scotch Oil Company in Madison.[10] He got his start in professional comedy at the Ark Improv Theatre in Madison, and at the Improv Olympic theater in Chicago. He then performed at Chicago's Second City Theatre, initially as part of Second City's touring group. He was eventually promoted to their main stage. While working at Second City, Farley befriended his Saturday Night Live colleague Lorne Michaels.[3]

Career

Saturday Night Live

Along with Chris Rock, Farley was one of two new Saturday Night Live cast members announced in the spring of 1990.[2][3] On SNL, Farley frequently collaborated with his fellow cast members Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, and David Spade, among others. This group came to be known as the "Bad Boys of SNL".[11] Popular characters performed by Farley included himself on The Chris Farley Show, a talk show in which Farley quite often "interviewed" the guest, got very nervous and asked simple-minded or irrelevant questions, such as what their favorite rock band was; Matt Foley, an over-the-top motivational speaker who constantly reminded other characters that he "lived in a van, down by the river";[12] Todd O'Connor of Bill Swerski's Superfans, a group of stereotypical Chicagoans who constantly shouted "da Bears!";,[13] a Chippendale's dancer, in a famous sketch that paired him with guest host Patrick Swayze;[14] one of the "Gap Girls", who hung out together at a local mall; a stereotypical lunch lady, to the theme of Lunchlady Land performed by Adam Sandler;[15] and Bennett Brauer, a Weekend Update commentator who often divulged his personal and hygienic problems via air quotes. Some of these characters were brought to SNL from his days at Second City. Farley also performed impersonations of Tom Arnold, who gave Farley's eulogy at his private funeral; Andrew Giuliani, Jerry Garcia, Meat Loaf, Norman Schwarzkopf, Dom DeLuise, Roger Ebert, Carnie Wilson, Newt Gingrich, Mindy Cohn, Mama Cass, Hank Williams, Jr., and Rush Limbaugh were among the celebrities and real-life figures he portrayed.[16]

Off-screen, Farley was well known for his pranks in the offices of Saturday Night Live. This would refer to Sandler and Farley making late-night prank phone calls from the SNL offices in Rockefeller Center, with Sandler speaking in an old woman's voice and Farley farting into the phone and mooning cars from a limousine.[17][18] Sandler told Conan O'Brien on The Tonight Show that NBC fired him and Farley from the show in 1995.[19]

Film career

During his tenure on SNL, Farley had roles in the comedy films Wayne's World, Coneheads, Airheads, and uncredited in Billy Madison. He also appeared in the Red Hot Chili Peppers music video for "Soul to Squeeze" which was a song featured on the Coneheads soundtrack.

After Farley and most of his fellow cast members were released from their contracts at Saturday Night Live following the 1994–1995 season, Farley began focusing on his film career. His first two major films co-starred his fellow SNL colleague and close friend David Spade. Together, the duo made the films Tommy Boy and Black Sheep. These were a success at the domestic box office, earning around $32 million each and gaining a large cult following on home video.[20][21] They established Farley as a relatively bankable star and he was given the title role of Beverly Hills Ninja, which finished in first place at the box office on its opening weekend.[22] However, drug and alcohol problems interfered throughout Farley's film work, and production of his final film, Almost Heroes, was held up several times so Farley could attend rehab.[23] After his premature death on December 18, 1997, his final completed films, Almost Heroes and Dirty Work, were released posthumously.

Unfinished projects

Farley was the original choice to voice the title character of the DreamWorks animated film Shrek, but died just before recording was finished. It's said approximately 80-90% of his lines were recorded, but none of these recordings have surfaced. He was replaced by one of his SNL colleagues, Mike Myers.[12] He was also planning a Matt Foley film with Spade.[citation needed] By the time of his death, Farley had also been in talks to co-star Vince Vaughn in the film The Gelfin and also to star in a biopic film about Fatty Arbuckle.[24] The 2010 film Grown Ups would have reunited Farley with many of his SNL colleagues, but due to his death, the film was shelved for over a decade and was recast with The King of Queens actor Kevin James.[citation needed] Farley had also been in talks for the lead in an adaptation of the novel A Confederacy of Dunces.

Death

Farley's grave in 2010

By early 1997, a visible decline in Farley's health was frequently noted in the press. Following his final guest appearance on SNL on October 25, 1997,[25] Farley's hoarse voice, continual perspiration and flushed skin were the subject of public scrutiny.[26][27] In the final years of his life, Farley had sought treatment for obesity and drug abuse on seventeen separate occasions.[28] On December 18, 1997, Farley was found dead by his younger brother, John, in his apartment in the John Hancock Center in Chicago.[29] An autopsy later revealed that Farley had died of a drug overdose early that morning.[30] Advanced atherosclerosis was cited as a "significant contributing factor".[23] Farley's death is often compared to that of his SNL idol John Belushi, who also died at age 33 of an accidental drug overdose consisting of cocaine and heroin.[14]

Funeral

Farley's private funeral was held at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin five days later. Over five hundred people attended his funeral, many of the actors and comedians who had worked with him on Saturday Night Live and on film including Phil Hartman (who would die five months later), Adam Sandler, Brendan Fraser, Joe Mantegna, Lorne Michaels, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Buscemi, Mike Myers, Christopher Walken, John Goodman, Eugene Levy, George Wendt, Norm Macdonald, Holly Wortell, Rob Schneider, Chris Rock, Tim Meadows, and Tom Arnold.[31] Notably absent was Farley's former SNL castmate, frequent film co-star, and close friend David Spade, who was later quoted as saying that he declined to attend Farley's funeral because he "could not be in a room where Chris was in a box."[16] However, Spade did appear on the special 25th anniversary episode of Saturday Night Live, holding back his tears, to call for a moment of remembrance for Farley. Farley was entombed at the Resurrection Catholic Cemetery.

Legacy

On August 26, 2005, Farley was posthumously awarded the 2,289th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which is located in front of iO West.[4] In his memoir Gasping for Airtime, Jay Mohr recalled a moment involving Farley and his SNL colleague Phil Hartman. In the show's cast's goodbye song-and-dance performance to Hartman, the final scene featured Farley and Hartman embracing each other as the latter sang "Goodbye" to the camera.[32] This was seen on the "Best of Chris Farley" SNL special, but omitted from video versions of the special.[citation needed] The authorized biography of Farley, The Chris Farley Show, was written by his brother Tom, Jr. and Tanner Colby.

Filmography

Film
YearTitleRoleNotes
1992Wayne's WorldSecurity Guard
1993ConeheadsRonnie the Mechanic
Wayne's World 2Milton
1994AirheadsOfficer Wilson
1995Billy MadisonBus DriverUncredited[citation needed]
Tommy BoyThomas "Tommy" Callahan, Jr.MTV Movie Awards Best On-Screen Duo (Shared with David Spade)
1996Black SheepMike DonnellyNominated — MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance
1997Beverly Hills NinjaHaruNominated — MTV Movie Awards Best Comedic Performance
1998Almost HeroesBartholomew HuntReleased posthumously
Dirty Work[33]JimmyUncredited; released posthumously
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1990–1995Saturday Night LiveVarious characters100 episodes
1992The Jackie Thomas ShowChris Thomas1 episode
1993RoseanneMan in Clothing Store1 episode
1994TomChris1 episode
1997All ThatChef Farley1 episode

References

  1. ^ "Chicago Alumni". The Second City. http://www.secondcity.com/?id=history/alumni/chicago. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  2. ^ a b c "Chris Farley Biography — Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1800018622/bio. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  3. ^ a b c "Wisconsin Historical Society". Wisconsinhistory.org. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/highlights/archives/2008/05/farley_exhibit.asp. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  4. ^ a b "Chris Farley Gets Posthumous Star". Breitbart.com. 1964-02-15. http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/08/26/D8C7P4M01.html. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  5. ^ "Chris Farley Biography (1964-1997)". filmreference.com. http://www.filmreference.com/film/65/Chris-Farley.html.
  6. ^ Gardner, Greg (2009-07-18). "Rising star assigned new duties at Ford". Detroit Free Press. http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/freep/access/1793009141.html?FMT=ABS&FMTS=ABS:FT&date=Jul+18%2C+2009&author=GREG+GARDNER&pub=Detroit+Free+Press&edition=&startpage=A.9&desc=Rising+star+assigned+new+duties+at+Ford. Retrieved 2011-09-04. (registration required)
  7. ^ Vlasic, Bill (2008-04-20). "A Star at Toyota, a Believer at Ford". New York Times. p. 4. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/business/20ford.html?pagewanted=4&n=Top/News/Business/Companies/Toyota%20Motor%20Corporation. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  8. ^ [2009-01-16 "Chris Farley"]. The Chris Farley Show. Archived from the original on http://wayback.archive.org/web/*/http://www.thechrisfarleyshow.com/chicago.html. 2009-01-16. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  9. ^ "Marquette University — Famous Faces". Marquette.edu. 2003-02-12. http://www.marquette.edu/about/allfamous.shtml. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  10. ^ "Chris Farley Biography". The Biography Channel. http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biography_story/557:166/1/Chris_Farley.htm. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  11. ^ The Bad Boys of Saturday Night Live (1998)(TV)
  12. ^ a b Anderson, Sam (2008-05-16). "Dada’s Boy". New York. http://nymag.com/arts/books/reviews/47039/. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  13. ^ "New Exhibit: Chris Farley Remembered". wisconsinhistory.org. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/highlights/archives/2008/05/farley_exhibit.asp. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  14. ^ a b Goldblatt, Henry (2008-05-07). "'Chris Farley Show' stuffed with gossip". CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/books/05/07/chris.farley/. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  15. ^ Crawford, Bill (2000). Adam Sandler: America's Comedian. Macmillan. p. 75. ISBN 0-312-26282-5.
  16. ^ a b "Chris Farley's Black Sheep Jacket". wisconsinhistory.org. http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/museum/artifacts/archives/003176.asp. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  17. ^ Smith, Chris (1995-03-15). "Comedy Isn’t Funny". New York. p. 7. http://nymag.com/arts/tv/features/47548/index6.html. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  18. ^ Smith, Chris (1995-03-15). "Comedy Isn’t Funny". New York. p. 8. http://nymag.com/arts/tv/features/47548/index7.html. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  19. ^ "You're not alone, Conan O'Brien: Adam Sandler says NBC fired him and Chris Farley from 'SNL'" Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Daily News, January 21, 2010.
  20. ^ "Box Office Mojo data for ''Black Sheep''". Boxofficemojo.com. 1996-03-15. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=blacksheep.htm. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  21. ^ "Box Office Mojo data for ''Tommy Boy''". Boxofficemojo.com. 1995-05-16. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=tommyboy.htm. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  22. ^ "Box Office Mojo data for ''Beverly Hills Ninja''". Boxofficemojo.com. 1997-01-17. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=beverlyhillsninja.htm. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  23. ^ a b Tucker, Reed (2007-12-16). "That Was Awesome!". New York Post. http://www.nypost.com/seven/12162007/entertainment/that_was_awesome__816891.htm?page=0. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  24. ^ The Chris Farley Show, by Tom Farley, Jr. and Tanner Colby
  25. ^ "Chris Farley/The Mighty Mighty Bosstones episode reviews". saturday-night-live.com. http://www.saturday-night-live.com/snl/reviews/97-98/farley.html.
  26. ^ "Saturday Night Live Transcripts". snltranscripts.jt.org. http://snltranscripts.jt.org/97/97d.phtml.
  27. ^ Shales, Tom; Miller, James Andrew (2003). Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. Back Bay. pp. 492, 493. ISBN 0-316-73565-5.
  28. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (1998-01-09). "The Last Temptation of Chris". ew.com. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,281398,00.html. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  29. ^ Petrikin, Chris (1997-12-19). "Comic Farley dies". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR111791888.html?categoryid=25&cs=1. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  30. ^ "Chris Farley's Death Laid to Drug Overdose". New York Times. 1998-01-03. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0CE6D81630F930A35752C0A96E958260. Retrieved 2008-06-07.
  31. ^ "Athens Daily News — Fellow comedians weep for Chris Farley". Onlineathens.com. http://www.onlineathens.com/1997/122497/1224.a3farley.html. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
  32. ^ Mohr, Jay (2004). Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches of Saturday Night Live. Hyperion. pp. 292, 293. ISBN 1-4013-0006-5.
  33. ^ Kronke, David (June 15, 1998). "Macdonald's 'Dirty Work' Needs a Laugh Transplant". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1998/jun/15/entertainment/ca-60022. Retrieved August 2, 2012.

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