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 Chris Farley

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Chris Farley

Actor, Comedian. Known for his loud, energetic comedic style, he was a cast member of the NBC sketch comedy show "Saturday Night Live" between 1990 and 1995. One of five children, his father owned an oil company and he attended numerous Catholic schools in his hometown. He gained a reputation of being a class clown and following high school, he attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and graduated in 1986 with a focus in communications and theater. After working with his father at the Scotch Oil Company in Madison, Wisconsin 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 and eventually promoted to their main stage where he was noticed by "Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels. In the spring of 1990, at Michael's request, he and Chris Rock became the two new "Saturday Night Live" cast members and 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." Popular characters that he performed included himself on 'The Chris Farley Show', a talk show in which he quite often "interviewed" the guest, 'Matt Foley', an over-the-top motivational speaker who constantly reminded other characters that he "lived in a van, down by the river," an overzealous Chippendales dancer, and 'Bennett Brauer', a Weekend Update commentator who often divulged his personal and hygienic problems via air quotes. He also performed impersonations of many famous celebrities and real-life figures, including Tom Arnold, Andrew Giuliani, Jerry Garcia, Meat Loaf, Norman Schwarzkopf, Dom DeLuise, Roger Ebert, Newt Gingrich, Mindy Cohn, Mama Cass Elliot, Hank Williams, Jr., and Rush Limbaugh. During his time on SNL, he had roles in the comedy films "Wayne's World" (1992), "Coneheads" (1993), "Airheads" (1994), and in "Billy Madison" (1995, uncredited). 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 he and most of his fellow cast members were released from their SNL contracts following the 1994-1995 season, he began focusing on his film career. His first two major films, "Tommy Boy" (1995) and "Black Sheep" (1996) co-starred his fellow SNL colleague and close friend David Spade and both films hit box office gold and gained a large cult following on home video. He followed this with "Beverly Hills Ninja" (1997) but drug and alcohol problems often interfered throughout his film work, and production of his film, "Almost Heroes" (1998, released posthumously) was held up several times so he could attend rehab. He was found dead by his younger brother John in his Chicago, Illinois apartment at the age of 33. An autopsy later revealed that he had died of a cocaine and morphine overdose. He was the original choice to voice the title character of the DreamWorks animated film "Shrek," but died just before recording was finished and he was replaced by Mike Myers. His final film appearance was an uncredited role in "Dirty Work" (1998), released posthumously. In August 2005 he was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to television.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2467
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Chris Farley (15 Feb 1964–18 Dec 1997), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2467, citing Resurrection Cemetery, Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .