Jim Carrey, The Man Behind the Mask

Actor, comedian, producer. He’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. He’s Bruce Almighty. And he’s the Grinch that Stole Christmas. 

That’s Jim Carrey, for you. 

Over the more than 3 decades that Carrey has been active in Hollywood, he has been nominated for 4 Golden Globe Awards. He won two of them. He has starred in 26 films so far, with total box-office earnings of over $4 billion. Since he has hit the big time, he reportedly earns upwards of $20 million per film.

The actor is reportedly worth $150 Million. That is quite a lot of money!

Carrey is one of the biggest stars in Tinseltown. But the road to success wasn’t quite as easy as everyone thought. 

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jim carrey

The Road To Success

Born James Eugene Carrey on January 17, 1962, the Canadian was born to a homemaker mother and musician father in Ontario. The youngest of 4 children, Carrey describes his family as “lower middle class” that drastically dropped to “poor” after his father lost his job. For a while, Carrey and his family lived out of a van. 

He eventually quit school at 15 to help support his family, working as a janitor. It didn’t help that his mother suffered from a severe and chronic illness. He did manage to enroll back a few times but was never able to finish high school.

With the support of his father, Carrey would set up stage acts and drive to comedy clubs to perform. His impersonations unfortunately tanked more than they hit the mark. This left him doubting his abilities as an entertainer. But life finally got better for the Carreys. 

Their financial situation improved. The stability provided Jim with the chance to return to stage more polished and confident. He went on to have regular paid shows and started building a reputation. His increasing popularity gave him enough courage to audition for film and tv. The early 1980’s saw him cast in a few low-budget films. He also managed to snag a role in NBC sitcom The Duck Factory. The series was unfortunately cancelled after just one season. 

Carrey landed a few more supporting film roles throughout the mid and late 80’s. He returned to the stage but chose to retire his stand-up bit imitating people, to the audience’s disappointment. A friendship with comedian Damon Wayans paved the way to his being cast in the show In Living Color. But after 3 seasons, Carrey was desperate to move on to bigger things. 

A Star Is Born

Four years after getting cast in In Living Color, and just a few months after the show actually ended, Carrey was cast in the role that would make Hollywood and the rest of the world take notice. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was critically panned but was an international hit. Jim Carrey, former stand-up comedian and small-time tv mainstay has become a bankable star. 

He went on to star in The Mask and Dumb and Dumber that same year. Both served to increase his fan-base. His usually over-the-top performances were hailed as “joyful” and garnered great commercial success. 

He was the Riddler in Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, reprised his role in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, and starred The Cable Guy, his first $20 million film role. In 1997, he scored another Golden Globe nomination via a “wilder and funnier” performance in Liar Liar.

But Carrey didn’t want to rest on his laurels. In 1998, he took a gamble and starred in a serious vehicle, The Truman Show. The film was a critical and commercial hit and finally won a Golden Globe Best Actor award for Carrey. 1999 saw him playing comedian Andy Kaufman in the movie Man on the Moon. It’s another serious performance that netted a second Golden Globe for Carrey. 

There was no looking back from there. Carrey would return to his comedic roots. But he also dabbled in animated roles like in Disney’s A Christmas Carol.

Not bad for a person with ADHD and depression.

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What The World Gained

Throughout most of his life, Carrey battled depression and took medication for it. He also had ADHD. He’s been married and divorced twice. 

But through it all he has shown that:

  • Difficult times isn’t an excuse to give up, 
  • Hard work and perseverance pays off, and,
  • You have to take risks if you want to be better.

Jim Carrey once said he would have been working in a steel mill if his showbiz career didn’t pan out. The world is lucky it did, otherwise we would have all been deprived of the talent that is Jim Carrey. It would have made for a really fun steel mill, though. 

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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