Chris Farley

A much-loved, much-mourned and still much-remembered comedian and actor. Farley had initially started out doing professional comedy at the Ark Improv Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin (where he was born and raised) and later at the Improv Olympic theater in Chicago. He then went on to perform at Chicago's Second City Theatre as part of the touring group.
With time -and talent- he was eventually promoted to their main stage. While working there, he was discovered by "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels. In 1990, he became one of two prominent cast members to join SNL- the other being Chris Rock. On the show, Farley frequently collaborated with fellow cast members David Spade, Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, and Rob Schneider, among others- this group was then collectively known as the "Bad Boys of SNL"; and Farley on his part contributed immensely in the share of memorable sketch characters. But he is perhaps better remembered for his film career. He made several cameo appearances in such films as: "Wayne's World", "Coneheads", "Wayne's World 2", "Airheads" and "Billy Madison". His most popular films, however, were his starring roles in: "Tommy Boy", "Black Sheep" and "Beverly Hills Ninja", all of which, while very successful at the box-office, have gained even greater cult recognition on home video and DVD. Unfortunately, despite the success, Farley's personal life was rife with problems, as he went through treatment for alcohol and drug abuse thirty-one separate times starting in 1993, as well as numerous visits to weight reduction treatment centers. In 1997, his health was frequently noted to have been in decline by the press, and on December 18, 1997, Farley died of a drug overdose. His funeral was attended by over five hundred people including most of his SNL cast-mates and film co-stars. His last film, "Almost Heroes" with Matthew Perry was one of the 1998's film successes. (Interesting Fact: Farley was originally cast and had recorded vocals for the title character in the Dreamworks animated film "Shrek", but his death necessitated that the role be recast. The role of course went to SNL castmate Mike Myers).
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