Steven John "Steve" Carell (pronounced /kəˈrɛl/; born August 16, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, voice artist, producer, director and writer. Carell became famous for his roles in the television series The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from 1999 to 2004 and The Office from 2005 onwards. He has also starred in several Hollywood films, including Anchorman, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine, Evan Almighty, Dan in Real Life, Get Smart, Dinner with Shmucks and Date Night.
Carell was nominated as "America's funniest man" in Life magazine. He received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in the Television Comedy Series for his lead role as Michael Scott for The Office in 2006.
Carell, the youngest of four sons, was born at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts, and was raised in nearby Acton by his parents, Harriet T. (née Koch), a psychiatric nurse, and Edwin A. Carell, an electrical engineer. His maternal uncle, Stanley Koch, was a glassblower who worked with Allen B. DuMont to create cathode ray tubes. Carell's paternal grandfather was Italian; his father was born with the surname "Caroselli", later shortening it to "Carell". Carell was raised Roman Catholic. He was educated at The Fenn School and Middlesex School.
Carell played the fife, performing with other members of his family, and later joined a reenacting group portraying the 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment of Foot. Carell attributed this to his interest in history, in which he earned his degree from Denison University in Granville, Ohio in 1984. He originally aspired to become a radio broadcaster, deejaying at WDUB in Granville.
Before opting for a career as a performer, Carell claims that he worked as a mail carrier in Littleton, Massachusetts. He later recounted that he quit after a few months because his boss told him he was not very good as a mail carrier; he needed to be more efficient. He planned on attending law school, but was unable to write an explanation on his application form as to why he wanted to be a lawyer. Early in his performing career, Carell acted on the stage in a touring children's theater company and later in the comedy musical, Knat Scatt Private Eye.
He also acted in a television commercial for Brown's Chicken during 1989. After that, Carell performed with Chicago troupe The Second City during 1991, where Stephen Colbert was his understudy for a time. That same year, he obtained his first film work in a minor role as Tesio in Curly Sue.
During the spring of 1996, he was a cast member of The Dana Carvey Show, a primetime sketch comedy program on ABC. Along with fellow cast member Stephen Colbert, Carell provided the voice of Gary, half of The Ambiguously Gay Duo, the Robert Smigel-produced animated short which continued on Saturday Night Live later that year. While the program lasted only seven episodes, The Dana Carvey Show has since been credited with forging Carell's career. During this time, he also played a supporting character for several series including Come to Papa and the short-lived 1997 Tim Curry situation comedy Over the Top.
He has made numerous guest appearances, including on an episode of Just Shoot Me titled "Funny Girl."
Other early screen credits include a role in Julia Louis-Dreyfus's short-lived situation comedy Watching Ellie (2002–2003) and Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda. Carell has also made fun of himself for auditioning for Saturday Night Live but losing the job to Will Ferrell.
During 2005, Carell signed a deal with NBC to star in an American version of the BBC British TV show The Office, a so-called "mockumentary" about life at a mid-sized paper supply company. He played Michael Scott, the idiosyncratic regional manager of Dunder-Mifflin, Inc., in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Although the first season of the adaptation suffered mediocre ratings, NBC renewed it for another season due to the anticipated success of Carell's movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and the series subsequently became a ratings success.
Carell earned approximately $175,000 per episode of the third season of The Office, twice his salary for the previous two seasons. Carell was allowed "flex time" during filming to work on theatrical films. Carell worked on Evan Almighty during a production hiatus during the second season of The Office.
Production ended during the middle of the fourth season of The Office because of Carell's and others' refusal to cross the picket line of the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike. Carell, a WGA member, has written two episodes of The Office: Casino Night and Survivor Man. Both episodes were praised, and Carell won a Writer's Guild of America award for Casino Night.
On April 29, 2010, Carell stated he would be leaving the show when his contract expired at the conclusion of the 2010-2011 season.
Two important roles helped Carell get the attention of audiences: Bruce Almighty, in which Carell played Evan Baxter (an arrogant rival to Jim Carrey's character), and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, in which Carell plays another news personality, slow-witted weatherman Brick Tamland. Years later he would reprise the role of Evan Baxter in Evan Almighty, a film in which his character from Bruce Almighty has an experience similar to the biblical story of Noah's Ark.
Carell's first starring role was in the 2005 film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which he developed and co-wrote. The film made $109 million in domestic box office and established Carell as a leading man. It also earned Carell an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance and a WGA Award nomination, along with co-writer Judd Apatow, for Best Original Screenplay.
Carell acted as "Uncle Arthur", imitating the camp mannerisms of Paul Lynde's original character for the 2005 remake of Bewitched with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. He also voiced a starring role for the 2006 computer-animated film Over the Hedge as Hammy the Squirrel. He also voiced for the 2008 animated film Horton Hears a Who! as the mayor of Whoville, Ned McDodd. He starred in Little Miss Sunshine during 2006, as Uncle Frank. His work in the films Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Bewitched established Carell as a member of Hollywood's so-called "Frat Pack" group. (This set of actors includes Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson).
Carell acted as the title character of Evan Almighty, a sequel to Bruce Almighty, reprising his role as Evan Baxter, now a U.S. Congressman. Although, ostensibly, God tasks Baxter with building an ark, Baxter also learns that life can generate positive returns with people offering Acts of Random Kindness. During October 2006, Carell began acting for the film Dan in Real Life, co-starring Dane Cook and Juliette Binoche. Filming ended December 22, 2006, and the film was released on October 26, 2007.
Carell played Maxwell Smart for a movie remake of Get Smart, which began filming February 3, 2007 and was filmed in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Moscow, Russia. The movie was successful, grossing over $200 million worldwide. During 2007, Carell was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Carell filmed a movie during late 2008 opposite Tina Fey, entitled Date Night. It was released on April 9, 2010 in the US. He has several other projects in the works, including a remake of the 1967 Peter Sellers film The Bobo. He is currently doing voiceover work in commercials for Wrigley's Extra gum.
Carell has launched a television division of his Carousel Prods., which has contracted a three-year overall deal with Universal Media Studios, the studio behind his NBC comedy series. Thom Hinkle and Campbell Smith of North South Prods., former producers on Carell's alma mater, Comedy Central's The Daily Show, have been hired to manage Carousel's TV operations.
Carell with wife Nancy at the 2010 Academy Awards in March 2010Carell is married to Saturday Night Live alumna Nancy Carell, whom he met when she was a student in an improvisation class he was teaching at Second City. They have two children, Elisabeth Anne "Annie" (born May 25, 2001) and John "Johnny" (born June 2004). Nancy acted with him on The Office as his realtor and short-lived girlfriend Carol Stills, and also cameoed as a sex therapist in The 40 Year Old Virgin.
The Carells have a home in Marshfield, Massachusetts. He recently helped to preserve some of the town's history by purchasing the 155-year-old Marshfield Hills General Store, an antique country store well-known for its candy counter.