One of the most versatile men in comedy, Steve Carell is best known for the NBC situation comedy "The Office," big-screen comedies such as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Get Smart" and the award-winning films "Little Miss Sunshine," "Foxcatcher" and "The Big Short."
Carell came from humble beginnings as a member of Burpee's Seedy Theatrical Company, an improv group at Denison University, where he earned a degree in history in 1984. Carell then acted in a touring children's theater company before training at Second City in Chicago, where Stephen Colbert was his understudy.
In 1996, the two starred on Dana Carvey's short-lived ABC sketch comedy show, where they voiced the characters in Robert Smigel's animated superhero short "The Ambiguously Gay Duo." Carell appeared regularly in TV roles on shows such as "Just Shoot Me" and "Watching Ellie." He also was a correspondent for "The Daily Show" from 1999 to 2005, including a regular segment with Colbert called "Even Stevphen."
In 2005, Carell scored a breakout part playing Michael Scott in the NBC mockumentary, "The Office," the Americanized version of Ricky Gervais' successful British TV series. Starring as the peculiar manager of Dunder Mifflin Inc., Carell received a Golden Globe Award and six Emmy nominations. He also won a Writers Guild of America Award for the show.
Concurrent to his television success, Carell landed his first major role as weatherman Brick Tamland in the 2004 hit comedy "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" for director Adam McKay, also a Second City alum. Producer Judd Apatow then approached Carell to write a movie together, resulting in the 2005 film "The 40-Year-Old-Virgin."
Carell continued to land starring roles in film comedies such as "Evan Almighty," "Date Night" and "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues." He also voiced the character of Gru in the animated "Despicable Me" films.
It was plainly shocking to see him in the 2014 true-crime drama "Foxcatcher." Playing eccentric billionaire John du Pont, Carell had his most dramatic part to date and received wide acclaim, including Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for his performance.
"To be offered this movie was such a surprise," Carell told The Times in 2014 after director Bennett Miller suggested him for the role.
"People ask, 'How did you feel you were capable of doing this?' In great part, it was because Bennett felt I was, and I trusted him. Because I didn't read the script and say, 'This has me written all over it. I have to get a meeting with him.' It's just not how I work."
Ten years after "Anchorman," McKay thought of Carell for the role of a cynical hedge-fund manager in "The Big Short," a caustic, adrenalized comedy of outrage based on the Michael Lewis best-seller about Wall Street outsiders who believed a subprime mortgage bubble existed, bet against the housing market and won big when the economy collapsed in 2008. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture, and won for adapted screenplay. Carell earned a Golden Globe nomination for best performance by an actor in a comedy or musical.
— Jerome Campbell for the Los Angeles Times