Chris Farley got his start with Chicago's Second City comedy group. Soon, Farley was discovered by Lorne Michaels, producer of NBC's Saturday Night Live. Michaels hired Farley to join the cast and he immediately became one of the most popular cast members during the 1991 to 1995 seasons. Appearing on the show was a dream come true for Farley, who idolized comedian and former cast member, John Belushi.
Chris Farley left the show in 1995 and made several movies with fellow former SNL cast member, David Spade. The two starred in 1995's Tommy Boy and 1996's Black Sheep. Farley also made apperances in other films, such as Coneheads in 1993, Wayne's World 2 in 1993, Adam Sandler's Billy Madison in 1995, Beverly Hills Ninja in 1997, and Norm MacDonald's Dirty Work on 1998.
Chris Farley, who had struggled with alcohol and drug addiction for
years, was found dead in his Chicago apartment on December 18, 1997. An
autopsy revealed that Farley had died of an accidental overdose of
cocaine and heroin, with coronary arteriosclerosis being a contributing
factor. By the time of his last SNL appearance, as a guest host on
October 25, 1997, he was evidently in trouble — his voice was unbearably
hoarse, he looked bloated, sweated profusely, and was grossly
overweight. A tabloid reported that Farley had been drinking heavily
during the week of rehearsals and needed an oxygen tank. Reportedly on
the set of Almost Heroes, he required almost constant hands-on
Chris Farley was 33 years old at his death, the same age John Belushi was when he died 15 years before. Belushi had likewise died of an overdose of cocaine and heroin. David Spade, dealing with a memory of another close friend dying, did not come to Farley's funeral. However, he did introduce a retrospective of his friend on the 25th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live.
Farley was in some ways a contradictory character: completely uninhibited onstage and known to be willing to do anything for a laugh, he could be shy and insecure in private. His friends have stated that they knew and worried about his excessive behavior, but were unable to get him to stop. Following his death, the tabloid press exploited the lurid details; however, people who knew Farley said he was a very kind, decent human being.
Ready to prove that he was more than just a comic actor, Farley was ready to take on a more serious role as he was attached to a project about the life of silent movie comic actor Roscoe Arbuckle that never came to fruition when he died. In an interview with the book Live From New York, former cast member Jay Mohr recalled a surreal moment revolving around both Farley and fellow cast member Phil Hartman. In a goodbye song and dance performance by the cast to Hartman, the final scene of the song featured Farley and Hartman embracing each other. Both members died within six months of each other.
On August 26, 2005, seven years after Chris Farley's death, Farley posthumously received the 2,289th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His star is located in front of ImprovOlympic West.
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