James Eugene Carrey Essay, Research Paper
James Eugene Carrey
The exceptional Canadian actor, Jim Carrey, has exploded onto
the movie scene in the past five years. His “comedic unpredictability”
has become his trademark in Hollywood (Hughes 28). The roles he
played in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and
Dumber have brought back the “dumb roots” back to comedy (Trakin
56). His combination of physical grace and facial contortions can make
just about anyone laugh. Even as a child in Newmarket, a suburb of
Toronto, Carrey put on his own comedy shows for family, friends, and
Acting in a third-grade Christmas pageant at Blessed Trinity
School, the young Carrey stopped the show with his goofy portrayal of
Santa Claus. In the seventh grade he was allotted 15 minutes at the
end of each school day to perform for his classmates (Hughes 39).
When Jim was 14 and his father lost his job, he learned that “life offers
no assurances, so you might as well do what you’re really passionate
about,” as he explained to Richard Corliss of Time. These words
represent Jim’s life and how he eventually became who he is today.
The whole family–Percy, Kathleen, sons Jim and John, and
daughters Pat and Rita–went to work at Titan Wheels, a tire factory in
Scarborough, Ontario. After putting in a full day at school, the children
labored all night, as assembly line workers and janitors. “At 16 Carrey
dropped out of school, his straight A’s having plummeted to failing
grades under the strain of working the evening shift” (”Jim Carrey”
75). The Carreys eventually quit their factory jobs and took to living in
a Volkswagen camper. In an interview with Fred Schruers, Carrey
said, “It sounds sad but we were so much happier than we’d been
being those people we didn’t like…we became living, happy, laughing
people again, people that had food fights every Sunday” (Johnston
3). In the meantime, Jim Carrey had begun his standup comedy
career, “A psychological double-edged sword that simultaneously
provided an outlet for the pressure he felt to support his family” (”Jim
In Tennessee Williams memory play, “The Glass Menagerie,” a
character named Jim O’Connor plays a gentleman caller. His high-
school years are in great contrast to Jim Carrey’s high-school days.
“In high school, Jim was a hero.” “He had tremendous Irish good
nature.” Tom, as the narrator described him saying, “He seemed to
move in a continual spotlight” (Williams 83). This character Jim was
the typical storybook high-school jock: star in basketball, captain of
the debate club, and president of the senior class.
“…You would logically expect him to arrive at nothing short of
the White House by the time he was thirty” (Williams 83). In the play,
Jim O’Connor probably should have succeeded based on his high-
school achievements. In actuality, Williams did the opposite and had
him with a low-paying job at a warehouse. Contrarily, Jim Carrey had
a completely different situation. He was obligated to drop out of high
school to help his family. I think that some people who later become
famous have lived through or experienced some kind of hardship in
their pasts but that depends on how they are brought into this world
and the situations they experience growing up. Based on what I
learned about Jim Carrey’s past, I would say that most people who
become famous might not have outstanding high-school careers but
they must have had enough intelligence to realize their passion and
follow their dreams.
Jim Carrey is very famous today because his acting style is very
appealing to many people. His goal in life since childhood was always
to be a jokester and he is renowned for it now. Jim Carrey doesn’t
think of himself as being famous but his fame came from desire and
leaving high school was just one of the bumps along the way. He does
now what he always wanted to do–make people laugh.
Hughes, Mary. Jim Carrey: Comedian Performer (Overcoming Adversity).
Boston: Chelsea House Publishing, 1998.
“Jim Carrey.” Current Biography Yearbook. Volume C. 1996.*
Johnston, William. “The FAQ.” The Jim Carrey Area. 1998.
(20 Mar. 1999).
Trakin, Roy. Jim Carrey Unmasked. New York: Mass Market Paperback,
Williams Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. New York: Penguin Group, 1992.
*no author given–title given in parenthetical notation