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Dana Carvey was born in 1955 in Missoula, Montana before his family moved to California while he was still in junior high school. Upon graduation, Carvey entered San Francisco State University and received a B.A. in broadcast communications. But ultimately, Dana found success in film and television, co-starring in One of the Boys and accepting small roles in the films This is Spinal Tap, Racing with the Moon, and Tough Guys, before moving on to the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1986.
Saturday Night Live was Dana Carvey’s big breakthrough, and he immediately became a cast favorite. The show had been on the decline in ratings prior to his arrival, but Carvey’s invention of the popular character The Church Lady helped to drag Saturday Night Live out of its ratings slump and bring the show back to popularity. Other popular characters created by Dana Carvey include Garth Algar (Wayne’s World), The Grumpy Old Man (Weekend Update), and Hans (Hans and Franz.) Carvey’s dead-on impersonations of both Ross Perot and George Bush during the 1992 election also helped build his popularity, and by the time Dana left the show in 1993, he’d established a strong fan base and found himself in high demand. He’d also earned himself a number of Emmys for his contributions on the show.
For the next few years, Dana Carvey appeared in a number of films. He joined up with his fellow SNL alum, Mike Myers, for the Wayne’s World movies in 1992 and 1993. He also appeared in: Clean Slate (1994), The Road to Wellville (1994), and Trapped in Paradise (1994.) He also enjoyed a successful variety show for a season, The Dana Carvey Show, on which he reprised many of his SNL characters and also launched the careers of Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell.
Dana Carvey is ranked on Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time, and he continues to appear in films and in person for special events, although in recent years Carvey has withdrawn from the spotlight to focus more on his family. In the new millennium, Dana has appeared in additional films, including The Master of Disguise (2002) and Jack & Jill (2011), and voiced some animated characters, such as Schnozmo on the Fairly OddParents.
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