One of the biggest names in Hollywood throughout the ’90s, Jim Carrey worked his way from open-mics to the big screen with his rubber-faced comedy and slapstick style. Even though the actor’s humor was a bit much for some, he eventually won more people over after transitioning into more serious roles. But in recent years, Carrey has been noticeably absent from movies and television – and it’s not necessarily because he needed a break. From expressing his opinions on Twitter to getting sued for giving someone STD’s, there’s more to Jim Carrey’s downfall than a little bad publicity.
Jim Carrey Knew What He Wanted Early On
As a young boy growing up in Ontario, Canada, Jim Carrey had a knack for impressions. He was only 10 years old when he wrote to the Carol Burnett Show asking for a job. Carrey’s father realized his son’s dream and helped him develop a stage act during his teens.
Carrey debuted at Toronto comedy club Yuk Yuk’s and even though it wasn’t well-received, the aspiring entertainer didn’t give up. It was only a matter of time before he went from open-mic nights to regular paid shows. As his reputation grew, Carrey was noticed by Rodney Dangerfield, who brought him to Vegas as a supporting act.
Carrey Went From Stand-Up To The Small Screen
After his stint with Dangerfield, Jim Carrey decided to move to Hollywood. He became a regular performer at The Comedy Store and began his foray onto the small screen. In 1982, he appeared on An Evening at the Improv and the following year, he debuted on The Tonight Show.
After an unsuccessful audition for Saturday Night Live, Carrey was cast as the lead of The Duck Factory which only lasted for 13 episodes. But Carrey’s real breakthrough was just around the corner. From 1990 to 1994, he was a regular cast member of the comedy television series, In Living Color.
An invite from Rodney Dangerfield can be seen as a big break, but that wouldn’t be what shot Carrey to stardom.
1994 Was Jim Carrey’s Breakout Year
In Living Color was canceled by 1994 but Jim Carrey had nothing to worry about because by then, his career was taking off. That same year, Carrey was cast in the starring role for three Hollywood blockbusters: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber.
Each film was a huge commercial success. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective grossed $107.2 million and would become one of Carrey’s most iconic characters. Dumb and Dumber grossed $247.3 million and has been revered as a cult classic ever since. The Mask was the most successful, grossing $351.6 million and earning Carrey his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor!
Carrey Became A Top-Billed Actor But Critics Weren’t Buying It
As a top-billed actor, Jim Carrey’s appearances in movies drew large audiences. In 1995, he not only appeared in a sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, but he also played The Riddler in Batman Forever. Though the movies were financially successful, they were lambasted by critics.
Carrey then tried to change the tone of his career by taking on different kinds of projects. He was paid $20 million for The Cable Guy, but critics were not impressed by Carrey’s departure from the “hapless, hyper, overconfident” characters that made him famous. This didn’t stop Carrey from trying something different.
Carrey knew he was funny, but now he wanted to prove that he could do more…
Jim Carrey Made Us Take Him Seriously
By the late ’90s, Jim Carrey would prove he could be taken seriously. 1997’s Liar Liar was still comedic, but allowed Carrey to broaden his acting range. Famed critic Roger Ebert, who trashed Ace Ventura and Dumb and Dumber, wrote of Liar Liar: “I am gradually developing a suspicion, or perhaps it is a fear, that Jim Carrey is growing on me.”
The actor topped things off with 1998’s The Truman Show which was just what Carrey needed to break himself free of being typecast. The Truman Show earned Carrey international acclaim and he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor that time.
Jim Carrey’s Career Was In Balance
Carrey’s career maintained its balance as the new millennium came around. He continued to do comedies such as Me, Myself & Irene, Bruce Almighty, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He even earned another Golden Globe for his portrayal of comedian Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon.
But critics were really impressed with Carrey’s lead role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Carrey was cast in a serious role and director Michel Gondry deliberately treated the actor in a way that would make him assume character rather than reverting to improvisation methods he used as a comedian.
But unfortunately everyone had a hard time seeing funny Jim Carrey and serious Jim Carrey as one man…
Jim Carrey Danced A Fine Line Between His Two Personas
At this point, people believed that they were seeing two different versions of Jim Carrey, rather than one man who could do both. In 2004, Carrey seemed to concur. He told IGN, “It’s a Jekyll and Hyde situation. Let’s face it. I just, honestly, they just come as they come.”
Even when it came to character roles, people didn’t mind Carrey giving things his personal touch. When he played Count Olaf in the film version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, people weren’t surprised when he made his unfunny character “funny.” Despite delivering on what was expected, he never failed to surprise with serious roles.
Nobody Liked Jim Carrey In The Number 23
Jim Carrey successfully flip-flopped between comedic movies and serious fare, but that would start to change in 2007. That year he teamed up with Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher for the psychological thriller, The Number 23.
It seemed that this was one serious role that missed the mark for Carrey. The Number 23 was ultimately panned by critics who said, “Jim Carrey has been sharp in a number of non-comedic roles, but this lurid, overheated, and self-serious potboiler is not one of them.” But even with this flop, Carrey was far from the moment he’d enter obscurity.
Carrey would bounce back from this flop, but an invention of modern times would lead to his downfall…
Carrey Bounced Back, But It Was Only A Matter Of Time
Carrey was able to bounce back with 2008’s Horton Hears a Who!, a CGI-animated feature based on the Dr. Seuss classic that raked in $297.1 million worldwide. Carrey was able to follow up that success with the lead role in Yes Man.
Carrey even reminded us that he could tackle smaller projects with just as much ease. In 2009, he starred in I Love You Phillip Morris, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Carrey continued to do crowd-pleasing movies such as A Christmas Carol, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and would even later reprise his role as Lloyd Christmas for Dumb and Dumber To.
The Moment Carrey’s Career Started To Turn
Amid Jim Carrey’s film projects throughout this time, social media was on the rise. Online platforms such as Twitter allowed everyone to express themselves and Jim Carrey was no exception. But this is where his career took a left turn.
In 2013, Jim Carrey had a role on Kick-[expletive] 2. In the sequel, “superhero” Kick-[expletive] gathers a team of other vigilantes who want to do the same thing. Carrey’s character was Colonel Stars and Stripes, a Born-Again Christian who despite being threatening with his weapons, refuses to actually fire a gun, which is what reportedly attracted Carrey to the role.
This was only the first Tweet that gave Carrey bad publicity. Two years later, he’d say something shocking again.
Jim Carrey Refused To Promote A Movie He Was In
Just after production on Kick-[expletive] 2 wrapped up in 2013, the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings had taken place. In light of the tragedy, Jim Carrey refused to promote the movie he had just starred in.
The actor tweeted: “I did Kick[expletive] a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence… My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.” The actor’s revelation caused a stir, especially for those involved in the film.
Jim Carrey And The Producer Were Not On The Same Page
Though Carrey apologized to the Kick-[expletive] filmmakers, they were less than enthused by Carrey’s sudden urge to disavow the movie. Executive producer and creator of the Kick-[expletive] comics Mark Millar wrote an open letter addressing Carrey’s concerns.
“Ultimately, this is his decision, but I’ve never quite bought the notion that violence in fiction leads to violence in real-life… Our job as storytellers is to entertain and our toolbox can’t be sabotaged by curtailing the use of guns in an action-movie,” Millar said. He continued to defend the film by saying the film focused on the consequences of such violence, rather than the violence itself.
Carrey became an advocate for gun control after this, but he also became an advocate for something just as controversial…
Jim Carrey’s Use Of Twitter Continued To Rub People The Wrong Way
By 2015, Carrey had a pretty controversial point of view when it came to vaccinations. He even went so far as to publicly blast California Governor Jerry Brown that year after the latter passed a law that required all schoolchildren to get vaccinations.
Carrey wrote on Twitter, “California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in mandatory vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped.” Carrey emphasized that he was not opposed to vaccines, but rather the “toxins” that were in them and even went on a “Green Vaccine” campaign with then-girlfriend Jenny McCarthy.
No One Was On Board With Carrey’s Beliefs
Carrey tried to do damage control by stating on Twitter: “I am not anti-vaccine. I am anti-thimerosal, anti-mercury. They have taken some of the mercury-laden thimerosal out of vaccines. NOT ALL!” But this clarification did little to salvage Carrey’s reputation.
Even Time magazine felt the need to publish an editorial titled, “Jim Carrey, Please Shut Up About Vaccines.” It was clear that people were starting to look the other way when it came to Jim Carrey. He’d gone from a versatile and beloved comedian, to a promoter of anti-science beliefs. From this point on, things were never the same for the actor.
Even worse, he’d be sued by a dead girlfriend’s family for the most insane reasons…
Jim Carrey Started Getting Shunned By Hollywood
After the Kick-[expletive] 2 debacle, Jim Carrey’s face started disappearing from movie posters. Future lead roles for Carrey from that point on would become few and far between. Aside from 2014’s Dumb and Dumber To, Carrey has had no significant acting jobs within the last five years (as of 2018).
This was perhaps due to the way he ostracized himself for publicly expressing himself regarding some very controversial topics. Carrey was no longer offered any big roles and to make matters worse, his drama wouldn’t end there. Carrey became a hot topic for celebrity gossip as well.
Jim Carrey’s Ex-Girlfriend Died By Suicide
Shortly after Carrey’s vaccination hoopla, scandal was right around the corner. In 2015, Carrey’s ex-girlfriend, makeup artist Cathriona White, was found dead in her Sherman Oaks home by apparent suicide. Carrey acted as a pallbearer at her funeral in her home country of Ireland and appeared to be mourning with her family and friends, but the drama wasn’t over with her.
According to the L.A. County Coroner’s office, White was found with several suicide notes and four different prescription drugs in her system: Ambien, Percocet, Zofran, and Propranolol. This fact was precisely what dragged Carrey back into scandal.
What happened next was a years-long legal battle with some wild accusations.
The Ex’s Husband Claimed Carrey Caused Her Death
Both White’s mother and her estranged husband – to whom she was still technically married while dating Carrey – filed wrongful death lawsuits against Jim Carrey in 2016. Mark Burton, White’s husband from 2013 until her death, claimed that Carrey used his “immense wealth and celebrity status” to illegally obtain the drugs that lead to White’s death.
Carrey had to defend himself in a statement saying, “I will not tolerate this heartless attempt to exploit me or the woman I loved. Cat’s troubles were born long before I met her and sadly her tragic end was beyond anyone’s control.”
White’s Family Tried To Paint A Bad Picture Of Carrey
Cathriona White’s mother, Brigid Sweetman, also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the actor. Sweetman’s lawyers alleged that Carrey “knowingly” gave White three sexually transmitted diseases “without warning her.” But it was later discovered that White herself wasn’t free of STD’s prior to meeting Carrey.
All of this legal drama led Carrey to counter-sue in 2017 against White’s family and her attorney, believing they were trying to extort him due to his status. He said on Twitter, “Unfortunately, I made the mistake three years ago and giving in and settling false claims made against me by [White’s attorney].” In early 2018, the case was finally dismissed.
After all this drama, Jim Carrey’s comeback is still on the rise.
Jim Carrey Hasn’t Been Acting Because He’s Been Doing This
Amid the stall in his acting career and his legal drama, Jim Carrey was hiding something very special from the public and that was his incredible talent as an artist. In 2017, his affinity for painting and sculpture came to light, much to the awe of fans and fellow celebrities. But even this talent saw some controversy.
Since Donald Trump became president, Carrey has shared striking political cartoons of President Trump and his cronies, receiving mixed reactions. Despite the criticism, Carrey continues to draw the cartoons, which were slated for a gallery show during the 2018 Midterm Elections.
Jim Carrey’s Return To Acting Is A Hopeful One
But for all that has gone on for Carrey in the 2010’s, he was inevitably going to return to acting. In 2017, Carrey signed on as the executive producer for the Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here, about stand-up comics in 1970’s Los Angeles.
The actor would also return to the front of the camera as well, taking on the lead in another Showtime series, Kidding, which premiered in September 2018. Kidding sees Carrey as a beloved children’s television host Mr. Pickles, who behind the show has a tumultuous life. The show reunites Carrey with Enternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind director Michel Gondry.