Chris Farley (1964-1997)
Chris Farley was an icon for those of us growing up in the time of grunge and Wayne and Garth. His self-deprecating style of humor was hilarious, though sometimes it made us cringe on the inside (who of us is willing to pull off dancing as a shirtless Chippendale male stripper next to the Patrick Swayze?).
Farley's almost manic energy and innovative comedy style made him famous. After movies like Tommy Boy and Billy Madison with buddies and fellow SNLer's David Spade and Adam Sandler, Farley had an immediate and ardent following. Some of his characters both on film and television remain classics to this day.
Farley, though, wanted nothing more out of life than to be John Belushi. Belushi was his idol, and he even followed the same career path, getting his start on Saturday Night Live. Ironically, he pretty much got his wish in every aspect. Belushi and Farley both died at the age of 33 from living fast and hard. Farley battled not only his weight like Belushi, but dependency on alcohol, cocaine and heroin as well. He often said he wanted to live fast and die young. Sadly, he did.
On December 18, 1997, after a night of hard partying, Chris was found lying on the floor ten feet from his apartment by his brother. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Chicago emergency personnel. At his funeral a few days later, some 500 people attended, including celebrities Dan Aykroyd (who wore the same suit with leather jacket just as he had at Belushi's funeral), Adam Sandler, George Wendt and John Goodman. The Serenity Prayer from AA was read, along with The Clown's Prayer (he carried a copy in his wallet). Absent was his bestie, David Spade, who later stated it was just too emotional for him to handle.
Farley exited with a career in full gear. He was set to play Shrek, even having gone so far as having his dialog recorded. He was also slated to co-star in his third movie with Spade.
Chris Farley. an overweight, drug dependent, hell of a guy will be well missed for the many laughs he gave us. Hopefully he and John Belushi are up there somewhere having a comedic blast over a cold one. We can almost hear that faint, famous bluesy tune in the background. R.I.P. our fine, hilarious giant.