Chris received a loving tribute 10½ years after his death in the Wisconsin Historical Museum's 6-month long exhibit titled "Chris Farley Remembered" (May 6, 2008 - November 15, 2008). The Farley presentation is the first in a series in which the museum, located in Chris' hometown of Madison, showcases entertainers who were born, raised or attended school in Wisconsin. The exhibit, featuring everything from Farley's Edgewood High School football jersey to his renowned jacket and tie from his Saturday Night Live breakthrough character, motivational speaker Matt Foley, opened to coincide with the publication of The Chris Farley Show, recollections of Chris from the Farley family, friends, coworkers and others co-written by his oldest brother, Tom Farley, who helped provide the museum with many Chris Farley artifacts. The Farley collection, including a letter from David Letterman urging Chris to appear as a guest star on Late Night to promote Beverly Hills Ninja ("As you know, my background is martial arts," Letterman wisecracked.) is accompanied by a continuous loop showing snippets of Farley's comedy routines, Matt Foley scenes included.
Chris, while a comedic actor on Saturday Night Live who idolized alumni cast member John Belushi to the point of obsession, would wear Belushi's pants from wardrobe whenever he could find any, sometimes, inexplicably wearing two pairs at a time.
Chris was booked to help lure Middle American viewers to the Oscars in 1997, a year when art movies and obscure actors captured most of the nominations. The tactic was unsuccessful-- it was the lowest-rated Oscar show in eleven years.
Chris' image was featured as part of the "In Memorium"-- a montage of film and television notables who had died since the previous year's show-- during The 70th Academy Awards (1998).
Chris appeared in character as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, on Capitol Hill in April 1995 to help celebrate the Rebublican leader's first 100 days in office.
Chris kept a copy of "The Clown's Prayer" in his wallet. The anonymous prayer reads as follows:
"As I stumble through this life,
help me to create more laughter than tears,
dispense more cheer than gloom,
spread more cheer than despair.
Never let me become so indifferent,
that I will fail to see the wonders in the eyes of a child,
or the twinkle in the eyes of the aged.
Never let me forget that my total effort is to cheer people,
make them happy, and forget momentarily,
all the unpleasantness in their lives.
And in my final moment,
may I hear You whisper:
'When you made My people smile,
you made Me smile.'"
Chris named a regularly featured, leisure suit-clad, hyperactive motivational speaker character created for him by NBC comedy series, Saturday Night Live, writer Bob Odenkirk, after his college rugby teammate and long-time friend, Matt Foley. Foley is currently a Roman Catholic priest and pastor.
Chris donated a drawing to the Madison Repertory Theater Doodle Auction, a fund-raising event presented by a performing arts facility in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. The sketch depicted a pair of open-mouthed heads.
Chris's friend and fellow comedian, Chris Rock, fondly recalled having shared the same first name, beginning date of employment with the comedy series, Saturday Night Live, and sharing an office at the NBC SNL studio with Chris. In the same breath, Chris Rock said, "One's a black guy from Bed-Stuy, one's a white guy from Madison, Wisconsin. Now–- which one is going to OD? That just goes to show you."
Chris was once so belligerently intoxicated at his Chicago apartment that he began picking up furniture and tossing it, sometimes up to ten feet. After suddenly stopping, he turned to a friend and innocently asked, "Do you think Belushi's in heaven?" Chris was making reference to his idol, comedian John Belushi, who died in 1982 from an overindulgent lifestyle.
Chris, while a member of The Second City, an improvisational troupe based in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood, was renowned for throwing himself off the walls, whether it was as the unpleasant male stripper or the "freak of nature" whale boy who squirted water from his head (a football helmet covered in pink foam with a straw attached to a hand pump).
Chris, nearing the end of his senior year at Marquette University in Milwaulkee, Wisconsin , tossed a smoke bomb into a friend's dorm room. He turned himself in, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to thirty hours of community service, which Chris spent telling stories, often dressed as Robin Hood, to Madison, Wisconsin grade school students.
Chris was very polite and, when he wasn't "on," could be very shy.
Chris was the 1996 recipient of the College of Communications Young Alumnus Award presented to him by his alma mater, Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In his acceptance speech, he spoke of the school's spiritual emphasis and its religious focus as being the greatest asset he took with him upon his graduation in 1986.
Chris got his professional comedic start on the stage of the ARK Improvisational Theater in Madison, Wisconsin and eventually became a founding member of the comedy troupe called Animal Crackers.
Chris, at the age of eleven, would tape his eyebrow up to try and look like his idol, comedian John Belushi.
Chris, unlike other 1990s comic talents who joined the cast of the NBC comedy series, Saturday Night Live, and had first watched the show in high school and looked to Eddie Murphy as their ultimate SNL role model, chose original cast member, John Belushi, as his hero and obsession, patterning his personal and professional life after him. Like Belushi, Chris demonstrated amazing physical agility for someone of considerable heft and girth.
Chris, as a chubby six-year old, used his lively personality to divert attention from his weight, often times singing Donny Osmond's song, "Puppy Love," to the girls on his school bus.
Chris actually worked with his father for awhile, selling asphalt, with natural ability.
Chris' father thought he would one day take over the family business with his brothers. Chris took business classes at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to please his father, but also participated in many extracurricular activities. Chris wanted to drop out of college at the age of nineteen to become a comedian. He was reluctant to tell his parents, who after meeting with Chris and his academic counselor as support, were surprisingly receptive to the idea. A compromise was reached: he could take theater courses as long as he finished school. Chris was elated and excelled in the classes, even taking ballet.
Chris and his family were devout Roman Catholics. When he was a child, he would pray to St. Michael and attend mass with the rest of the family. As an adult, Chris attended church at least once a week.
Chris is interred at Resurrection Cemetery, Madison, Wisconsin.
Chris's face is on a billboard in Los Angeles that reads "It Wasn't All His Fault" addiction is physical, the treatment is medical. It is an advertisement for Prometa addiction treatment center.
Chris's best friend and fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus, David Spade, did not attend his funeral. He said that he could not be in a room where Chris was in a box.
Chris was focused on taking the serious role in his next film on the life and times of silent movie comedic actor Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. The project was shelved after Chris died.
Chris is known best for the following characters: Jerry Garcia, Tom Arnold, Meat Loaf, Newt Gingrich, and Roger Ebert.
Chris was eulogized by Tom Arnold, who was also his sponsor in the Alcohol Anonymous program.
Chris was part of a group dubbed "Bad Boys of SNL" in 1990, that included: David Spade, Rob Schneider, and Adam Sandler.
Chris was struggling with his addictions for years, and was in rehab a dozen times. He was scheduled to re-enter at the time of his death.
Chris was discovered by Lorne Michaels while working the main stage at Second City, and was hired for Saturday Night Live in 1990.
Chris worked with his father after he graduated from college for a year, at Scotch Oil Company in Madison.
Chris had an uncredited part on an episode of Roseanne, as a man in a clothing store when good friend Tom Arnold was executive producer on the show.
Chris won the MTV Movie award for 'Best Onscreen Duo' in 1995 for his role in Tommy Boy, an honor he shared with co-star David Spade.
Chris was nominated for an MTV Movie award for 'Best Comedic Performance' in 1997, for his role in Beverly Hills Ninja.
Chris appeared in the video "Soul To Squeeze" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Chris earned $6,000,000 for his lead role in 1997 feature film, Beverly Hills Ninja, and even took martial arts lessons in Chicago to better play the part. After a private screening of the film, Chris reportedly hated his performance so much that he cried and vowed he would never make another movie.
Chris was honored after his death with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in August of 2005. The star, located in front of the Improv Olympic West, the Los Angeles arm of the world-famous Improv Olympic in Chicago where Farley got his professional comedic start and at which Chris had occasion to perform, was accepted by his mother, Mary Anne Farley.
Chris was found by his younger brother, John, on December 18,1997, lying on his back on the floor of his apartment. As he entered the apartment, he saw that Chris was dead. Autopsy reports indicated heroin, cocaine, Prozac (fluoxetine), and marijuana were in his system at the time of death.
Chris lived next door to the talk show host Jerry Springer, on the 60th floor of the Hancock apartments at the time of his death.
Chris was offered the role of the cable guy in the Jim Carrey hit movie Cable Guy. He had to decline, due to scheduling conflicts.
Chris' vocal talent was originally cast in the title role of the ogre in Dreamworks' digitally animated, full feature film, Shrek (2001). The recording had already been started when he died, and was replaced by the voice of fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus, Mike Myers.
Chris's brother Kevin was an extra in all of his movies.
Chris was 5'6" and weighed 296 pounds, but still kept his physical agility in the comedy skits that he performed.
Chris graduated in 1986 with a degree in theater and communications from Marquette University.
Chris attended Indiana's La Lumiere, a prestigious Catholic college-preparatory high school, for a year before he was expelled for mooning a girl in class during his senior year. He then graduated in 1982 from Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart in Madison, Wisconsin, but was forced to do so a semester late due to his inappropriate behavior.
Chris: Basically, I only play one character, I just play him at different volumes.
Chris: (recalling a grade school teacher warning his parents that students were often laughing at their son, instead of with him) I thought, 'Who cares? As long as they're laughing.'
Chris: (about his weigh loss self-sabotage) We had Weight Watchers all up and down the refrigerator, and she had ice cream and I'd come home after school, watch Gilligan's Island, and take that gallon of Weight Watchers ice cream and eat it. My Mom would go, 'Christopher, I know it's Weight Watchers, but it doesn't work when you eat the whole gallon.'
Chris: I got in a lot of trouble at school. I remember that one time the nuns were all around me and my mom and them were in the middle and they said, 'Mrs. Farley, the students are laughing at Christopher, not with him.'
Chris: I tried stand-up, but I never could, ah–- I was too dumb to come up with my own material, so I just thought I'd try to play off the audience, but that didn't work too much. It's usually just a staring contest.
Chris: (tongue-in-cheek about 'Airheads,' the 1994 comedy movie in which he is featured, about a heavy metal rock band taking over a radio station and holding it hostage in order to play their music over the airwaves) If the Oscar ignores this one, their crazy! It's genius! Deep! Many leveled.
Chris: (during an interview in 1997) I'm trying to grow up a little bit and be able to take off the red nose and floppy shoes when I need to.
Chris: Kids made fun of me all through school. They called me really degrading names. Of course it hurt. I maybe fat, but I'm not thick-skinned.
Chris: (about being the class clown at a Catholic grade school) I'll never forget that first laugh. The nun came over to my desk to yell at me for something, and I said,'Gee, your hair smells terrific,' like in that commercial. Well, all the kids laughed hysterically. It was like a revelation.
Chris: I have a tendency toward pleasures of the flesh. It's a battle for me, as far as weight & things like that.
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