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Dana Thomas Carvey is an American actor and comedian best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and the movie Wayne's World.
His family moved to San Carlos, California when Carvey was three. He attended Tierra Linda Junior High in San Carlos, California, and Carlmont High School in Belmont, California, and received his Bachelor's degree in communications from San Francisco State University.
In 1979, while performing at the Great American Music Theater in San Francisco, he met Miss Paula Zwaggerman and in 1980, Dana and Paula were engaged.
Carvey's first movie role was a small part in the 1981 horror film Halloween II. He then costarred on One of the Boys in 1982, a short-lived television sitcom. In 1984, Carvey had a small role in Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap film, in which he played a mime. He also starred in the short-lived movie-based action show Blue Thunder.
In 1986, Carvey became a household name when he joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live. His breakout character was The Church Lady. Carvey said he based the character on women he knew from his church growing up. He became so associated with the character that later cast members like Chris Farley referred to Carvey simply as The Lady.Carvey's other original characters included Garth Algar, Hans, and The Grumpy Old Man. Algar is actually an affectionate caricature of Dana's brother, Brad Carvey, an accomplished electrical engineer.
NBC executives hoped to get Carvey to take over the 12:30 a.m. weeknight spot in the network's lineup in 1993 when David Letterman left his show, Late Night with David Letterman, for an 11:30 p.m. show on CBS. A big Letterman fan, Carvey rejected the offer, causing embarrassment for the network, which had publicly floated his name. In 1994, Carvey starred in the film Clean Slate.He reprised many of his SNL characters in 1996 for The Dana Carvey Show, a critically acclaimed but short-lived prime-time variety show.
He underwent open-heart surgery for a blocked artery in 1997. Unfortunately, the doctors operated on the wrong artery. Carvey later sued for medical malpractice and was awarded $7.5 million. He has had to undergo a total of five operations to correct his heart problems. Carvey stated in an interview with Larry King that he donated all the money awarded to him from the lawsuit to charity.
He returned to the silver screen in the comedy Master of Disguise in 2002, which was criticized by critics but managed about $40 million at the North American box office.On Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time, he is number 90
A very private person, Carvey withdrew from the limelight to focus on his family. He later said in an interview that he doesn't want to be in a career in which his kids would already be grown with his having neglected time with them.
Carvey may hold the distinction of being the only comedian ever to be imitated by a former President of the United States at the funeral of another former President of the United States. At the January 2, 2007 funeral of Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush reminisced in his tribute about how Ford took it in stride when SNL's Chevy Chase made Ford the object of his own imitations. Bush cited this as a valuable lesson in learning to laugh at one's self as a part of public life.
Carvey charges over $75,000 per paid appearance.