He often said he wanted to “live fast and die young,” and on December 18, 1997, comedian Chris Farley‘s prophecy came true. He left behind friends who tried their best to help him and a hefty bank account, as well. What was Farley‘s net worth at the time of his death? Here’s what we know.
A road paved with good intentions
Born February 15, 1964, Christopher Crosby Farley grew up in the great American Midwest. His father, Thomas Farley, founded the Scotch Oil Company. When he died at age 33, the younger Farley was well off, too, with an estimated net worth of around $5 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
After graduating from Marquette University, where he majored in communications and theater, Chris Farley joined the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago and eventually made his way to New York City with the notion of following in the footsteps of his comic hero, John Belushi. He was well on his way when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1990. Farley’s SNL castmate, A.
Whitney Brown told the New York Daily News that Farley’s desire to emulate the late funnyman even included the idea of becoming a drug addict. Brown also admitted to being the one who first introduced Farley to heroin.
Brown noted that SNL cast members feared they were witnessing “another Belushi waiting to happen,” and that producer Lorne Michaels went so far as to insist that Farley take a hiatus to attend drug rehab. Being suspended from the show put Farley on the proverbial straight and narrow for a while, but the comedian relapsed.
In the 2015 documentary I Am Chris Farley, Michaels referred to the late comic as “infuriatingly talented.” In an attempt to understand the friend he could not save, Michaels mused:
“There was some part of him that clearly trusted that if he was a little bit f*cked up, it would be all right. Or maybe that that was where the magic came from.”
Michaels was not the only one who did their damnedest to help
To outsiders who knew him only by his boisterous, over-the-top comedy, it may have seemed that Farley hadn’t a care in the world. But, as is the case with many a funny man, Farley’s outrageous humor masked a lot of internal pain.
Bullied as a youngster due to his obesity, Farley learned to make fun of himself. He also reportedly ate to excess and learned to use drugs as a way to make himself feel better. Over time, the comic developed heart problems, according to Silver Lining Recovery.
Among his many friends who tried to help him overcome his addictions were his Tommy Boy co-star, David Spade, comedian Tom Arnold, and SNL alumnus, Dan Aykroyd. According to Digital Spy, Chevy Chase once told Farley:
“Look, you’re not John Belushi. And when you overdose or kill yourself, you will not have the same acclaim that John did. You’ll be a blip in the New York Times obituary page, and that’ll be it. Is that what you want?”
Despite the urging of his friends to clean up his act, Farley died from a mixture of cocaine and heroin—the same mix that killed his hero, John Belushi. Both were 33 at the time of their death.
Remembering Chris Farley
The late entertainer will be cherished for his roles in Wayne’s World, Coneheads, Beverly Hills Ninja, and Airheads. And of course, no SNL fan will soon forget motivational speaker Matt Foley or the zaftig Chippendale’s dancer that Farley brought to life. Sadly, Farley died shortly before completing his last project as the voice of Shrek. His brother, actor Kevin Farley, said that although the family never got a chance to hear Chris as the voice of the irascible green ogre, they laud his replacement, Mike Myers.
Kevin Farley remembers his brother as a natural comedic talent with the gift to make people laugh and that when he died, the family gathered together and grieved behind closed doors. Kevin added:
“I just want to remind people he was one of the funniest guys that ever lived. He was a kind person. That’s what I think his legacy will be.”
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