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Chevy Chase (1943)

Cornelius Crane Chase

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  Summary  

Cornelius Crane "Chevy" Chase is an American comedian, writer, and television and film actor. Born into a prominent New York family, Chase worked a plethora of odd jobs before moving into comedy acting with National Lampoon. He quickly became a key cast member in the inaugural season of Saturday Night Live, where his Weekend Update skit soon became a staple of the show. Chase is also well-known for his portrayal of the character Clark Griswold in four National Lampoon's Vacation films, and for his roles in other successful comedies such as Caddyshack , Fletch , and ¡Three Amigos! . He has hosted the Academy Awards twice and briefly had his own late-night talk show, The Chevy Chase Show. Currently, he appears as Pierce Hawthorne on the NBC comedy series Community.

  Biography  

 early life
 Family
Chase was born in Lower Manhattan, New York City. His father, Edward Tinsley "Ned" Chase, was a prominent Manhattan book editor and magazine writer. His mother, Cathalene Parker (née Browning), a concert pianist and librettist, was the daughter of Miles Browning, who served a critical role at the Battle of Midway in World War II; she was adopted as a child by her stepfather, Cornelius Vanderbilt Crane, heir to Crane Plumbing, and took the name Cathalene Crane. As a child, Chase vacationed at Castle Hill, the Cranes' summer estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Chase's paternal grandfather was artist/illustrator Edward Leigh Chase, and his great-uncle was painter/teacher Frank Swift Chase. Chase's maternal grandmother was an opera singer who performed several times at Carnegie Hall. Chase is a fourteenth-generation New Yorker, and was listed in the Social Register at an early age. His mother's ancestors arrived in Manhattan starting in 1624. Among his ancestors are New York City mayors Stephanus Van Cortlandt and John Johnstone; John Morin Scott, General of the New York Militia during the American Revolution; Anne Hutchinson, dissident Puritan preacher and healer; and Mayflower passengers and signers of the Mayflower Compact, John Howland, and the Pilgrim colonist leader and spiritual elder of the Plymouth Colony, William Brewster.

Chase was named for his adoptive grandfather Cornelius. The nickname Chevy was bestowed by his grandmother, derived from the medieval English The Ballad of Chevy Chase. As a descendant of the Scottish Clan Douglas, the name "Chevy" seemed appropriate to her.

Chase's parents divorced when he was four; his father remarried into the Folgers coffee family, and his mother remarried twice. Both his parents died in 2005. Chase has stated that he grew up in an upper middle class environment and that his adoptive maternal grandfather did not bequeath any assets to Chase's mother when he died. Chase has made recent claims that he was abused as a child by his mother and stepfather, John Cederquist.

 Schooling and music
He attended at the Stockbridge School in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and attended Riverdale Country School in The Bronx. He then attended Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where he studied a pre-med curriculum and graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

Chase did not enter medical school, which meant he would be subject to the military draft. Chase was not drafted; when Chase appeared in January 1989 as the first guest of the just-launched late-night Pat Sajak Show, he said he had convinced his draft board he deserved a 4-F classification by "falsely claiming, among other things, that he had homosexual tendencies."

Chase played drums with the college band The Leather Canary, headed by school friends Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. Chase has called the group "a bad jazz band"; Becker and Fagen later founded the successful group Steely Dan. Chase is gifted with absolute pitch. He played drums and keyboards for a rock band called Chamaeleon Church, which recorded one album for MGM Records before disbanding in 1969. Before becoming famous as a writer, actor and comedian, Chase worked in many odd jobs including as a cab driver, truck driver, motorcycle messenger, construction worker, waiter, busboy, fruit picker, produce manager of a supermarket, audio engineer, salesman in a wine store, and a theater usher.

 early career
Chase was a member of an early underground comedy ensemble called Channel One which he co-founded in 1967. He also wrote a one-page spoof on Mission: Impossible for Mad Magazine in 1970 and was a writer for the short-lived Smothers Brothers TV show comeback in the early 1970s. Chase made the move to comedy as a full-time career by 1973, when he became a cast member of The National Lampoon Radio Hour, a syndicated satirical radio series. The Lampoon Radio Hour also featured John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, and Brian Doyle-Murray, all of whom later became "Not-Ready-For-Prime Time Players" on NBC Saturday Night (later retitled NBC's Saturday Night and finally Saturday Night Live). Chase and Belushi also appeared in National Lampoon's off-Broadway revue Lemmings, a sketch and musical send-up of popular youth culture . He appeared in the theatrical release The Groove Tube which was directed by another co-founder of Channel One, Ken Shapiro, and which featured several Channel One sketches.

 personal life
Chase is the father of three girls, Cydney Cathalene , Caley Leigh , and Emily Evelyn . He lives with his wife, Jayni (née Luke), in Bedford, New York.

Chase is an active environmentalist and charity fundraiser. He raised money and campaigned for Bill Clinton in the 1990s and John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election. Following the 2004 elections, Chase criticized President George W. Bush during a speech at a People For the American Way benefit at the Kennedy Center, referring to the President as an "uneducated, real lying schmuck" and a "dumb fuck". Event organizers and several Bush detractors present at the event distanced themselves from Chase's comments, with Norman Lear remarking, "he'll live with it, I won't."

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Chevy Chase", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.