Starting out as a member of the National Lampoon Theatre Company, Chevy Chase (born Cornelius Crane Chase) immediately hit the jackpot with his involvement in “Saturday Night Live” (1975-2001), as a writer and regular cast member. Before long, his efforts in the long running show brought in two Emmy Awards and two Emmy nominations. In SNL, Chase was famous as an original performer of the “Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Players” segment and the original anchor of the “Weekend Update” fragment.
After taking home another Emmy Award for co-writing the TV program The Paul Simon Special (1977, also performed), Chase built his acting career with the role of bumbling cop Tony Carlson in the thriller comedy Foul Play (1978), which earned two Golden Globe nominations. He also took the part of Clark Griswold in a National Lampoon’s movie titled Vacation (1983), as well as its sequels, European Vacation (1985), Christmas Vacation (1989) and Vegas Vacation (1997).
Chase, who once reached the income amount of $7 million per film, appeared in two TV commercials for Cola Turka, a Turkish soft drink developed to compete with both Coca-Cola and Pepsi. He also joined the all-star charity single “Voices That Care” and appeared alongside Paul Simon in Simon’s music video “You Can Call Me Al.” In 1995, the member of the Hollywood Gourmet Poker Club was convicted of drunk driving.
Previously married to Susan Hewitt and Jacqueline Carlin (1976-1980), Chase is now the husband of Jaynie Luke, with whom he has three daughters.
Childhood and Family:
Cornelius Crane Chase (later would be famous as Chevy Chase) was born on October 8, 1943, in Woodstock, New York, to a distinguished family. The first person to call him “Chevy” was his grandmother. As a 14th-generation New Yorker, Chevy was listed in the Social Register at an early age. His paternal grandfather was painter/teacher Frank Swift Chase
When he was four, Chevy’s parents, prominent book editor/magazine writer Edward Tinsley Chase and concert pianist Cathalene Parker Browning, divorced. His father married into the Folger coffee family and his mother married twice more. Both of Chevy’s parents died in 2005.
The student of the Riverdale Country Day School was kicked out from private schools like Dalton School and Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. After graduating from the Stockbridge School in Massachusetts, Chevy was again expelled, this time from Haverford College. Transferring to the Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, he graduated with a B.A. degree in English. He later pursued a career in show business while taking low-paying jobs.
The ex-boyfriend of actress Blythe Danner was formerly married to Susan Hewitt before tying the knot with Jacqueline Carlin on December 4, 1976. However, the marriage ended four years later and Chevy married Jaynie Luke on March 16, 1982. The couple now has 3 daughters, Cydney Cathalene, Caley Leigh and Emily Evelyn.
At first, Chevy Chase drummed for the jazz band The Leather Canary, headed by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, as well as the rock band Chameleon Church. With the latter group, Chase made his way to record an album with MGM Records in 1968. Shortly after, the band members parted ways.
The same year, Chase was featured as the pedestrian in the indie short comedy Walk... Don’t Walk (1968). He then made a first TV performance in the series “The Great American Dream Machine” (1971-1972) before joining the National Lampoon Theatre Company as a writer and actor. With fellow comedians Ken Shapiro and Lane Sarasohn, Chase took multiple roles in the spoof movie The Groove Tube (1974).
The performer immediately gained the spotlight as an original cast member of the high-profile show “Saturday Night Live” (1975-2001), in which he was credited as a writer and a regular player. In SNL, Chase was the original anchor for the “Weekend Update” segment and an original performer in the “Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Players” fragment. Despite the negative reports of his dispute with many SNL cast members and crew, Chase rescued his reputation with two Emmy awards and two Emmy nominations.
Chase won his third Emmy for co-writing the TV program The Paul Simon Special (1977, also performed). His SNL fame also led to the starring role of bumbling cop Tony Carlson in the thriller comedy Foul Play (1978), alongside Goldie Hawn. For his fine performance in the movie, the actor was nominated for two Golden Globes: one for Best Acting Debut, another for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy.
Costarring with fellow SNL cast member Bill Murray, Chase starred as Ty Webb in the golf-themed Caddyshack (1980). It was followed by his turn as Max Fielder in the Ken Shapiro-directed Modern Problems (1981).
In 1983, Chase was cast as Clark Griswold in a National Lampoon movie titled Vacation. He later reprised the role in the sequel European Vacation (1985), Christmas Vacation (1989) and Vegas Vacation (1997). Meanwhile, Chase was credited as a writer in the SNL best cuts collection, The Best of John Belushi (1985) and The Best of Dan Aykroyd (1986), both of which were released on video.
The actor was also seen in the comedy picture Three Amigos (1986, as Dusty Bottoms), the TV biopic Will Rogers: Look Back in Laughter (1987), the sequel Caddyshack II (1988) and an episode of “The Dave Thomas Comedy Show” (1990). He next acted opposite Dan Aykroyd, John Candy and Demi Moore in Nothing But Trouble (1991) and played invisible Nick Halloway in Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992, earned a Saturn nomination), before headlining his own talk show, the short-lived “The Chevy Chase Show” (1993).
The host of The 60th Annual Academy Awards resumed his screen appearances with roles in Cops and Robbersons (1994), Man of the House (1995), Dirty Work (1998), Snow Day (2000), the short animated Pete’s a Pizza (2001, as the narrator), Orange County (2002), Bad Meat (2003) and The Karate Dog (2004, voiced Cho-Cho). In honor of the late John Belushi, Chase took part in the TV special Saturday Night Live: The Best of John Belushi (2005).
Recently, Chase hit the box-offices with the role of head scientist Dr. Grant in the family movie Zoom (2006), adapted from Jason Lethcoe’s graphic novel. He also took the starring role of Congreve Maddox in Goose on the Loose (2006), acted with Penelope Ann Miller in Funny Money (2006) and provided his vocals for Train in the animated movie Doogal (2006).