American stand up comedian, impressionist and actor Darrell Hammond is popular as the regular player on “Saturday Night Live” from 1995 to 2009, marking the longest stint of any cast member. During his 14 year tenure on the show, he charmed audiences with his accurate impersonations of everyone from politicians (Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John McCain), media figures (Phil Donahue, Ted Koppel, and Bob Costas) to celebrities (Sean Connery, John Travolta, Jay Leno, and Regis Philbin). The show brought him a TV Guide nomination in 2001, in the category of Breakout Star of the Year. Hammond has appeared in many films, including “Blues Brothers 2000” (1998), “Agent Cody Banks” (2003), “Scary Movie 3” (2003), “New York Minute” (2004), “Epic Movie” (2007), “Wieners” (2008) and “BuzzKill” (2010) as well as in the television series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “Las Vegas.”
Currently, Hammond resides in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan. He and his wife Elizabeth Hammond have one daughter, Mia (born in 1998).
Childhood and Family:
Darrell Hammond was born on October 8, 1955, in Melbourne, Florida. He attended Melbourne High School, where he was excelled in both baseball and football. After graduating in 1973, he went to Brevard Community College and the University of Florida at Gainesville, where he majored in broadcasting. After college, he left Florida for New York City, where he performed in off- and off-off-Broadway productions before eventually joining the cast of “SNL.”
Darrell married his wife Elizabeth in 1986, but the couple later divorced in 1994, probably due to his relapsing of drug and alcohol abuse after the death of a close friend in 1991. They remarried in 1997. On April 13, 1998, his wife gave birth to a baby daughter named Mia Hammond.
After leaving Florida, Darrell Hammond lived in New York City and performed dramatic and comedic roles in off- and off-off-Broadway productions. He later returned to Florida and sharpened his skills as an impressionist by performing on local and national radio programs.
In the late 1980s, Hammond worked as a stand up comedian on Premier Cruise Line ships for a short time. His career received a huge boost when he joined the cast of the popular television sketch comedy and variety show “Saturday Night Live” in September 1995. As a regular on “SNL,” Hammond would do a number of memorable impressions of various celebrities and Hollywood figures, including Dick Cheney, Al Gore, Sen. John McCain, Jesse Jackson, Rudy Giuliani, Ted Koppel, Sam Donaldson, Bob Costas, Phil Donahue, Sean Connery, Jay Leno, Regis Philbin, Donald Trump, John Travolta, Don Pardo, and Chris Matthews. In 1997, Hammond gained media's attention for his dead on impression of a then president Clinton during a surprise appearance with the President himself at an event before thousands of government officials and members of the Washington Press Corps. From then on, Bill Clinton became his most frequent impression. In 2001, Hammond received a TV Guide nomination for Breakout Star of the Year, which he shared with Will Ferrell. During the 2004-2005 season, Hammond created a record for the longest running cast member in the history of “SNL” with 10 seasons under his belt. He eventually retired from the show in 2009, after having worked for 14 seasons, making him the longest running cast member in “SNL” history. He became the last “SNL” cast member from the 1990s to leave the show. He has made a series of cameo appearances since leaving the show.
After joining “SNL,” Hammond entered the movie business with a small role in the 1996 comedy film “Celtic Pride,” starring Damon Wayans, Daniel Stern and Dan Aykroyd. It was followed by a notable turn as Robertson in the John Landis blockbuster hit comedy “Blues Brothers 2000” (1998), again with Dan Aykroyd. In 1999, Hammond provided the voice of Master Little in the animated film adaptation of the stage musical, “The King and I,” helmed by Richard Rich. The film, however, received mostly negative reviews from critics and was a box office failure. In 2001, Hammond guest starred as Ted Bolger in an episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” called “Runaway” and then as Dick Cheney in an episode of “Primetime Glick” titled “Kathie Lee Gifford/Dick Cheney.” He returned to films with appearances in the box office hits “Agent Cody Banks” (2003) and “Scary Movie 3” (2003), where he played Earl and Father Muldoon, respectively, and the Alec Baldwin directed comedy/drama “Shortcut to Happiness” (2004), starring Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Baldwin. He played Hudson McGill in the teen comedy film “New York Minute” (2004), starring twins Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, Michael in William Tyler Smith's “Kiss Me Again” (2006), starring Jeremy London, Katheryn Winnick and Elisa Donovan, Jonathan in “Puff, Puff, Pass” (2006) and Dr. Lawrence Rosenblum in “Ira & Abby” (2006), a romance/comedy film starring Chris Messina and Jennifer Westfeld in the title roles. He was cast as Captain Jack Swallows in the commercially successful parody film “Epic Movie” (2007), which was written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, starred as Turner Claymore in the independent film “Netherbeast Incorporated” (2007), opposite Judd Nelson,Dave Foley, Steve Burns, Amy Davidson, Jason Mewes and Robert Wagner, and portrayed an abusive television therapist named Dr. Dwayne in the comedy film “Wieners” (2008). Meanwhile, in 2005, Hammond made guest appearances in television series like “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (as Leonard Timmons), “Las Vegas” (as Ben Carlson / Carlos / Ted Waters) and “Starved” (as Josh).
Hammond returned to stage in 2007 when he made his Broadway debut in “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” where he played the role of Vice Principal Douglas Panch.
In January 2009, Hammond joined the cast of the FX legal drama series “Damages” in the recurring role of The Deacon. He appeared ina total of 7 episodes until March 2009. Also in 2009, Hammond did an impression of Donald Trump in an Oreo commercial, which also featured Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, and Trump.
After leaving “SNL,” Hammond starred with Daniel Raymont and Krysten Ritter in the comedy film “BuzzKill” (2010), which was co-written and directed by Steven Kampmann.
Hammond is set to release his first novel and memoir, “God, If You're Not Up There, I'm F***ed,” in October 2011. In the book, he discusses his harmful childhood, time spent in psychiatric hospitals, behind the scenes with the cast of “SNL”, and reflections on his family, and how his wife and daughter supported him to fight for sobriety.