Ask any millennial or Gen Y on the streets if they know who Chevy Chase is and you will probably get a lot of negative answers. This may not come as a surprise anymore since the once “funniest man in America” has hardly any movies, guesting, or shows in the past decade to make him familiar to the younger generation. However, when you ask the Generation Xers their top comedians of all time, you will probably hear Chevy Chase’s name on most of their list.
The Early Life of Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase, who was born under the name of Cornelius Crane Chase, comes from a long line of wealthy New Yorkers. However, Chevy did not grow up as privileged as you might expect. When his biological parents divorced, Chase was emotionally and physically abused by his mother and stepfather as disclosed in his 2007 biography. Chase was also expelled from several schools before graduating in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts in English at Bard College, New York. Chase’s funny man antics were apparent during his student days which included one incident that he was kicked out of Haverford College for keeping a live cow inside his dormitory room which was located on the fourth floor.
Although Chase took pre-med at Bard College, he did not pursue the medical profession which allowed him to be subjected for being drafted during the Vietnam war. However, the drafting of Chase did not push through as he managed to convince the recruitment officers that he had homosexual tendencies. Chase also became the drummer for a jazz band known as The Leather Canary but did not stay long enough to be included into the band’s transformation into Steely Dan.
Chase’s Comedic Break
Chase’s comedic career started as he became a writer for the Smothers’ Brothers TV show for a short while. His skills in writing funny skits eventually got noticed which prompted producers of the National Lampoon Radio Hour to hire him as a full-time writer and cast member of the show along with two other comedic legends Bill Murray and John Belushi. Chase, Murray, and Belushi later became members of the original casts of Saturday Night Live (SNL). This late-night comedy showcase already has forty-six seasons and numerous Emmy Awards.
Chase’s career peaked during the 80s and the 90s with the success of the National Lampoon’s Vacations Films where he starred as Clark Griswold, the head of the Griswold family that finds themselves in precarious and funny situations as they take time off to have the vacation of their dreams.
Chevy Chase’s Net Worth
During Chase’s peak career period, the actor was reported to be earning around seven million dollars per film. He is also estimated to have a net worth of more or less $50 million.
Why We Don’t See Chevy Chase Anymore
Throughout his career, Chevy Chase was not a very liked person. His co-stars and co-hosts would often describe Chase as a monster and a real asshole to work with. Chase was also accused of cracking racial jokes and has a mean and cranky side. Chase’s fame has gone over his head, and he became addicted to alcohol. Because of this, the actor would barely finish a day of shooting which irritated most directors and producers.
Nowadays, Chase, even though of claims to have sobered up, have not had a decent role for years. One of the reasons is that the slapstick comedy that Chase is doing may work well when he was still younger. However, at seventy-seven years old, Chase has already past his prime comedic years.