Paul Feig

Active - 1987 - 2022  |   Born - Sep 17, 1962 in Royal Oak, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Comedy Drama, Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

A driving creative force behind such critically praised, but short-lived, television series as Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, writer/producer/director/actor Paul Feig has worn many hats throughout his enduring showbiz career. From teenage standup to high-profile Hollywood player, his unique perspective always seems to offer something fresh and innovative. A native of Mt. Clemens, MI, whose interest in theater prompted him to join the drama club and play an active role in forensics, Feig got his first taste of show business as the writer and director of a trio of television commercials for his father's hardware store. It was around the age of 15 that the aspiring comic began performing at local comedy clubs (accompanied by his parents, of course) and landing roles in community theater, and following his freshman year in college, Feig set his sights on a career in the entertainment industry. Realizing that he wasn't about to break into the movie business in Michigan, Feig began phoning every major Hollywood studio in hopes of finding work as an actor. Though that particular endeavor may not have landed him a lead in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, Universal Studios did mention that they were looking for tour guides -- and Feig was soon gassing up for the cross-country road trip that would bridge his past to his future. It didn't take long for Feig to land the job as a tour guide, and after becoming enamored with the film industry when he attended the world premiere of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the aspiring filmmaker was accepted into U.S.C. Film School.

As his tenure at U.S.C. wound to a close, Feig opted to fill his internship credit by working as a script reader for Michael Phillips. The internship eventually evolved into a full-time job, and Feig's co-workers were constantly impressed with the aspiring writer's tireless drive to succeed -- though Feig was secretly itching to get back into standup comedy. A chance win on the $25,000 Pyramid provided Feig with the money needed to hit the road with his standup act, and in order to keep himself occupied on the road, the struggling standup worked to hone his screenwriting skills. When the acting bug finally lured Feig back to the West Coast, the struggling comic became a struggling actor with roles in such features as Three O' Clock High and Ski Patrol, and on the small screen in It's Garry Shandling's Show and the short-lived Dirty Dancing. More substantial roles in Heavyweights and That Thing You Do! were quick to follow, and after scraping together 30,000 dollars to film his feature debut, Feig stepped behind the camera to direct his script for Life Sold Separately. A low-key comedy drama concerning four strangers attempting to escape their day-to-day lives, Life Sold Separately went largely unseen despite landing mostly favorable reviews.

In 1999, Feig served as writer and producer for the critically acclaimed, but ill-fated, television series Freaks and Geeks, a refreshing look at high-school life from the unique perspectives of the eponymous cliques. Two years later, Feig stepped behind the camera to direct episodes of the popular Freaks and Geeks follow-up series Undeclared, a unique and honest look at college life which suffered an eerily similar fate to its high-school counterpart. In 2003, Feig made an interesting departure from his generally humorous, Midwestern-flavored brand of comedy to direct I Am David, an adaptation of author Anne Holm's acclaimed novel North to Freedom. A touching tale of a young boy who escapes a concentration camp in a desperate attempt to deliver an important letter to Denmark, I Am David revealed a side of the director that audiences had rarely seen.

Feig would continue to direct for the small screen, finding particular success with shows like Arrested Development, The Office, and Nurse Jackie. The filmmaker would continue to helm big screen efforts as well, most memorably with the 2012 comedy Bridesmaids.

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  • Is an only child.
  • Won the USC Jack Oakie Award for Comedy in Film in 1984.
  • Created the show Freaks and Geeks, which is in Time Magazine's 100 Greatest Shows of All Time.
  • Wrote two memoirs: Kick Me: Adventures in Adolescence (2002) and Superstud: Or How I Became a 24-Year-Old Virgin (2004).
  • Author of the Ignatius MacFarland science fiction series for kids.
  • Directed Steve Carrell's final episode of The Office, "Goodbye, Michael."