Chris Farley's Heartbreaking Life And Death

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Chris Farley was one of the most beloved comedians and movie stars of all time (hello, Matt Foley, anyone?!). Farley is so dearly missed by his fans, family, friends, and the Hollywood community, even after being gone for over twenty years. He was known for being sweet, humble, over the top, and incredibly talented. His larger than life antics plus his physical "slap-stick style" humor was the perfect combination to make one belly laugh. 

It was no secret that Chris Farley loved to party and have a good time, like his idol, John Belushi. Sadly, both men would succumb to their wild ways entirely too soon, and the world was left with quite a void to fill. Farley struggled internally with always feeling like he had to be the funniest and most boisterous one in the room. "Although I love this kind of comedy, sometimes I feel trapped by always having to be the most outrageous guy in the room. In particular, I'm working on trying not to be that guy in my private life," he once said (via Time).

Those words reveal that Farley was trying to be the best person he could be — on camera and off. We miss you, Chris.

Chris Farley's early years

Christopher Crosby Farley was born on February 15, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin.  Farley had five other siblings and was considered a middle child. From his early years, he was always the clown of the family — making people laugh and getting into mischief. His brother Kevin told Fox News, "It was kind of like having the Tasmanian Devil in your basement," he joked. "A lot of people don't know this, but he was very shy. He was just very kind to everyone. That's a side a lot of people don't know about him. But that's the one I remember most." We're not crying, you're crying.

Farley attended Marquette University where, like his character in "Tommy Boy," he played sports and lived with his teammates. He began doing improv after college in Chicago at Second City, where he originated some of his famous "Saturday Night Live" characters like Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker. Farley was then discovered by SNL's Lorne Michaels who didn't waste any time getting him to New York City with other newbies like Chris Rock and Adam Sandler, rounding out arguably the most talented cast in "Saturday Night Live" history.

Chris Farley was fired from Saturday Night Live

The 1990s iteration of "Saturday Night Live" boasted amazing cast members like Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, and more. Most of the cast had been performing on the show for almost five years when the ratings started to plummet.  As it turns out, Farley and his closest cast mate Sandler were fired on the same day, and it was Farley who broke the news. After management told him to find work elsewhere, Sandler reportedly replied, "I like it here" (via Far Out). Suddenly, Farley jumped into the room, proclaiming, "We're getting fired." Although it hurt at the time, both of these powerhouses wasted zero time becoming comedic film legends.

Years later, Sandler opened up about their firing to the Daily Beast. "We kind of quit at the same time as being fired," Sandler told the digital outlet. "It was the end of the run for us. The fact that me and him got fired? Who knows. We were on it for a few years, had our run, and everything happens for a reason. We kind of understood because we did our thing. It hurt a lot at the time because we were young and didn't know where we were going."

Both comedians didn't need Lorne Michaels to succeed, and both actually returned to the show to host, showing there was no bad blood.

He went into a downward spiral of drug-use

As Chris Farley's success increased, so did his partying ways. According to "The Chris Farley Show," a biography written by his older brother Tom Farley and Tanner Colby, Farley rose to fame after the infamous Chippendale's "Saturday Night Live" sketch with Patrick Swayze. Many friends believe that Farley should have never done the sketch, as it was incredibly cruel for the show to revolve the entire skit around his weight. "There's no turn there. There's no comic twist to it. It's just f***ing mean. A more mentally together Chris Farley wouldn't have done it, but Chris wanted so much to be liked," his friend Chris Rock said in the book. "That was a weird moment in Chris's life. As funny as that sketch was, and as many accolades as he got for it, it's one of the things that killed him. It really is." Some believe that Farley's low self esteem led to his substance abuse issues.

Farley began to party very hard almost nightly, and heavily relied on different drugs and alcohol to make him feel confident and numb the pain. His partying ways began to really show as he gained weight and became more and more out of breath when performing his skits on SNL. He was now known in Hollywood as a party boy.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Chris Farley had many stints in rehab

Friends and family became increasingly worried about Farley's partying and addictive ways. Farley was in and out of rehab and weight loss centers about 17 times, but nothing seemed to help. Apparently, while filming the movie "Almost Heroes" with Matthew Perry, he was forced to attend A.A. meetings by the production company as a way of keeping his outrageous behavior in check.

"Saturday Night Live's" head honcho, Lorne Michaels, approached fellow actor Tom Arnold about potentially helping Farley stay clean and sober, almost like a sponsor. This was clearly a fight that Farley wasn't winning, especially on his own. "He wanted to be sober and I think Lorne really worried about that, so I was his sponsor for a few years," Arnold explained on "The Howard Stern Show." "It's also frustrating because at certain points he'd be like, 'I'm not going to be around Tom because I don't want him to see,'" he added. It's safe to say that Farley had peaks and valleys of sobriety, but would eventually revert back to his partying ways.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

His last appearance on SNL as a host was troublesome

After exiting "Saturday Night Live" in 1995, Farley was invited back two years later in 1997 to be the show's host. By that time, Farley was a household name with hit films like "Black Sheep" and "Tommy Boy" under his belt. Unfortunately, Farley as a host on "SNL" was very hard to watch. He appeared to be at his largest, physically, and seemed to be extremely hoarse; having a hard time getting his lines out — even fumbling some of them. The joke of the opener is that Farley is unreliable as he's nowhere to be found as the show starts — he's actually in a dressing room flirting with cast member Ana Gasteyer.  

In the skit, Gasteyer berates him a bit before the two eventually hook up and she convinces him to go on stage. He then joins Chris Rock and Tim Meadows on stage explaining that he is the "new Chris," and moving forward, he's going to be dependable and reliable. This would be Farley's last television appearance ever, and the skit did not age well, knowing the outcome.

The harrowing account of his last few hours of life

On the last night of his life, in December 1997, Chris Farley was clearly out looking for a good time — it was said to be his "last hurrah" before filming a movie, and having to stay somewhat clean for it. Farley was spotted bar hopping and drinking heavily at various bars in downtown Chicago, while concurrently seeking drugs. He was said to have been up for four days binging and partying.

The last woman that saw Farley alive was an exotic dancer named Heidi Hauser, who claims she received a call to perform for Farley at his apartment. During an interview with Inside Edition, she claimed she watched him snort drugs like cocaine and heroin. Hauser then claimed he passed out abruptly on the floor (everyone remembers the tragic yet infamous last picture), before she left his apartment. Law enforcement was informed that he was still alive when she left. It's been said that Farley's last words allegedly were: "Please don't leave me."

His autopsy revealed an overdose of cocaine and morphine. Many believe that Hauser could have prevented his death if she would have stayed with him.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

He died at the peak of his career

Unfortunately, Chris Farley died when he was truly at the peak of his career after starring in box office hits like "Beverly Hills Ninja," "Black Sheep," and "Tommy Boy." He was ready to star with Vince Vaughn in a film called, "The Gelfin." The last film he ever made, "Almost Heroes" with Matthew Perry, was posthumously released a few months after his death. 

Farley had recently signed with a new agency called Endeavor, after gaining significant fame as well. They released a heart-breaking statement that said: "We are saddened at the sudden loss of Chris Farley, whose screen presence was as indisputable as his talent for making people laugh. This is a great loss for the industry and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family and his legions of fans around the world" (via Variety). It was also rumored that Farley was set to star as the voice of "Shrek" as well.

Perry revealed in his memoir, "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing" that he punched a hole in his "Friends" co-star Jennifer Anniston's dressing room after learning the news of Farley's death. "Then, Chris Farley died. His disease had progressed faster than mine had. (Plus, I had a healthy fear of the word 'heroin,' a fear we did not share)." It's no doubt that Farley would be, if not already, one of the world's greatest comedians and movie stars.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

One of his best friends did not attend his funeral

Chris Farley's friends and family were devastated by his passing. Farley had gotten especially close to his "Black Sheep" and "Tommy Boy" co-star, David Spade. When Spade chose not to attend Farley's funeral, many viewed it as a sign of disrespect. Years later, Spade was featured on Reddit's "Ask me Anything," and opened up about why he didn't go, after many users gently inquired.

"I think about him all the time. We had such a good time for so long, and we were crammed together for so long, that we did have our squabbles," Spade admitted. "But I think people misunderstood me not going to that funeral. It was nothing about that; it was just too ... emotional, and I wouldn't be able to handle it."

The two were so close that Spade had many fun stories to share during his chat on Reddit. Our personal favorite was how "fat guy in a little coat" originated. Spade said, "He would say, 'Davey... turn around,' and I said, 'If this is Fat Guy in a Little Coat, I'm not turning around. It's not funny anymore,' And he would say, 'No, I've got a whole new thing I'm doing.' And then I'd turn around, and it would be him in my Levi jacket, and he would say, 'Fat guy in little coat! Don't you give up on it!'"

His death was eerily similar to one of his idols

Family and friends all knew that Chris Farley was infatuated with the late comedian, John Belushi, who passed away from a lethal dose of cocaine and heroin in 1982. Many warned Farley that he was on the same destructive path as his favorite comedian. On the "Fly in the Wall" podcast, Belushi's younger brother Jim says he tried to warn Farley to not end up like his brother. "I said, 'You got to stop chasing him, Chris. He's gone. He's gone. I said, 'Chris, you can't follow John. You can't follow his track. The guy did drugs. He's dead. You can't follow him with the drugs to find out who he was."

Fellow comedian and friend Adam Sandler quoted Farley in the tribute song he wrote for him for his Netflix special, "100% Fresh," where he noted that he would frequently warn him about slowing down or else he'd wind up like his idol. "After a show he'd drink a quarter Jack and stick the bottle up his a**, boy, hungover as hell, he'd still show up to morning. We'd tell him, 'Slow down, you'll end up like Belushi and [John] Candy.' He said, 'Those guys are my heroes, that's all fine and dandy.' I ain't making that s**t up, that's the truth about my friend Chris Farley."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

He was very religious and philanthropic

It's easy to see that Chris Farley was an incredible and loving person with a big heart. In the documentary, "I am Chris Farley," it was revealed that Farley volunteered frequently at children's hospitals. Additionally, as a devout catholic, he thought that any homeless man could actually be Jesus. As such, he made a point to be kind to everyone he met.

As Farley was truly a man of faith, he attended Catholic schools in Wisconsin growing up, and no matter how busy he was, he always attended sunday morning or evening Mass. In the doc, Al Franken, who was a writer for "Saturday Night Live," told viewers about a very sick boy in the pediatric ward of a hospital who absolutely loved Chris Farley on "SNL." Farley visited the sick boy and made his day, then went on to visit the other sick children in the ward. Franken remembers that when they got into the elevator after, Farley shed tears.

His brothers remembered his legacy in a documentary

Chris Farley was very close to his family, being one of four boys (he had one sister, Barbara, as well). In 2019, A&E produced a touching documentary as part of their comedy icon series titled, "Chris Farley: Anything for a Laugh," which Farley's brother Kevin participated in. While promoting the documentary, George Stephanopoulos of "Good Morning America" asked Kevin if all of Farley's comedic characters were based on their dad. Kevin explained, "Yeah, I mean our dad was really this loud boisterous guy, he had a lot of the same movements that Chris did. And he would just imitate him a lot of the time ... [especially] with that loud scream voice." Kevin goes on to say that he never imagined his brother would go on to be such a star, but he always did make life so very fun.

Farley's older brother Tom noted on the "Lauren Interviews Podcast" that when seeing the documentary for the first time, they included a skit that he had never seen before — he said it was almost like seeing him perform something new, and he laughed so hard. Ugh, cue the happy tears!

Adam Sandler still gets weepy over his Chris Farley tribute

Adam Sandler was known to be one of Chris Farley's best friends after meeting on the set of "Saturday Night Live." Sandler wrote a tribute song to Farley for his Netflix special, "100% Fresh," and told the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast that although Farley has been gone over 20 years, he still gets very emotional while performing it. 

"The first few times, we played that song, I would tear up, and I couldn't really sing it well because I'd get so emotional, and then ... I felt it and was able to get it out there," he told host Josh Horowitz. "It's weird, but when that song starts, I go, 'Oh f**k, alright, don't cry and don't do that,' still. I've sang it maybe a hundred times already, but it rocks me. I think it's because we show a video of Chris and I see his face." He also said that he loves to hear the crowd go crazy over Farley when his face first appears on the screen during the song.

Chris Farley, you are truly one of a kind. Rest in Peace.