Chevy Chase Biography

('Saturday Night Live's' First Breakout Star)

Birthday: October 8, 1943 (Libra)

Born In: Lower Manhattan, New York, United States

Chevy Chase is a famous American comedian, film and TV actor, and writer. He became a household name after making his television debut on ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL). However, his big debut did not turn him into a celebrity, though he became quite popular after appearing in SNL. Among several roles that he played on television and films, his portrayal of ‘Irwin M. Fletcher’ in the ‘Fletch’ film series and his role in the ‘National Lampoon’ film series are considered his best work. However, his failures and obtuse decisions while selecting roles have overshadowed his comic brilliance. Chase has a great passion for music, a fact not known to many. He played the drums for a few years with different college and church bands. Like many other struggling actors, Chase had initially taken up many odd jobs to support himself before realizing his passion for comedy and films. Even after facing many career setbacks, he made effective comebacks. He continues to work enthusiastically, playing a variety of roles in both films and TV series. His impeccable comic timing and illustrious career makes him a noteworthy comedian. Over the years, he has managed to inspire younger talents like Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell. He has received three ‘Primetime Emmy Awards’ for his work in television.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Cornelius Crane Chase

Age: 80 Years, 80 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Jayni Chase (m. 1982), Jacqueline Carlin (m. 1976–1980), Suzanne Chase (m. 1973–1976)

father: Edward Tinsley Chase

mother: Cathalene Parker

siblings: Cynthia Chase, Edward Chase Jr, John Cederquist, Pamela Cederquist

children: Caley Leigh Chase, Cydney Cathalene Chase, Emily Evelyn Chase

Born Country: United States

Comedians American Men

Height: 6'4" (193 cm), 6'4" Males

Ancestry: Dutch American

U.S. State: New Yorkers

More Facts

education: Bard College, Haverford College

Childhood & Early Life

Chevy Chase was born Cornelius Crane Chase on October 8, 1943, in New York City, USA, to Edward Tinsley "Ned" Chase and Cathalene Parker. He was nicknamed ‘Chevy Chase’ by his grandmother. His father was a book editor and magazine writer in Manhattan, while his mother was a concert pianist and librettist. The family hailed from Lower Manhattan, New York City.

According to a popular urban legend, Chase was expelled from school. However, he claimed in an interview that he had left school for academic reasons. He completed his pre-med and earned a B.A. in English from ‘Bard College’ in 1967.

Instead of joining medical school, Chase and his classmates, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, formed a jazz band called ‘a bad jazz band.’

Before realizing his true calling, he took up a number of odd jobs to earn a living.

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In 1967, he co-founded ‘Channel One,’ a comedy group.

He played the drums and the keyboard for ‘Chameleon Church,’ an aspiring rock group. The band recorded just one album before its dissolution in 1969.

After his musical stint, he wrote a spoof on ‘Mission: Impossible’ for ‘MAD’ magazine. He then joined National Lampoon’s off-Broadway production of ‘Lemmings’ in 1973.

From 1973 to 1974, he worked as a cast member of ‘The National Lampoon Radio Hour,’ which also featured John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner.

In 1975, Chase landed a year's contract as a writer for NBC’s ‘Saturday Night Live.’ He went on to become a part of the main cast of the show.

A year later, Chase was on his way to Hollywood. He then received a ‘Golden Globe’ nomination for his motion picture debut ‘Foul Play’ in 1978.

In 1980, Chase worked in the film ‘Modern Problems.’ While filming, he narrowly escaped an electrocution. The same year, he also starred in the sports comedy film ‘Caddyshack.’

‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ (1983), the first of the ‘National Lampoon’ series, turned out to be a huge milestone in his career.

Chase then started working in ‘Fletch’ in 1985. It was the first film adaptation of Gregory Mcdonald’s ‘Fletch’ book series.

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Around 1987 and 1988, he reached the peak of his career, and charged exuberant amount of money for his work. He was featured in the song ‘You Can Call Me Al’ with his friend Simon. He also hosted the ‘Academy Awards’ in 1987 and 1988.

1989 was the year of sequels for Chase as he filmed the second and third instalments of the ‘National Lampoon’ series; ‘National Lampoon’s European Vacation’ and ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’ respectively.

The 1990s brought a slump in Chase’s career as films like ‘Nothing But Trouble,’ ‘Memoirs of an Invisible Man,’ and ‘Cops & Robbersons’ failed at the box office.

Chase hosted ‘The Chevy Chase Show’ in 1993. A ‘Fox Broadcasting Company’ production, the show was taken off air after five weeks.

In 1995, Chase made a comeback with the film ‘Man of the House,’ which did better at the box office when compared to his previous films.

After almost a decade, he returned to television, starring in guest roles for various shows like ‘Law & Order’ and ‘Brothers & Sisters.’ He also essayed the role of ‘Ted Roark’ in the comedy film ‘Chuck.’

In 2009, he appeared in the comedy series ‘Community,’ playing the role of a tycoon named ‘Pierce Hawthorne.’

He was seen in ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ and ‘Funny or Die’ in 2010. The latter was a short-online film where Chase played the character of President Ford.

In 2012, he walked out of the comedy series ‘Community’ due to creative differences with the director. He returned for a cameo appearance in the season five premiere.

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Chase reprised his role as ‘Clark Griswold’ in the fifth installment of the ‘Vacation’ film series titled ‘Vacation’ in 2015.

In 2019, he was seen in the comedy film ‘The Last Laugh.’ The following year, he played ‘Chevy’ in Dean Murphy's Australian comedy film ‘The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee.’

Major Works

‘Saturday Night Live’ was a big break and one of the major works in Chase’s career. Initially hired as a writer for the show, Chase went on to become a key cast member.

Awards & Achievements

In 1976, Chase won two ‘Emmy Awards.’ He received the awards under the ‘Individual Performance in a Variety Program’ and ‘Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series’ categories for his work in ‘Saturday Night Live.’

He won another ‘Emmy Award’ under the ‘Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special’ category for ‘The Paul Simon Special’ in 1978.

He also earned ‘Golden Globe’ nominations for ‘New Star of the Year’ and ‘Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.’

In 1994, he received a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame.’

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1973, he married Suzanne Chase and they later got divorced. Three years later, he married Jacqueline Carlin. This marriage too ended in divorce.

He married Jayni Luke in 1982. He has three daughters with Jayni: Cydney Cathalene, Caley Leigh, and Emily Evelyn. He currently lives in Bedford, New York, with his wife Jayni.

Chase was involved in fund raising campaigns during the presidential campaigns of Bill Clinton and John Kerry.


This American actor and comedian wrote the first season of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and later became a key cast member of the show.

Chevy Chase Movies

1. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

  (Adventure, Comedy)

2. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)


3. Caddyshack (1980)

  (Sport, Comedy)

4. Foul Play (1978)

  (Thriller, Mystery, Comedy)

5. Seems Like Old Times (1980)

  (Comedy, Romance)

6. The One Arm Bandit (1971)

  (Short, Comedy)

7. Fletch (1985)

  (Comedy, Mystery, Crime)

8. Cutlass (2007)

  (Drama, Comedy, Short)

9. Funny Farm (1988)

  (Drama, Comedy)

10. National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985)

  (Adventure, Comedy)


Primetime Emmy Awards
1978 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Special The Paul Simon Special (1977)
1976 Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in Variety or Music Saturday Night Live (1975)
1976 Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series Saturday Night Live (1975)

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