One of the few Saturday Night Live cast members to make a successful transition to film, Mike Myers gained worldwide fame with his impersonations of a heavy metal-loving couch potato in Wayne's World and an oversexed British secret agent in the Austin Powers series.
A native of Scarborough, Canada, where he was born on May 25, 1963, Myers seemed destined to link up with Saturday Night Live; when he made his TV debut in a commercial at the age of eight, the actress playing his mother was none other than a pre-SNL Gilda Radner. Myers went on to appear in a number of Canadian television shows, and after graduating high school, he almost immediately joined Second City, Toronto's famed improv group. By the age of 20, Myers was the star of his own TV series, Mullarkey and Myers, and also did time as the veejay of an all-night Canadian music video show. While he worked on various programs, the comedian continued to hone the characterizations that would later make him famous on SNL. The Wayne's World character of Wayne Campbell, for example, was one that Myers had been doing since high school, when he used the impersonation to impress girls at parties.
In 1989, Myers fulfilled a longtime dream by becoming a member of Saturday Night Live. During his time on the show, which lasted until 1994, he won an Emmy for his writing, and he starred alongside fellow-SNL cast member Dana Carvey in the successful 1992 film Wayne's World. Unfortunately for Myers, the film's 1993 sequel, Wayne's World 2, proved to be a disappointment, as did his other film that year, So I Married an Axe Murderer. However, he struck gold four years later, writing and starring in the sleeper hit Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. The film's success all but guaranteed a sequel, but before writing and starring in it, Myers explored previously uncharted dramatic territory in 54 (1998). His portrayal of the titular club's drug-addled owner, Steve Rubell, met with wide acclaim; unfortunately, it was about the only aspect of the film that did. The following year, Myers switched back to comedy with the much-anticipated Austin Powers sequel, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The recipient of a marketing campaign whose volume was bested only by that of Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace, the film was even more popular than the original (which made more money on home video than in its initial theatrical release), although not as well received by critics. That same year, Myers returned to more northerly climes and his lifelong love of hockey when he appeared in Mystery, Alaska, which was helmed by Austin Powers director Jay Roach.
In 2001, Myers made an audible return to movie screens as an unsightly ogre with the kid-friendly fairy tale spoof Shrek. Realizing that his voice-over work didn't quite work after having recorded all of his dialogue, Myers dusted off the patented Scottish accent he had utilized with humorous effect in both SNL and So I Married an Axe Murderer and breathed new life into the tale of an unlikely hero enlisted to restore order to the land of fairy tales and rescue the princess. A hit with children and adults alike, Shrek scored big in the 2001 summer movie season, easily holding its own against such heavies as Pearl Harbor and The Mummy Returns.
The folowing year Myers once again returned to the screen as everyone's favorite snaggletoothed superspy in Austin Powers in Goldmember. Returning as series stalwarts Dr. Evil and Fat Bastard as well, the third film in the series also found Myers stepping into the shoes of the newest master criminal, the titular Goldmember. As a double jointed Danish criminal mastermind with an unsightly skin disorder and a plan for world domination, Myers once again scored a hit at the box office, raking in an impressive opening weekend gross and holding its own against a slew of notable summer releases.
The triumphant success (and staggering income) of the third Powers outing seemed then to set a pattern for Myers, who - after a disastrous portrayal of the title character in the live-action fiasco Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat (2003) - clung largely to franchise-oriented work over the next several years. He did so via extensive voiceover work in the second (2004) and the third (2007) Shrek outings. To no one's surprise, these efforts netted an unholy amount at the U.S. and international box offices. Myers followed this up by writing, producing and starring in The Love Guru (2008), about an Indian-raised swami who takes it upon himself to heal the schism between a Toronto hockey player and the man's soon-to-be ex-wife.
Myers would spend the next few years providing the voice of Shrek for a handful of additional sequels, as well as making a memorable appearance in Inglorious Basterds. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi