October 1, 1969, North Carolina native Zach Galifianakis emerged as one of the more distinct comedic performers to grace the stage during the mid- to late 2000s. A short, slightly stocky presence with a thick outgrowth of beard that quickly became a personal trademark, Galifianakis used his behind-the-mike stints to riff on everything from veganism to multiple personality disorder, while constantly displaying a lightning-flash wit and marked inventiveness. He debuted with feature roles during the early 2000s, in films including Heartbreakers (2001) and Bubble Boy (2001). He also briefly emceed his own short-lived talk show, Late World with Zach (2002), on the VH1 network.
By 2003, Galifianakis secured a regular role (as a morgue worker, Davis) on the Fox supernatural drama series Tru Calling (2003-2005). Thereafter, the performer spent many years placing his strongest emphasis on standup and on filmed standup specials, such as the 2005 Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion and the 2007 Comedians of Comedy: Live at the Troubador, but continued to tackle occasional feature work from time to time. Among other screen accomplishments, Galifianakis ushered in a rare dramatic turn in Sean Penn's biographical drama Into the Wild (2007) and then played a socially maladroit friend of Ashton Kutcher in the sex farce What Happens in Vegas (2008).
It wasn’t until his role as a well-meaning but socially lacking participant in a bachelor party horribly gone wrong, however, that the actor would find true mainstream recognition. Alongside Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms, Galifianackas starred in The Hangover, 2009’s wildly successfull buddy film (the actor reprised the role for 2011’s The Hangover Part 2). He would go on to co-star with Robert Downey Jr. in Due Date (2010), which followed the mismatched couple on a wacky road trip to L.A., and take on supporting roles in Dinner for Schmucks, Youth in Revolt, and Up in the Air. He lent his voice to the 2011 animated film Puss in Boots, and co-stars with Will Ferrell in the political comedy Campaign (2012). ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi