James Eugene Carrey was born 17 January, 1962, in Ontario, Canada, and is the youngest of four children. Carrey was a natural performer even as a child, to the point of regularly doing stand-up routines for his classmates in junior high. He has three older siblings, John, Patricia, and Rita. He was raised Roman Catholic.
Following a period of severe financial hardship that included living with his family in a camper van, Carrey made his stand-up debut in Toronto after his parents and siblings got back on their feet. Determined to pursue his dream to be a comic, Carrey dropped out of high school to work on his act. He moved to Los Angeles in 1979 and eventually caught the attention of Rodney Dangerfield, who signed Carrey to open for him during his tour.
Carrey has been married twice. His first marriage was to former actress and Comedy Store waitress Melissa Womer, whom he married on March 28, 1987. The two divorced in 1995. A year later Carrey married his Dum b and Dumber co-star Lauren Holly, on September 23, 1996; the marriage lasted less than a year.
In 1995, Carrey starred in the Joel Schumacher-directed superhero film Batman Forever, in which Batman tries to stop Two-Face and the Riddler (played by Carrey) in their villainous scheme to drain information from all the brains in Gotham City. The feature received reasonable reviews upon release with most criticism aimed towards the movie's "blatant commercialism", as stated by Peter Travers. In that same year, Carrey reprised his role as Ace Ventura in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Like the original film, it was well received by the public but heavily criticised by critics. However, it was a huge box-office success, earning $212 million worldwide in addition to breaking records, with a $40 million opening weekend. Carrey earned $20 million for his next film, The Cable Guy (1996). Directed by Ben Stiller, Carrey played a lonely, slightly menacing cable TV installer who infiltrates the life of one of his customers (played by Matthew Broderick). The film tested Carrey's boundaries of his tried and true "hapless, hyper, overconfident" characters that he is known for regularly playing. However, it did not fare well with critics, many reacting towards Carrey's change of tone to previous films. Despite the reviews, The Cable Guy grossed $102 million worldwide.