Steven John "Steve" Carell (pronounced /kəˈrɛl/; born August 16, 1962) is an American comedian, actor, voice artist, producer, writer, and director. Although Carell is notable for his role on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, he found greater fame in Hollywood for playing Michael Scott on The Office. He has also starred in lead roles in the films The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine, Evan Almighty, Dan in Real Life, Get Smart, Date Night, Dinner for Schmucks, and Crazy, Stupid, Love.; and voiced characters in the animated films Over the Hedge, Horton Hears a Who!, and Despicable Me. Carell was nominated as "America's funniest man" in Life magazine. He received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy Series for his lead role of Michael Scott for The Office in 2006.
Carell, the youngest of four sons, was born at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Massachusetts, and was raised in nearby Acton by his parents, Harriet T. (née Koch), a psychiatric nurse, and Edwin A. Carell, an electrical engineer. His maternal uncle, Stanley Koch, worked with Allen B. DuMont to create cathode ray tubes. Carell's paternal grandfather was Italian; his father was born with the surname "Caroselli", later shortening it to "Carell". Carell was raised Roman Catholic, and was educated at The Fenn School and Middlesex School. Carell also played ice hockey as a teenager for his high school. Carell played the fife, performing with other members of his family, and later joined a reenacting group portraying the 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment of Foot. Carell attributed his interest in history to this, in which he earned his degree from Denison University in Granville, Ohio in 1984. He originally aspired to become a radio broadcaster, deejaying at WDUB in Granville.
Before opting for a career as a performer, Carell claims that he worked as a mail carrier in Littleton, Massachusetts, where he met his future wife. He later recounted that he quit after a few months because his boss told him he was not very good as a mail carrier; he needed to be more efficient. He planned on attending law school, but was unable to write an explanation on his application form as to why he wanted to be a lawyer. Early in his performing career, Carell acted on the stage in a touring children's theater company and later in the comedy musical, Knat Scatt Private Eye. He also acted in a television commercial for Brown's Chicken in 1989. After that, Carell performed with Chicago troupe The Second City in 1991, where Stephen Colbert was his understudy for a time. That same year, he obtained his first film work in a minor role as Tesio in Curly Sue.