08/16/2012 09:03 am ET Updated May 08, 2014

Steve Carell Turns 50!

Welcome to the 50 Club, Steve Carell!

Long before the funny man graced the big screen with legendary actors Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep in "Hope Springs" and even before he won our hearts as the bumbling but lovable boss Michael Scott on "The Office," the Massachusetts native was serving up big laughs with Chicago's iconic improv group The Second City.

Carell's comedic talents are deeply rooted in improv. He told The New Yorker in a 2010 interview: "I look at improvising as a prolonged game of chess. There’s an opening gambit with your pawn in a complex game I have with one character, and lots of side games with other characters and another game with myself -- and in each game you make all these tiny, tiny moves that get you to the endgame."

It was Jon Stewart who gave Carell his break in television when he joined the cast of "The Daily Show" as a correspondent in 1999. While on "The Daily Show" Carell worked closely with Stewart and Stephen Colbert -- now the star of "The Colbert Report."

When the U.S. spin-off of the BBC show "The Office" took off in 2005, Carell became known for his role as Michael Scott -- the out-of-touch but fun-loving boss of fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin. Carell left the show before the season ended in 2011, leaving a roster of comedic talent like Will Ferrell to try and take his place.

Apart from his success on "The Office" the actor has become a leading man on the big screen, starring in successful comedies such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy."

Despite these successes, Carrell hasn’t had a seamless rise to the top. Early in his career he worked the night shift at a convenience store. He recalled one night a woman walked in and asked, "Do you think I'm pretty?" As it turned out, she had just stumbled upon her boyfriend with another woman. A lengthy conversation ensued.

“That was the cheapest therapy she ever got,” Carrell said in an interview with Huff/Post50. "I wouldn’t recommend going to a 7-11 to pick a clerk’s brain in terms of therapy. She was someone in need who was just desperate to talk. It was either that or sweep out the parking lot at 3 in the morning. I’m very reticent about giving people advice –- certainly unsolicited advice.”

Ironically, Carrell played a counselor in the film “Hope Springs,” in which he provides a week of intensive couples therapy to Kay and Arthur Soames, played by Streep and Jones. He said he was thrilled to work with the veteran actors.

“Meryl loves [acting] so passionately and every take she did she would try new things,” Carrell told Huff/Post50. “She was always thinking about how to adjust … I loved watching her passion, her enjoyment of it, and that after this incredible career there’s no resting on laurels whatsoever -- she just loves what she does and everyone can feel it.”

Carell has several upcoming films in the works, including sequels for "Despicable Me" and "Anchorman." He will also take another dramatic turn in "Foxcatcher," in which he plays, John DuPont, the real-life chemical heir who murdered a young wrestler. In the meantime, check out the slideshow below for some of Carell's funniest clips.



Steve Carell