Rising to the top of your profession can sometimes be a hard and difficult process. It requires days and nights of working consistently hard to be better than what you were yesterday. It requires not giving up when all of your experiences seem to be pushing you to quit. It is because of these challenges that only very few get to the summit of their profession. In the world of entertainment, the task is even more tedious because of the complexity of navigating the infamously complicated industry. It is why the achievements and successes of Craig Ferguson are very impressive. Despite battling alcoholism at a young age, so much so that he dropped out of high school, he managed to pull himself back up to build a reputable career. The Scottish-American is an award-winning comedian and television host and has a number of platforms to thank for bringing him to fame from obscurity.
Craig Ferguson’s Road To Becoming An Entertainer
Craig Ferguson was born into an average British family on the 17th of May in 1962 in Springburn, Glasgow to Robert Ferguson and Janet Ferguson. Though he was born in Springburn, the family later moved to Cumbernauld where he was raised as a result of the rehousing of UK citizens in the aftermath of World War II.
For his formal education, which was rather brief, he attended Muirfield Primary School and Cumbernauld but dropped out at the age of 16 for engaging in heavy drinking, he then trained as an electronics technician at a local factory. In the early 80s, Craig returned to New York having first visited his uncle in the city when he was 13. In New York, he worked as a construction worker and night club bouncer before returning to Scotland.
Craig Ferguson’s first foray into entertainment began in Glasgow. He became a drummer for Exposure, a rock band in Glasgow, and then later for a punk band named The Bastards from Hell. He was inspired to go into comedy by Peter Capaldi, the lead singer of his band. He began performing his acts at Glasgow clubs and small entertainment venues and subsequently performed at Edinburgh Festival in 1986 where he was spotted by a man Rick Siegel who would later become his agent and advised him to move to the United States.
However, before he made the move, Craig Ferguson debuted on UK television in shows like Red Dwarf, Hogmanay Show, and 2000 Not Out. He had considerable success on British television before he moved to the US in 1994.
Hollywood Breakthrough with The Drew Carey Show
In the US, where he would eventually become famous, Ferguson first began to appear in a show called Maybe This Time. Although the show was short-lived, he got a chance to appear alongside icons like Betty White and Marie Osmond.
He was in 1996 cast as Mr. Mick the boss of the titular character on The Drew Carey Show and played the role for 7 years. The role was the breakout role he needed to get his US career off the ground. On the show, Ferguson’s character became memorable for his unique way of firing employees. He left the show in 2003.
Since his appearance on the show, he has written and directed at least three films, starring in one, they are The Big Tease, Saving Grace, I’ll Be There among others. Craig Ferguson has also featured in films like The Ugly Truth, Kick-Ass, and is a voice actor in the successful animated franchise, How To Train Your Dragon.
Success with The Late Late Show on CBS
The periods between 2005 and 2014 are perhaps Ferguson’s most memorable in his career so far, it was the period when he began serving as the host of the CBS late-night show titled, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.
As the host of the show, Ferguson brought on a unique style of using a named Geoff Peterson instead of sidekicks as with previous hosts of the show. Ferguson drove the show’s ratings and viewership to its highest ever since the show’s inception in 1995.
In addition to quirky jokes, Ferguson also conducted serious interviews including the one with South Africa’s cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu which won him a Peabody Award in 2009. On the show, he also touched on national tragedies and at other times discussed personal issues like his parent’s health and his early struggles with alcoholism. He left the show in 2014 with James Corden selected as his replacement.
Other Notable TV Shows and Endeavors
Ferguson’s next show to garner recognition was Celebrity Name Game which ran from 2014 to 2017 and earned him two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host. In early 2016, he hosted a new show, Join or Die with Craig Ferguson on History Channel. For a year from 2017 to 2018, he also hosted a radio show, The Craig Ferguson Show.
In addition to hosting duties, Craig Ferguson has also made money from touring, he toured the United States multiple times, including Canada. He has received Grammy nominations for his comedy albums; American on Purpose, I’m Here to Help, and Just Being Honest. Craig Ferguson is also an author who has released no less than three books including two memoirs.
Ferguson returned to the UK in 2019 and has been more active as a voice actor for animated projects. His net worth is estimated at $30 million, most of which have come from hosting. In 2014 he was paid $5 million to serve as the host of the Late Late Show for 6 more months while his CBS searched for his replacement. In 2012, his yearly earnings were estimated at $12 million, the latest report of his annual earning was $8.5 million.
The TV Host Holds His Family Dear At Heart
During his Late Late Show years, Craig Ferguson frequently referred to his parents in his jokes. This made episodes of the show where he eulogised his parents notable and memorable. He got his first Emmy nomination for a 2006 episode where he eulogised his father, Robert who had died on the 29th of January 2007. Ferguson’s father battled esophageal cancer that had spread to his liver. Keeping a long-standing Scottish tradition, the comedian served as a pallbearer at his father’s funeral.
Three years later on December 1, 2008, Ferguson lost his mother Janet, 85. Despite the show being on a break at the time, teary Ferguson in a monologue honored his mother, playing clips of an interview he had with her while playing her favorite song Boney M’s Rivers of Babylon at the end of the show.
Ferguson has three other siblings – an older brother, an older sister, and a younger sister named Lyn Ferguson who is a writer, actress, and story coach. She is best known for voicing Man in Chicken Run.
Craig Ferguson Has Been Through Two Failed Marriages
Craig Ferguson has been married three times. He divorced his first two wives for reasons that were simply described as relationship issues.
His first marriage was to Anne Hogarth from 1983 to 1986 and his second to Sascha Corwin lasted from 1998 to 2004. Ferguson’s second wife is an educator; she founded SpySchool in Los Angeles and serves as the school’s proprietor. Their marriage produced Ferguson’s first son.
For the third time, Ferguson gave marriage another go when he married an art-dealer named Megan Wallace-Cunningham in 2008 on her family’s farm in Chester, Vermont. Together, the couple shares a son who was born in 2011 making Ferguson the father of two sons.