Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
New Star of the Year - Male
Chevy Chase is often considered one of the most likeable comedic personalities of his generation, even though the immediate popularity he achieved following a single season on Saturday Night Live never translated into more than a couple hit movies, and none after the 1980s. The prematurely balding, intelligent, fast-talking Chase created a couple classic characters, notably Irwin M. Fletcher (aka Fletch) and Vacation's Clark Griswold, but his career is often thought of as plagued by misfires and missed opportunities, rather than touched by comic brilliance.
Born on October 8, 1943, in New York City, Cornelius Crane Chase became known as "Chevy" when his grandmother nicknamed him after Chevy Chase, the wealthy Maryland community. The 6'4" future writer and actor was valedictorian of his high school class before attending Bard College, where he earned a B.A. in English. With a pre-celebrity resumé as varied as any (tennis pro, truck driver, bartender), Chase spent his twenties as a comedy writer for such outlets as the Smothers Brothers and National Lampoon, the latter of which eventually led to a lucrative franchise of Vacation movies. Chase's first stint as a performer was with the New York comedy video workshop Channel One, which evolved into the 1974 film Groove Tube. This afforded Chase the necessary exposure to be hired by Lorne Michaels for the first season of Saturday Night Live in 1975.