Moranis, Frederick Alan (Rick)
Frederick Alan (Rick) Moranis, actor, screenwriter (b at Toronto 18 Apr 1953). Rick Moranis was usually cast as the prototypical nerd or geek, enjoying a successful run in light comedies and family films in the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. The Toronto resident worked part-time as a radio engineer during high school and then studied philosophy at York University for two years. He ventured into standup comedy and radio work at Toronto's CFTR, CHUM-FM and CKFH in his twenties, and made early ventures into the US in the late 1970s, appearing at The Comedy Store and The Improv in Los Angeles.
Back in Toronto, Moranis worked on local television, including 90 Minutes Live (CBC, 1976-78), before signing on with Second City TV (SCTV) in 1980. His diverse characterizations ran from the prescient, middle-of-the-road video disc jockey Gerry Todd and gay secretary Guy Friday to impersonations of Merv Griffin, Woody Allen and Dick Cavett. His rapport with fellow cast member Dave Thomas led to the creation of the beer-guzzling, tuque-wearing "hosers" Bob and Doug McKenzie and their two-minute "Great White North" segments, developed to satisfy Canadian content regulations. These mostly improvised spots were a huge success, eventually spawning the platinum-selling Great White North, which won the 1982 Juno for best comedy album and was nominated for a Grammy Award, and the feature film Strange Brew (1983). Moranis and Thomas wrote, directed and starred in the film, which was a smash hit in Canada. Moranis then landed the role of possessed accountant Louis Tully opposite Bill Murray, Dan AYKROYD and Sigourney Weaver in the hugely successful Ghostbusters (1984).
Moranis played the nebbishy Seymour Krelborn in the 1986 musical version of Little Shop of Horrors, and picked up perhaps his most popular role as physics professor and father Wayne Szalinski in Disney's trilogy Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989), Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992), and Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves (1997). He can be heard in the cartoons Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer & the Island of Misfit Toys (2001), The Animated Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie (2003), Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids (2003) and as the voice of Rutt in Brother Bear (2003) and its 2006 sequel.
Along with all the SCTV cast, Moranis was awarded the Emmy Award in 1982 for outstanding writing in a variety or music program and a Gemini Award in 1995 for their body of work. In 1990 Moranis won an American Comedy Award for funniest supporting actor in a motion picture, for his role in Parenthood. In 2004, Moranis, along with SCTV alumni Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty, joined the advisory committee for the comedy program at Toronto's Humber College - the only such diploma program in the world.
In October 2005 Moranis released his self-produced and -distributed album, the country-music-themed The Agoraphobic Cowboy.