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Charlie Day: The Wildly Talented Star of It‘s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Full Name Charles Peckham Day
Age 47
Birthday February 9, 1976
Occupation Actor, Writer, Producer, Comedian
Years active 1996-present
Net worth $30 million
Spouse Mary Elizabeth Ellis (m. 2006)
Social media Instagram, Twitter

Charles Peckham Day, better known as Charlie Day, is an American actor, writer, producer and comedian best known as the creator and star of the long-running sitcom It‘s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Charlie is renowned for his manic comedic energy, wildcard improv skills, and embodiment of the outrageous Charlie Kelly on Sunny. With his unique vocal inflections and knack for physical comedy, Charlie has crafted one of the most iconic and beloved sitcom characters of the past 20 years.

Early Life and Education

Charlie Day was born on February 9, 1976 in New York City but spent most of his youth growing up in Middletown, Rhode Island. His mother was a piano teacher at Pennfield School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island and Charlie grew up surrounded by music and the arts.

He attended Merrimack High School where he was active in the school‘s drama program and developed a passion for performing. As a teen, Charlie was drawn to classic comedy films and idolized actors like Charlie Chaplin, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray.

After graduating high school in 1995, Charlie attended Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts. He originally planned to major in art history and become an art teacher. However, Charlie soon switched his major to English as he realized his true calling was acting.

Charlie graduated from Merrimack in 1999 with a Bachelor‘s degree in English. Shortly after, he packed his bags and headed west to pursue his dreams of acting stardom in Los Angeles.

The Early LA Grind: Waiting Tables, Parking Cars and Bit Parts

When Charlie first arrived in LA, he struggled to land acting roles. To get by, he worked a variety of odd jobs as a waiter, parking cars, and even selling shoes door-to-door.

Charlie‘s first few television credits were minor parts on shows like Madigan Men, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Third Watch and Reno 911! He also starred in various stage productions with the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.

In 2003, Charlie landed his first film role in the romantic comedy Waiting… opposite Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris and Justin Long. Charlie‘s big break was just around the corner.

The Creation of It‘s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

In 2004, Charlie befriended fellow struggling actors Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney in LA. The trio bonded over their shared frustrations trying to make it in Hollywood and decided to create their own opportunities.

Together they came up with the idea for It‘s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, envisioned as "Seinfeld on crack" centered on a group of friends with little morality or ethics who run an Irish bar in South Philadelphia.

Charlie, Glenn and Rob all created, wrote and starred in Sunny drawing on their own real-life experiences hustling as actors in LA. The show allowed them to showcase their talents for raunchy, controversial comedy with little network interference.

It‘s Always Sunny in Philadelphia premiered on FX in 2005 and quickly drew a cult following thanks to its outrageous characters and storyline. Charlie stars as Charlie Kelly, an eccentric janitor at the bar who is best friend’s with co-owner Dennis Reynolds (Glenn Howerton).

Charlie‘s character is completely unhinged – known for his substance abuse issues, obsession with "The Waitress", poor hygiene, manic energy, conspiracy theories and occasional moments of genius buried under his madness.

Much of Charlie’s insane dialogue and physical comedy are improvised, making the character all the more unpredictable. To date, It‘s Always Sunny has run for 15 seasons, tying the record for the longest running live-action sitcom in American TV history.

Charlie‘s Unforgettable Film Roles

In between filming Sunny seasons, Charlie began landing roles in popular comedy films where he got to showcase the full range of his talents.

Some of his most memorable movies include:

  • Horrible Bosses (2011) – Charlie stole scenes as the unhinged Duffy opposite A-listers Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman.
  • Pacific Rim (2013) – In a rare dramatic role, Charlie played eccentric scientist Dr. Newton Geiszler trying to prevent apocalypse via giant fighting robots.
  • Monsters University (2013) – Charlie lent his unique vocals to Art, the fuzzy purple monster in this Pixar prequel.
  • Fist Fight (2017) – As the anxious, oddball English teacher Andy Campbell, Charlie elicited plenty of laughs opposite Ice Cube.
  • The Lego Movie (2014) – Perfectly cast as the cracked-out 1980s space guy Benny with a broken spaceship.

Charlie‘s performance often steals the show in even minor supporting roles. He has a true talent for taking direction while also improvising some of the funniest throwaway lines.

Charlie‘s Other Notable Projects

When he‘s not filming It‘s Always Sunny or movies, Charlie keeps his comedy chops sharp with a variety of other projects:

  • The Charlie Day Show Podcast – Charlie launched this podcast in 2021 featuring hilarious, insightful interviews with celebrity guests from Bob Odenkirk to Mary Lynn Rajskub.
  • El Tonto (2021) – Charlie co-wrote, directed and starred in this quirky independent film about a deaf man who unexpectedly becomes a celebrity known as "The Fool."
  • I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (2019) – Charlie served as executive producer and guest starred in several episodes of this absurdist Netflix sketch comedy series.
  • Unsupervised (2012) – Charlie co-created this short-lived animated series for FX with his Sunny partners Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton.
  • Cool Kids (2018) – Charlie both directed episodes and made guest appearances as a quirky retirement home resident on this Fox sitcom.

Charlie‘s Personal Life

Charlie has been married to actress Mary Elizabeth Ellis since 2006 after meeting on the set of It‘s Always Sunny. Ellis has played the recurring role of The Waitress on Sunny for all 15 seasons.

Together they have two children – a son named Russell Wallace born in 2011 and a daughter named Ruby Mardell born in 2014. Charlie and Mary keep their family life very private.

When he‘s not acting, Charlie enjoys playing keyboard and guitar, having taught himself both instruments. He is also part owner of the popular craft brewery Mikkeller and made a special brew called "Charbrew" in collaboration.

Despite his massive success, those close to Charlie say he remains down-to-earth, humble, focused on his craft and appreciative of his fans.

Why We‘re Wild About Charlie Day

There are so many reasons Charlie Day has cemented himself as a comedy icon:

  • His manic energy and physical comedy skills are simply hilarious
  • Charlie‘s line delivery and facial expressions are comedic gold
  • He helped create one of the most successful sitcoms of all time in Sunny
  • Charlie regularly steals scenes with his unpredictable improv skills
  • He transitions effortlessly between oddball character roles and leading men
  • Charlie has incredible range from silly to dramatic roles
  • His iconic Charlie Kelly is one of the most beloved sitcom characters ever
  • He maintains a reputation as a kind collaborator and supporter of others
  • Charlie has racked up 21 major award nominations and 7 wins thus far

Charlie Day‘s talent and creativity both on-screen and off make him one of the most brilliant comedic forces working today. We can‘t wait to see what hilarious characters and stories Charlie brings to life next!