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25 Can't-Miss Father's Day Gift Ideas

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Father’s Day is coming up fast. If the dads in your life are stingy about dropping gift-related hints, it's time to take matters into your own hands. Here are some shopping ideas to get you started.

1. OUTDOOR TRAVEL MUG

Man in flannel holding travel mug.
Stanley

If your dad is an experienced hiker, he already knows the importance of having the right tools on the trail. This air-tight mug is built for the mountains: The finger loop makes it easy to hold or clip onto a pack, and the grit guard keeps water free of contaminants. It also features a push-button lid so he can hydrate without breaking his stride.

Find it: Stanley, $30

2. PAC-MAN CUFFLINKS

Silver Pac Man and ghost cufflinks.
Amazon

Help your dad look sharp while embracing his inner geek. These silver-colored cufflinks depict two of the most iconic characters in video games: Pac-Man and his ghost antagonist (whether it's Inky, Blinky, Pinky, or Clyde is hard to tell).

Find it: Amazon, $25

3. ONE-WAY-MIRROR BIRD FEEDER

Cat looks at bird feeder through window.
Amazon

On days when your dad doesn’t feel like getting off the couch, he can still indulge his bird-watching hobby indoors. All he needs is this one-way-mirror bird feeder. It can be filled with up to one pound of seeds after it's secured to the outside of a window. Birds stopping by to eat only see their reflection while the people indoors get to enjoy nature up close.

Find it: Amazon, $35

4. AUTOMATIC SAND DRAWING MACHINE

Magnetic ball draws patterns in the sand.
ThinkGeek

This zen garden requires zero effort to maintain—just plug it in, adjust the dials, and watch a magnetic ball etch mesmerizing patterns on its own. The machine can be programmed to create symmetrical mandalas or draw random shapes in the sand. It makes a soothing addition to any desk, coffee table, or nightstand.

Find it: ThinkGeek, $40

5. WHISKEY TASTING KIT

Whiskey tasting kit.
UncommonGoods

Does your dad treat a glass of quality whiskey like a piece of fine art? This is the gift for him. The tasting kit includes a glass, a pen, and booklets for jotting down notes on the peatiness of a 1987 bourbon or similar impressions. If your dad isn’t yet the aficionado he one day hopes to be, he can refer to the glossary of whiskey "terms demystified" in each book.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $30

6. CARRY-ON LUGGAGE

Blue carry-on luggage.
Eagle Creek

Packing for your next family vacation will be a cinch with this luggage. It fits 36 liters of belongings and features extra panels, compartments, and outside straps for stuffing in as much as possible. Weighing less than five pounds empty, the compact bag fits perfectly into the overhead compartment of a plane—so your dad can travel the world without worrying about surprise checked-bag fees.

Find it: Eagle Creek, $183

7. LAVENDER NECK WRAP

Bird feeder attached to a window.
amazon

Being a dad is a stressful job. Cozying up with a neck wrap filled with flaxseed and lavender is one way to indulge in some much-needed rest and relaxation. This cushion can be heated up in the microwave to relieve muscle tension or chilled in the freezer to treat puffy eyes and migraines.

Find it: Amazon, $30

8. GOLDFUSION GYM TOWEL

Gray plush gym towel
Rhone

If your dad has been using the same ratty gym towel for years, it may be time for an upgrade. Each GoldFusion gym towel is infused with nanoparticles of real gold, which the makers claim gives the fabric quick-drying and odor-resistant properties. It’s also softer and silkier than any towel handed out in a gym.

Find it: Rhone, $29

9. MAGNETIC WRISTBAND

Bolts and screws attracted to magnetic wristband.
Amazon

Home improvement projects are frustrating enough—make the process a little easier with this magnetic wristband. After it's strapped on, the surface can hold screws, nails, drill bits, bolts, or whatever small metal parts your dad needs in a spot that’s easy to reach.

Find it: Amazon, $25

10. PEPPER AND GARLIC JERKY KIT

Box of jerky curing supplies.
Williams Sonoma

This kit makes a great weekend project for any meat lover. It includes a garlic pepper spice mixture and a cure made from saIt, sugar, and sodium nitrate. All your dad has to do is provide the beef and he’ll have a savory snack that lasts for months.

Find it: Williams Sonoma, $12

11. SMARTPHONE CAMERA REMOTE

Smartphone camera remote.
Amazon

No more setting up camera timers and racing to squeeze into the photo in time. With the Muku Shuttr, your dad can snap a photo on his smartphone when he’s standing across the room. The device connects to a phone or tablet via Bluetooth so users can press the button and activate the camera instantaneously. It’s perfect for family photos—or artistic selfies if that’s your dad’s style.

Find it: Amazon, $39

12. SPOCK OVEN MITT

Pulling a pan from the oven with a Spock oven mitt.
ThinkGeek

Your dad can live long and prosper through his next cooking project with this oven mitt shaped like his favorite Star Trek greeting. Protecting his hands while holding hot pans definitely sounds logical.

Find it: ThinkGeek, $15

13. EQUATION CLOCK

Equation clock
UncommonGoods

Math geeks should have fun with this sadistic timepiece. Each number on the face is presented as a roundabout equation. If losing track of time is a concern, the clock does come with a cheat sheet.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $30

14. COLD BREW COFFEE INFUSION BOTTLE

Pouring coffee from a cold brew infusion bottle
ThinkGeek

Instead of spending $4 on iced coffee from a cafe, your dad can brew his own at home with this infusion bottle. After it’s filled with water and ground coffee, the bottle sits for 12 hours in the fridge. In the morning, simply remove the built-in coffee filter and pour the drink into a glass or mug. Cold brew tastes smoother than hot coffee, but it’s also stronger—so remind your dad to dilute it to avoid a caffeine overload.

Find it: ThinkGeek, $20

15. DESKTOP GAMES

Desktop version of a bowling alley.
ThinkGeek

With these desktop games your dad will forget he’s at work—at least briefly. Each box comes with all the miniature sports gear needed to play an actual game. Whether your dad prefers golf, pool, or bowling, there’s a tabletop set for him.

Find it: ThinkGeek, $15

16. TITANIUM SUNGLASSES

Titanium and hardwood sunglasses
Shwood

Here’s how you can convince your dad to finally ditch his plastic drugstore sunglasses: Buy him this pair from Shwood. The frame is cut from light-weight, vacuum-plated titanium. The arms that extend past the temples are made of hardwood—the maker’s signature touch.

Find it: Shwood, $189

17. BACKGAMMON SET

Backgammon board
UncommonGoods

It would be a crime to let this backgammon set collect dust on a shelf. Crafted from real wood and brass with hand-printed designs, this game is meant to be taken out and shown off. The board folds up into a convenient traveling case, making it a great option for the beach, the park, or an extended rest stop during long road trips.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $120

18. WET SHAVE BOX SUBSCRIPTION

Supplies in shaving kit.
Wet Shave Club

Personal grooming doesn’t have to be a chore. A subscription with the Wet Shave club comes with monthly boxes of shaving supplies your dad will be eager to test out. Packages include blades, soaps, aftershaves, and other pampering products that vary month to month.

Find it: Wet Shave Club, $50 for first box

19. BEER CHILLING COASTER SET

Beer bottle in granite coaster.
UncommonGoods

Lukewarm beers have met their match. These coasters, hand-carved from New Hampshire granite, are built to keep bottles cool. Just store them in the fridge and pull them out when when it’s time to crack open a frosty beverage. The stone keep drinks chilled for up to 30 minutes.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $68

20. DARTH VADER SOCKS

Darth Vader
Amazon

Hopefully your Father’s Day is less awkward than Luke Skywalker’s. These officially licensed Star Wars socks fit men’s shoe sizes 6 through 12.

Find it: Amazon, $12

21. BASEBALL TEAM NAMES POSTER

Poster charting baseball team names.
Pop Chart Lab

Ever wonder how many baseballs teams are named after royalty (11) or punctuation marks (two) or meteorological phenomena (15)? In this ambitious poster, Pop Chart Lab traces the etymologies of close to 600 major, minor, and international baseball teams. It goes beyond popular favorites like the Philadelphia Phillies to include slightly more obscure teams like the Holyoke Paperweights.

Find it: Pop Chart Lab, $29

22. EARBUD WRAP

Earbuds wrapped around leather detangler.
Amazon

Give your dad the gift of tangle-free earbuds. Cords coil smoothly around this compact accessory and stay snapped in place. The wrap is made of durable leather, so it can survive long stretches of time spent banging around your dad’s pocket or desk drawer.

Find it: Amazon, $7

23. KATANA BOOKENDS

Books with katana book ends.
Amazon

If you're hesitant to buy your samurai-obsessed dad a real katana, this playful set is a safe alternative. Magnets and metal bookends tucked within the books given the sword the illusion of stabbing straight through to the other side. Thankfully no literature was harmed in the making of this gift.

Find it: Amazon, $19

24. PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

Portable Bluetooth speaker.
Amazon

Thanks to Bluetooth technology, your dad can listen to his favorite tunes in high quality no matter where he is. The Wonderboom from Ultimate Ears delivers loud, clean sound up to 100 feet away from the signal. It’s also waterproof, which makes it the obvious choice for a day at the beach.

Find it: Ultimate Ears, $100

25. CAMPING HAMMOCK

Camping hammock.
Amazon

A camping hammock offers all the serenity of sleeping under the stars without the hard ground or dirty sleeping bag. The nylon parachute material is strong enough to hold 600-pound loads and light enough to carry on long hikes. But if your dad doesn't have any camping trips planned, there’s nothing stopping him from setting it up in the backyard, perhaps for some eclipse action later this summer.

Find it: Amazon, $19

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15 Fascinating Facts About Julia Child
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Julia Child was much more than just a bestselling cookbook author and chef. Over the course of her life, she was also a breast cancer survivor, a TV trailblazer, and a government spy. It's the famed chef's spy game that will be the focus of Julia, a new series being developed by ABC Signature and created by Benjamin Brand.

The project will draw its inspiration from Child's PBS program, Cooking for the C.I.A. “I was disappointed when I learned that in this case, the C.I.A. stood for the Culinary Institute of America,” Brand told Deadline. “Cooking Secrets of the Central Intelligence Agency always seemed like a more interesting show to me. Many years later, when I read a biography of Julia Child and learned about her experiences during World War II, working for the Office of Strategic Services—the precursor to the C.I.A.—the story of Julia quickly fell into place.”

Though Julia will be a work of fiction, here are 15 facts about the beloved cook.

1. SHE MET THE INVENTOR OF THE CAESAR SALAD WHEN SHE WAS A KID.

As a preteen, Julia Child traveled to Tijuana on a family vacation. Her parents took her to dine at Caesar Cardini’s restaurant, so that they could all try his trendy “Caesar salad.” Child recalled the formative culinary experience to The New York Times: “My parents were so excited, eating this famous salad that was suddenly very chic. Caesar himself was a great big old fellow who stood right in front of us to make it. I remember the turning of the salad in the bowl was very dramatic. And egg in a salad was unheard of at that point.” Years later, when she was a famous chef in her own right, Child convinced Cardini’s daughter, Rosa, to share the authentic recipe with her.

2. THE WAVES AND WACS REJECTED HER BECAUSE SHE WAS TOO TALL.

Like so many others of her generation, Child felt the call to serve when America entered World War II. There was just one problem: her height. At a towering 6'2", Child was deemed “too tall” for both the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) and Women’s Army Corps (WAC). But she was accepted by the forerunner to the CIA, which brings us to our next point.

3. SHE WAS A SPY DURING WORLD WAR II.

Child took a position at the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was basically the CIA 1.0. She began as a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division, where she worked directly for the head of the OSS, General William J. Donovan. But she moved over to the OSS Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section, and then took an overseas post for the final two years of the war. First in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) and later in Kunming, China, Child served as the chief of the OSS Registry. This meant she had top-level security clearance. It also meant she was working with Paul Child, the OSS officer she would eventually marry.

4. SHE HELPED DEVELOP A SHARK REPELLENT FOR THE NAVY.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

While Child was in the Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section, she helped the team in its search for a suitable shark repellent. Several U.S. naval officers had been attacked by the ocean predators since the war broke out, so the OSS brought in a scientist specializing in zoology and an anthropologist to come up with a fix. Child assisted in this mission, and recalled her experience in the book, Sisterhood of Spies: “I must say we had lots of fun. We designed rescue kits and other agent paraphernalia. I understand the shark repellent we developed is being used today for downed space equipment—strapped around it so the sharks won’t attack when it lands in the ocean.”

5. SHE GOT MARRIED IN BANDAGES.

Once the war ended, Paul and Julia Child decided to take a “few months to get to know each other in civilian clothes.” They met with family members and traveled cross-country before they decided to tie the knot. The wedding took place on September 1, 1946. Julia remembered being “extremely happy, but a bit banged up from a car accident the day before.” She wasn’t kidding; she actually had to wear a bandage on the side of her face for her wedding photos. The New York Review of Books has one of those pictures.

6. SHE WAS A TERRIBLE COOK WELL INTO HER 30S.

Child did not have a natural talent for cooking. In fact, she was a self-admitted disaster in the kitchen until she began taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, where she and Paul lived for several years. Prior to her marriage, Child simply fed herself frozen dinners. It was probably the safest choice; one of her earliest attempts at cooking resulted in an exploded duck and an oven fire.

7. A LUNCH IN ROUEN CHANGED HER LIFE.

Child repeatedly credited one meal with spurring her interest in fine foods: a lunch in the French city of Rouen that she and Paul enjoyed en route to their new home in Paris. The meal consisted of oysters portugaises on the half-shell, sole meunière browned in Normandy butter, a salad with baguettes, and cheese and coffee for dessert. They also “happily downed a whole bottle of Pouilly-Fumé” over the courses.

8. IT TOOK HER NINE YEARS TO WRITE AND PUBLISH HER FIRST COOKBOOK.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking revolutionized home cooking when it was published in 1961—but the revolution didn't happen overnight. Child first began work on her famous tome in 1952, when she met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. The French women were writing a cookbook aimed at teaching Americans how to make French cuisine, and brought Child onboard as a third author. Nine years of research, rewrites, and rejections ensued before the book landed a publisher at Alfred A. Knopf.

9. SHE GOT FAMOUS BY BEATING EGGS ON BOSTON PUBLIC TELEVISION.

Child’s big TV break came from an unlikely source: Boston’s local WGBH station. While promoting Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Child appeared as a guest on the book review program I’ve Been Reading. But rather than sit down and discuss recipe semantics, Child started cracking eggs into a hot plate she brought with her. She made an omelette on air as she answered questions, and viewers loved it. The station received dozens of letters begging for more demonstrations, which led WGBH producer Russell Morash to offer Child a deal. She filmed three pilot episodes, which turned into her star-making show The French Chef.

10. ALL HER ESSENTIAL UTENSILS WERE KEPT IN A “SACRED BAG.”

According to a 1974 New Yorker profile, Child carried a large black canvas satchel known as the “sacred bag.” Rather than holy artifacts, it contained the cooking utensils she couldn’t live without. That included her pastry-cutting wheel, her favorite flour scoop, and her knives, among other things. She started using it when The French Chef premiered, and only entrusted certain people with its care.

11. SHE SURVIVED BREAST CANCER.

Child’s doctors ordered a mastectomy in the late 1960s after a routine biopsy came back with cancerous results. She was in a depressed mood following her 10-day hospital stay, and Paul was a wreck. But she later became vocal about her operation in hopes that it would remove the stigma for other women. She told TIME, “I would certainly not pussyfoot around having a radical [mastectomy] because it’s not worth it.”

12. HER MARRIAGE WAS WELL AHEAD OF ITS TIME.

As their meet-cute in the OSS offices would suggest, Paul and Julia Child had far from a conventional marriage (at least by 1950s standards). Once Julia’s career took off, Paul happily assisted in whatever way he could—as a taste tester, dishwasher, agent, or manager. He had retired from the Foreign Service in 1960, and immediately thrust himself into an active role in Julia’s business. The New Yorker took note of Paul’s progressive attitudes in its 1974 profile of Julia, noting that he suffered “from no apparent insecurities of male ego.” He continued to serve as Julia’s partner in every sense of the word until his death in 1994.

13. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN INDUCTED INTO THE CULINARY INSTITUTE OF AMERICA'S HALL OF FAME.

Child spent her early years working for what would become the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1993, she joined another CIA: the Culinary Institute of America. The group inducted Child into its Hall of Fame that year, making her the first woman to ever receive the honor.

14. SHE EARNED THE HIGHEST CIVILIAN HONORS FROM THE U.S. AND FRANCE.

Along with that CIA distinction, Child received top civilian awards from both her home country and the country she considered her second home. In 2000, she accepted the Legion D’Honneur from Jacques Pépin at Boston’s Le Méridien hotel. Just three years later, George W. Bush gave her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

15. HER KITCHEN IS IN THE SMITHSONIAN.

In 2001, Julia donated the kitchen that Paul designed in their Cambridge, Massachusetts home to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Although it’s not possible to walk directly through it, there are three viewports from which visitors can see the high counters, wall of copper pots, and gleaming stove. Framed recipes, articles, and other mementos from her career adorn the surrounding walls—and, of course, there’s a television which plays her cooking shows on loop.

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15 Surprising Facts About Steve Carell
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Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon

From the seven seasons he spent as the star of NBC’s The Office to leading man roles in comedy classics like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Steve Carell has become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand funnymen. But he has proven his dramatic chops, too, particularly with his role as John du Pont in Foxcatcher, which earned Carell an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 2015. Even if you’ve seen all of his movies, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about the Massachusetts native, who turns 55 years old today.

1. HE THOUGHT HE WANTED TO BE A LAWYER.

Steve Carell attended Ohio’s Denison University, where he received a history degree in 1984, and had planned to move on to law school. But when it came time to apply, he found himself stumped by the first question on the application: Why do you want to be a lawyer?

“I had never considered acting as a career choice, although I’d always enjoyed it,” Carell told NJ.com in 2011. “I enjoyed hockey and singing in the choir, and I didn’t think of them as potential careers, either … But I began to realize I really loved acting, and telling stories. Reading a book, watching a movie, going to a play, it’s transporting, and very, very exciting. And to be a part of that, creating things with your imagination, whoa."

2. HE WORKED AS A MAILMAN.

Shortly before he moved to Chicago and performed with The Second City, Carell worked as a postal carrier in the tiny town of Littleton, Massachusetts. Because the post office didn’t have its own mail vehicles, Carell had to use his own car. He kept the gig for just four months, then took off for the Windy City. “And months later, I found mail under the seat of my car,” he admitted. Carell also said it was the hardest job he has ever had.

3. HE WAS HIS WIFE’S TEACHER.

No, it’s not as risqué as it sounds. Carell met his wife, Nancy Walls, through an improv class at Second City; he was the teacher, she was one of his students. “I beat around the bush [before asking her out] and said something stupid like, ‘Well, you know, if I were to ever ask someone out, it would be someone like you,’” Carell told Details of his earliest attempts at flirting. “It’s so stupid, but it was all self-protection. She was the same way: ‘If somebody like you were to ask me out, I would definitely go out with him. If there was a person like you.’” The couple married in 1995 and have appeared in several projects together.

4. THE COUPLE HAD TO BREAK UP (ON CAMERA) ON THEIR 17TH ANNIVERSARY.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

For Lorene Scafaria’s underrated 2012 end-of-the-world dramedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Steve and Nancy played a married couple who split up when it’s announced that an asteroid heading toward Earth will obliterate the planet in three weeks. Their break-up scene happens very early on in the movie, and they ended up filming it on their 17th wedding anniversary.

“She gets to leave me right at the beginning,” Carell told Parade. “They used the take where her shoe came off in the car, and she bolted across that field with one shoe on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her run that fast. We shot the scene on our 17th anniversary. [The director] got us a cake and the crew sang ‘Happy Anniversary’ to us. It was very sweet, a very special night."

5. HE AND HIS WIFE AUDITIONED FOR SNL TOGETHER; ONLY ONE OF THEM MADE IT.

In 1995, the same year they married, both Carell and Walls auditioned for Saturday Night Live. Walls made it but Carell didn’t, which must have made for one awkward celebratory dinner. But it all turned out well in the end; Carell went on to become a household name and has hosted the show on two occasions.

6. HE WAS ONE HALF OF “THE AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO.”

Though he missed out on the chance to become a regular SNL cast member, there was a silver lining: He was free to say “yes” to taking a role on The Dana Carvey Show, a sketch show that SNL alum Dana Carvey created for ABC. Though it was short-lived, the show was full of amazing comedic talent; in addition to Carvey and Carell, the show featured Stephen Colbert, Bob Odenkirk, and Robert Smigel and a writers room that included Louis C.K., Charlie Kaufman, and Robert Carlock. The show marked the debut of Smigel’s recurring animated sketch, “The Ambiguously Gay Duo,” which followed the adventures of Gary and Ace, who were voiced by Carell and Colbert, respectively. After the show was cancelled, Smigel brought the “Duo” over to Saturday Night Live.

7. HE OWNS A GENERAL STORE IN MASSACHUSETTS.

While many A-list stars run side businesses—restaurants, wine companies, clothing lines, etc.—the Carells' second gig is a little less glamorous. In 2009, they bought the Marshfield Hills General Store in Marshfield, Massachusetts—where they spend their summers—in order to preserve it as a local landmark. 

“The main impetus to keep it going is that not many of those places exist and I wanted this one to stay afloat,” Carell told The Patriot Ledger. “Just generally speaking, there are not that many local sort of communal places as there used to be ... I think it’s nice for people to actually go and talk and have a cup of coffee and communicate with one another."

8. HE PLAYS THE FIFE.

Yes, Carell has got some musical talent and can actually play the fife. It’s a skill he acquired early in life, and shares with several of his family members. And it came in handy when he joined a reenactment group that portrayed the 10th (North Lincoln) Regiment of Foot, a line infantry regiment with the British Army.

9. HE WAS NOT THE FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY MICHAEL SCOTT IN THE OFFICE.

Though Michael Scott, the clueless manager of paper company Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton, Pennsylvania branch in The Office, is still probably Carell's best-known role, he wasn’t the first choice for the part. Paul Giamatti was reportedly the first choice, but he declined. Hank Azaria and Martin Short were also in the running. Bob Odenkirk was actually cast in the role because Carell was committed to another series, Come to Papa. But when that show was cancelled after just a few episodes, the role of Michael Scott was recast with Carell. (Odenkirk appeared in one of the series’s later episodes, playing a boss who was eerily similar to Carell’s Scott.)

10. WHEN CARELL LEFT THE OFFICE, THE CAST AND CREW “RETIRED” HIS NUMBER ON THE CALL SHEET.

NBC Universal, Inc.

When Carell left The Office after seven seasons to focus on his film career, the cast and crew continued one tradition in his honor. “Steve was No. 1 on the call sheet because he was the lead of the show,” co-star Jenna Fischer told TV Guide. “And when he left, we retired his number. No one, ever since he left, was allowed to be No. 1."

11. HE WAS IN TALKS TO PLAY RON DONALD ON PARTY DOWN.

Before Party Down made its premiere on Starz with Adam Scott playing failed actor Henry Pollard, it was supposed to be an HBO series with Paul Rudd in the lead. And Rudd was pushing for Carell to play bumbling catering manager Ron Donald, as The Office didn’t get off to a great start and looked to be in danger of getting cancelled. Ultimately, HBO ended up abandoning the project, which Starz scooped up—with Scott as Pollard and Ken Marino as Ron Donald.

12. JAMES SPADER REALLY WANTED TO PLAY BRICK TAMLAND IN ANCHORMAN.

Dreamworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

Though it was The 40-Year-Old Virgin that turned Carell into a leading man on the big screen, his role as oddball meteorologist Brick Tamland in Anchorman brought him a lot of attention. But if James Spader had his way, Carell would never have appeared in the role at all. In a 2013 interview with Baller Status, director Adam McKay shared that before the film was even cast:

“I get a phone call and I hear that James Spader is obsessed with Brick's character. I say ‘James Spader? That is insane, will he come in and read?’ They say, ‘No, he's not going to come in and read; he's James Spader!’ James Spader and I end up talking and he called it about the Brick character. He thought it was one of the funniest character he ever read and we weren't even sure if it was going to work. He literally said, ‘I will do anything to get this role.’ Eventually, we were just like, ‘This is James Spader; he is too good for this role.’ But, he was right about how funny it was. The movie studio even questioned us and said how bizarre Brick is, and it wouldn't work. I felt bad we didn't cast James, but Carell was so good.”

Spader proved his comedic chops in 2011, when he was cast as Robert California, Michael Scott’s replacement on The Office (who quickly manages to convince the company owner to appoint him as CEO).

13. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS' EXECUTIVES WERE CONCERNED THAT CARELL WAS COMING OFF AS A SERIAL KILLER IN THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN.

Though it turned out to be one of 2005’s biggest hits, getting the tone right on Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin proved to be a fairly difficult task. At one point, executives at Universal Studios expressed their concern to Apatow that Carell might come off as a serial killer to viewers.

"There is a fine line," producer Mary Parent told the Los Angeles Times. "Men and women alike could look at him and if he's too much of a sad sack, they will think, 'Dude, get a life.’” Apatow ended up adding several lines about the fact that Carell’s character could be a serial killer.

14. HE LEARNED MAGIC FROM DAVID COPPERFIELD.

In 2013, Carell played a magician in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. In order to get the role just right, he went straight to the top: David Copperfield. The famed illusionist taught Carell and co-star Steve Buscemi a trick called “The Hangman,” and they were both sworn to secrecy. “I actually had to sign something that I would not divulge,” Carell told The Hollywood Reporter. “So that was kind of cool.”

15. HE OFFERED PRINCETON'S 2012 CLASS SOME TIPS FOR SUCCESS.

In 2012, Carell delivered a speech to Princeton University graduates—which included his niece—during Class Day. He ended his talk by offering some tips to the grads:

“I would like to leave you with a few random thoughts. Not advice per se, but some helpful hints: Show up on time. Because to be late is to show disrespect. Remember that the words 'regime' and 'regimen' are not interchangeable. Get a dog, because cats are lame. Only use a 'That's what she said' joke if you absolutely cannot resist. Never try to explain a 'That's what she said' joke to your parents. When out to eat, tip on the entire check. Do not subtract the tax first. And every once in a while, put something positive into the world. We have become so cynical these days. And by we I mean us. So do something kind, make someone laugh, and don't take yourself too seriously.”

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