NBC's 'Saturday Night Live' has launched many a film career, turning its "not ready for Prime Time" players into big box office stars -- like these.
On 'SNL,' Kristen Wiig made an impression with characters such as the wacky Target Lady, one-upper Penelope and Kathie Lee Gifford. She wrote and acted in her first big comedy hit ‘Bridesmaids’ (2011) and can be seen in 'Masterminds,' 'Zoolander 2' and 'Ghostbusters' coming up.
Will Forte became an 'SNL' player in 2002, where he stayed for eight years. His films have included ‘Baby Mama’ (2008), the ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ movies (2009, 2013) and the critically acclaimed ‘Nebraska’ (2013).
Starting as a writer on 'SNL,' Tina Fey eventually made her way in front of the camera as co-anchor on "Weekend Update." She won an Emmy for her spot-on portrayal of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Her film roles include ‘Mean Girls’ (2004) -- which she also wrote -- ‘Baby Mama’ (2008), ‘Date Night’ (2010) and ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ (2014).
Chase appeared on 'SNL' in its premiere season, establishing himself as "Weekend Update" anchor, which made him a breakout star. He went on to headline the 'National Lampoon's Vacation' movies, along with such hits as ‘Caddyshack’ (1980) and ‘Fletch’ (1985).
With his brash comedic persona, Belushi quickly gained national fame as an original 'SNL' cast member. His breakout film role in ‘Animal House’ (1978) made him a household name. His all-too-short career also included ‘1941’ (1979) and ‘The Blues Brothers’ (1980).
A regular cast member on 'SNL' from 1980-1984, his characters included Buckwheat from 'The Little Rascals,' Gumby and Mr. Robinson. From there, he jumped to the big screen to star in instant hits ‘48 Hours’ (1982), ‘Trading Places’ (1983), 'Beverly Hills Cop' (1984) and its sequels. He went on to find even more success as the voice of Donkey in four 'Shrek' movies.
The late Chris Farley joined 'SNL' in 1990, finding big-screen success soon after with such films as ‘Wayne’s World’ (1992), ‘Tommy Boy’ (1995), ‘Black Sheep’ (1996) and ‘Beverly Hills Ninja’ (1997).
A hugely popular performer on SNL, Sandler was known for characters like Cajun Man and Opera Man. His successful film career kicked off with 1995's 'Billy Madison.' Other memorable hits on his resume include ‘Happy Gilmore’ (1996) and ‘The Wedding Singer’ (1998).
In the early '90s, comedian Chris Rock was a stand-out cast member on SNL. This exposure led to bigger film roles, including parts in ‘New Jack City’ (1991), ‘Boomerang’ (1992) and the ‘Grown Ups’ (2010-2013) and ‘Madagascar’ (2005-2013) franchises. C’mon, sing it: “Afro circus, afro circus - afro polka dot polka dot afro!”
Robert Downey, Jr.
Before he was Iron Man, the Oscar-nominated star appeared on SNL in 1985. After one season, he was let go. But RDJ failed upward, becoming one of the biggest box office stars in the world.
Murray won an Emmy for his work on SNL, and later earned an Oscar nomination for his role in ‘Lost in Translation’ (2003). Other memorable Murray movies include ‘Meatballs’ (1979), ‘Caddyshack’ (1980), ‘Stripes’ (1981), ‘Ghostbusters’ (1984), ‘Groundhog Day’ (1993) and ‘Rushmore’ (1998).
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