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Will Ferrell

Will Ferrell reveals he was 'so embarrassed' by real name growing up

The Anchorman star was born with a different moniker

Hannah Hargrave
US Deputy Editor
July 9, 2024
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Will Ferrell is a man of much laughter but he didn't find anything amusing about his real name. 

Opening up to his Anchorman co-star, Christine Applegate, on her podcast with Jamie-Lynn Sigler, MeSsy, Will said he would cringe when people called him by his legal name as a kid. 

While discussing how being funny made it easier to make friends, Will thought back to his days at school. 

"This is a minor thing in terms of, it's not really even trauma," he said. "But I remember feeling so embarrassed because my real name is John, John William Ferrell, so first day of school, I'd be John. The teacher would be like 'John Ferrell?' and it was so embarrassing to me to have to say 'Here, but I go by Will, I don't go by John.' "

When asked why he chose to ditch John, he said: "It wasn't my choice."

Will Ferrell and wife red carpet© Getty Images
Will with his wife

"My parents named me John but they called me Will. I grew up as Will, but on a rule sheet, my legal name is John Ferrell."

"I don't know why that was so embarrassing to me to have to explain 'I'm actually Will'."

He then joked that the conversation was "lame," and Christine confessed they'd probably "lost any named John."

Christina Applegate arrives at the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California© Getty Images
Will had a conversation about with his Anchorman co-star Christina Applegate

Will's appearance on the popular podcast was to talk about the 20th anniversary of their comedy movie, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. 

Will played the main news anchor, Ron Burgundy, while Christina took on the role of Veronica Corningstone who was the new addition to the 1970s fictional newsroom. 

Will Ferrell and wife Viveca with their sons Mattias, Axel, and Magnus© Getty Images
Will and wife Viveca with their sons Mattias, Axel, and Magnus

Will spoke about why she was the perfect person to play the confident character and gushed: "At the end of the day, Christina just checked all the boxes — between funny, smart, tough, because we needed Veronica to stand up to these doofuses, and she was the smartest person in the room."

While Will is known for his comedic roles, he recently joked about being typecast as a villain. 

Will Ferrell At The Los Angeles Lakers Game© Getty Images
Will joked he's been typecast as a villian

He voices French supervillain, Maxine Le Mal, in Despicable Me 4, and prior to that, he played Mattel CEO villain in Barbie

"I'm being typecast now," he teased during an interview with Variety. "It's always fun to be mean, in a silly way. And I think that's just a side of you that you don't get to express. It's just fun to play around with the voice and it's a little bit of an homage to the Pink Panther."

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