"I'm still amazed by all this attention," says comedian Mike Myers. "I remember when my mom used to gently tell me: 'Michael, you're not funny. You shouldn't even try'." Mom isn't always right, it would seem.
Mike's parents married in Liverpool in 1955 and emigrated to Canada a year later. His father, Eric, sold insurance and encyclopedias, while mum Alice, a former officer in the Royal Air Force and aspiring actress, held down a series of desk jobs including a stint with the local bank.
In the Myers house humour was a number one priority. Visitors had to be witty or his dad would tease, "Not funny. Can't come in." His parents worshipped English culture "My parents dressed and spoke like the Beatles. People would knock on the door just to hear them talk," says Mike and Eric would often wake up his sons at all hours to watch a Peter Sellers comedy.
Making people laugh, most notably his dad, would prove Mike's main source of happiness. "Much of the work I was doing was for him, to make him proud, to make him happy," says Mike. Tragically, Eric died in 1991 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease. "My dad was kind of like the cashier window at the casino. Things that would happen were just chips, but when I told my dad, it would turn into money." Sadly his father didn't live to see his son's success, or to get to know Mike's wife, Robin.
While on tour in Chicago with Toronto's famed Second City comedy troupe, Mike had met an aspiring actress named Robin Ruzan. "I have
to be with this girl," he told friends, and soon re-located to Chicago. They've been together ever since, tying the knot in May 1993. "There's no happier man alive than Mike when he has Robin laughing out loud," says Jay Roach, director of the smash hit Austin Powers movies.
He later moved to New York where he landed a job writing and appearing on Saturday Night Live,
the venerable comedy sketch programme that launched careers ranging from John Belushi to Adam Sandler. Though the programme is notorious for its competitive writing atmosphere, Mike's characters, including basement TV presenter Wayne Campbell and nagging Coffee Talk
host Linda Richman, became instant classics.
A series of movies followed including Wayne's World
and the under-rated So I Married An Axe Murderer,
before the psychedelic spy's chest hair and famously bad teeth were unveiled in Austin Powers International Man Of Mystery
and made Mike an international star. Two sequels followed, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
in 1999 and Austin Powers In Goldmember