|Famous For: Austin Powers, The Italian Job, and Without a Paddle||Currently Known For: Creator of Robot Chicken, Voice of Marvel’s Howard the Duck, and web series SuperMansion and Camp WWE|
Currently Known For Creator of Robot Chicken, Voice of Marvel’s Howard the Duck, and web series SuperMansion and Camp WWE
“It’s a period of adjustment. I’ve gotten a lot better at being famous. After working for 18 years, all of a sudden I became successful on a level where other people knew. It’s not a cat you can put back in the bag.” One of the most recognized voices and faces in film and television today thanks to his incredible success with Robot Chicken and his performances in The Italian Job, Austin Powers and Without a Paddle, Seth Green is truly a veteran in the entertainment industry after getting his start at only seven years old. Born as Seth Benjamin Gesshel-Green on February 8, 1974 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Green launched his career seven years later in 1981 when he appeared in a string of commercials before finding mainstream success in 1984 when he was cast as Alfalfa in The Little Rascals.
Reprising his role as Alfalfa for a 1984 Jell-O commercial alongside his Little Rascals costars, Green’s television and film career blossomed with credits in an ABC Afterschool Special, The Facts of Life and Mr. Belvedere as well as in silver screen flicks like Billions for Boris, The Hotel New Hampshire, Radio Days and Can’t Buy Me Love, most of which paired him with rising stars like Jodie Foster, Rob Lowe and Patrick Dempsey. Green stayed busy with credits in My Stepmother’s an Alien and Stephen King’s It before his appearance in the 1991 Super Bowl commercial for Rally’s made him instantly recognizable with his red hair, piercing blue eyes and freckles. But, even then, his childhood stardom was short-lived.
“My childhood success came and went real fast,” Green later admitted. “Between 12 and 16, I grew as much as I was going to anyway and no longer looked the same. Like most child actors, I found it a difficult adjustment. Still, I’ve done so many things that I wasn’t associated with one thing. I’m an actor not a celebrity…” That reality became increasingly clear in the early 1990s when Green struggled to find staying power after his small role in the 1992 film, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was cut from the final release. Bad news followed him two years later when the television series, The Byrds of Paradise, was canceled after eight episodes in 1994. However, even with his string of bad luck, Green refused to give up and took a long look at his own style of comedy before finally getting comfortable in his own skin. That’s when he found a recurring role as Daniel “Oz” Osbourne in three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a series that’s now considered a cult classic from the late 1990s.
“I’ve always just thought the show was brilliantly written,” Green said of his time on Buffy from 1997 to 2000. “I thought the way that they demonstrated parables of being a teenager and growing up against mythological things… it doesn’t feel like a Lifetime movie teaching you a lesson about life, and yet there are all these very delicate explorations of what it is to be young and what it is to grow up, to feel out of place but to find your family and friends.”
Obviously finding his place on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Green’s career was back on track as he joined Mike Meyers in the 1997 spy action comedy, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. With the film earning over $67 million at box offices worldwide and spawning two sequels, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers in Goldmember, Green was finally a household name in Hollywood as he appeared in flicks like Josie and the Pussycats, The Italian Job, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and Without a Paddle. During this time, he also ventured into voice acting and joined the cast of Family Guy as the voice of characters like Chris Griffin and Neil Goldman, before extending his talents to characters in Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Crank Yankers and American Dad! Then, in 2005, Green took his talents into his own hands when he created the animated sketch comedy series, Robot Chicken, which is still on the air today and boasts five Emmy Awards and dozens of other accolades.
“We write for 20 weeks, essentially. And it’s broken down into five-week cycles,” Green said of the process behind Robot Chicken and his efforts to keep things simple. “So, in each of those five weeks, we’ll come up with enough material for five episodes. As things are written, either in the form of sketches or channel flips, individuals will come up with an idea and pitch the idea. We’ll all talk about it and see if there’s something we want to do with it. Then that person will write that sketch and then we’ll all work on it together to kind of round table to improve it.”
Green’s methods are obviously working with the show entering its 12th year on the air and boasting collaborations with the legendary George Lucas on specials like Robot Chicken: Star Wars, Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Of course, Green also has plenty of other projects lined up outside of the animated series and has voiced characters in Avengers Assemble, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Castle in addition to signing on with Marvel Comics to voice Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a role he lucked into thanks to his friendship with writer James Gunn. “It was just one of those funny things that I was in the right place at the right time,” Green says. “Gunn was like, ‘Hey, I’ve got this thing, do you want to come do a line in the movie?’ and I was like, ‘Of course I do!’”
Apart from Robot Chicken, film credits in Guardians of the Galaxy, Holidays and The Lego Batman Movie as well as cameos in television series like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Simpsons and Star Wars Rebels, the 43-year-old Green has a few projects in the works including upcoming films—A Futile and Stupid Gesture, Dear Dictator and Changeland, the latter of which he wrote and directed. Yet, even with so much on his plate, Green’s humility continues to outshine his stardom as he argues his staying power comes from who he is. “I’m like the everyman in a funny way,” he says. “I’m short enough to be nonthreatening but appealing enough to kiss the girl in a movie. The guys want to have a beer with me and the girls think I’m a cute alternative to their a—hole boyfriend.” Whatever the case, we can’t get enough of the former little rascal turned comedic genius!