- William Emerson Arnett
May 04, 1970 (age 51)
- Actor, Voice Actor, Comedian, Television Producer, Screenwriter
- Amy Poehler
- Emerson James Arnett, Edith Alexandra Palk
William Emerson "Will" Arnett (born May 4, 1970) is a Canadian actor, best known for his comedic roles as George Oscar "G.O.B." Bluth II in the Fox show Arrested Development, Devon Banks in the NBC show 30 Rock and Chris Brinkley in the NBC television series Up All Night. He played supporting roles in the IFC series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret and films such as Semi-Pro, Blades of Glory, RV, Hot Rod, Let's Go to Prison and The Brothers Solomon. Arnett is also a voice over artist for commercials, films, television programs, and video games.
Arnett was born in Toronto, the son of Edith Alexandra (née Palk) and Emerson James Arnett, who was a corporate lawyer and brewer, among other occupations. Arnett briefly attended Lakefield College School in Lakefield, Ontario, but was asked not to return after a semester for being a troublemaker. The Subway Academy II allowed him to take theatre classes at the Tarragon Theatre. He eventually graduated from Leaside High School and attended Concordia University, Montreal for one semester, but dropped out. As a teenager, he was encouraged by his mother to pursue an acting career, auditioned for commercials in Toronto and enjoyed acting. In 1990, he moved to New York City to study acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, he appeared in plays in New York and his first acting role was in Felicity Huffman's independent film Erie, which was filmed on the Erie Canal.
In February 1996, Arnett began acting in television pilots. His first pilot was with Kevin Pollak and his wife, Lucy Webb, for CBS, that was not picked up. The pilot, The Underworld, revolved around "The head of an organized crime family [who] hounds an ex-con who only wants to go straight." After the show was not picked up, he appeared in the movie Southie, which was written by Arnett's friend Dave McLaughlin. In 1999, Arnett was cast in another pilot for The Mike O'Malley Show on NBC. Arnett was a regular on the series, playing the protagonist's friend Jimmy. The show was picked up, but it was canceled after only two episodes.
In 2003, Arnett found mainstream success in television when he was cast in the role of George Oscar "Gob" Bluth II in the Fox comedy series Arrested Development. Arnett's character was one of the show's most popular, and he was nominated for an Emmy in 2006 for his portrayal. His character was also listed at No. 33 on TV's Top 50 Catch Phrases with the line, "I've made a huge mistake."
Arnett has two older sisters and a younger brother. His father was a corporate lawyer and served as the president and CEO of Molson Breweries from 1997 to 2000. His father, a graduate of Harvard University, previously worked as a director for the company. Arnett lists Steve Martin and Chevy Chase as his two biggest comic influences. Arnett grew up watching sports in Canada, and is an avid follower of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays.
In 1994, Arnett married actress Penelope Ann Miller, but they divorced in 1995. He dated actress Missy Yager, with whom he lived for four years. They starred on The Mike O'Malley Show together and broke up around the time the show began.
Arnett began dating comic actress Amy Poehler in 2000. He moved to New York City in 2001 when she became a featured player on NBC's Saturday Night Live. They married on August 29, 2003. Together, they appeared in four episodes of Arrested Development in 2004 and 2005, an episode of Poehler's show, Parks and Recreation, in 2010, and the films Blades of Glory, Horton Hears a Who!, On Broadway, Spring Breakdown and Monsters vs. Aliens. Arnett and Poehler had two sons, Archibald William Emerson Arnett (born on October 25, 2008) and Abel James Arnett (born on August 6, 2010). The couple separated in September 2012. Arnett filed for divorce on April 8, 2014.