A popular comic talent on North American television since the early 1990s, Will Sasso gained his widest audience as one of the most versatile performers on the sketch comedy series "MADtv" (Fox, 1995-2008), which led to a career in feature films. Sasso's larger-than-life persona made him ideal for lampooning such figures as Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as actors Robert De Niro and Chris Farley, among others. The series afforded him guest shots on various other shows, as well as small roles in comedy features, including Christopher Guest's acclaimed mockumentary "Best in Show" (2001). After leaving "MADtv" in 2001, Sasso floated between small screen and feature assignments, though finding few quality projects until he was tapped to play Curly in the big-screen update of "The Three Stooges" (2012). Its somewhat surprising runaway success provided Sasso with not only his first substantial film role, but also a genuine and long-overdue shot at movie stardom.
Born May 24, 1975 in the Canadian fishing village of Ladner, British Columbia, William Sasso was the son of Italian parents whose apparent leniency towards television viewing provided their son with the impetus to become an actor. While still in high school, he landed an agent who began booking roles for him on television series and in commercials. Sasso made his debut on the CTV drama "Neon Rider" (1989-1995), which was soon followed by his first turn as a series regular on the teen drama "Madison" (Global Television Network), which also featured future star Barry Pepper among the cast. When that series came to an end, he segued into a recurring role as a loose-lipped hotel employee on the first two seasons of "Sliders" (Fox/Sci Fi Channel, 1995-2000). By this time, Sasso was also landing minor roles in Hollywood features, most notably broad comedies "Happy Gilmore" (1996) and "Beverly Hills Ninja" (1997) opposite one of his comic idols, the late Chris Farley.
When the sketch show "MADtv" (Fox, 1995-2008) experienced a major cast turnover at the end of its second season, Sasso was tapped to fill the gap left by the departure of series favorites Orlando Jones, Bryan Callen and Artie Lange. He soon developed a following for his offbeat, occasionally larger-than-life characters, including the accident-prone handyman Paul Timberman and a lucha libre wrestler dubbed Señor Bag of Crap. Like many of his castmates, Sasso also proved to be an expert celebrity impersonator; among those figures spoofed during his tenure on the show included James Gandolfini, Robert De Niro, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Elton John and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, as well as an on-target take on Chris Farley's manic persona. The exposure afforded Sasso by "Madtv" allowed for appearances in a wide variety of projects, from Christopher Guest's "Best in Show" (2001), to recurring appearances on World Wrestling Entertainment broadcasts, where he appeared to grapple with wrestlers Bret Hart and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in "unstaged" brawls.
After leaving "Madtv," Sasso bounced between guest turns in features, including Guest's "A Mighty Wind" (2003) and director Richard Kelly's critically panned "Southland Tales" (2006). He joined the cast of the workplace sitcom "Less than Perfect" (ABC, 2001-06) for its final three seasons, and contributed numerous voices to "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999-2002, 2005- ). After essaying the voice of a patriarch demon for the short-lived animated series "Neighbors from Hell" (TBS, 2010), he joined the cast of the widely publicized comedy "$h*! My Dad Says" (CBS, 2010-2011) as one of William Shatner's long-suffering sons. Despite a groundswell of media buildup and a People's Choice Award for Favorite New TV Comedy, the series limped to an ignominious end prior to its first season finale.
After taking a rare lead for the National Lampoon production "The Legend of Awesomest Maximus" (2011), a broad parody of "300" (2006), Sasso replaced Jim Carrey as Jerome "Curly" Howard of the legendary comedy team "The Three Stooges" (2012) in the Farrelly Brothers' big-budget updating of their short subject hijinks. To the surprise of many, the film shot to the second highest spot on the box office tally, and generated many positive reviews for Sasso's high-energy but sweet-natured impression of the much-loved comedian. In true fashion, Sasso and his "Stooges" castmates promoted the film with a 2012 appearance in character on a 2012 episode of "WWE Raw"(USA Network/TNN/Spike TV, 1993), for which Sasso also trotted out his popular imitation of wrestler Hulk Hogan before receiving a punishing upbraiding by veteran heel Kane.
By Paul Gaita
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made TV debut on Canadian series "Neon Rider"
Feature debut, "Ski School 2"
Landed recurring role on Fox's "Sliders"
Joined the cast of Fox sketch and variety program "MADtv"
Landed featured role in the satirical comedy "Drop Dead Gorgeous"
Voiced several characters on the animated series "Family Guy" (Fox)
Landed supporting role on ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect"
Appeared on the short-lived sitcom "$#*! My Dad Says" (CBS)
Co-starred as Curly in the big screen remake of "The Three Stooges," directed by the Farrelly brothers