Seth MacFarlane Biography

Seth MacFarlane Biography on Monsters and Critics


"Seth Woodbury MacFarlane" (born October 26, 1973) is a two-time Emmy-winning American animator, screenwriter, producer, actor, comedian and voice actor. He is best known as the creator of the animated series "Family Guy" and "American Dad!". He was also the executive producer of the short-lived series, "The Winner".

He does the voices in his shows which include: Peter Griffin, Brian Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Tom Tucker the Anchorman, Glenn Quagmire, Stan Smith and Roger the Alien.

Early life and career

MacFarlane was born in 1973 in Kent, Connecticut to Ann Perry Sager and Ronald Milton MacFarlane, both of whom were from Newburyport, Massachusetts and descended from immigrants from Canada, England, Scotland and Mayflower passenger William Brewster. He received his diploma at the Kent School in Connecticut, whose headmaster, Richardson Schell, later publicly rebuked MacFarlane for his 'low' brand of humor. He went on to study animation at the Rhode Island School of Design, which inspired the Rhode Island setting of "Family Guy". While in college, he created a short film entitled "The Life of Larry", an early version of "Family Guy". After graduation, he was hired by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. and later worked as an animator and writer for Cartoon Network's "Cartoon Cartoons" series, which included "Johnny Bravo", "Dexter's Laboratory" and "Cow and Chicken". He was also a writer for the animated version of "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective".

MacFarlane is an avid fan of "Star Trek" and has appeared as the engineer Ensign Rivers on the show "Star Trek: Enterprise" in the third season episode 'The Forgotten' (3.20), and the fourth season episode 'Affliction' (4.15). Since then, Patrick Stewart has had a recurring role as Director Bullock of the CIA in "American Dad!" (and also reprised his famed role of Jean-Luc Picard in an episode of "Family Guy"). His favorite "Star Trek" series is "Star Trek: The Next Generation". MacFarlane is also said to be a huge fan of the Howard Stern Show. MacFarlane also appeared in a 2002 episode of the "Gilmore Girls", entitled 'Lorelai's Graduation Day' (2.21) as a classmate of Lorelai's (a number of episodes of "Family Guy" were produced by "Gilmore Girls" producer and writer Daniel Palladino, husband of the show's creator Amy Sherman-Palladino). Not only did he voice "Wayne 'The Main Brain' McClain" in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, he has also voiced various characters on Adult Swim's "Robot Chicken", including a parody of Lion-O and Emperor Palpatine. He is also a "Star Wars" fan and said Lucasfilm was very supportive of making parodies of the saga, especially the spoof of the first movie.

He has also lent his voice of Stewie several times to "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC. In one episode, he introduced a serious segment about Bill O'Reilly, Olbermann's main rival on Fox News Channel by saying 'Oh, wait Bill. Hold still, allow me to soil myself on you. Victory is mine!' Seth also appeared on the January 19, 2007 edition of Countdown to discuss Stephen Colbert's appearance on The O'Reilly Factor and O'Reilly's return appearance on "The Colbert Report".

On November 5, 2006, MacFarlane guest starred on Fox's "The War At Home" as an unnamed person known as 'Hillary's Date'. He plays a 33-year-old man who secretly dates Hillary, but ends up dumping her when she tells him that she doesn't put out.

Later, November 11, 2006, MacFarlane guest hosted on Fox's MADtv, where he showed a live action re-enactment of the scene from the "Family Guy" episode 'Fast Times at Buddy Cianci, Jr. High' where Peter and Lois suspect Chris of murdering his teacher's husband and Meg jumps out the window (with Crista Flanagan, the actress playing Meg, cut and bleeding after her window stunt) in fear and a redubbed version with Seth as Peter, Kathy Griffin (Nicole Parker) as Lois, Dane Cook (Ike Barinholtz) as Chris, Queen Latifah (Nicole Randall Johnson) as Meg, and Snoop Dogg (Keegan-Michael Key) as Stewie. The following year, on March 24, 2007, MacFarlane guest starred on Fox's "Talkshow with Spike Feresten", and closed the show by singing the Frank Sinatra song 'You Make Me Feel So Young'. Politically, MacFarlane has donated $33,500 to Democratic causes such as the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He has also donated $1,000 to U.S. Presidential Candidate Barack Obama.

Speaking engagements

MacFarlane is a popular guest to college campuses. Invited by Stanford University's ASSU Speakers' Bureau, MacFarlane spoke to a crowd of over 1,000 at Memorial Auditorium on April 16, 2006. MacFarlane was invited by Harvard University's class of 2006 to deliver the 'class day' address on June 7, 2006. He spoke as himself, as Peter Griffin, as Stewie Griffin, and as Glenn Quagmire. Later, MacFarlane spoke at George Washington University on September 16, 2006, and showed the episode to be aired the following day. One month before Family Guy's resurrection in Season 4 on television, he was a guest at Washington University in St. Louis, speaking to a standing-room only crowd. He was also a guest at the University of Texas on April 13, 2007. MacFarlane spoke at the Rhode Island School of Design, his alma mater, upon receiving an honorary doctorate of fine arts at the school's commencement on June 2, 2007.

On May 26, 2007, MacFarlane appeared at a "Star Wars" convention to promote his new "Family Guy" episode.

Career in animation and television

MacFarlane was a writer for the "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" cartoon. In 1996, MacFarlane created a sequel to "The Life of Larry" for Hanna-Barbera Cartoons called "Larry and Steve", which featured the bumbling middle-aged Larry and his highly intelligent dog Steve. The short was broadcast as one of Cartoon Network's "World Premiere Toons". Executives at FOX saw both "Larry" shorts and contracted MacFarlane to create a series based on the characters. He has a production company named Fuzzy Door.

Immediately before starting "Family Guy" in 1998, he created and wrote a short titled 'Zoomates' for Frederator Studios' "Oh Yeah! Cartoons" on Nickelodeon. Butch Hartman also helped with the short by storyboarding, production and directing. MacFarlane is a skilled pianist and singer who, as a young man, worked with the same vocal coaches as Frank Sinatra. He is an avid fan of musicals and often employs musical numbers in his work. MacFarlane also appears to be a fan of 1980s culture, as his shows have used spoofs of TV shows, movies, commercials, toys, music videos, and other forms of pop culture and historical events from that decade.

"Family Guy"

Seth MacFarlane voices many of the main characters on the TV show "Family Guy", an animated series which follows the life of Peter Griffin and his family. On the show, MacFarlane provides the voices of: Peter, a bumbling oaf and pater familias of the Griffin family; Brian, the eloquent, rational, and alcoholic dog; Stewie, the megalomaniacal and comically intelligent infant; Glenn Quagmire, the sex-maniac neighbour; and Tom Tucker, a local news anchor. He also voices some non-recurring characters. MacFarlane's normal speaking voice sounds like Brian Griffin's. Incidentally, astute viewers will note that Tom Tucker's voice is almost exactly the same, only the cadence is different, as the character is a news anchor. Seth's sister, Rachael, plays small roles in the show. Some of MacFarlane's favorite episodes to date are PTV, Road to Rhode Island, and Peter's Two Dads.

"American Dad!"

"American Dad!" was first shown after Super Bowl XXXIX as a sneak preview on February 6, 2005. It then began airing regularly on FOX on May 1, 2005. It focuses on Stan Smith, a fanatical conservative and a CIA officer. He has a loving wife and two children, along with two unusual houseguests: Roger, the extraterrestrial alien whom Stan rescued from Area 51, and Klaus the goldfish who hosts the transplanted brain of an East German 1986 Olympic skier. In 2006, "American Dad!" was picked up by Fox for two more seasons. Seth MacFarlane provides the voices of Stan and Roger. As with "Family Guy", his sister Rachael MacFarlane provides her voice for characters, most notably Stan's daughter Hayley.

"The Winner"

MacFarlane was the executive producer of a live-action sitcom starring Rob Corddry called "The Winner". It premiered on Fox on March 4, 2007. The show itself was about a 32 year old man discussing the time he matured, at the age of 32. This leads to him pursuing his only love, after she moves in next door, meeting her son then they become good friends. The show was officially canceled on May 16, 2007.

September 11, 2001

Personal experience

On the morning of the September 11, 2001 attacks, MacFarlane was scheduled to return to Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 11 after being a keynote speaker at his alma mater in Rhode Island. In 2005, on episodes of "Loveline" and "Too Late with Adam Carolla", MacFarlane stated that he tried to make the flight, but arrived about ten minutes after final boarding ended. At 8:14 a.m., fifteen minutes after the departure of American Airlines Flight 11, the plane was hijacked, later being flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. He was told he would need to wait for the next flight and then sat down next to someone as they were watching the attacks and he said to the man beside him, 'I was supposed to be on that flight.'

In an interview with, MacFarlane had the following to say about his 9/11 close call:

Examples in "Family Guy"

Osama bin Laden was featured in an episode of "Family Guy", which aired more than a year before the 9/11 attacks. In a later interview for "Maxim" magazine, MacFarlane said that 9/11 would never be used as material for humor on "Family Guy" due to the experience. However, in the episode 'PTV', the episode begins with a mock of Osama bin Laden making a video message to America. In the episode, bin Laden does not mention 9/11, but instead a threat to America which is then mocked with 'bloopers' and bin Laden making light of the situation, before being attacked by Stewie. However, the first gag to blatantly reference 9/11 was in the episode 'Airport '07'; Quagmire crash lands a plane and then Mayor West is informed while reading "My Pet Goat" to school children, an obvious reference to when U.S. President George W. Bush was informed of the 9/11 attacks. Two episodes later, in 'No Meals on Wheels', 9/11 was mentioned again when Peter's restaurant couldn't air its 'Sixth Sense'-themed commercial because the director was involved with 9/11. Then in the season 5 episode 'It Takes a Village Idiot, and I Married One', Lois responds to all the questions she receives on her mayoral campaign by saying, '9/11'.

In the "Family Guy" episode 'Boys Do Cry', Brian and Stewie (both played by MacFarlane) leave a rural gas station while chuckling and mimicking a Middle-Eastern clerk; Stewie then remarks 'If it weren't for 9/11, those guys would be adorable.'

In an even more recent episode, "Meet The Quagmires", Brian travels back in time to the 1980s. A man challenges Brian to a fight, and 9/11 is mentioned once more when Brian tells the man to meet him for a fight in the World Trade Center at the exact time the attacks occurred (this scene is only shown on the Cartoon Network/Adult Swim airings, not on FOX).

As well as in season five, episode "No Chris Left Behind", 9/11 is brought up when Chris Griffin is kidnapped by his grandfather to join the "Skull and Bones Society" in order to make Chris more popular in his new school. After offering Chris to become a member, his grandfather remarks, 'You'll get your own stock portfolio, a percentage of the 9/11 victims fund and the best medical care on the planet..?


Emmy Award winner 2000 for Outstanding Voice-over Performance. Stewie Griffin, "Family Guy".

Emmy Award winner 2002 for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. "Family Guy".

Annie Award winner 2006 for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production. Stewie Griffin, 'Brian the Bachelor' episode. "Family Guy".

External links

(Official "Family Guy" Website) on FOX

(Official "American Dad!" Website) on FOX

(Seth MacFarlane) at MySpace

(Interview) on


(Harvard Class Day 2006 - Part 1 (himself/Brian Griffin))

(Harvard Class Day 2006 (as Peter Griffin) - Part 2)

(Harvard Class Day 2006 (as Stewie Griffin) - Part 3)

(Harvard Class Day 2006 (as Glenn Quagmire) - Part 4)

(Rare RISD video of Seth MacFarlane)

(Family Guy 100th Episode Special with Seth Macfarlane)


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article about Seth MacFarlane.

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