Before he found fame, Jim Carrey had a number of idols, including Dick Van Dyke (“I was a huge fan,” he exclusively told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue on newsstands now), Jimmy Stewart, and The Honeymooners’ Jackie Gleason and Art Carney. But his greatest role model was his late father, musician and accountant Percy Carrey. “He was an amazing, incredible character,” Jim, 56, said. “I’m always drawing on my father to play characters. He was the kind of guy who if you talked to him for five minutes, you felt like you knew him for 50 years.”

When Jim was starting out as a stand-up comic in Canada, Percy helped him develop an act and drove him to his debut gig in Toronto. In a way, he may have been living out his father’s dream. “I would watch him hold court in the living room,” Jim recalled. “People invariably left holding their bellies and going, ‘Percy, you missed your calling.'”

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Percy died in 1994, the same year Jim rocketed to comic stardom in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber. Recently, he’s explored more serious roles, like the TV star who’s in crisis on Showtime’s upcoming dramedy Kidding. “When something works, people’s instinct is to grab it and stay with it as long as you can,” Jim said. “I’ve never been comfortable with that.”

Instead, Jim pushes himself out of his comfort zone. “I say keep moving — everything is happening to you for a reason,” he concluded. “Whatever you’re being given, even if it’s terrifying, is something that if you look at it the right way, you can become stronger because of it.” As Ace Ventura himself might say, allllrighty then!

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