Orville Willis Forte IV ( FOR-tay; born June 17, 1970), professionally known as Will Forte, is an American actor, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known for being a cast member on Saturday Night Live (2002–2010), his most famous recurring character on the show leading to a feature film adaptation, MacGruber (2010), and a streaming television series, MacGruber (2021–present), and for creating and starring in the sitcom The Last Man on Earth (2015–2018). For the series, he received three Primetime Emmy Award nominations: two for acting and one for writing.
After obtaining a history degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and becoming a financial broker like his father, Forte changed his career path to comedy and took classes with the improv group The Groundlings. He worked as a writer and producer on That '70s Show before joining Saturday Night Live. He played various roles in comedy films before starring in the drama film Nebraska (2013). He has provided voice-work for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films (2009–2013), My Life as a Courgette, Get Squirrely (2016), Luis & the Aliens (2018), The Willoughbys, and Scoob! (2020), also voicing Eddy in Disney XD's Lab Rats, and Abraham Lincoln in The Lego Movie films (2014–2019), Michelangelo and Lincoln: History Cops (2014), and America: The Motion Picture (2021).
Forte resides in Santa Monica, California. He purchased his home there just two weeks before joining the cast of Saturday Night Live, which required him to move to New York City, and later admitted that "it was not the greatest timing". He dated his Last Man on Earth co-star January Jones in 2015. In 2019, he became engaged to Olivia Modling, whom he met in 2018. They have a daughter, born in February 2021. He and Modling married on July 31, 2021.Forte's mother has visited every film set on which he has worked and made an appearance on a Mother's Day episode of SNL, in which he sang a song to her on Weekend Update. He also officiated his sister Michelle's wedding and filmed the birth of his niece and nephew.Forte has discussed and joked about his OCD tendencies. He recounted listening to only one song in his office at SNL for an entire year because he wanted to challenge himself. During an interview with Larry King, he discussed his OCD as a challenge he had to overcome but not one he wished he did not have, as it is a part of his personality. In a February 2015 feature on him and his show The Last Man on Earth, the writer of the article said that Forte mentioned OCD often but it was not clear if he had ever been formally diagnosed, though Forte related how he and a former girlfriend had gone through an OCD questionnaire and it concluded that Forte "should immediately talk to someone about this".
Orville Willis Forte IV was born in Alameda, California, on June 17, 1970, the son of artist and former schoolteacher Patricia C. (née Stivers) and financial broker Orville Willis "Reb" Forte III. He was raised in Moraga before moving to Lafayette at age 13. He went by "Billy" in his early years until he was teased at school for it also being a girl's name, at which point he decided he would from then on be known as "Will". Forte describes himself as having been a "really happy little boy" whose parents were "wonderful" and created a "very loving environment". He was interested in comedy from a young age, growing up idolizing comedians Peter Sellers, David Letterman, and Steve Martin, as well as the sketch-comedy television series Saturday Night Live. He often pulled pranks on his parents, and would record himself performing imaginary radio shows. He did not aim to be a comedian, however, and initially wanted to become a football player.Forte was "a laid-back teen with a lot of friends" and a member of the varsity football and swim teams at Acalanes High School, from which he graduated in 1988. He was voted "Best Personality" by his graduating class and served as freshman class president. He had no ambitions for a television or film career, though his mother noticed a "creative streak" in him. Following high school, he attended the University of California, Los Angeles, where he was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and completed a degree in history. Planning to follow his father, he became a financial broker at Smith Barney Shearson in Beverly Hills, but felt "miserable" there. He co-wrote a feature-length script while there, and later said that he discovered he loved writing "more than anything [he] had ever done in [his] life". He had been encouraged to attempt comedy during his years at university, and he decided to change his career path to do so.