Seth Woodbury MacFarlane was born October 26th, 1973, in Kent, Connecticut. MacFarlane knew since he was little that he wanted to work in animation, when he started drawing cartoon characters from an early age and never stopped. At the age of nine, he was publishing comic strips in his town’s local newspaper. MacFarlane went on to study film, video, and animation at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD,) where he created a series of independent films and also performed stand-up comedy. After graduating in 1995, MacFarlane was hired as an animator and writer at the animation studio Hanna-Barbera.
At Hanna-Barbera, MacFarlane worked on popular television series Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, Dexter’s Laboratory, and created Larry & Steve, a sequel to The Life of Larry, an animation film he had done during his college years. During this time, MacFarlane also worked as a freelancer for Walt Disney Television Animation and for Canadian studio Nelvana, where he wrote for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Thanks to his work on Larry & Steve, executives at Fox Broadcasting Company approached him to create a prime-time animated series. The result of these negotiations was the sitcom Family Guy, which debuted in 1999 and became MacFarlane’s biggest commercial success. MacFarlane not only created the show, but has served as executive producer throughout its entire run (going on twenty-one seasons as of 2022) and voicing several of the main characters to this day. The franchise has spawned movies, video games, spin-offs, books and merchandise.
In 2005, MacFarlane premiered on Fox his second longest-running animated series, American Dad!, for which he also lent his voice to characters. The show later relocated to TBS and is currently on its nineteenth season, in 2022, and has already been renewed for two more. In 2009, MacFarlane created a Family Guy spin-off series, focusing on one of its supporting characters, called The Cleveland Show. It ran on Fox for four seasons and it’s the only show which doesn’t feature MacFarlane voicing the main character.
In addition to his work on animated series, MacFarlane had been appearing in small roles in television shows such as Gilmore Girls, Will & Grace, Star Trek: Enterprise, Bones and Flashforward, as well as voice acting in 3 South, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Crank Yankers and Robot Chicken. On the big screen, he can be seen in Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) and Tooth Fairy (2010.) In 2012, MacFarlane made his directorial debut with the movie Ted, which he also wrote, produced and provided his voice to the titular character. The movie was extremely successful, with a sequel coming out in 2015 and a prequel series currently in the works. MacFarlane later wrote and directed A Million Ways to Die in the West in 2014, although the movie wasn’t as well-received as his previous one.
MacFarlane is also a singer and piano performer, with his first studio album coming out in 2011, called Music Is Better Than Words. He drew inspiration from the great singers of the ‘50s and Hollywood musicals for his album, which was nominated for several Grammy Awards. MacFarlane released five more albums between 2014 and 2020, with a seventh one, Blue Skies, debuting in 2022.