Who knew Will Ferrell’s outrageous alter ego was based on a real person?
Even the most unforgettable fictional characters get their inspiration from somewhere and Ron Burgundy is no different. Will Ferrell found the source of Burgundy’s illustrious personality in Mort Crim, a widely renowned anchor for Channel 4 News Detroit in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mort Crim, now 78, had been a broadcaster for decades, with his career truly taking off in Philadelphia during the 1970s. There he met the real-life version of Veronica Corningstone: Jessica Savitch.
Savitch, much like Corningstone in the movie, had to deal with a chauvinistic and disrespectful co-anchor when she initially was introduced to Crim.
Jessica was one of the first female anchors in television at the age of 25, and Mort was not happy about it:
Was there some resentment about a 25 year old, relatively inexperienced woman being brought in and plopped down in the anchor desk?
I think that aspect of having someone with less qualifications primarily because she looked great on camera offended us more than her being a female.
Of course, like many a satire, “Anchorman” depicted a great deal more sexism and absurdity between Corningstone and Burgundy as opposed to Savitch and Crim.
As the years progressed, Crim and Savitch became close, respected colleagues, but that friendship was tragically cut short when Jessica died in a car accident.
With almost 10 years passed since the first movie, Will Ferrell and Mort Crim have recently reached out to each other, and seem to be hitting it off. Crim, however, explains that he’s known about his portrayal for quite some time:
Back in 2003 (before the first Anchorman was released), Will Ferrell said something in an interview and later I saw it in print… It was no big deal. But then a few months ago, someone working for Ferrell sent me an e-mail and said he wanted me to send a picture of myself to Ferrell.
I autographed it: ‘Will, you’ve almost got it. Just a little more authenticity please. Your friend, the real anchorman, Mort Crim.”
The picture was well received as Ferrell then invited Crim to the second movie’s New York premiere. Though Ferrell has assured the press that he intends to give Crim “a big kiss on the mouth, whether he wants it or not,” Crim has countered, “I’m just going to make sure my wife is standing between us.”
Originally posted at Elite Daily.
About the author: Eddie Jacob graduated from Colgate University in 2013, after studying International Relations and Political Science. He has lived in the New York area all his life and moved to Manhattan after college. While writing for Elite Daily on a part time basis, Eddie works full-time in the Translation Services Industry in NYC. As a way of fueling his hobby and love for electronic dance music, Eddie is also a freelance photographer and EDM event reviewer. He has contributed to both Elite Daily and Pulse Radio while also working for Bounce Media as an event worker/promoter.