There were several unusual and unexpected friendships among the rich and famous throughout the 1990s. Most got along and hung out, much to the entertainment of their fans. Among the most unexpected of these friendships was Tupac Shakur and Jim Carrey, with the pair becoming particularly close during the former’s stint in prison.
Jim Carrey made a name for himself with comedy movies
Jim Carrey, born on January 17, 1962, is best most known for his brilliant, zany portrayal of Ace Ventura, the “pet detective” who solved animal-related crimes. His outstanding comedic performances greatly contibuted to the 1990s, with movies like The Mask (1994), Dumb and Dumber (1994), and Liar Liar (1997) cementing his place as one of the most flexible, prolific comedians ever to bless Hollywood.
The Truman Show (1998) landed Carrey the Golden Globe for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, with Man on the Moon (2000) earning him the same award for Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. While typically viewed as a comedic actor, he diversified his resume to include more dramatic titles, including Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Doing Time on Maple Drive (1992).
It’s Carrey’s honest and jolly persona off set that’s gained him the reputation for being a rather pleasant man and friend. While he’s beloved by many in the entertainment industry, it’s his friendship with the late Tupac Shakur that continues to make waves.
Tupac Shakur’s music left a lasting mark
Tupac Shakur was born in New York City on June 16, 1971 to Afeni Shakur, a Black Panther Party activist. His difficult childhood in Brooklyn and the Bronx, as well as with his personal struggles, political views and social commentary, were routinely expressed in his music.
As a teenager, Shakur attended the Baltimore School for the Arts in Maryland, where he studied poetry, ballet, acting and music. He read and performed the works of William Shakespeare, and soon began to delve into the popular music of the era, including U2, Kate Bush and Sinéad O’Connor.
Shakur discovered his passion for rap in the late 1980s, debuting under the stage name MC New York in ’89. He quickly gained the attention of notable names in the genre, releasing his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now, in 1991. That same year, he made his film debut in Nothing but Trouble, before taking a starring role in the crime thriller Juice (1992), alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Omar Epps and Queen Latifah.
From there, Shakur’s star continued to grow. However, all that came to an end on September 7, 1996, when he lost his life in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. The rapper was struck four times with bullets from a .40-caliber Glock when the car he was traveling in stopped at a red light. The murder case has never been solved.
Troubles with the law
Despite his fame, Tupac Shakur found himself on the wrong side of the law on multiple occasions. This rather notorious behavior seemingly ran in the family, with his godfather, a high-ranking member of the Black Panther Party, murdering a school teacher in 1968 during a robbery. His stepfather was also on the FBI‘s list of the 10 most wanted fugitives for four years.
Shakur was involved in various shootings throughout his career, but his most notorious crime came in November 1993, when he and two others were accused of sodomizing a woman in a hotel room. While he wasn’t convicted of the sodomy charge, nor of three gun-related charges that came from a police search of the room, he was convicted of sexual abuse for “forcibly touching the woman’s buttocks.”
The rapper was sentenced to between 18 months and four-and-a-half years in prison. While incarcerated, he began reading the works of Niccolo Machiavelli and Sun Tzu, which are alleged to have changed his worldview. He also kept in contact with several well-known names, including Jim Carrey and Tony Danza.
He later spoke about his time behind bars, saying:
“For the first eight months, I spent in solitude, for 23 hours a day I was locked down, reading, writing. I wrote a script called, Live to Tell, it’s semi-autobiographical, half me, half fiction. It’s really good, it’s my first time writing a screenplay. I used to add things to Poetic Justice, I wrote whole scenes in Above The Rim, in Juice, I added a lot of my own words, but this was the first time I sat down to write a whole script with characters, so with Live To Tell I did that.”
Tupac Shakur received letters from Jim Carrey while in prison
By the time he was imprisoned, Tupac Shakur had long been entrenched in the Hollywood lifestyle, developing friendships with many famous individuals, including Mike Tyson and Jim Carrey. As aforementioned, he kept in contact with the latter while he was incarcerated.
It’s alleged Carrey contacted the rapper on several occasions, with the two eventually becoming close confidantes. Unsurprisingly, the letters the actor to Shakur wrote were on the comedic side, providing some much-needed light relief during what was a rather difficult time in Shakur’s life.
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While he’s been asked what he wrote in the letters, Carrey has refused to share their contents, showing the mutual respect the two had for each other while Shakur was alive.