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Dana Carvey Speaks Out for the First Time About Son’s Death

(Photo Credit: Michael S. Schwartz / Getty Images and Paul Morigi / Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Michael S. Schwartz / Getty Images and Paul Morigi / Getty Images)

Dana Carvey and his family suffered a great tragedy in 2023, when they lost their eldest son to an accidental drug overdose. The news was announced by the family shortly after Dex’s passing, and, in January 2024, the comedian and actor spoke about it for the first time.

Dex Carvey took after his father

Dex Carvey performing on stage
Dex Carvey at the Paramount Theater in Huntington, New York, 2018. (Photo Credit: Al Pereira / Getty Images)

Dana Carvey married Paula Zwagerman in 1983, and the two welcomed their first son, Dex, in 1991. Three years later, the pair had a second son, Thomas and, by the late 1990s, Carvey had decided to take a break from work to raise his children.

Comedy seems to run in the Carvey family, with Dex taking after his father and pursuing a career in the field. In 2013, he starred in the miniseries, The Funster, alongside his dad, and, in 2015, he appeared in Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser. The following year, he even opened for Carvey on his Netflix special, Straight White Male.

Dana Carvey and Paula Zwagerman confirm the loss of their son

Dex Carvey holding a microphone
Dex Carvey at Flappers Comedy Club And Restaurant Burbank in Burbank, California, 2022. (Photo Credit: Michael S. Schwartz / Getty Images)

In a joint statement posted by both Dana Carvey and Paula Zwagerman on X (formerly Twitter), the pair confirmed that Dex had passed away at home on November 15, 2023, from an accidental drug overdose. He was just 32 years old.

Their message read, “Last night we suffered a terrible tragedy. Our beloved son, Dex, died of an accidental drug overdose. He was 32 years old. Dex packed a lot into those 32 years. He was extremely talented at so many things – music, art, film making, comedy – and pursued all of them passionately.”

It closed by saying, “To anyone struggling with addiction or who loves someone struggling with addiction, you are in our hearts and prayers.”

Dana Carvey announces he’s stepping back

Dana Carvey standing on a red carpet
Dana Carvey attending the 24th Annual Mark Twain Prize For American Humor at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, 2023. (Photo Credit: Paul Morigi / Getty Images)

A few days after the news had broke, Dana Carvey posted on Instagram, expressing his and his wife’s thanks for all of the support they’d received. “We will heal the best we can and carry on. Our darling Dex would have wanted it that way,” he told fans. “We received so many beautiful messages from people who knew Dex. These touched us more than we could ever express in words.”

In addition to their thanks, Carvey also announced that he will be “taking a break from work and social media – trying to figure out what life looks like now that we are a family of 3.”

Speaking out for the first time since Dex Carvey’s death

Close-up of Dana Carvey smiling
Dana Carvey attending the premiere of The Secret Life of Pets 2 at the Regency Village Theatre in Westwood, California, 2019. (Photo Credit: Axelle / Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic / Getty Images)

On a January 2024 episode of Fly On the Wall, the podcast Dana Carvey hosts with fellow actor and comedian David Spade, the grieving father spoke about how he’s been doing since losing Dex, saying he’s on the “pain train” and that he’s not sure when he’ll stop feeling this way.

He added that, while he’s been trying to stay busy to keep his mind off things, the recent holiday season was particularly difficult. “It’s me and my wife and our son’s private journey,” Carvey said. “We’re all together, and we do a lot of fun things. We hike, we go to church. You just want to make sure that you keep moving.”

Spade told his co-host that he doesn’t like seeing his friend go through this, and Carvey said that returning to the podcast will be one of the activities that will be “very healthy for me as I recover.”

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Carvey also reiterated how thankful he is for everyone’s support. “If you’re listening to our podcast, you probably know about my family’s loss,” he said. “I just wanted to say that the amount of outpouring online and emailing and people I still haven’t been able to call back is incredible.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!