Husky, blond, and bespectacled comedian Drew Carey hit pay dirt in 1995 as the star of his own sitcom, "The Drew Carey Show" (ABC, 1995-2004), but the comic's road to stardom was marked by a difficult childhood and a long struggle to make his mark in the brutally competitive world of stand-up comedy. After a failed attempt at earning a degree at Ohio's Kent State University, the young Carey - struggling with depression and a lack of direction - enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. The experience seemed to have been a positive one for Carey, who came out of the service more self-assured, later writing jokes for a local radio station at the urging of a friend. It was not long before he was performing stand-up comedy at clubs around the country, eventually appearing on the televised talent competition "Star Search" (syndicated, 1983-1995). From there it was on to a comedy special on HBO, followed by a slam-dunk guest spot on "The Tonight Show" (NBC, 1962- ), where Carey made a most favorable impression on late night king, Johnny Carson. Of course, it all led to the 1995 premiere of "The Drew Carey Show," a vehicle that would soon make him a household name. After the Cleveland-based series left the airwaves, the comic brought his affable, "life-of-the-party" persona to several series and game shows - most notably as host of "The Price is Right" (CBS, 1972- ), where after a highly publicized search, he replaced the venerable Bob Barker. When asked about his decision to take on the mantle of game show host, the comedian's response was typically laid back and 100 percent Drew Carey: "They told me all I would be doing all day is giving away prizes, and I thought, you know, that's not such a bad thing to be known for."