At only two feet, eight inches tall, Verne Troyer was one of the smallest performers in Hollywood, but became a star of much larger proportions thanks to a high-profile role in the blockbuster comedy sequel "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" in 1999. Getting his start as a stunt double for a nine-month-old child in the 1994 comedy release "Baby's Day Out", Troyer put his size and talents to use performing stunts in the 1996 comedies "Dunston Checks In". Playing babies, animals and even an alien (in 1997's "Men In Black"), Troyer had an average guy role in the anything but average Terry Gilliam feature "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (1998), playing a waiter. A performance as a gorilla in 1999's "Instinct" wouldn't garner the actor/stuntman much in the way of notice, but his less costumed, scene-stealing turn in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" offered a high-ranking spot in the court of pop culture. His silent but expressive comedic performance won the actor good reviews and fans, while his unforgettable appearance would help to separate him from the pack of actors his age.
A recurring role on the UPN sitcom "Shasta" (formerly "Shasta McNasty") and an appearance on the syndicated series "V.I.P." would round out the actor's year and by the close of 1999, Troyer's frequent appearance at Hollywood events but lack of strong follow-up work marked him as a celebrity rather than an actor, though behind the scenes, the performer had several projects in the works. Though a proposed "Shasta" spin-off series didn't take off, he reemerged on television with a humorous recurring role on the syndicated period/adventure series "Jack of All Trades", on which he played none other than famed diminutive despot Napoleon Bonaparte. That same year he hit the big screen with a role in the independent "Bit Players" and a part as a musically-inclined citizen of Whoville in Ron Howard's live-action adaptation of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas". In 2001, Troyer appeared in the unique romantic comedy "Bubble Boy" and was featured in the highly anticipated adaptation of the popular children's book "Harry Potter and the Scorcerer's Stone". He then made his debut in a supporting dramatic turn in "Run for the Money" (2002) starring Christian Slater and Val Kilmer. In 2002, Troyer also appeared in the third "Austin Powers" installment in the famed role of Mini-Me.