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This story first appeared in the March 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
“We were competitive when we were younger,” admits Rachael MacFarlane, 36 to her brother’s 39 and a voice actress on his Family Guy and American Dad. “But when he became the youngest executive producer in television history at 25 and a self-made millionaire, I said, ‘This is going to be difficult if you try to keep up with him.’ ” The married mother of one — who followed her brother to Los Angeles after graduating from The Boston Conservatory — embraced Seth’s success, which has included one of the richest TV deals; a $535 million worldwide blockbuster in his directorial debut, Ted; and, on Feb. 24, his gig hosting the Academy Awards. Rachael offers her take on why Seth is the right man for Oscar.
PHOTOS: Oscars Countdown: Behind the Scenes as Seth MacFarlane and Others Prep for Hollywood’s Big Night
He really loves this stuff. When we were kids and we’d be driving in the car, he’d want to listen to movie scores — not soundtracks, scores. I wanted Tiffany or Debbie Gibson, and he wanted the soundtrack to Back to the Future. He had this appreciation for everything it took to put a film together, even at an early age.
He has been preparing for this his whole life. We grew up in a small town in Connecticut, where there was a phenomenal community theater. We were doing Gilbert and Sullivan musicals and learning complex harmonies when we were 5 years old. My father has videos of us making paper-bag puppets and subjecting our parents to awful hourlong shows where we’d do the voices. His puppets were incredible.
He’s a born performer. I remember having a dance party in the backyard when I was 11 or 12, and Seth wanted to DJ. He was great. And then, all of a sudden, the music stops and he’s imitating Ronald Reagan doing an interview with Michael Dukakis. He’s bouncing between the two voices, and my friends are like, “What is this?” But that was Seth’s deal. And everyone just sort of accepted him. He was not a typical child at all; there was something special about him. We all expected great things from him. People in our town saved his artwork. You don’t do that; you don’t save a 4-year-old’s artwork. But people just knew.
STORY: Oscar Producers Plan Big Musical Ending
He has a big heart to connect with audiences. He’s the most generous human being I’ve ever met. He drew a picture of Rainbow Brite when he was 7 to submit to the local TV station so he could win me a Rainbow Brite doll. And he would get his paycheck from doing cartoons in the local paper and spend half of it to buy me a Barbie Corvette.
He’s ready for this. I’ve asked him, “Are you nervous?” And he seems to say he’s not. I’ve said it before, but I really think he’s going to strike a chord with older audiences and younger audiences. He’s this brilliant marriage of that Old Hollywood charm with the cutting-edge brand of humor he brings to his work. My husband and I are going with my dad and my dad’s wife. We’re over the moon.
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