Inside Family Guy cast – 9/11 close call, phone hacking and temporary blindness

Everyone's favourite crude cartoon, Family Guy first aired on January 31, 1999.

It's a hugely popular and successful show, but its stars only lend their voices to it so aren't seen on-screen.

And it turns out their lives away from the show are pretty dramatic, from a near miss on 9/11, a phone hacking horror, temporary blindness and even some Hollywood romances, such as Seth MacFarlane and Emilia Clarke.

Created by Seth MacFarlane, who celebrates his birthday today (October 26), he first pitched the show to Fox during his tenure at Hanna-Barbera.

After a second pitch, Fox offered the young writer a strange deal, where they gave him a budget of $50,000 to produce a pilot that could lead to a series (baring in mind that most episodes of animated prime-time productions cost at least $1million).

Recalling the experience in an interview with The New York Times, MacFarlane stated: "I spent about six months with no sleep and no life, just drawing like crazy in my kitchen and doing this pilot".

The show is an American adult animated sitcom that centres around the Griffin family.

It consists of parents Peter and Lois, their children, Meg, Chris, and Stewie, and their pet dog.

The show is set in the fictional city of Quahog, Rhode Island.

The series is popular among many generations, but what do we know about the people behind the cartoon? Here at Daily Star we're going to take a look inside the lives of the Family Cast…

Seth MacFarlane

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Seth is the creator of the show, but also voices Family Guy's main male characters – Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Brian Griffin, and Glenn Quagmire as well as Tom Tucker, his son Jake Tucker, and additional characters.

On September 11, 2001, Seth was meant to return to LA from Boston, and was booked on American Airlines Flight 11.

He ended up missing his flight because he was experiencing a bad hangover, and because he was given an incorrect departure time (8:15am instead of 7:45am) by his travel agent.

Seth arrived 10 minutes late and was unable to board the flight, as the gates had been closed.

Just 15 minutes after departure, the flight he was meant to be on – American Airlines Flight 11 – was hijacked.

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At 8:46am the plane was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre, and sadly everybody died.

The director and actor spoke of the near miss: "The only reason it hasn't really affected me as it maybe could have is I didn't really know that I was in any danger until after it was over, so I never had that panic moment.

"After the fact, it was sobering, but people have a lot of close calls; you're crossing the street and you almost get hit by a car… this one just happened to be related to something massive.

"I really can't let it affect me because I'm a comedy writer. I have to put that in the back of my head."

From 2012 until 2013, Seth was in a relationship with actress Emilia Clarke, and the pair have remained on good terms.

Alex Borstein

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Alex is an American actress, comedian, writer and producer, who also voices Lois Griffin on Family Guy.

She even won a Primetime Emmy Award for her role on the show.

While working on MADtv, she met Seth MacFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, who was preparing to launch the animated show at the time.

Originally supposed to create animated shorts for MADtv, Seth declined as he wanted to create an independent series.

Seth ended up casting Alex as the voice of Lois Griffin.

While studying improv at the ACME Comedy Theatre, she met Jackson Douglas who proposed to her during the taping of a MADtv skit.

The pair married in 1999 before getting divorced in 2017.

Mila Kunis

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Although we know Mila for her Hollywood roles, she actually started out in humble TV shows.

In 1999, Mila replaced Lacey Chabert in the role of Meg Griffin on Family Guy after she successfully made it through the auditions process.

When Seth hired Mila for the role, he said: "What Mila Kunis brought to it was in a lot of ways, I thought, almost more right for the character.

"I say that Lacey did a phenomenal job, but there was something about Mila – something very natural about Mila. She was 15 when she started, so you were listening to a 15-year-old.

"Oftentimes with animation they'll have adult actors doing the voices of teenagers and they always sound like Saturday morning voices.

"They sound oftentimes very forced. She had a very natural quality to Meg that really made what we did with that character kind of really work."

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Her fame has skyrocketed since first starring on Family Guy back in the noughties, and in 2021 her current acting credits are bursting with comedic blockbuster hits like Friends With Benefits, Black Swan, Ted and Bad Moms.

In 2002 she dated Macaulay Culkin, but the pair split in 2011.

Soon after, in 2012, she began dating her former That '70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher.

Two years later they became engaged before getting hitched in 2015.

The couple have two children and the family live in a farmhouse, designed by the couple and architect Howard Backen, in Beverly Hills.

In January 2011, she revealed that she had chronic iritis that had caused temporary blindness in one eye, but prior to revealing this she had surgery to correct it.

In September 2011, the American FBI announced it was investigating the alleged hacking of Mila's mobile phone, alongside other high-profiled celebs' phones like Vanessa Hudgens and Scarlett Johansson.

Christopher Chaney from Jacksonville, Florida, later pleaded guilty in federal court to nine counts of computer hacking.

Seth Green

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On the popular cartoon, Seth voices Chris Griffin, the overweight teenage son.

In the past, the voice actor has stated that his main inspiration for his character's voice came from imagining how Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs would sound if he were speaking through a PA system.

Away from the adult-themed cartoon, Seth is married to actress Clare Grant, and the pair have worked on many films and projects together – namely, Robot Chicken, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.

Mike Henry

Mike is an American voice actor, director, writer and producer, who is best known for his work on Family Guy.

His big break came in 1998, when creator of Family Guy, Seth, contacted him about being part of the new show he was working on.

Mike instantly said yes and was brought onboard as a writer and voice actor.

In June 2020, after 21 years of voicing his character Cleveland Brown, Mike took to Twitter to announce that he was stepping down from the role.

Posting an image of his character, he wrote: "It’s been an honour to play Cleveland on Family Guy for 20 years. I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour. Therefore, I will be stepping down from the role."

A couple of months later it was announced that Arif Zahir, an African-American, would take on the role.

Arif was a longtime fan of the show before stepping into Cleaveland's role and said: "You [Mike Henry] created something truly special, and I promise I will do my absolute best to honour your legacy."

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