Steve Carell's final episode of The Office airs on NBC tonight, and there's been no shortage of tributes to the actor's understated, empathetic style. Salon's Drew Grant called Carell's "goofy but lovable" paper company manager Michael Scott the "bumbling patriarch" of The Office's workplace family. "How could the show go on without him?" he wondered. At The Atlantic, Kevin Fallon marveled at the hidden depth Carell gave to the character. He was a goofball, yes, but there was "brilliance buried beneath Michael's inappropriate, highly unorthodox business practices...the office achieved unlikely success [under Michael]—avoiding downsizing, outlasting a major buy-out, and surviving countless catastrophes."
This is all predicated on the loveliness of Steve Carell, who pretty much everyone agrees is thoughtful, generous and nothing at all like the petulant manchild he plays on TV. He appears to be the closest thing Hollywood has to a saint. Here's why:
He is humble
Carell isn't mad at NBC for overshadowing his final episodes with flashy guest stars (a four episode guest arc for Will Ferrell and finale cameos by Ray Romano, Jim Carrey, and James Spader) and fueling media speculation about his potential replacements (Ferrell, Romano, Spader, Doctor Who's Catherine Tate, Will Arnett, Harvey Keitel, and Ricky Gervais have all had their names floated.) Instead, he's flattered that so many big names want to do the show, especially Ferrell, his Anchorman co-star. "Frankly I was very humbled by [Ferrell's casting]," Carell told The New York Times earlier this month. "It's such a gracious thing for him to do as a friend, plus the fact I knew that he’d have fun doing it."