CRAZY ON THE OUTSIDE
Ask TIM ALLEN to tell you something about himself that you might not
yet know and he'll tell you with utter honesty and a lowered voice,
"Okay--I'm a Dick. Yes. I am a Dick. My closest friends know I'm a Dick. In
fact, my brothers are Dicks, my cousins are Dicks, and my sister--before she was
married--a Dick. My dad? One incredible Dick, and the Dick responsible for me
being Dick. Timothy Alan Dick. Some of us are just born lucky."
Yes, Tim was born on June 13, 1953 in Denver Colorado as Timothy Alan Dick.
After losing his father to an auto accident at the age of 11, Tim's mother
remarried her high school sweetheart and she moved her six kids to join his
three in Birmingham, Michigan, (a suburb of Detroit).
In high school, Tim developed a passion for cars (drag racing down Woodward
Avenue)' his favorite subject was shop (now there's a surprise); and he was, of
course, the class clown. Tim started his college studies at Central Michigan
University and transferred to Western Michigan University in 1974. With a split
minor in Philosophy and Design, Tim majored in Communications, specializing in
radio and television production, and was active WIDR, the University's student
radio station. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in April 1976. (In 1998,
Tim revisited the university to receive an Honorary Degree and was the recipient
of The Distinguished Alumni Award.)
After graduating, Tim took a job as creative director for a small advertising
firm in Detroit. On a dare from a friend, he made his first stand-up appearance
in 1979 at Detroit's Comedy Castle, which he still considers his "comedy
"I remember shortly after beginning stand-up, I got a spot on a local
talk show and the producers came up to me and carefully said, "Um, we don't
feel comfortable flashing your name on the screen. Surely you understand, you
know, Tim--Dick? People will think you made it up to be funny.' I wanted to be a
comedian so much that then and there, I removed the Dick. The separation didn't
hurt as much as I thought--it was an out-patient procedure."
The newly named Tim Allen continued to stretch his comedy muscles doing
stand-up at night, while supplementing his income by appearing in commercials
for Mr. Goodwrench, Ford, Chevrolet and Kmart during the day. After paying his
dues on the Comedy Circuit at nightclubs around the country, and performing in a
1988 film called Comedy's Dirtiest Dozen, Tim set out to make his mark in Los
Tim and his wife, Laura, closed the decade with the birth of their daughter,
Katherine, adding new material to his comedy set.
Tim started getting spot at the top comedy clubs in Los Angeles but his
exposure got a big boost from the KLOS radio show "The Five O'clock
Funnies" which aired audio clips from his stand-up act and thus, a devoted
'grunting' audience was born. In 1990, he was pleasantly surprised (okay,
shocked) to win a Cable Ace Award for Best Performance in a Comedy Special for
the concert film of the "Just for Laughs International Comedy
Festival" in Montreal. From there, he performed in his own half-hour
special for Showtime entitled, Men Are Pigs which really solidified his unique
slant on masculinity that he is known for to this day.
The special came to the attention of Walt Disney Studios then-chairman
Jeffrey Katzenberg just about the time he was looking to develop a new
television series. Katzenberg and Walt Disney Co. chairman Michael Eisner
tracked down Tim backstage at one of his improve gigs and offered him starring
roles in a series of situation comedies in development. In a gusty move, the
then unknown Tim declined roles in the series Turner & Hooch and The Dead
Poets Society, in which he would have recreated for the small screen characters
made popular on the big screen by Tom Hanks and Robin Williams. Eventually, he
succeeded in persuading the studio to use his Men Are Pigs routine as the basis
for a sitcom, and Home Improvement was launched.
"Jeffery Katzenberg sat across a big conference room table from me and
said the unforgettable words, 'I want Disney and Tim Allen to get married.' My
response? 'Well, I'd kinda like to see the ring first.'"
In the fall of 1991, the pilot for Home Improvement introduced viewers to Tim
Taylor, befuddled husband and father, and the well-meaning but mishap-prone host
of a home-repair show called Tool Time. Critics were divided on the show's
appeal, but TV viewers loved it, and Home Improvement managed to break into the
Nielsen top ten list during its first season on the air and moved to the number
one position by the 1993-94 season, topping all other series.
For his work on Home Improvement, Tim won the 1992 People's Choice Award
naming him Favorite Male Television Performer and continued to win it for 8 consecutive
years. He also won the title of America's Favorite TV Personality for three
years in a row from the Harris Poll. In 1995, he received the Golden Globe Award
for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series. He was also warded in
1996 with two Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in the categories of Favorite TV
Actor and the coveted Kids Choice Hall of Fame.
In addition to the awards he has received for his work on Home Improvement,
he was recognized in 1995 by the film industry for his starring role in the
top-grossing Disney movie, The Santa Clause, where he played the role of Scott
Calvin/Santa Claus for which he received the People's Choice Award for Favorite
Actor in a Comedy Motion Picture. In addition, he received the Blockbuster
Entertainment Award as Favorite Male Newcomer, Theatrical.
Even though Home Improvement was Tim's first series, he was nominated twice
for an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in Comedy Series, and was one of the
co-hosts of the 1992 Primetime Emmy Awards presentation.
With a national concert tour that included a sell out performance at Caesar's
Palace in Las Vegas, Tim also found time to pen his first book, Don't Stand Too
Close to a Naked Man. It reveals his philosophy about male behavior--replete
with comedic--replete with comedic medications and anecdotes. With this book
topping the New York Times Bestseller List, it propelled Tim into an
unprecedented 'Trifecta'--he had the #1 rated television show, the #1 box office
smash hit movie, and the #1 best selling book all in the same week in 1994.
"That was such a critical mass of timing; I suppose, difficult to
achieve, but I don't think it's the kind of thing that goes down in history.
When I'm long gone, maybe it'll be a jeopardy question."
Tim continued his film career when in November of 1995, he lent his voice
talents to the deluded space ranger, Buzz Lightyear in Disney/Pixar's computer
animated smash hit, Toy Story. In 1996, Tim's second book I'm Not Really Here
was published and it too, became a bestseller. It dealt with Tim's look at
midlife, family, quantum physics and the search for a missing hood ornament. In
March of 1997, Tim's third movie, Disney's Jungle to Jungle was released which
co-starred Martin Short, Lolita Davidovich and JoBeth Williams, followed by the
Universal romantic comedy, For Richer or Poorer with Kirstie Alley.
Even though Tim was busy with film productions, after eight seasons, Home
Improvement was still in the top ten. In 1999, Tim won the TV Guide Award for
Favorite Actor in a Comedy Series and in a tearful farewell, Tim hung up his
Home Improvement tool belt after a two hour closing finale special.
"I didn't want it to end because I loved it so much--and it certainly
wasn't a money issue. I just didn't want the show to tire itself out--I didn't
want it eventually have to push an old car down the road. The cast members, the
crew and the staff were like a second family to me. It was the hardest decision
I ever made and that last show was a very emotional night for me."
Although his sitcom had come to an end, his film career had not. That same
year, Tim reprised his role in the Disney sequel, Toy Story 2 which grossed over
$250 million to become the sixteenth highest film of all-time in terms of US box
office success. This was followed by the Dreamworks film, Galaxy Quest where Tim
played the washed-up actor Jason Nesmith and his sci-fi alter ego Commander
Peter Quincy Taggart who rallied the band of has-been actors and saved the
galaxy. This film, along with its commercial success has turned into a top
favorite among Tim's fans, as well as fellow comedians and contemporaries in the
The 20th Century Fox picture Joe Somebody hit the theaters Christmas 2001;
Barry Sonnenfeld's ensemble comedy Big Trouble, originally scheduled for release
September 2001, opened at theaters April 2002; and Who Is Cletis Tout - an
independent dark comedy starring Christian Slater, was released in August 2002
at theaters in selected cities. In this movie, Tim plays a professional hit man
with a knowledge and passion for classic films--an interesting departure for the
well know 'movie dad.' In November 2002, Tim helped kick off the holiday movie
season reprising his role as 'the big man in red' in the long awaited sequel,
The Santa Clause 2. Due to the overwhelming box office response, there are
already plans for a Santa Clause 3. 2003 brought several feature development
projects Tim's way as well as co-creating, writing and executive producing a new
sitcom pilot for ABC.
July 2004 brings the production to a close for the John Grisham novel turned
film, Christmas with the Kranks co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis and is released in
theaters during the Christmas season of that year. Tim ends 2004 with the Disney
production of The Shaggy Dog where he enjoyed the acting company of Robert
Downey Jr. and Kristin Davis and reunites with them for the theatre release in
Joining this release, 2006 forges ahead with the theatrical release of Zoom
co-starring Courteney Cox, and Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause where Tim
enjoyed reuniting with many of the cast from the franchise, as well as the great
additional of Martin Short, Alan Arkin and the iconic Ann-Margret.
To finish off 2006 with a personal milestone, Tim marries Jan Hajduk in a
idyllic Colorado ceremony surrounded by family of three generations.
2007 opens with the release of the suburban biker film Wild Hogs and he
enjoys the great box office success along with his co-stars John Travolta,
Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy and Ray LIotta. Tim ends the year with final
production on Six Wives of Henry LeFay where Tim plays a man whose wife and five
ex-wives fight over his will when they believe he is dead. Elisha Cuthbert stars
as his daughter; Jenna Elfman, Andie MacDowell and S. Epatha Merkerson also
In 2008, Tim takes a departure from comedy, appearing in the martial arts
drama Redbelt, written and directed by the distinguished Pulitzer Prize winner,
Tim follows this success, with his feature film directional debut, producing
the independent comedy Crazy on the Outside, in which he also stars opposite Ray
Liotta, Sigourney Weaver, Julie Bowen, Jeanne Tripplehorn, J.K. Simmons and
Kelsey Grammer. In the film Allen plays a newly released prisoner who tries to
persuade his attractive parole office (Tripplehorn) to date him. His struggle to
rebuild his life is further complicated by a loving, yet nutty sister (Weaver)
and her sarcastic husband (Simmons).
While waiting for the film's release, Tim goes into production, reprising the
voice of Buzz Lightyear in the long awaited Toy Story 3.
Tim is definitely in the prime of his life. With his movie career shifting
into high gear, he still finds time to perform stand-up, collect cars, spend
time with this wife and daughter, and run his companies: Boxing Cat Films, which
develops entertainment projects, and Tim Allen Design (TAD), which allow Tim an
outlet to continue his love for design.
To add extra joy to this already exciting life, Tim's wife, Jane gave birth
to a beautiful baby girl, Elizabeth in the spring of 2009.
So ask him what it's like to be Tim Allen and you'll get this: "Tim
Allen? No, I'm still Tim Dick, the wisecracking kid from the upper Midwest,
looking for answers to life's big questions, and being grateful for my friends
and family. I'm just fortunate to be able to create as much as I do and have
people like it. I just worked hard enough--and was lucky enough to become the
owner of a red-hot franchise called 'Tim Allen.'"
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