For many, comedian Tim Allen is popular as family man Tim Taylor, his role in the long-running sitcom “Home Improvement” (1991-1999), which brought him two Golden Globe Awards and a TV Guide Award, as well as an Emmy and four Golden Globe nominations. He also made a name for himself as a funny, but touching, actor after impressively playing Scott Calvin in The Santa Clause (1994, won a People’s Choice Award), a role he reprised in the sequel The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and the upcoming The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006).
Allen, who netted an Annie Award for his voiceover work in Toy Story 2 (1999) and a Saturn Award for his performance in Galaxy Quest (1999), was critically acknowledged as a talented humorist. He became a three-time Kid’s Choice’s Favorite Male Actor recipient and a three-time People’s Choice’s Favorite Male Television Performer. In 1995, Allen was also named TV Guide’s “TV Funniest Star,” the People’s Choice “Favorite Comedy Motion Picture Actor,” and was listed on the Kid’s Choice “Hall of Fame.”
Off camera, Allen published two autobiographical books, “Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man” (1994) and “I’m Not Really Here” (1996). He is also the owner of Boxing Cat Productions (a graphic arts, design and commercial production company) and the power tool brand Tim Allen’s Signature Tools (manufactured by Ryobi). In 1998, he received an Honorary Degree and The Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma mater, Western Michigan University.
On a darker note, in 1978, young Allen, who was introduced to cocaine while in college, was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months for cocaine possession. He again was arrested in 1997, this time for DUI, in which he received a year of probation and was ordered to seek counseling. As for his private life, Allen is the former husband of Laura Diebel, with whom he shares a daughter.
Childhood and Family:
Tim Allen was born Timothy Allen Dick on June 13, 1953, in Denver, Colorado. He is one of nine siblings to real-estate salesman Gerald Dick and community-service worker Martha Dick. When he was 11, his father died in a car accident, and two years later, his mother married an Episcopalian deacon. The family then moved to Birmingham, Michigan.
Tim, who became a class clown while in high school, studied acting at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. In 1974, he transferred to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where he was also active in WIDR, the University’s student radio station. Graduating with a degree in Television Production, Tim then worked as a creative director for a Detroit advertising firm. He tried stand-up comedy in 1979 after being challenged by a friend.
On April 7, 1984, Tim tied the knot with landscape designer Laura Diebel, who once worked as the chief executive officer of Tim Allen Signature Tools. Tim and Laura divorced in 2003. Their daughter, Kady, was born in 1989.
On a dare from his friend, Tim Allen was seen on stage at Detroit’s Comedy Castle in 1979, where he did his first stand-up performance. He continued doing comedic stage acts and began writing stand-up material for the TV series “An Evening at the Improv” (1982), amid his day job at a local ad company. He also co-wrote and performed in a recorded stand-up performance titled Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen (1988), featuring uprising comedian Chris Rock and the veteran performer Bill Hicks. Allen, who appeared in the drama Tropical Snow (1989) as a baggage handler, acquired the role of Tim Taylor in the long-running comedy variety series “ABC TGIF” (1990-2001).
Allen wrote, executive produced and starred in his own special program Tim Allen: Men Are Pigs (1991), before having a breakthrough with the family sitcom “Home Improvement” (1991-1999, also served as executive consultant), which was a spin-off of his TGIF character. Wittily delivering the role of family man Tim Taylor in the series, the comedian later took home two Golden Globes and a TV Guide for Best Actor, as well as an Emmy and four Golden Globe nominations. In the course of the popular sitcom, Allen, who reportedly received $1.25 million per episode for its last season, also tried to be one of the directors, screenwriters and executive producers.
After previously being spotted by a Disney representative while performing in a comedy club, the humorist was cast as Scott Calvin, a divorced man who unexpectedly had to do Santa Claus’ tasks, in the family holiday movie The Santa Clause (1994). For his touching portrayal, Allen won a People’s Choice for Funniest Actor and earned two MTV Movie nominations, one for Best Breakthrough Performance and another for Best Comedic Performance. Allen then provided the voice for character Buzz Lightyear in the computer-generated animated movie Toy Story (1995) and received an MTV nomination for Best On-Screen Duo (shared with Tom Hanks who voiced the cowboy toy Woody).
A three-time Kid’s Choice’s Favorite Male Actor, in 1995, Allen also became TV Guide’s “TV Funniest Star,” received a People’s Choice for Favorite Comedy Motion Picture Actor, and was listed on the Kid’s Choice “Hall of Fame.” After starring as Michael Cromwell in the remake Jungle 2 Jungle (1997) and guest starring in a couple of TV series, including the sitcom “Spin City” (1998), he reprised his animated character in Toy Story 2 (1999, won an Annie for Best Male Voice Acting and received a second MTV nomination). He also won a Saturn for Best Actor for his entertaining performance as Jason Nesmith in the family sci-fi movie Galaxy Quest (1999).
Next up for Allen, he continued voicing Buzz Lightyear in the video-released Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins (2000), played Joe Scheffer in the romantic comedy Joe Somebody (2001) and revived the role of Scott Calvin in The Santa Clause 2 (2002). He also narrated the self-executive produced TV special program These Guys (2003) before carrying out the part of Luther Krank in the comedy holiday film Christmas with the Kranks (2004), an adaptation of John Grisham’s novel “Skipping Christmas.” Recently, the actor was seen in the fantasy comedy The Shaggy Dog (2006, also produced).
Allen, who became a three-time People’s Choice Favorite Male Television Performer, will appear in the third installment of the Santa Clause movies, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), reprising his Scott Calvin role. He will also be seen as the titular former superhero in Zoom (2006), before taking part in the upcoming comedy films, Walt Becker’s Wild Hogs (2007) and Simon Beaufoy’s In the Pink (2007, also featuring Cher and Britney Spears).