Michael Lembeck
Birth Date:
June 25, 1948
Birth Place:
Brooklyn, New York, USA
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The Santa Clause 2


Emmy Award winning director and actor Michael Lembeck, the son of the late comedian Harvey Lembeck and brother of actress Helaine Lembeck, had collected fruitful acting credits before turning his attention to directing. He had regular roles in comedy series like “The Krofft Supershow” (1976, as Kaptain Koo), “One Day at a Time” (1979-1984, as Max Horvath) and “Foley Square” (1985, as Peter Newman), episodic roles in various shows such as “Happy Days,” “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” “The Love Boat,” “Murder, She Wrote” and “L.A. Law,” and was seen in the movies “The Boys in Company C” (1978), “The In-Laws” (1979), “Gorp” (1980), “Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8” (1987, TV) and “The Dream Team” (1989), among others. Since making his TV directorial debut in 1989, Lembeck has helmed almost 300 episodes on television. He, however, is probably best known for directing multiple episodes of “Friends” (1995-2000), from which he won an Emmy Award and two Emmy nominations. Other episodic credits include “Caroline in the City” (1995), “Mad About You” (1995), “Everybody Loves Raymond“ (1996-1997), “Veronica's Closet” (1997-1999) and “According to Jim” (2001). Lembeck branched out to feature film by directing 2002’s hit “The Santa Clause 2,” which starred Tim Allen. He again directed Allen in “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” (2006).

When he is away from the director's chair, Lembeck, along with his actress sister Helaine, operates the Harvey Lembeck Comedy Workshop, a comedy workshop his father founded decades ago.

Lembeck has been married twice. He has one child with former wife Barbara Deutsch and shares two kids with his present wife, actress Lorna Patterson.


Childhood and Family:

Michael Lembeck was born on June 25, 1948, in Brooklyn, New York, to comedian Harvey Lembeck (born in 1923, died in 1982) and Caroline Lembeck. His sister, Helaine Lembeck, is an actress.

Nicknamed Lem, Michael graduated from the prestigious Beverly Hills High School in 1966. He went on to study drama at Los Angeles City College and Cal State. Michael later added dancing and singing lessons to his endeavors.

On June 16, 1977, Michael married Barbara Deutsch, who appeared in episodes of “Welcome Back, Kotter” (1977) and “Mr. Belvedere” (1988). They later divorced after producing one child. He is now married to actress Lorna Patterson (born on July 1, 1956). They have two children together.



Beverly Hills High School graduate Michael Lembeck appeared in summer stock productions and joined John Travolta in the original National Company production of the Broadway hit “Grease.” He continued to hone in on his craft on the New York stage and in regional theater before heading to Los Angeles to try his luck in films and television.

Lembeck made his TV film debut in the ABC Movie of The Week “Gidget Grows Up” (1969), while still in New York. The film starred Karen Valentine as Gidget Lawrence. He resurfaced a few years later in episodes of “The Partridge Family,” “Make Room for Granddaddy” and “Love, American Style,” and in the 1971 short-lived series “The Funny Side,” starring John Amos. He also appeared in the made-for-TV film “Haunts of the Very Rich” (1972). The following years saw Lembeck in such TV films as “A Summer Without Boys” (1973), “It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman” (1975), “Flannery and Quilt” (1976), “ABC's Saturday Sneak Peek” (1976) and “Having Babies III” (1978) and in series like “Room 222” (1974), “Happy Days” (1975), “Barney Miller” (1975), “The Rookies” (1975), “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” (1976, as Clete Mizenheimer), “What Really Happened to the Class of '65” (1978) and “The Love Boat” (1979).

The Brooklyn-born actor received his next regular role in the anthology series “The Krofft Supershow” (1976), where he was cast as Kaptain Kool. Three years later, he won the regular role of Max Horvath in the comedy series “One Day at a Time,” a role he played until 1984. Lembeck branched out to the silver screen with performances in the war movie “The Boys in Company C” (1978), playing the supporting role of Private Vinnie Fazio, and “The In-Laws” (1979), in which he had the important role of Peter Falk's son, Tommy Ricardo.

During the 1980s, Lembeck continued to alternate between TV and movies. He supported John Ritter and Susan Dey in the baseball-themed “The Comeback Kid “(1980, TV), starred with Dennis Quaid and Fran Drescher in the comedy “Gorp” (1980), teamed up with Gary Coleman, Maureen Stapleton and Norman Fell for the indie-comedy “On the Right Track” (1981), which was directed by Lee Philips, and provided his voice for the animated series “Smurfs” (1981). After “One Day at a Time” went off the air, Lembeck was cast as schoolteacher Peter Newman in the short-lived comedy series “Foley Square” (1985), portrayed Peter Newman in the made-for-cable-TV docudrama “Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8” (1987), along with Brian Benben, Peter Boyle, Robert Carradine and David Clennon, appeared with Milton Berle, Sid Caesar and Danny Thomas in the television movie “Side by Side” (1988) and had a featured role in “The Dream Team” (1989), which starred Michael Keaton, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle and Stephen Furst. He also appeared in an episode of “Murder, She Wrote” (1987) and a 1989 episode of “The Famous Teddy Z” called “Bobby the Chimp.”

It was in the late 1980s that Lembeck began to pursue directing. Making his debut directing episodes of sitcoms like “Doctor Doctor” and “My Two Dads” (both 1989), he moved on to direct episodes of the sport-oriented “Coach” (1989-1990), which starred Craig T. Nelson, and the short-lived FOX sitcom “Flying Blind” (1992-1993). He also directed episodes of “Major Dad” (1990-1993), which starred Gerald McRaney and Shanna Reed, and short-lived shows like “The Marshall Chronicles” (1990), “Love & War” (1992), “Good Advice” (1993), and “Allen” (1994).

Since becoming a director, Lembeck has slowed down his acting career. From 1990 to 1995, he only acted in the 1993 TV film “Heartbeat” and in episodes of “L.A. Law” (also 1993), “Double Rush” (1995), which he also directed, and “Mad About You” (1995), as Mr. Shapiro. Lembeck revisited “Mad About You” later that same year when he directed the episode “The Test.” His subsequent directorial credits included the comedy shows “Hope and Gloria” (1995), “Pride & Joy” (1995), “The Naked Truth” (1995), “Caroline in the City” (1995), “NewsRadio” (1995), “Party Girl” (1996), “Men Behaving Badly” (1996), “Everybody Loves Raymond” (5 episodes, 1996-1997), “Chicago Sons” (1997), “Over the Top” (1997), “Veronica's Closet” (4 episodes, 1997-1999), “House Rules” (1998), “That's Life” (1998), “Encore! Encore!” (1998), “Stark Raving Mad” (1999) and “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” (2 episodes, 1999). By 1999, Lembeck had also added several TV films to his directing resume, including “Acting Sheriff” (1991), “Boys & Girls” (1996) and “True Love” (1999).

However, Lembeck did not hit the big time until he was recruited to direct the long-running series “Friends.” Making his debut in February 1995 with “The One with Two Parts,” he went on to direct 22 more episodes until 2000. Lembeck won an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Comedy Series for his work in the 1996 episode “The One after the Superbowl.” He also received Emmy nominations for “The One Where Everyone Finds Out” (1999) and “The One That Could Have Been” parts 1 and II (2000).

Lembeck remained active in the new millennium. He directed David Paymer, Marcia Gay Harden and Lizzy Caplan in the made-for-TV film “From Where I Sit” (2000), Steven Weber and Paula Marshall in the forgettable sitcom “Cursed” (2000), Cheri Oteri in the Fox television movie “Loomis” (2001) and Eddie Kaye Thomas, John Cho, Sean Maguire and Lauren Stamile in the short-lived comedy “Off Centre” (2001). He also worked on episodes of “What About Joan,” “Inside Schwartz” and “According to Jim” and on the documentary/miniseries “The 5 Coolest Things” (2003), which was hosted by Matt LeBlanc.

After 13 years of directing, Lembeck made the leap to the silver screen with “The Santa Clause 2” (2002), a comedy starring Tim Allen. The film was a commercial hit and grossed over $140 million domestically. For his sophomore effort, “Connie and Carla” (2004), Lembeck joined screenwriter/actress Nia Vardalos and cast such actors as David Duchovny, Toni Collette and Ian Gomez. He was reunited with Tim Allen for the third sequel, “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause” (2006), in which he also wrote the song “Come Meet Santa.” The film was also a big hit. His next movie, “The Clique” (2008), which was based on a novel by Lisi Harrison, went straight to video release.

Lembeck is set to direct the comedy/fantasy “Tooth Fairy” (2009). The film stars Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Julie Andrews and Billy Crystal .


  • Emmy: Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Comedy Series, “Friends,” for episode “The One After The Superbowl,” 1996

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