Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Allen, Tim

Tim Allen was born Timothy Alan Dick in Denver, Colorado on June 13, 1953.  His father died in car accident when Tim was eleven. Allen’s mother later re- married and moved Tim and his five siblings to join her husband and his three children in Birmingham, Michigan.  While growing up outside the “Motor City”, Allen learned to love working on cars. After graduating from high school, Allen continued his studies at Central Michigan University and transferred to Western Michigan University in 1974.  Allen graduated in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in communications and minors in philosophy and design.

Allen began working as a creative director at a small Detroit advertising firm in 1979, and performed standup comedy at Detroit’s Comedy Castle in the evenings under his given name, Tim Dick.  When offered a position on a local talk show, he changed his name to Tim Allen because the producer was hesitant to show his original name on screen.  While doing commercial work and performing in nightclubs around Detroit, Allen performed in a film called Comedy’s Dirtiest Dozen in 1988. He late moved to Los Angeles, California, where audio clips from his standup acts were aired on a radio show called The Five O’clock Funnies.  He won a Cable Ace Award for Best Performance in a Comedy Special for his work at the Just for Laughs International Comedy Festival.  His 1990 Showtime television special Men are Pigs catapulted his career. 

Allen began working with The Disney Corporation to develop a television show in 1990.  The result was the successful Home Improvement program, which was based on Men are Pigs. Home Improvement began in 1991, and by 1993 it was number one on the Nielsen top ten list.  It would continue for eight seasons, ending in 1999.  Allen won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Male Television Performer nine years in a row, beginning in 1992.  He was also nominated for the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series twice. 

Allen broke into the film industry with 1995’s The Santa Clause, and became an author with his first book, Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man around the same time.  He published his second book, I’m Not Really Here, in 1996.  Allen’s film career continued to grow with two sequels to The Santa Clause,” Dreamworks’ Galaxy Quest, the Toy Story films, Christmas with the Kranks, For Richer or Poorer and Shaggy Dog among others. 

Tim Allen continues to act and perform stand up along with collecting cars and running his two companies, Boxing Cat Films, and Time Allen Design.

 


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