Popular American comedian. Tim Allen was born Timothy Allen Dick in Denver, Colorado, in June, 1953. When he was 11 his father was killed in a car accident. Two years later the family moved to Michigan and his mother remarried.
Allen attended Western Michigan University, graduating with a degree in television production. He was arrested in 1978 for dealing cocaine, and spent 28 months in a federal penitentiary. His wife, Laura Diebel, stood by him while he was incarcerated, and afterward supported his foray into stand-up comedy.
His comic routine "Men are Pigs" featured grunting and centered on men's love of hardware (you pretty much have to see it to understand how the two correlate). A Showtime special in 1990 caught the attention of Disney, eventually leading to an ABC TV series based on the act, Home Improvement. The situation comedy became a huge hit and ran from 1991 to 1999.
On the show Allen played Tim Taylor, the host of "Tool Time," a local cable TV show. His self-deprecating character was constantly learning about his relationships with his family and friends. Patricia Richardson co-starred as his wife; their children were played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Zachery Ty Bryan, and Taran Noah Smith. Taylor also had amusing accidents involving fix-up ineptitude, often re-wiring appliances which would eventually explode. (As a Michigan native I always thought it was cool that Allen supported local schools and sports teams by wearing their shirts on the show.)
Following his television success, Allen starred in a number of films. The Santa Clause was a big hit with audiences, and he provided the voice for the animated character Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story movies. The films Jungle 2 Jungle and For Richer for Poorer did not have the same appeal, but Galaxy Quest, a spoof about space exploration television, was another smash.
Allen was arrested in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in May of 1997 for drunk driving, after which he spent some time in a substance abuse clinic. He's also had problems with cocaine addiction since the 1970s. He also made news recently for needing an emergency appendectomy.
Tim Allen enjoys racing cars, and has his own product line of hand tools. The profits from sales of Tim Allen Signature Tools are donated to charity. He is the author of two books, Don't stand too close to a naked man and I'm not really here, both amalgams of humor and autobiography. The first was a best seller in 1994, the second in 1996.
Sadly, Allen and his wife separated in 1999. They have one daughter, Kady, who was born in 1989.