Steve Allen Biography
     The 1980s and '90s were the busiest in the more than 50-year career of Steve Allen, who in 1986 was inducted into the TV Academy's Hall of Fame.  In the '50s and '60s, when involved with weekly or nightly TV series, his extraneous activities were necessarily limited.  In recent years, as he continued to appear as a guest on network and syndication programs, Allen had more time to write books, star in occasional dramatic shows, play major concerts, legitimate theatres, and nightclubs around the country, compose more songs and record more albums.
     During the 1980's, Allen starred in two limited prime-time series for NBC -- The Big Show and The Steve Allen Comedy Hour -- produced the fourth season of his Emmy and Peabody award-winning Meeting of Minds for PBS, and garnered critical acclaim for his hosting of the 32nd annual Emmy Awards Show, stepping in at the last minute during an ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike (and contributing his fee to the unions' strike fund).

     In New York, his comedy musical Seymour Glick is Alive But Sick was greeted with critical raves during its run at the St. Regis Hotel.
     Throughout '80s and '90s, Allen turned out 28 new books bringing his total to 54 published works.  Click here for new titles during this period.

     The multi-talented comedian, writer, composer, lyricist, actor, concert artist, lecturer (ad infinitum) was a tall (6'3"), 200-pound man, married for more than 46 years to the beautiful and versatile actress Jayne Meadows.  They lived for more than 40 years in a comfortable hillside home overlooking the San Fernando Valley.  Frequent visitors were their son, Bill, President of Meadowlane Music and Meadowlane Enterprises and former president of MTM Television in Hollywood, and Steve's three sons by his first marriage:  Steve Jr., a doctor and lecturer in Ithaca, New York; Brian, President of Windermere, Cronn & Caplan, realtors in Portland; and David, a songwriter in San Francisco.  (Allen's eight-year marriage to the late Dorothy Goodman, whom he met while attending Arizona State Teacher's College, ended in divorce in 1952.)  Steve often said his favorite role in life was Grandpa, one he got considerable practice playing as he had 12 grandchildren.
     Allen's clear and open mind enabled him to move lightly from the most complex subjects to nutty comedy.  He used it on a 24-hour-a-day schedule, finding ideas literally while waking and sleeping.  Always ready to extract them, Allen had small tape-recorders everywhere: in his pockets, in the bathroom, by his bed, in his car.  This system supplied the raw material for the numerous Allen activities.
     "I'm always busy," he noted, "but always doing things I enjoy.  I rarely occupy myself with things that bug me. I'm very fortunate in that not many of us are allowed to live for kicks and get paid for it."
     But it is sometimes difficult for the observer to get the man in focus. Allen was, for example, a television comedian of nearly 50 years' standing who has written a scholarly treatise on migratory farm labor titled The Ground is our Table.
    He recounted white-collar crime in Ripoff:  The Corruption that Plagues America.  And in 2000, he wrote a BestSeller on raising the standards of popular culture called Vulgarians at the Gate.
   Steve Allen, the actor who starred in Universal's The Benny Goodman Story, is the same man whose poems have appeared in Atlantic Monthly and Saturday Review, and who has had two books of poetry published.
    Steve Allen, the composer of more than 7,900 songs, was the same man who wrote the popular novel Not All of Your Laughter, Not all of Your Tears.
    Allen, the lyricist of such popular songs as "South Rampart Street Parade," "Picnic," "Gravy Waltz," "Mary Hartman-Mary Hartman" and "This Could be the Start of Something Big," also starred on the Broadway stage in The Pink Elephant.
    Steve Allen, the author of 54 published books, ranging in subject matter from poetry through short stories, humor, autobiography and politics, was also the composer and lyricist of the stage musical Sophie, about the late Sophie Tucker; and, in 1986, he composed the score for the CBS-TV version of Alice in Wonderland.
     Steve Allen was the composer of the background score of the MGM film, A Man Called Dagger, and yet the same man who wrote and produced an award-winning TV documentary on organized crime.
    As Allen's good friend Andy Williams said, "Steve did so many things, he's the only man I know who's listed on every one of the Yellow Pages."
     Steve's taste for both high and lowbrow comedy came naturally -- his mother was the popular vaudeville comedienne Belle Montrose.  (His father, Billy Allen, Belle's straightman, died before Steve was two.)  Though he was raised in and around show business, traveling from city to city, he would usually wind up in Chicago, the home of his mother's Irish-Catholic, lower-middle-class family whose humor Steve described as "sarcastic, volatile, sometimes disparaging, but very funny."
     Steve was later to write a semi-autobiographical drama based on reminiscences of his early childhood.  The Wake had its world premiere at the Masquers Theatre in Hollywood during the Fall of 1971.
     In 1978, The Wake enjoyed a successful run on the Eastern theatre circuit, with Allen himself in one of the starring roles.
    It garnered the acclaim of both critics and the public, and was nominated by the Los Angeles TV Critics Circle in Best Play category.  The Wake was produced, in 1991, by a theatrical company in Milwaukee, and in 1992 completed a successful run at the Celtic Arts Center in Los Angeles.  Steve also adapted the story to novel form, which was published by Doubleday. 
Steve's  Early Years
The 1950s
The '60s and '70s

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Bill Maher (Politically Incorrect) serves as master of ceremonies at this all-star comedy and music event celebrating Steve Allen's 75th birthday and his half-century career in television and entertainment. Steve performs several of his greatest musical hits and introduces clips of some of his best-loved comedy sketches and ad-libbed routines. He also enjoys tributes by fellow entertainers including Milton Berle, Jackie Mason, Billy Crystal, Ted Koppel, Jay Leno, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, David Letterman, Rodney Dangerfield, Steve Martin, Phil Hartman and a special appearance by Jayne Meadows. Classic clips from the golden age of television feature: Bob Hope, Charlton Heston, Don Knotts, Jerry Lewis, Louis Nye and many more. And the Steve Allen Big Band performs some of the many songs has written including, "The South Rampart Street Parade," "Gravy Waltz," and "This Could Be The Start Of Something Big." So join in this musical, comedy celebration of the career of one of television's living legends...Steve Allen.
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A & E Biography of Steve Allen
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