Dennis Miller life and biography

Dennis Miller picture, image, poster

Dennis Miller biography

Date of birth : 1953-11-03
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Nationality : American
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2010-11-02
Credited as : Actor and comedian, talk show host, Saturday Night Live

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Handsome, glib and arrogant, Miller first gained fame as the Weekend Update anchor-person for TV's Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1985-91). His comedy stems from his intelligent, if condescending, approach and persona. The Pittsburgh native got his start as a stand-up comic in such clubs as Catch a Rising Star and The Comic Strip in New York, and Los Angeles' The Improv. Returning to Pittsburgh, he wrote, produced and appeared in the local PM Magazine show and hosted a Saturday morning show for teens.

Miller rocketed to stardom in 1985 after joining the cast of "Saturday Night Live". Anchoring the Weekly Update sketch gave him a venue for his liberal intellectual rant, and in 1992 he began his own late-night talk-show (lasting a brief six months) that boasted "the smartest monologue on television". His obscure and relevant references ("Stop me before I cross-reference again!") lent an air of intellectualism to the Hollywood milieu of late-night talk shows. Miller was not quite as "middle of the road" as "The Tonight Show"'s Jay Leno nor as obsequious as Arsenio Hall, and his show was canceled by his distributor, Tribune, citing low ratings. Miller had previously starred in three stand-up oriented comedy specials for HBO--"Mr. Miller Goes to Washington" (1988), "Black and White" (1990) and "They Shoot HBO Specials, Don't They?" (1993)--and returned to the talk-show format on the pay cable network with "Dennis Miller Live" (HBO, 1994-2002), a weekly half-hour program featuring celebrity guests, unscreened phone calls, a little talk, news updates reminiscent of his former SNL days and a reference-laden opening monolgue that ended in a "rant," in which Miller would verbally unload on a topic of the day (later turned into a top-selling 1997 book "The Rants"). He was ultimately nominated for and won multiple Emmy Awards in his various capacities as host, writer and producer.

In addition, Miller hosted the 1991 Emmy Awards and the 1992 and 1995 MTV Movie Awards, and his 1995 Comedy Central special, "The State of the Union: Undressed", was nominated for a CableACE Award. More specials followed: "Dennis Miller: Citizen Arcane" (1996) and "Dennis Miller: The Millenium Special - 1,000 Years, 100 Laughs, 10 Really Good Ones" (1999). He has also shown up as a guest on several TV shows, including "Dream On" (HBO, 1995), "NewsRadio" (NBC, 1995), "The John Larroquette Show" (NBC, 1995), "Arli$$" (HBO, 1996), "The Norm Show" (ABC, 1999) and a three-episode dramatic stint on the high school drama "Boston Public" (Fox, 2003).

Miller's big-screen career began with a part in the 1990 comedy "Madhouse". His next role was his first serious one, as Michael Douglas' co-worker in the thriller "Disclosure" (1994). He followed with "The Net" (1995), as Sandra Bullock's former psychiatrist boyfriend. He returned to comedy--of a sort--with the tongue-in-cheek horror of "Tales from the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood" (1996), as a private investigator who crosses paths with vampire prostitutes. He also played a police detective in the murder mystrery "Murder at 1600" (1997) and cameoed in his pal David Spade's comedy "Joe Dirt" (2001).

In a slightly bizarre turn, Miller--an avid sports fan behind the scenes--was tapped to deliver color commentary on ABC's venerable "NFL Monday Night Football" in 2000; however, the comic's dry, sardonic wit, intellectual superiority and arcane references proved a poor fit for the beer and La-Z-Boy viewership, and after much criticism he left the broadcast in 2002. He resurfaced with another biting comedy special "The Raw Feed" (2003) before taking on another cable talk show, this time the daily eponymously titled "Dennis Miller" for news net CNBC. in 2004. However, though Miller had long been hard to characterize politically in the past--commenting equally on failings of left- and right-wingers--after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the comic's sensibilities started to take on a more radically conservative slant that both alienated a portion of his audience and also had an impact on the quality of his humor: though he remained quick witted and likeably snarky, his redefined worldview definitely colored his commentaries. The result was a low-rated broadast that was pulled from the airwaves in May 2005.

Miller also had a lucrative side career as a TV pitch man, appearing in commercials for products including M&Ms, Acura, Pizza Hut, Victoria's Secret, TD Waterhouse, NetZero Internet Service, Independence Air and the phone service 10-10-220.

Milestones

* 1980 Hosted "Punchline", a magazine-show for teenagers (date approximate)
* 1985 Appeared on "Saturday Night Live"
* 1990 Feature acting debut, "Madhouse"
* 1990 Represented Miller Lite beer in commercials
* 1992 Started talk show, "The Dennis Miller Show"
* 1992 Talk show is taken off the air six months after first airing
* 1994 Hosted a half-hour weekly show on HBO, "Dennis Miller Live"
* 1994 Dramatic acting debut, "Disclosure"
* 1996 First leading role in features in "Tales From the Crypt Presents: Bordello of Blood"
* 2000 Joined the announcing team for ABC's "Monday Night Football"; fired in 2002
* 2003 Received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program for "Dennis Miller: The Raw Feed"
* 2004 hosted a Talk show on CNBC, which featured interviews, a rant on a selected topic, a "Weekend Update," and a panel called "The Varsity."

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