In 1991, Tim Allen paid his first visit to Sound Stage 4 at The Walt Disney Studios. There, the set for a new series called Home Improvement was under construction. The award-winning actor took one look at the set and asked, “If this show doesn’t work—can I have all that wood?”
Needless to say, Tim didn’t get the lumber, but his popularity skyrocketed among television audiences; by 1995, Home Improvement had become ABC’s top show. Tim earned numerous awards for his bumbling Mr. Fix-It, Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor, including a Golden Globe in 1994 and The People’s Choice Award for four consecutive years from 1993-96.
Born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, Tim graduated from Western Michigan University in 1975 with a degree in television production. In 1979, on a friend’s dare, he made his stand-up debut at a local comedy club. His innate knack for making people laugh turned to gold when Tim began to talk about his passion for macho “tool-guy” stuff in his comedy acts. Men in the audience shared his tool and car obsession, while women laughed at his all-too-familiar male stereotypes, and Tim’s trademark character was born.
Former Home Improvement producer Matt Williams once commented on Tim’s immense popularity: “I think what people see in Tim Allen is a man-child,” Williams said. “He’s attractive, sensitive and strong, and he’s a little impish 12-year-old boy. You feel like he could be you.”
Home Improvement marked only the beginning of Tim’s successful association with The Walt Disney Company. In 1994, Disney’s Hyperion Publishing released his debut book, Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Man. It topped the New York Times Bestsellers list and led to a second book, also published by Hyperion, I’m Not Really Here.”
That same year, Tim made a successful transition from television to the big screen in Walt Disney Pictures’ The Santa Clause. He won yet another People’s Choice Award for his hefty and hilarious role as Santa Claus’s proxy, complete with expanding waistline, rosy cheeks, and snow-white whiskers. He would later revisit the role twice, in 2002’s The Santa Clause 2 and 2006’s The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.
Tim later reunited with creative team from The Santa Clause, making Disney’s Jungle 2 Jungle, a comedy about a father and son learning unexpected lessons from each other about the important things in life. He also starred in a feature remake of a Disney classic, The Shaggy Dog, in 2006.
In 1995, the multi-talented actor lent his voice to Pixar’s first computer animated film, Toy Story. Tim reprised his role as Buzz Lightyear, an arrogant yet lovable space action figure, in two sequels, 1999’s Toy Story 2 and 2010’s Toy Story 3. He also appeared as the character in a number of Toy Story short films, including Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry, and Partysaurus Rex.
Tim lent his own voice as narrator to the 2012 Disneynature documentary, Chimpanzee. He also co-starred in the 2007 Touchstone comedy Wild Hogs.