Actor Tim Allen recently celebrated his 70th birthday. The legendary comedian started in stand-up comedy in 1975 and hasn’t looked back since. Throughout his almost 50 years in show business, Allen has brought many iconic characters to life. Here’s a look back on Allen’s Hollywood journey from “Home Improvement” to “Toy Story.”
It all started with “Home Improvement.”
After starting as a stand-up comedian and putting in over 15 years, Allen got his big break playing Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor on the hit sitcom “Home Improvement.” The show ran for eight seasons from 1991 to 1999. The show followed Allen’s character as he hosted his show “Tool Time” while raising three sons. One of the most iconic relationships on the show is between Taylor and his neighbor Wilson, played by the late Earl Hindman, who shared wisdom and gave Taylor advice from his side of the fence.
“Home Improvement” went off the air in 1999, and Allen shared with E! News in November 2022 that the cast and crew of the show have discussed a potential reboot. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get everyone’s schedules aligned. Allen also added that he thinks one of his other roles came close to reprising the role of Tim Taylor. In terms of a possible reboot, Allen says he’d like to see a show based on Taylor’s sons and what they’re up to, adding that he thinks “that’d be an amazing piece of television.”
Then came the success of “The Santa Clause.”
While still on “Home Improvement,” Allen took his first lead role in a film, playing Santa Claus in the 1994 movie “The Santa Clause.” The movie focuses on Scott Calvin, who ends up putting on Santa’s coat while spending Christmas with his son, leading him to become the next Santa Claus. This sounds like a fun job for Calvin, but he couldn’t accept it because of the turmoil it was causing his family. Eventually, he embraced the role and moved to the North Pole full-time with the elves. The movie has since become a classic.
The first movie was so successful it turned into a franchise with two sequels. The second film, “The Santa Clause 2,” discusses a divorced Scott learning about a rule called “the Mrs. Clause,” stating that anyone who takes on Santa’s job must be married, meaning that Scott now had to find a wife. Eventually, he chose Carol, played by Elizabeth Mitchell. With the second film achieving so much success, a third, “The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,” was released in 2006. This movie brought back all the characters from the first two, adding comedy legend Martin Short.
Sixteen years later, Allen returned to the Santa suit for the Disney+ original series, “The Santa Clauses.” The show followed Scott and Carol struggling to raise their kids at the North Pole, leading Scott to ultimately decide to retire as Santa Claus, leading to the near destruction of the North Pole and Christmas. The show stars Allen’s daughter, Elizabeth Allen-Dick, as his on-screen daughter, Sandra. Initially, she was meant to play a background elf, but she did so well on her audition that she earned her starring role.
The “Toy Story” franchise.
While still appearing on “Home Improvement” and a year after making his film debut in “The Santa Clause,” Allen voiced Buzz Lightyear, one of the most popular animated characters in Disney’s “Toy Story.” Allen played Lightyear, a toy who doesn’t know he’s a toy, causing friction between him and cowboy Woody, who’s scared Buzz will replace him as their owner Andy’s favorite toy. The duo must find a way to work together when they’re separated from Andy and the other toys and find themselves in the hands of their evil neighbor, Sid.
Throughout making the film, Allen explained how he and Tom Hanks, who voices Woody, became close friends. In November 2022, Allen joked with Kelly Clarkson on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" that they have the most unusual lunches together during which they sit too close and talk, something they’ve been doing since the first “Toy Story” released in 1995. The success of the first three movies led Disney to make “Toy Story 4,” released in 2019. In this film, the toys reunite with Woody’s long-lost girlfriend, Bo Peep, getting a taste of what it was like to be a lost toy before deciding to live as free toys.
Tim Allen’s personal life.
In 1984, Allen married his college girlfriend, Laura Deibel. The couple welcomed their daughter, Catherine, in 1989. Unfortunately, the couple legally separated in 1999. Looking back on the marriage before separating, Allen admitted he emphasized his work over home life too much.
Allen started dating actress Jane Hajduk in 2001, and the couple married in 2006. They welcomed their daughter, Elizabeth, in March 2009. Allen was raised as an Episcopalian and has been open about sharing his faith. While filming “The Santa Clauses,” he told The Wrap that it was essential for him to include a religious angle, something that the original trilogy of movies never did.
The actor has a checkered past, struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism. He started drinking when he was 10, saying he was an experienced drinker by age 11. Tragically, his father was killed in a car crash. Allen also spent two years in federal prison after an arrest on drug trafficking charges. Still, Allen has been sober for 24 years, calling sobriety his life’s “biggest blessing.” He’s struggled with his faith, admitting that he attended church, but he was constantly cynical. Now, Allen calls God “The Builder.”
Allen’s fans may see him as a famous comedian, but in 2017, he told Closer Magazine that neither of his daughters thinks he’s amusing, though he admitted he still tries to make them laugh occasionally. Allen’s life may not have started ideally, but it shows that anyone can be redeemed through their actions. As long as we try to get closer to God, He’ll always meet us halfway.