Tim Allen (born Timothy Allen Dick; June 13, 1953) is an American comedian, actor, voice-over artist, and entertainer, known for his role in the sitcom Home Improvement. He is also known for his film roles in several popular movies, including the Toy Story series, The Santa Clause series, and Galaxy Quest.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Allen is the son of Martha Katherine, a community-service worker, and Gerald M. Dick, a real estate agent. He is the third oldest of five brothers. His father died in a car accident, colliding with a drunk driver, when Allen was 11. Two years later, his mother married her high school sweetheart, a successful business executive, and moved with her six children to Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, to be with her new husband and his three children. Allen attended Ernest W. Seaholm High School in Birmingham, where he was in theater and music classes (resulting in his love of classical piano). He then attended Central Michigan University and transferred to Western Michigan University in 1974. At Western Michigan, Allen worked at the student radio station WIDR and received a bachelor of science degree in communications specializing in radio and television production in 1976 with a split minor in philosophy and design. In 1998, Western Michigan awarded Allen an honorary fine arts degree and the Distinguished Alumni Award.
Allen started his career as a comedian in 1975. On a dare from one of his friends, he participated in a comedy night at a comedy club in Detroit. While in Detroit he began to get recognition appearing in local television commercials and appearing on cable comedy shows such as Gary Thison's Some Semblance of Sanity. He later moved to Los Angeles and became a member of The Comedy Store there. He began to do stand-up appearances on late-night talk shows and specials on record and film. Allen rose to fame in acting with the television series Home Improvement (1991–1999) on ABC, playing Tim "The Tool-Man" Taylor. During one week in November 1994, he simultaneously starred in the highest grossing film (The Santa Clause), topped the New York Times best-seller list with his book Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man, and appeared in the top rated television series (Home Improvement). The following year, he provided the voice of Buzz Lightyear in the blockbuster Toy Story. Simultaneous with his time acting in Home Improvement, Tim Allen formed a race team with Steve Saleen and race driver Bob Bondurant, called the Saleen/Allen "RRR" Speedlab. The team raced Saleen Mustangs in the SCCA World Challenge, with Allen and Saleen as the team's drivers. During the final season of Home Improvement he was paid $1.25 million for every episode he starred in.