Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic (pronunciation: /ˈjæŋkəvɪk/; born October 23, 1959) is an American singer-songwriter, music producer, accordionist, actor, comedian, writer, satirist, and parodist. Yankovic is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and that often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts. Since his first-aired comedy song in 1976, he had sold more than 12 million albums (as of 2007), recorded more than 150 parody and original songs, and has performed more than 1,000 live shows. His works have earned him three Grammy Awards among nine nominations, four gold records, and six platinum records in the United States. Yankovic's first top ten Billboard album (Straight Outta Lynwood) and single ("White & Nerdy") were both released in 2006, nearly three decades into his career.
Yankovic's success comes in part from his effective use of music video to further parody popular culture, the song's original artist, and the original music videos themselves, scene-for-scene in some cases. He directed later videos himself and went on to direct for other artists including Ben Folds, Hanson, Black Crowes, and The Presidents of the United States of America. In addition to recording his albums, Yankovic wrote and starred in the film, UHF, and television show, The Weird Al Show. He has also made guest appearances on many television shows, in addition to starring in Al TV specials on MTV.
The only child of Nick Louis Yankovic (June 4, 1917 – April 9, 2004) and Mary Elizabeth (February 7, 1923 – April 9, 2004), Alfred was born in Downey, California, and raised in the town of Lynwood. His father was born in Kansas City, Kansas of Serbian descent, and began living in California after serving during World War II; he believed "the key to success" was "doing for a living whatever makes you happy" and often reminded his son of this philosophy. Nick Yankovic married Mary Vivalda in 1949. Mary, who was of Italian and English descent, and had come to California from Kentucky, gave birth to Alfred ten years later.