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Tim Allen was a sporting goods salesman, drug dealer, and stand-up comedian before Home Improvement made him a sitcom star (and the voice of Buzz Lightyear).
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Tim Allen discusses the global reaction to the film.
The cast described what it was like to work with child actors on set.
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It was there that he started honing his hyper-masculine persona. He also discovered his trademark call: three ape-like, staccato grunts. As his stand-up career gained momentum, he successfully ventured into the world of commercial acting, including appearances in several ads for Mr. Goodwrench. In the midst of this burgeoning acting career, Allen became a father; his daughter, Katherine, was born in 1989.
By 1990, Allen's "Men Are Pigs" routine, which focused on the male love for hardware,
was made into a Showtime television special. The segment caught the attention of Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who offered Allen leading roles in upcoming small-screen adaptations of Turner & Hooch (1989) and The Dead Poets Society (1989). Allen turned down the roles and tenaciously fought for his own material. He eventually persuaded the studio to use his routine as the basis for a new sitcom called Home Improvement.
Shortly before the show's 1991 debut, Allen made headlines when he revealed that he had served time in prison. His controversial admittance did not manage to affect the popularity of Home Improvement, which made the Nielsen top-ten list during its first season. By 1992, Allen had earned his first Peoples' Choice Award for Favorite Male Television Performer — a distinction he held for eight consecutive years. By the time the 1993 season made it to the air, Allen had an Emmy nomination under his belt and Home Improvement was a steadfast ratings darling.
The year 1994 was an important one for Allen. In the same week, Allen had the number one book (Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man), the number one television show (Home Improvement), and a number one box office hit (The Santa Clause), thus proving he could make a successful jump from the small screen to film. Over the next few years, his accomplishments seemed to snowball. Allen was highly praised for his voice performance as Buzz Lightyear in Pixar's smash success Toy Story (1995), and the same year he was honored with a Golden Globe Award for his work on Home Improvement. In 1996, he earned even more commercial success with the book, I'm Not Really Here.
Allen faced another bump in the road in 1997, when was brought up on drunk driving charges. The arrest led to a stint in rehab the following year, and Allen's subsequent commitment to sobriety. But he continued to face success in 1998, when Home Improvement had another successful run, and Allen was earning an estimated $1.25 million per episode. By 1999, however, the show had run its course and the cast bid a tearful farewell. Although saddened by the loss of his regular sitcom gig, Allen was working non-stop. That year he reprised the role of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 2, and earned the distinctive title of "Disney Legend." Additionally, his role in 1999's big-screen sci-fi comedy, Galaxy Quest, became a cult hit. But while his career soared, his personal life suffered. Laura filed for divorce later that year.
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