Micky Dolenz was born on March 8, 1945 in Los Angeles. He had a few television roles and played with bands before being cast in The Monkees, a show about a fictitious rock band. Though made for TV, The Monkees had real-life hits and struggled against their "Pre-Fab Four" image. The series was canceled in 1968 and the band split in 1969. Dolenz has appeared on Broadway and worked as a tv director.
Singer, musician, actor, writer, producer, director. Born George Michael Dolenz on March 8, 1945, in Los Angeles, California. Dolenz grew up in Los Angeles as the son of actor George Dolenz, who is best known for playing the Count of Monte Cristo on television.
Mickey Dolenz launched his own acting career early on, taking the stage name Micky Braddock. From 1956 to 1958, he starred in the adventure series Circus Boy, playing an orphan adopted by a traveling circus. After the show was canceled, Dolenz landed a few guest appearances on such programs as Peyton Place. After high school, he studied architecture at Valley College and the Los Angeles Technical Institute. He also had a passion for music, playing the guitar and singing with two different groups—Micky and the One Nighters, and the Missing Links.
In 1965, Dolenz responded to an ad seeking young men for a new television show. He auditioned for the series, along with 430 other hopefuls. Michael Nesmith, Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Dolenz were selected for the new television series about a rock group called the Monkees. Dolenz' character played the drums, an instrument that he was unfamiliar with. "We were a television show first, and then became a rock group. I was an actor playing a musician," Dolenz later explained.
Just days before the debut of the series, the Monkees released their first single, "Last Train to Clarksville," which featured Dolenz on lead vocals. The song soon became a No. 1 hit. Meant as an anti-war song, it was penned by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, songwriters and musicians who worked on the series.
The Monkees premiered on September 12, 1966, and it received a warm reception from television audiences who adored the humorous antics of the band. The show won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1967. Dolenz also got a chance to work behind the scenes on the series as the director of one episode.
The Monkees continued to score hits on the music charts as well. Their cover of the Neil Diamond song "I'm a Believer," with Dolenz on lead vocals, became another No. 1 single for their group. More successful singles followed, including Gerry Goffin and Carole King's "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and "Daydream Believer" by John Stewart of the Kingston Trio. Their albums sold millions of copies.
While their fans adored them, music critics were less than kind, criticizing them for being more of a commercial product than a real rock act. Dolenz and the rest of the group fought to gain more creative control, taking charge of their Headquarters album. But their efforts did not reach the same level of success as their earlier recordings.
Decline of the Monkees
The Monkees spun their success into their own feature film, Head (1968), which was directed by Jack Nicholson. Unfortunately for the so-called Pre-Fab Four, it was a dud at the box office. The group did better with their tour that year, which had Jimi Hendrix as their opening act. Dolenz later told Entertainment Weekly that the experience of touring with Hendrix was "strange and embarassing. He'd be in the middle of 'Purple Haze' and kids would be going 'We want Da-vy!'"
The series was canceled in August 1968, and Tork left the group shortly after. Dolenz and the remaining members soldiered on for a while, releasing 1969's Instant Replay before splitting up.
After the Monkees, Dolenz floundered for a time. He did voice over work for such animated series as Scooby Doo and made guest appearances on such television shows as My Three Sons. Returning to music, Dolenz reunited with Jones and former Monkees' songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. They released one album together in 1976, which failed to make much of an impression on the music buying public.
Dolenz moved on to stage work, appearing in a production of Tom Sawyer in 1976. The following year, he went to London to appear the musical The Point written by Harry Nilsson. Dolenz stayed in England for 12 years, finding work in television as a director and producer.
In the 1980s, however, Dolenz was lured back to his life as a Monkee. There was a renewed interest in the group, and some of their original recordings were re-released by Rhino Records. In 1986, Dolenz, Tork, and Jones reunited for a successful concert tour. The group also released a greatest hits collection, Then and Now, that same year. For the collection, the group recorded a new single, "That Was Then, This Is Now," which became a top 20 hit. Reruns of the group's series started airing on MTV in 1987, giving the band even more of a boost. That same year, the Monkees released the original album Pool It!.
Dolenz wrote about his rock star experiences in I'm a Believer: My Life of Monkees, Music, and Madness (1993). Nesmith returned to the group in the mid-1990s for a successful tour and a new album, 1996's Justus. This new recording failed to make the charts.
Dolenz combined his love of singing and acting to make his Broadway debut in the musical Grease around this time. Working behind the scenes, he also directed a few episodes of the family sitcom Boy Meets World. In 2003, he returned to Broadway to join the cast of Elton John's musical drama Aida. He also worked on a 2006 touring production of Pippin. That same year, he had his first children's book, Gakky Two-Feet, published.
Recently, Dolenz returned to television as a contestant on Gone Country. The show pits music stars from different genres against each other to see who has what it takes to make it in country music. During season three of the show, which aired in early 2009, Dolenz competed against Sheila E, Taylor Dayne, and George Clinton. Micky returned to the London stage for the musical Hairspray in 2010.
Married three times, Dolenz has four daughters. Daughter Ami is from his first marriage to model Samantha Juste, which lasted from 1968 to 1975. He then married Trina Dow in 1977. The couple had three daughters, Charlotte, Emily, and Georgia. They later divorced. In 2002, Dolenz wed Donna Quinter.
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