Michael Lessac

Active - 1993 - 2014  |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Bruce Eder

As the son of a director, Michael Lessac aspired to a performing career from an early age, making his debut at age ten in a television production directed by his father. By age 12, he'd joined the children's chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, but he left following the change in his voice that took place in the midst of a performance of Carmen. In his teens, he felt drawn toward acting, but his father encouraged him to pursue directing instead, and by his twenties he'd amassed considerable experience working on-stage, in America and also in Eastern Europe, even as he found time to earn multiple degrees, including a doctorate in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. As a musician, he was active in the early anti-war movement, and at one point was managed by David Zimmerman, the brother of Bob Dylan. Lessac was signed to Columbia Records in 1968 and recorded a singer/songwriter-type album, Sleep Faster, We Need the Pillow, with John Hammond producing. Lessac was primarily associated with theatrical work until the start of the 1980s, when he started directing for television. His specialty was comedy, starting with Taxi (with one screamingly funny episode, "Louie Goes Too Far"), and continuing through the ensuing decades with episodes of Best of the West, Newhart, The Drew Carey Show, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Titus.