Ted Danson

Active - 1978 - 2020  |   Born - Dec 29, 1947 in San Diego, California, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The son of a prominent archaeologist/museum director, American actor Ted Danson grew up near the Navajo reservation in Arizona. He played basketball while at Kent School Connecticut, and then moved on to Stanford University. It was in the process of getting acquainted with an aspiring actress at Stanford that Danson found himself attending his first audition-- and by years' end had transferred to the drama department at Carnegie Tech. Marking time in non-speaking roles, Danson left the stage for the more lucrative world of TV commercials, some of which have been well-circulated on videotape since Danson has become famous. Danson's first steady TV work was as a slimy villain on the NBC soap opera Somerset. Shortly afterward, the actor attained his first film role, as a murdered cop, in The Onion Field (1978). After seeing Danson in the movie Body Heat (1981) and in an episode of the TV series Taxi, producer Glen Charles cast the actor as Sam Malone, ex-sports star and full-time barkeeper and womanizer, on the long-running, well-loved sitcom Cheers He won Emmys for the 1989-90 and 1992-93 seasons. Frequently making attempts at film stardom during the 11-season run of Cheers, Danson finally struck gold in Three Men and a Baby (1987) and its sequel Three Men and a Little Lady (1990). Danson's most recent work includes the 1996 starring role in the TV miniseries Gulliver's Travels and a co-starring role, opposite his new wife Mary Steenburgen, in the television sit-com Ink (also 1996). In 1998 Danson began a six-year run on another successful sitcom portraying the lead character on Becker, playing a caustic grump who couldn't have been further from Sam Malone's effortless charm. He continued to work steadily on the big screen as well scoring appearances in Saving Private Ryan and Mumford. He made sporadic appearances on Larry David's award-winning Curb Your Enthusiasm, and earned strong reviews for his dramatic work on the first season of the TV show Damages. He followed that up with a co-starring role on the HBO series Bored to Death, which lasted three seasons. In 2012 he could be seen in the inspirational animal movie Big Miracle.

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  • Made his big-screen debut in 1979's The Onion Field.
  • Became the Aramis Man in 1981, appearing in print and TV ads for the men's fragrance.
  • In 1987, cofounded the American Oceans Campaign, which champions the preservation of oceans and sea life, with then-wife Casey Coates.
  • Was earning $450,000 per episode for Cheers when he called it quits in 1993.
  • Met wife Mary Steenburgen on the set of Pontiac Moon (1994), in which they played a dysfunctional husband and wife.
  • Saw a career resurgence in the 2000s with his roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Damages.