Today, December 29, 2012, actor Ted Danson turns 65 years old. He was born in San Diego, California in 1947, and was raised in Flagstaff, Arizona. The son of an archaeologist, and a museum director, (mother), he was a basketball star at the Kent School, and became interested in drama while attending Stanford University. He transferred to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts for the dramatic arts in 1972.
He began his acting career with a contract role on the soap opera “Somerset”. He also performed several commercials, most notably as the “Aramis man”. He made guest appearances on several television shows including “Laverne and Shirley”, “Benson”, “Magnum P.I.”, and “Taxi”.
Of course his big break came in 1982. Danson was given the role of a lifetime when he was cast as former Red Sox relief pitcher and current bartender and owner of “Cheers”. “Sam Malone” was a recovering alcoholic and a devoted “skirt chaser”. His on again off again relationship with the sophisticated and pseudo-intellectual cocktail waitress, “Diane Chambers”, had audiences glued to their television sets every week.
“Cheers” first season found it at the bottom of the ratings chart. But the critics loved it and they improved in 1983. By 1986, “Cheers” was one of the top rated shows on television. The show ran for 11 seasons. The final episode aired on May 20, 1993, and was viewed by over 80 million people, (I was one of them).
Danson received 11 consecutive Emmy nominations and 9 Golden Globes, winning two of each. TV Guide rates “Cheers” as the 18th best television show of all time and Time magazine placed it in its top 100.
When “Cheers” ended, he played guest roles as his character “Sam Malone” in “Frasier”, the “Jim Henson Hour”, and the “Simpsons”.
He has performed in various movies and television shows, including “Becker” which was tailored for him. In July 2011, he accepted his current role as “D. B. Russell”, in “CSI, Crime Scene Investigation”.
Happy Birthday, Ted, from all your fans, including me. You’ve given us many hours of enjoyment and hopefully will continue to do so for many years to come.
By James Turnage