Bill Maher

Celebrity

Biography

  • Birth Name: William Maher Jr.
  • Birth Place: New York, NY
  • Date of Birth / Zodiac Sign: 01/20/1956, Capricorn
  • Profession: Talk-show host; comedian; author
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Boasting an acute wit, a mane of gray hair and an incredulous smirk that punctuates his political punch lines, Maher has made a career out of ridiculing those in power. He spent the late 1970s and early 1980s honing his comedic skills on the stand-up circuit and his tenacity paid off with supporting film and TV roles, although the projects were often pretty low-rent (D.C. Cab, House II: The Second Story). In 1993 he launched the humorous roundtable series Politically Incorrect on Comedy Central, which migrated to ABC in 1997. As the show's irreverent moderator, Maher was simultaneously charming and exasperating (but never dull) and often played devil's advocate to stir up his guests, among them big-name actors, journalists and politicians. His career hit a roadblock in 2002 when his series was canceled after he made some controversial comments about Sept. 11.  (Oddly, coming to his defense at the time, from the other end of the political spectrum, was Rush Limbaugh.) But the next year Maher returned to the small screen on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher and the host seemed more agitated---and more liberal---than ever. (Though he has called himself a Libertarian, he admits his fans tend to be liberals.) As of early 2010, he held the record for most Emmy losses, at 22 nominations without a win.Bill Maher Fast Facts:
  • Began his career as a stand-up and was host at New York's top comedy club, Catch a Rising Star, which led to gigs on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.
  • Received the L.A. Press Club's President's Award for championing free speech shortly after his Emmy-nominated Politically Incorrect was canceled by ABC.
  • Penned When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden: What the Government Should Be Telling Us to Help Fight the War on Terrorism in 2002.
  • In 2004, on HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher, both he and Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker Michael Moore got on their knees to beg Ralph Nader to drop out of the presidential race. (It didn't work.) 
  • A board member of PETA, he is a fan of the animal-rights organization's sometimes outrageous publicity tactics, asking USA Today, "If you don't cross the line somehow, how do you know where it is?"
  • Comedy Central ranks him No. 38 among its top 100 stand-up acts.
  • Bill Maher Relationships:
  • Nancy Johnson - Ex-significant Other
  • Julie Maher - Mother
  • Kathy Maher - Sister
  • Karinne Steffans - Ex-significant Other
  • William Maher Sr. - Father
  • Bill Maher Awards:
  • 2009 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2004 Emmy: Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Nominee
  • 2010 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 1997 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 1998 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2005 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 1996 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program - Nominee
  • 2013 Emmy: Outstanding Nonfiction Series - Nominee
  • 2013 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series - Nominee
  • 2006 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program - Nominee
  • 1996 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2002 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2006 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2014 Emmy: Outstanding Variety Series - Nominee
  • 2010 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special - Nominee
  • 2010 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2000 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2001 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2006 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special - Nominee
  • 1997 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program - Nominee
  • 2005 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program - Nominee
  • 2007 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program - Nominee
  • 2010 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special - Nominee
  • 1997 Emmy: Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program - Nominee
  • 2011 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2008 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 1995 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 1999 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2007 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series - Nominee
  • 2012 Emmy: Outstanding Variety Series - Nominee
  • 2012 Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series - Nominee
  • 2013 Emmy: Outstanding Variety Series - Nominee
  • 2008 Emmy: Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special - Nominee
  • 2014 Emmy: Outstanding Informational Series or Special - Winner
  • College:
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (BA in English, 1978)

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