- Started out as a radio disc jockey in the '40s; in 1954, he landed a gig as the first host of what became The Tonight Show and single-handedly invented the late-night talk show genre, mixing monologues, interviews, musical guests, skits, audience interaction and on-the-street pranks.
- A prolific songwriter with over 8,500 tunes to his credit, he once bet singer Frankie Laine $1,000 that he could write 50 songs a day for a week. He did---in the window of a Hollywood music store. One of them, "Let's Go to Church (Next Sunday Morning)" was recorded by Perry Como. "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" is among his other standards.
- Penned more than 50 books.
- An outspoken social and political activist, he was a vocal opponent of capital punishment and nuclear proliferation, and considered running for Congress in the 1960s.
- Was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1986 along with Fred Coe, Walt Disney, Jackie Gleason, Mary Tyler Moore, Frank Stanton and Burr Tillstrom.
- Has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: one for TV and one for Radio.
- 1957, Emmy — Best Male Personality - Continuing Performance: Nominee
- 1987, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1977, Peabody — Personal Award: Winner
- 1963, Grammy — Best Original Jazz Composition: Winner
- 1959, Emmy — Best Performance by an Actor (Continuing Character) in a Musical or Variety Series: Nominee
- 1958, Emmy — Best Continuing Performance (Male) in a Series by a Comedian, Singer, Host, Dancer, M.C., Announcer, Narrator, Panelist, or any : Nominee
- 1979, Emmy — Outstanding Program Achievement - Special Class: Nominee
- 1978, Emmy — Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Nominee
- Brian Allen — Son
- Dorothy Goodman — Ex-wife
- Isabelle Allen — Mother
- Stephen Allen Jr. — Son
- David Allen — Son
- Jayne Meadows — Wife
- William Christopher Allen — Son
- Carroll Allen — Father
- Attended Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, United States; attended Arizona State Teachers College, Tempe, Arizona, United States
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