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Steve Allen Biography

Birth Name:
Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen
Birth Place:
New York, New York, United States
TV host, composer, actor, comic, author, lyricist

Fast Facts

  • 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


  • 1979Emmy-Outstanding Program Achievement - Special Class: nominated
  • 1978Emmy-Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: nominated
  • 1977Peabody-Personal Award: winner
  • 1959Emmy-Best Performance by an Actor (Continuing Character) in a Musical or Variety Series: nominated
  • 1958Emmy-Best Continuing Performance (Male) in a Series by a Comedian, Singer, Host, Dancer, M.C., Announcer, Narrator, Panelist, or any Person who Essentially Plays Himself: nominated


  • Dorothy Goodman -- Ex-wife
  • Carroll Allen -- Father
  • Isabelle Allen -- Mother
  • Brian Allen -- Son
  • David Allen -- Son
  • Stephen Allen Jr. -- Son
  • William Christopher Allen -- Son