An American comedian, actor and writer who started out as an L.A. standup comedian in the 1970s, Kevin Nealon became famous as a result of the characters he played in “Saturday Night Live” from 1986 to 1995, including “Subliminal Man” and the Schwarzenegger-like “Hanz.” He was also an anchor for the show's “Weekend Update” for three seasons from 1991 to 1994. As a writer on the show, he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1987. He also starred in two failed sitcoms, made several guest appearances in TV series, and had bit parts in feature films, including “Happy Gilmore” (1996), “The Wedding Singer” (1998), “Little Nicky” (2000), “Anger Management” (2003), David Spade's “Joe Dirt” (2001) and Dana Carvey's “Master of Disguise” (2002).
More recently, the engaging actor proved he was back in the saddle again with his role of Doug Wilson in Showtime's dark comedy “Weeds” (2005-present), from which he shared a 2007 SAG nomination. With his newly found TV fame, Nealon was cast in the starring role of Jack West in the independent comedy “Remarkable Powers” (2007).
As for his personal life, Nealon has been married twice. He was married to first wife Linda DuPree from 1989 to 2002. Nealon currently lives in the Los Angeles area with present wife Susan Yeagley, whom he married in 2005 in Bellagio, Italy. He once dated Jan Hooks (together in the early 1980s through 1986).
The 6' 4” performer is a vegetarian and has been a loyal and vocal supporter of animal rights. Some organizations he has been active in include PETA, Fund for Animals, In Defense of Animals, the Amanda Foundation, the Washington Wildlife Protection Association, The Ark Trust's Genesis Awards and Meat Out. He stated, “I love animals and have been involved with raising awareness about animal abuse over the years with organizations like PETA, Fund for Animals and In Defense of Animals. I also love helping local animal shelters with fund raisers and take every opportunity (including this one) to spread the word about the importance of spaying and neutering pets, and urge everyone to always adopt animals from shelters instead of buying them in pet stores.”
Childhood and Family:
Kevin Nealon was born on November 18, 1953, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Emmett Nealon, an executive for Sikorsky Aircraft, and Kathleen Nealon. As a child, he memorized the jokes printed in a magazine and tried them out on his friends. As a teen, his early passion for music led to his involvement in many local garage bands and he dreamed of becoming a professional musician. A graduate of Notre Dame High School, Kevin did not try his hand at stand up comedy until he was a student at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT. After receiving a B.A in marketing, he moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in comedy.
In 1989, Kevin married Linda DuPree (born in 1959), an animal rights activist, but their relationship ended in divorce in 2002. He found a new love in actress Susan Yeagley (born on February 27, 1972), whom he married on September 3, 2005. Kevin and his second wife welcomed their first child, son Gable Ness Nealon, on January 29, 2007, in Santa Monica, California.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Kevin Nealon had his first taste of performing as a teenager in garage bands. He soon discovered that singing on stage made him considerably more nervous than telling jokes and turned to stand-up comedy when he was in college. After completing his studies and traveling throughout the United States and Europe for a time, Nealon settled in Los Angeles in 1977 and started his career in comedy.
Once living in Hollywood, Nealon lived the life of a struggling comedian. To pay the bills, he took on various part-time jobs while performing stand-up comedy. After several years, Nealon finally experienced a break when he was invited to perform on NBC's “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” in 1984.
In the summer of 1986, “Saturday Night Live” recruited fellow comedian and friend Dana Carvey for the upcoming season of the show, which at the time suffered dismal ratings as a result of the turbulent personnel shifts. Carvey then recommended Nealon who was recruited that same year as a featured player and writer. Along with Carvey and such newcomers as Phil Hartman, Victoria Jackson and Jan Hooks, Nealon, who made the transition to a full-time performer in the 1987-1988 seasons, became part of the new era of “SNL” that was regarded by many as one of the best eras in the history of the show.
During his nine-season tenure on the show, the praised comic played such popular characters as Hanz and Franz, Ganon: the Politically Incorrect Private Investigator, and Tarzan, as well as impersonated celebrities like Larry King and Sam Donaldson. In 1987, he enjoyed an Emmy nomination for his writing contribution. From 1991 to 1994, he was an anchor for the show's “Weekend Update,” which marked the introduction of Mr. Subliminal, one of his most well-liked, recurring acts. Nealon left “SNL” in 1995, at which time Mike Myers, Adam Sandler and Chris Farley entered the spotlight and paved the way for another new generation of the show.
While working on “SNL,” Nealon also found time to work on other projects. In 1987, he made his feature acting debut in the comedy “Roxanne,” starring Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah, and went on to appear in such comedies as “All I Want for Christmas” (1991) and “Coneheads” (1993). He also acted in some other TV projects. When Nealon left “Saturday Night Live”, he supported former costar Adam Sandler in the Brooklyn-bred comedian vehicle “Happy Gilmore” (1996), in which Nealon played Gary Potter. 1996 also saw Nealon make a move to primetime as a costar of the ABC sitcom “Champs,” but the show only had a short life. After it was canceled, he starred with Richard Lewis in the sitcom “Hiller & Diller” (also ABC, 1997), but it received a similar fate.
Following his failed attempts at series comedy, Nealon withdrew to a rather low-profile period of guest spots on comedy series and in films. He appeared in episodes of “Dharma & Greg” (1998-1999), “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “The Outer Limits,” (both 1999), “The Norm Show” (2000), “Three Sisters” (2001) and “Monk” (2002). Meanwhile, on the big screen, he rejoined Sandler in “The Wedding Singer” (1998) and “Little Nicky” (2000), appeared as an albino advocate in the Luke Wilson/Joshua Malina starring vehicle “Kill the Man” (1999), worked with David Spade in “Joe Dirt” (2001) and was reunited with Dana Carvey in “Master of Disguise” (2002). Also in 2002, he could be seen in the interesting behind-the-scenes stand-up documentary “Comedian.”
In 2003, Nealon was cast as Sandler's attorney in the Peter Segal-helmed “Anger Management.” The same year he also had a supporting role as Bruce in Eddy Murphy's “Daddy Day Care” and costarred as Molly Shannon's husband in “Good Boy.” He returned to the small screen as the host of several projects like “Poker Royale: The WPPA Championship” (2004) and TBS's “Funniest Commercials of the Year” (2005). He was also a substitute host on the late night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (2004). From 2004-2005, he appeared regularly on “Celebrity Poker Showdown.”
A recurring player on the sitcom “Still Standing,” where he portrayed Ted Halverson from 2003 to 2006, Nealon won the regular role of pot smoking city councilman Doug Wilson in the 2005 Showtime series “Weeds,” opposite Mary Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins. In 2007, he jointly nabbed a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for his work in the series. He said, “It's great getting notice for being on such a well-crafted show. Acting in 'Weeds' is just great. This has been a wonderful experience.”
“I have a stand up comedy special in the works, a book coming out later this year, an indie film called 'Remarkable Powers' to be released soon, and a small and not very important role in the upcoming Steve Carell movie, 'Get Smart.'” Kevin Neolan
Also in 2007, Nealon starred as Jack West in the independent comedy “Remarkable Power,” directed by Brandon Beckner and c-written by Beckner and Scott Sampila. Among his costars in the movie were Tom Arnold, Kip Pardue, Evan Peters and Christopher Titus.