Conan was Born ....:
... on April 18, 1963, Brookline, Mass., right outside Boston (just hop on the Green Line). He is the third of six children (and the fourth boy) born to Dr. Thomas and Ruth Reardon O'Brien.
Growing Up with Conan:
What do you get when you mix humor with intelligence? I don't know, but I do know this. Conan graduated as valedictorian of his high school, Brookline High, and entered Harvard University with a knack for the silly and a penchant for history and literature. He worked throughout his college career as a writer for the irreverent Harvard Lampoon and served as the Lampoon's president for two years - only the second person ever to do so and the first in 85 years.
Conan's First Job:
After graduating magna cum laude in 1985, he set his sights on Hollywood. Almost immediately, Conan got to work writing episodic television, writing for HBO's Not Necessarily the News, which lampooned current events much the way that The Daily Show does today. He honed his comedic timing as a member of The Groundlings, an improvisational group, and as the warm-up comic for a failed FOX TV series (it lasted four weeks).
The Early Years:
Perhaps his biggest break came when Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels hired him as a writer in 1988. Conan spent three years at SNL, and wrote such skits as "Mr. Short-Term Memory" and "The Girl Watchers".
But Hollywood beckoned and, after writing and producing a failed pilot, Conan landed a job with The Simpsons. Among his creations: Captain Horatio McCallister.
Becoming a Talk Show Host:
When late night superhost David Letterman left NBC and his Late Night with David Letterman television program to launch a new talk show on CBS, Lorne Michaels, Late Night's new executive producer, turned to Conan to fill the spot.
It was a gamble. Conan wasn't a household name and his time on-camera amounted to a few background moments on SNL. But he accepted the position and, on April 26. 1993, Late Night with Conan O’Brien debuted.
A Key Moment in His Career:
Arguably, the early part of 1997, when Conan and his writing staff won the Writer's Guild of America's award for Best Writing in a Comedy/Variety series. Until then, Conan had his fair share of critics. Almost everyone snubbed his young talk show - in fact, his contract was often extended on a weekly basis.
But in 1997, Conan's growing fan base spoke out. Today, his program destroys anything else in the time slot.
His reward? The Tonight Show, which he will take over as host in 2009.
What Does the Future Hold?:
Well, at one time, it was "legendary status as host of The Tonight Show. Early in 2006, Jay Leno announced his plan to retire from the long-running talk show, leaving open the host spot. NBC soon announced that Conan O'Brien would succeed Leno as the fifth host of the program.
But then that all kinda unraveled. After Leno's primetime program floundered, NBC decided to move Leno back to 11:30, pushing Conan and his Tonight Show to midnight. Conan refused and eventually left the show and the network. He landed on TBS where he now hosts the successful talk show 'Conan.'
And fatherhood, as Conan raises his two children, Neve and Beckett.
... And Just for Fun:
- Conan stands 6'4".
- Four photographs adorn the wall next to Conan. They are talk show icons Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson and David Letterman.
- Conan is a Lincolnophile, often interviewing guests who have written about or are experts in Abraham Lincoln and his history (could it be the height?).
- He's a great musician, playing both guitar and drums and giving exposure to new and little known bands.
- Took over as host of The Tonight Show on June 1, 2009
- Is featured on a satirical web site, Conan Vs. Bear, in which the towering talk show host is shown battling - what else? - bears.