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Michael Nesmith Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (25) | Personal Quotes (5) | Salary (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 30 December 1942Houston, Texas, USA
Birth NameRobert Michael Nesmith
Nicknames Nez
Mike
Woolhat
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Singer, composer, heartthrob, pioneer - all are accurate descriptions of Robert Michael Nesmith. Most easily identified by his trademark bluish wool hat with pompom, Nesmith fashioned a diversified career within music and also in film. Born in Saint Joseph's Hospital in downtown Houston, Nesmith was a self-described "failure" growing up. "I just didn't do anything," he said in his famous 1965 screen test for _The Monkees (1966)_ ; he expanded on this in a 1968 Australian radio interview by noting, "I was just starving and writing music." He got work as a session guitarist up and down the East Coast before moving to Los Angeles with his wife Phyllis Barbour in 1965. He managed to get a record contract with Colpix Records and released several 45s as well as appearing on 'Lloyd Thaxton's' syndicated teen dance show. When Nesmith won the role for The Monkees (1966) he was the first of all involved to see where the show and the music would go. Nesmith produced tracks for The Monkees even before TV series filming began; he has said "about a hundred" tracks were made by himself, Micky, Peter, and Davy in the first half of 1966, and among the songs recorded was his composition "The Girl I Knew Somewhere." The hiring of Don Kirshner quashed this group gestation, but Nesmith continued to produce tracks for the group, usually with Micky Dolenz providing co-lead or harmony vocals; the trademark of Nesmith's 1966-produced tracks was the stellar deep bass work of Robert West. Being the leader of the group by virtue of having the strongest musical vision and polish, Nesmith challenged the controlling powers, culminating in the famous "That could have been your head!" near-brawl with Columbia executives in late 1966-early 1967 that left a wall torn open and ultimately left Don Kirshner eighty-sixed from the project. Nesmith took a controlling involvement in the group's albums, but given the strong egos of each member, and breakage was inevitable. Nesmith finally left after 1969. He joined longtime bassist friend John London and pedal steel ace 'Orville "Red" Rhodes' for The First National Band, a group that pioneered the mixture of country music with rock-&-roll. The song "Joanne" off of their first album, "Magnetic South", became a big hit. Though the FNB broke after three albums, Nesmith and Rhodes kept on going with the Second National Band. Their records were critical successes, but unfortunately were not big hits. Nesmith then invented and sold the concept 24 hour music television to Time Warner. He produced a proof of concept called "Pop Clips" which Time-Warner aired on the Nickelodeon channel as a test. It was an instant success. From there was developed the MTV network. He also branched into TV and film production, with such works as Elephant Parts (1981), Timerider (1983), Repo Man (1984), Square Dance and Tapeheads, as well as several TV specials; Nesmith continued to make records on a sporadic basis, 13 solo albums in total. He reunited with Red Rhodes in 1992 and a Latin-flavored masterpiece called "Tropical Campfires". He was nominated for a Grammy for his 1994 album "The Garden". - He reunited with the Monkees in 1996 for the "Justus" album. In 1997 he wrote and directed an ABC television Monkees special. In 1998 St. Martins Press published his first novel, "The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora". In 2005 he finished his second novel, "The America Gene". He also started a small video game development company called Zoomo Productions, based in Monterey, California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: fanstp43@aol.com

Spouse (3)

Victoria Kennedy (1 April 2000 - present)
Kathryn Bild (29 February 1976 - 26 August 1988) (divorced)
Phyllis Barbour Nesmith (27 June 1964 - 21 March 1975) (divorced) (3 children)

Trade Mark (1)

During the early days of The Monkees was never seen without his woolhat

Trivia (25)

He has four kids: Christian, Jonathan, Jason, and Jessica.
"Elephant Parts" won the first Grammy for a video record.
Michael's mother, Bette Nesmith, was a legal secretary in Houston, Texas. Due to her hobby of painting, she came up with the idea and invented Liquid Paper typing correction fluid and made an enormous fortune overnight.
Michael spent fourteen months in the U.S. Air Force where he tipped over a general's airplane while cleaning it.
Invented the idea for what became MTV. Sold the idea to Time-Warner and created a proof of concept for 24 hour music television in the form of 6 half hour shows called "Pop Clips". Time-Warner aired Popclips on Nickelodeon Channel for testing and it was an instant hit. Nesmith moved on to other projects after the testing phase as he did not wish to be involved in managing a television network.
Penned the Stone Poneys' hit "Different Drum." Linda Ronstadt sang the lead.
Gave up taking the "A" side of the first single actually performed by The Monkees, instead choosing friend Bill Martin's song "All Of Your Toys", which Nesmith believed would be a bigger hit. A publishing snag kept "Toys" from being released (until the late 1980s), but Nesmith's "B" side, "The Girl I Knew Somewhere", backed their next single - Neil Diamond's "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You".
During the 1980s he built up the largest non-theatrical home video catalog in the world called Pacific Arts Corporation. It owned rights to everything from Koyaanisqatsi (1982) to The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1968) to Ken Burns The Civil War (1990). Pacific Arts licensed the right to use the PBS logo on the titles in its catalog which had been aired on PBS, and developed the PBS Home Video label. The venture ended in a lawsuit with PBS that resulted in a six-week trial in federal court. A jury unanimously found PBS liable for intentional misrepresentation, intentional concealment, negligent misrepresentation, intentional interference with Pac Arts' contractual relations with the program producers and in breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. They awarded Pacific Arts and Nesmith real and punitive damages totaling more than $47,000,000. PBS and Nesmith subsequently settled for an undisclosed sum.
Inherited half his mother's $50 million estate from the sale of Liquid Paper; the rest finances a private think tank.
Had published several songs through different companies before signing his contracts for The Monkees; Nesmith's "Mary, Mary" had already been a hit for the Butterfield Blues Band. With Nesmith signed to Screen Gems as a songwriter, the company next bought up Nesmith's earlier publishing, so his songs could be used for the Monkees.
Had actually been "labelmates" with Davy Jones earlier, as both were signed to the Colpix Records label (Nesmith recorded as "Michael Blessing"), though they'd apparently never met. While Jones had released a modestly successful LP and single by 1965, Nesmith's two singles hadn't gotten far past the promotional stage. The Colpix label (belonging to Columbia Pictures, and controlled by Screen Gems) was dissolved in 1966, to make way for the new Colgems label--with The Monkees as its centerpiece.
Arrived for his first interview for The Monkees wearing a wool cap, to keep the hair out of his eyes while driving his motorcycle around town (Nesmith also carried a bag of laundry, to be done at a nearby laundromat on his way home). Producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider remembered him as "Wool Hat"; they wanted to name his Monkees character that, but Nesmith refused.
Was the only Monkee who'd actually seen the initial trades ad for the show's casting.
He was was invited to the famous orchestral session for "A Day In The Life" by John Lennon.
Was often referred to by The Monkees staff as "Wool Hat".
He has an on line store called videoranch.com that allows customers to buy his works straight from him. Products include CDs, DVDs, and music downloads.
Continues to be active in all media including video games, on line delivery of media, and is an avid golfer.
Shares a birthday with fellow Monkee Davy Jones.
His first professional recording (under the pseudonym "Michael Blessing") was a folk music single entitled "What Seems To Be the Problem, Officer?"
The Monkees have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6675 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Working on a book "The Long Sandy Hair of Neftoon Zamora"
Directing movie "Fried Pies," and working on second novel. [November 2000]
He is currently living on the Monterey Peninsula in California. He just finished his second novel, "The America Gene". [April 2005]
He is finishing his latest album called "Rays", and is deciding whether to distribute it as mp3 files through his online store or as CD singles. [January 2004]
He has started a small video game development company in Monterey called Zoomo Productions. [April 2005]

Personal Quotes (5)

[As to why he didn't rejoin The Monkees when Peter Tork, Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones re-formed the group, c. 1986] "It would be kind of like Ronald Reagan making another movie."
[describing his financial slump, after paying a huge default to leave The Monkees in 1969] "I had to start telling little tales to the tax man while they were putting tags on the furniture."
[about his famous wool hat] "It had a life of its own. I used to take it off and put it in a little house, feed it . . . "
[on the death of fellow Monkee Davy Jones] David's spirit and soul live well in my heart, among all the lovely people, who remember with me the good times, and the healing times, that were created for so many, including us. I have fond memories. I wish him safe travels.
I'm clearly in my endgame. I mean, we're not talking about deciding to do something else. We're talking about dying. [Laughs] So I don't know. Who knows where that is? That's somewhere . . . that door is coming up. I can't make it out on the horizon just yet. But at a certain point it's going to be time for me to say, "Eh, I think I'll lay down."

Salary (1)

The Monkees (1966) $450 /episode

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