Dan Schneider is the creator and executive producer of "Guys Like Us," a half-hour sitcom about two hip, twentysomething roommates and how their bachelor pad is drastically changed by the invasion of a six-year-old-boy.
Very few young TV stars go on to make a name for themselves when their series goes off the air, but Dan Schneider, 30, is one of the survivors. Schneider has gone from starring in a hit TV show to writing and producing two of the most successful kids' shows on television to executive producing a new series for Columbia TriStar Television. He also wrote, produced and co-starred in a hit movie.
After starring for five years in the hit sitcom "Head of the Class," Schneider went on to star in a new sitcom, "Home Free," in which he played best friend to Matthew Perry (they remain real friends today). Soon after, Schneider got his start producing and writing for television when he created "All That" and "Kenan & Kel" which have become Nickelodeon's two most popular live-action series. Schneider served as head writer and co-executive producer for both series.
Based on the success of "All That," Schneider parlayed one of their most popular comedy sketches, "Good Burger," into a hit movie for Paramount Studios. Schneider not only wrote and co-produced the film, but also co-starred. He is currently writing a new movie for Universal Studios entitled "Lost & Found."
Schneider was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. He was brought up in a close, funny family with three older sisters and calls his parents his "two best friends." Elected president of his senior class, he honed his on-stage comedy in several high school productions and comedy sketches. After graduation, with no idea what he wanted to do, he moved to Boston and attended classes at Harvard. He also dabbled in stand-up comedy, but says, "I really preferred acting."
Returning to Memphis, Schneider half-heartedly entered the University of Memphis, a decision that, ironically, would lead him straight to Hollywood. At the time, MGM was shooting a film in Memphis and, during one of his rare visits to class, Schneider heard about a casting call for extras. He went but when he saw more than a thousand kids there, he gave up and went off to wander around the campus bookstore. There, by fate, the movie's producer spotted Schneider and, after a quick audition, offered him a supporting role in the film. After the movie was completed, the producer helped Schneider get a leading role in another film to be shot in the Caribbean. Suddenly, Schneider's career was moving forward - fast.
Schneider moved to Los Angeles and signed with the William Morris Agency. For two years, he landed roles in motion, pictures including "Better Off Dead" in which he portrayed what Schneider calls "a freakish weirdo" antagonist to John Cusack. But despite the frequent movie roles, Schneider still had to supplement his income by delivering pizzas!
In 1986, Schneider's life changed dramatically when he won the role as the funniest of the brainy students in the sitcom "Head of the Class." The series was a Top 20 hit for five years. During its run, Schneider also played the critically acclaimed role of a pompous wannabe film director in Christopher Guest's "The Big Picture" starring Kevin Bacon.
On the rare occasions when Schneider has a day off, he spends time buying and restoring Chevy "muscle-car" convertibles from the late 1960s and early '70s. He also has a rare collection of vintage Bakelite radios from the 1930s and '40s.
Schneider continues to act when time permits. He points out, "The great thing is that now I don't have to audition as much - I just write roles for myself in my own projects. How cool is that?"
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