best known as a member of the 1960s made-for-television band The Monkees. American actor, musician, television director, radio personality and theater director, Micky Dolenz was born on this day 8th March in 1945
Dolenz began his show business career in 1956 when he starred in a children’s show called Circus Boy under the name Mickey Braddock.In 1965, Dolenz was cast in the television sitcom The Monkees and became the drummer and a lead vocalist in the band created for the show, dispite not being a drummer. He needed lessons even to be able to mime credibly, but eventually was taught how to play properly. By the time The Monkees toured for real in late 1966, Dolenz was competent enough to play the drums himself. (He learned to play right-handed and left-footed.) According to Mike Nesmith, it was Dolenz’s voice that made the Monkees’ sound distinctive, and even during tension-filled times Nesmith and Peter Tork voluntarily turned over lead vocal duties to Dolenz on their own compositions, such as Tork’s “For Pete’s Sake”, which became the closing title theme for the second season of the TV show. Dolenz wrote a few of the band’s songs as well as providing the lead vocals for such hits as “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer”. Towards the end of the series’ hectic two-year run, Dolenz directed and co-wrote what turned out to be the show’s final episode. Despite being more of a singer than a musician, Micky purchased one of the first 25 Moog synthesizers, the third Moog Synthesizer ever commercially sold. His performance on The Monkees song “Daily Nightly” (written by Michael Nesmith) from the LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., was the first use of a synthesizer on a rock recording.
The Monkees have enjoyed continuing popularity Thanks in part to reruns of The Monkees on Saturday mornings and in syndication, The Monkees Greatest Hits also charted in 1976. Dolenz and Jones took advantage of this, joining ex-Monkees songwriters Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart to tour the United States. From 1975 to 1977, as the “Golden Hits of The Monkees” show (“The Guys who Wrote ‘Em and the Guys who Sang ‘Em!”), they successfully performed in smaller venues such as state fairs and amusement parks, as well as making stops in Japan, Thailand and Singapore. They also released an album of new material as Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart.
After the television show ended and the band broke up, Dolenz hoped to continue a solo recording career, and released several singles on MGM Records (and its subsidiaries) in the early 1970s. In 1971, Peter Tork helped arrange a Micky Dolenz single, “Easy on You”/”Oh Someone”. He also provided voice-overs for a number of Saturday-morning cartoon series including The Funky Phantom, Partridge Family 2200 A.D., Scooby-doo, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, Devlin and Wonder Wheels (from The Skatebirds). Dolenz provided the voice of Arthur in the first season of the animated series The Tick.[SPOON!] Dolenz also played one of Alan Matthews’ bandmates in the sitcom Boy Meets World, and later joined Davy Jones and Peter Tork in episode eight of the 3rd season (titled “Rave On”), although they did not play themselves. In 1972, Dolenz played Vance in the murder mystery film Night of the Strangler. Dolenz provided the voice of Two-Face’s twin henchmen in the two-part episode “Two-Face” on Batman: The Animated Series. In a September 2006 radio interview, Dolenz reported that he is the current voice of Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear. Dolenz also made guest appearances on prime time shows including Adam-12 and My Three Sons. He also auditioned for the role of Fonzie on the series Happy Days, but lost out to Henry Winkler.
1977 saw him performing with former band-mate Davy Jones in a stage production of the Harry Nilsson musical The Point! in London, playing the part of Arrow, Oblio’s (Jones) pet dog. In the early 1980s, Dolenz also directed a stage version of Bugsy Malone, the cast of which included a then-unknown 14-year-old Welsh actress named Catherine Zeta-Jones. From 1983 to 1984 he was responsible for creating and producing the British children’s television show Luna. In 2007, he appeared in Rob Zombie’s remake of Halloween as Derek Allan, the owner of the gun shop where Dr. Loomis (played by Malcolm McDowell) buys a gun in his search for Michael Myers. 2011, Dolenz appeared in the movie movie Mega Python vs. Gatoroid alongside Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.
In 1986, a screening of the entire Monkees television series by MTV led to renewed interest in the group, followed by a single (“That Was Then, This Is Now” reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.), a 20th Anniversary Tour, a greatest hits album and a brand new LP, Pool It! in 1987. The group’s original albums were reissued and all hit the record charts at the same time. He has joined the other ex-Monkees for several reunion tours, most recently in 2011 with a series of concerts in England and the United States, and has toured extensively as a solo artist. He has continued to direct for television both in the United Kingdom and the United States, and had occasional acting gigs, including roles in the TV series The Equalizer and as the Mayor on the cable TV series Pacific Blue.