Charles Michael Levine
October 18, 1952
Plainview, New York, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Director, writer, producer, composer|
|Notable work||Grace Under Fire|
Dharma & Greg
Two and a Half Men
The Big Bang Theory
Mike & Molly
The Kominsky Method
Bob Hearts Abishola
United States of Al
How to Be a Bookie
Called the "King of Sitcoms", he has created/co-created and produced sitcoms including Grace Under Fire, Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly, Mom, Young Sheldon, The Kominsky Method, Disjointed, Bob Hearts Abishola, B Positive, United States of Al, and How to Be a Bookie. He also served as an executive producer of Roseanne. He won Golden Globe Awards for Roseanne (1993) and Cybill (1996), and won the 2019 Golden Globe Award for The Kominsky Method. In the 1990s, he founded Chuck Lorre Productions.
Lorre was born in Plainview, New York to a Jewish family and given the Hebrew name Chaim. His father, Robert, opened a luncheonette that did poorly, which caused financial problems. After graduating from high school, Lorre attended State University of New York at Potsdam, dropping out after two years to pursue a career as a songwriter. During his two years at college he "majored in rock 'n' roll and pot and minored in LSD". In 2011, he admitted to drinking heavily in his past, telling Entertainment Weekly (EW) that he "led a dissolute youth until 47." He was in recovery at the time. Substance-related issues are also a recurring theme in his work.
After leaving school, Lorre toured the United States as a guitarist and songwriter. He wrote the song "French Kissin' in the USA," which Deborah Harry later recorded for her 1986 Rockbird album and became a UK Top 10 hit. In the early 1980s he turned to writing scripts for animated shows; his first project was the DIC version of Heathcliff. He co-wrote the soundtrack to the 1987 television series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Dennis Challen Brown. In the late 1980s, he shifted into writing for sitcoms, and joined the writing staff of Roseanne. Though he was fired over irreconcilable creative differences, Lorre's time on Roseanne impressed producers, and led to his creating his first show, Frannie's Turn. It was cancelled after 5 weeks.
Lorre's second show as creator, Grace Under Fire, starred comedian Brett Butler. It premiered on ABC in 1993, and was nominated at the 52nd Golden Globe Awards for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy. His next show was Cybill, starring Cybill Shepherd. It aired for four seasons on CBS and received critical acclaim, winning a Primetime Emmy Award in 1995 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for co-star Christine Baranski, and two Golden Globe Awards in 1996 for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy for Cybill Shepherd. Lorre signed a deal with Carsey-Werner Productions in 1994. He then moved to 20th Century Fox in 1995 to create the next project.
Dharma & Greg was the fourth show he created, in partnership with Dottie Zicklin (credited as Dottie Dartland), which premiered one year before the end of Cybill in 1997. (Lorre had left Cybill in season two.) It starred Jenna Elfman and Thomas Gibson as the title characters, whose personalities were complete opposites—Dharma's world view being more spiritual and 'free spirit'-style, instilled by "hippie" parents, contrasted with Greg's world view of structure, social status requirements, and "white collar duty" instilled by his generations of affluent parents/ancestors. The show received eight Golden Globe nominations, six Emmy Award nominations, and six Satellite Awards nominations, and Elfman won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in 1999. To move on to his next project, Lorre signed a long-term deal with Warner Bros. Television in 2000, a relationship that continues to this day.
Lorre created his fifth show, Two and a Half Men, with co-creator Lee Aronsohn. It focuses on two Harper brothers, Charlie and Alan. Charlie is a hedonistic, successful commercial jingles composer and womanizer who owns a beach house in Malibu. When Alan is thrown out of his house by his wife, he worms himself into Charlie's house. Alan also has a little son, Jake, the "half", who comes to visit him and Charlie on weekends. Two and a Half Men premiered on CBS in 2003 and became the highest-rated sitcom in America. In 2011, CBS put the show on hiatus following many incidents of production shutdowns due to Charlie Sheen's alleged problems related to drug and alcohol abuse and greed, which culminated to the verbal attacks directed at Lorre during a radio interview. Sheen was fired from the show and filed a $100 million lawsuit against Lorre and Warner Bros. Television for wrongful termination. Lorre killed off Sheen's character and hired Ashton Kutcher as his replacement for the show's later four seasons.
Lorre's next show was The Big Bang Theory with co-creator Bill Prady. It follows two genius physicists with few social skills who befriend their neighbor, an attractive, outgoing young woman with average intelligence and no college education. The episodes usually focus primarily on the daily lives of the men and two of their brilliant but equally socially challenged friends, with a dose of absurdity from the relationship with their less educated but socially astute neighbor. The two main protagonists, Sheldon and Leonard, are named after actor and television producer Sheldon Leonard. The show premiered on CBS in 2007 and was the highest rated comedy series in the United States.
Lorre was executive producer of Mike & Molly, created by Mark Roberts, which premiered on CBS in September 2010. His seventh show, created with Gemma Baker and Eddie Gorodetsky, Mom, premiered on CBS on September 23, 2013. On March 13, 2014, CBS announced the second season renewal of Mom. It ran for eight seasons.
Controversy surrounded United States of Al, a show produced by Lorre for CBS. Released to mostly negative reviews, United States of Al and its makers were criticized for the show's humor, use of antiquated tropes, and in particular, the casting of a South-African-born Indian actor to play an Afghan lead and his use of an inauthentic accent.
The unique vanity cards for Chuck Lorre Productions have become a "trademark" for Lorre, starting with Dharma & Greg and used for every one of his shows since. An Apple Macintosh computer was used for Lorre's production card on the earlier Grace Under Fire and Cybill.
Typically, on the end of every episode of his productions, Lorre includes a different message that usually reads like an editorial, essay, or observation on life. A typical card might include a range of topics as diverse as what the Bee Gees never learned, the cancellation of Dharma & Greg, his support of Barack Obama, the competence of AOL Time Warner management, and the genesis of Two and a Half Men.
The card is shown for only a few seconds at most, so longer messages require the viewer to pause at the right spot, or visit Lorre's website where he posts the cards. CBS has censored Lorre's vanity cards on several occasions; Lorre posts both the censored and uncensored versions of the cards.
During Charlie Sheen's controversial departure from Two and a Half Men in 2011, Lorre referenced Sheen in several cards. Lorre used the vanity card for the series finale, "Of Course He's Dead", to address the circumstances of Sheen's absence from the episode.
Lorre published a compilation of his vanity cards in a coffee table book titled What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Bitter, released on October 16, 2012. The book takes its title from Vanity Card #1, which first aired following the first episode of Dharma & Greg on September 24, 1997.
During The Big Bang Theory episode titled "The Hook-Up Reverberation", Vanity Card #463 was displayed. It discussed Lorre's lost or matured angst along with the news that he would stop writing the vanity cards. Vanity card #464 was shown after the next episode, stating it was his last and that he felt like they would not be missed. However, he resumed the cards. Card #493 on March 5, 2015 was a tribute to the late Leonard Nimoy, who had guest-starred on the show as the voice of Sheldon's conscience three years earlier.
|Wolf Rock TV||1984||No||No||Yes||Yes||ABC|
|Muppets, Babies and Monsters||1985||No||No||Yes||Yes||CBS|
|My Little Pony 'n Friends||1986||No||No||Yes||Yes||Syndicated|
|Defenders of the Earth||1986–1987||No||No||Yes||Yes||Syndicated|
|Charles in Charge||1987||No||No||Yes||Yes||CBS|
|My Two Dads||1987–1990||No||No||Yes||Yes||NBC|
|The New Adventures of Beany and Cecil||1988||No||No||Yes||Yes||ABC|
|Grace Under Fire||1993–1998||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||ABC|
|Dharma & Greg||1997–2002||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||ABC|
|Two and a Half Men||2003–2015||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||CBS|
|The Big Bang Theory||2007–2019||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||CBS|
|CSI: Crime Scene Investigation||2008||No||No||Yes||No||CBS|
|Mike & Molly||2010–2016||No||No||Yes||Yes||CBS|
|The Kominsky Method||2018–2021||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Netflix|
|Bob Hearts Abishola||2019–present||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||CBS|
|United States of Al||2021–2022||No||No||Yes||No||CBS|
|How to Be a Bookie||TBA||Yes||TBA||Yes||Yes||HBO Max|
Awards and recognition
Also in 2019, Lorre was awarded the Critics' Choice Award for Creative Achievement.
Lorre was first married to his business partner Paula Smith in 1979. They ended both partnerships after 13 years and the births of their two children.
From 2010 to 2011, he was in a relationship with Canadian actress and model Emmanuelle Vaugier, who appeared in 12 episodes of Two and a Half Men as a ballet teacher and the main character's love interest.
In September 2018, Lorre married Arielle Mandelson. Lorre filed for divorce in 2022.
He has publicly discussed his decades of struggle with the autoimmune disease ulcerative colitis, as well as depression, worry, and anger/rage. He stated in an interview, "Put me in paradise and I will focus on the one thing that will make me angry." In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, he said, "I am wired on some deep level to seek out something to be worried and obsess about."
- Shakhnazarova, Nika (July 23, 2022). "'Big Bang Theory' creator Chuck Lorre files for divorce from third wife".
- "CHUCK LEVINE PRODUCTIONS, #119". May 17, 2004. Retrieved October 31, 2022.
- "CLP – Vanity Cards #64". www.chucklorre.com. Archived from the original on 2021-04-18. Retrieved 2021-02-23.
- Rice, Lynette (December 8, 2006). "It Hurts to Laugh". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
- Keller, Joel (25 August 2017). "How Chuck Lorre, Network Sitcom King, Wound Up on Netflix". Vanity Fair.
- "Sitcom king Chuck Lorre's wit and wisdom, gathered from the TV screen and put between covers". 24 October 2012.
- "Q&A: Chuck Lorre". The Hollywood Reporter. 11 March 2009.
- Schneider, Michael (6 September 2017). "Chuck Lorre on Following Up 'Mom' With a Pot Comedy, and How Making a Single-Camera Comedy Is Torture".
- "King of comedy". 6 February 2011.
- "Golden Globes – Chuck Lorre". Retrieved 19 June 2020.
- "CLP – Vanity Cards".
- Pilkington, Ed (25 February 2011). "Two and a Half Men axed after rant leaves Sheen looking a proper Charlie". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Hibberd, James (25 February 2011). "Charlie Sheen decoded: Where 'Chaim Levine' comes from". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Rice, Lynette (January 8, 2007). "Why is Chuck Lorre so angry?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "E! All You Need to Know About Charlie Sheen's Nemesis". March 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Bissell, Tom (2010-11-29). "A Simple Medium". The New Yorker. No. December 6, 2010. pp. 34–41. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
- Lorre, Chuck (February 25, 2012). "Chuck Lorre Interview Part 1 of 4 (19:35)" (Interview). Interviewed by Nancy Harrington. Pacific Palisades, CA: Archive of American Television. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
- "Vanity Card #165". chucklorre.com. Retrieved 2008-04-19.
- "Vanity Card #243". chucklorre.com. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- Chuck Lorre. "MUSIC – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". Retrieved 2010-05-19.
- "Frannie's Turn – Full Cast and Credits – 1992". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- Lowry, Brian (1994-03-24). "Lorre signs deal with Carsey-Werner". Variety. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
- Littleton, Cynthia (1997-12-02). "Newman reups deal at Fox TV". Variety. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
- "IMDb Dharma & Greg". IMDb. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Keveney, Bill (2013-03-07). "The 'Big Bang' boom propels hit sitcom". USA Today. Retrieved March 11, 2013.
- Littleton, Cynthia (2012-09-05). "Chuck Lorre jumps into 'bigger sandbox'". Variety. Retrieved 2021-07-08.
- Hinckley, David (February 28, 2011). "Charlie Sheen, Stan Rosenfield cut ties: Long-time publicist quits amid actor's public meltdown". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
- Carr, David (February 28, 2011). "Insulting Chuck Lorre, Not Abuse, Gets Sheen Sidelined". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
- "Charlie Sheen fired from Two and a Half Men TV show". BBC Online. March 7, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
- "Sacked star Charlie Sheen sues sitcom makers". BBC Online. March 11, 2011. Retrieved March 11, 2011.
- "The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon and Leonard By on". American Profile. July 12, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "Mike and Molly". Metacritic. Retrieved March 8, 2011.
- "Chuck Lorre's CBS pilot 'Mom' to get series order". Digital Spy. 2013-05-08. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (March 13, 2014). "CBS Renews 'The Good Wife', 'The Millers', 'Two and a Half Men', 'Hawaii Five-0', 'Mom', 'Blue Bloods', 'Elementary' and 11 More". TV by the Numbers (Press release). Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- Ramos, Dino-Ray (March 21, 2021). "'United States of Al' Blasted For Handling Of Afghan Character; Reza Aslan Defends CBS Sitcom: "You Can't Judge A Show By A 30 Second Trailer"". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on March 24, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021.
- Lesley Goldberg (October 7, 2014). "Is Chuck Lorre Done With Vanity Cards? Maybe Not". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- Paige Feigenbaum (February 28, 2011). "EXCLUSIVE: Charlie Sheen: Lawyers Examining Chuck Lorre's Vanity Cards As Legal Fight Looms, Tells 'Men' Creator 'Oops!'". Radar Online. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- With Disjointed (2017) being the exception; here a standard production logo was used.
- Malcolm, Shawna (10 March 2009). "Vanity cards let Lorre sound off". Variety. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
- Lorre, Chuck (2012-10-16). What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Bitter: Chuck Lorre: 9781451679755: Amazon.com: Books. ISBN 978-1451679755.
- "CLP - Vanity Card #01". chucklorre.com. 2007-09-24. Archived from the original on 2021-08-07. Retrieved 2020-03-01.
- Patrick Kevin Day (March 6, 2015). "'The Big Bang Theory's' Leonard Nimoy tribute was in the cards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- "2004 BMI Film/TV Awards". bmi.com. 12 May 2004. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "2005 BMI Film/TV Awards". bmi.com. 18 May 2005. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "2008 BMI Film/TV Awards". bmi.com. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "2009 BMI Film & Television Music Awards Winners". bmi.com. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Chuck Lorre receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame". Variety. 14 March 2009. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- ""Two and a Half Men" creator Chuck Lorre to speak at SUNY undergrad commencement". The State University of New York at Potsdam. 12 Feb 2009. Archived from the original on 14 September 2016. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- "Television Academy to Induct New Hall of Fame Honorees March 1". Television Academy. emmys.com. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "TV Academy Adds Nine To Hall Of Fame". Deadline Hollywood. 28 November 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Golden Globes – Chuck Lorre". Retrieved 19 June 2020.
- "Chuck Lorre wins a best comedy award after 23 years". Entertainment Weekly. 6 January 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
- "Critics' Choice Awards: 'Roma,' 'Americans,' 'Mrs. Maisel' Top Winners". Hollywood Reporter. 13 January 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
- "How to Create a Hit Sitcom". chucklorre.com. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- "All You Need to Know About Charlie Sheen Nemesis Chuck Lorre". E!. March 11, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2012.
- "Entertainment Weekly". All You Need to Know About Charlie Sheen's Nemesis. March 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2013.