||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (December 2015)|
Dolenz at the 2009 premiere of Whatever Works
|Born||George Michael Dolenz, Jr.
March 8, 1945
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Other names||Mickey Braddock|
George Michael "Micky" Dolenz, Jr. (born March 8, 1945) is an American actor, musician, television director, radio personality and theater director, best known as the drummer and principal lead singer of the 1960s pop/rock band the Monkees.
Life and entertainment career
Dolenz began his show business career in 1956 when he starred in a children’s show called Circus Boy under the name Mickey Braddock. He played an orphaned water boy for the elephants in a one-ring circus at the start of the 20th century. The program ran for two seasons, after which Dolenz made sporadic appearances on network television shows and pursued his education. Dolenz went to Ulysses S. Grant High School in Valley Glen, Los Angeles, California, and graduated in 1962. In 1964, he was cast as Ed in the episode "Born of Kings and Angels" of the NBC education drama series, Mr. Novak, starring James Franciscus as an idealistic Los Angeles teacher. Dolenz was attending college in Los Angeles when he was hired for the "drummer" role in NBC's The Monkees.
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. He was not at that time 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 went on tour in late 1966, Dolenz was competent enough to play the drums himself. (He learned to play right-handed and left-footed.)
Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, writers of many of The Monkees' songs, observed quickly that when brought in to the studio together, the four actors would try to crack each other up. Because of this, they would often bring in each singer individually. The antics escalated until one time Micky poured a cup of ice on Don Kirshner's head; at the time, Dolenz did not know Kirshner on sight.
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.
Dolenz wrote a few of the band’s self-penned songs as well as providing the lead vocals for such hits as "Last Train to Clarksville", "Take a Giant Step" 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.
Micky purchased one of the first 25 Moog synthesizers, the third Moog Synthesizer ever commercially sold. (The first two belonged to Wendy Carlos and Buck Owens.) His performance on the Monkees song "Daily Nightly" (written by Michael Nesmith) from the LP Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. was one of the first uses of the synthesizer on a rock recording. He eventually sold his instrument to Bobby Sherman.
Since Davy Jones's death in 2012, Dolenz has been the only member of The Monkees who has been with the band continuously since its inception.
Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart
Thanks in part to reruns of The Monkees on Saturday mornings and in syndication, The Monkees Greatest Hits charted in 1976. The LP, issued by Arista (a subsidiary of Screen Gems), was actually a repackaging of a 1972 compilation LP called Refocus that had been issued by Arista's previous label imprint, Bell Records, also owned by Screen Gems.
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 (they could not use the Monkees name for legal reasons).
Nesmith had not been interested in a reunion. Tork claimed later that he had not been asked, although a Christmas single (credited to Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones and Peter Tork) was produced by Chip Douglas and released on his own label in 1976. The single featured Douglas's and Howard Kaylan's "Christmas Is My Time of Year" (originally recorded by a 1960s supergroup, Christmas Spirit), with a B-side of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (Douglas released a remixed version of the single, with additional overdubbed instruments, in 1986). Tork also joined Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart on stage at Disneyland on July 4, 1976, and also joined Dolenz and Jones on stage at the Starwood in Hollywood, California in 1977.
Post-Monkees musical career
In February 1967, Challenge records put out 2 singles (both recorded in 1965) by Dolenz; the first was "Don't Do It"/"Plastic Symphony III" (C-59353) and the second was "Huff Puff"/"Fate (Big Ben)" (C-59372). Both singles are on the 2005 CD "Plastic Symphony".
After the television show ended and the band broke up, Dolenz and Jones released the single "Do It In The Name Of Love"/"Lady Jane" (Bell-986, April 1971).
Dolenz continued a solo recording career and released 2 singles on MGM Records, "Easy On You"/"Oh Someone" (K-14309, October 1971, both arranged by Peter Tork) and "A Lover's Prayer"/"Unattended In The Dungeon" (K-14395, June 1972).
In 1972 Dolenz and Michael Lloyd recorded a single as "Starship": "Johnny B. Goode"/"It's Amazing To Me" (Lion-132, October 1972).
Dolenz then recorded 2 singles for Romar. The first was "Daybreak"/"Love War" (RO-710, 1973), followed by "The Buddy Holly Tribute"/"Ooh, She's Young" (RO-715, 1974).
He joined "Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart", who recorded the Capitol singles "I Remember The Feeling"/"You And I" (1975) and "I Love You And I'm Glad That I Said It"/"Saving My Love For You" (1975), as well as 2 Capitol albums ("Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart" and "Concert In Japan", both 1976).
In 1977, Dolenz joined with Davy Jones to record "The Point" (MCF-2826), a cast album released by MCA in the U.K. only.
In 1978, Dolenz went to Japan to release the single "I'm Your Man" on Japan records.
Dolenz went to the U.K. in 1979 to record the single "Lovelight"/"Alicia" for Chrysalis (CHS-2297).
On 31 October 1981, he released the single "To Be Or Not To Be"/"Beverly Hills" (J-8112) in Japan.
Dolenz released 2 CDs on the Kid Rhino label, Micky Dolenz Puts You to Sleep (containing Dolenz-chosen songs originally released by many major artists, given a "dreamy" touch) and Broadway Micky (Dolenz singing choice Broadway standards).
In 2005, after leaving WCBS-FM, Dolenz went on tour with his sister, singer Coco Dolenz. On August 31, 2010, Dolenz released, via Gigatone Entertainment of Sacramento, California, a CD titled King for a Day, a 14-track tribute to legendary songwriter Carole King. Dolenz also appeared in an event called "myRecordFantasy with Micky Dolenz" August 2–4, 2010 giving fans the opportunity to audition and perform on this album. The event was recorded and adapted to a reality series entitled myRecordFantasy, the trailer of which was released August 31, 2010. His 2012 CD Remember is made up of covers of 1960s and 1970s rock and pop ballads.
In July 2015, 7A Records issued "The MGM Singles Collection" on vinyl only. It collects the 5 singles (10 songs) that Dolenz recorded for MGM, Lion, and Romar between 1971-1974.
On September 25, 2015, Dolenz released the CD "A Little Bit Broadway, A Little Bit Rock and Roll - Live at 54 Below" on Broadway Records.
Post-Monkees television and film career
After the Monkees television show ended, Dolenz continued performing providing 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. 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 and was in an episode of Adam 12 titled "Dirt Duel" S5/Ep01. 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.
Both Dolenz and Michael Nesmith auditioned for the role of Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli on Happy Days, but neither was selected due to both being taller (6 ft., 1 in.) than main character Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham), who is 5 ft., 9 in. tall, and co-stars Anson Williams (Potsie) and Don Most (Ralph), both under 6 ft. The producers didn't want the Fonzie character emphasized over the others. A search for a shorter actor eventually resulted in Henry Winkler's hiring.
Dolenz played a near-sighted bus driver in the March 1, 1975 multi-rated versions (X, R, and PG) US comedy film Linda Lovelace for President. This was Linda Lovelace's last film and a failed attempt by her friend, producer David Winters, to capitalize on her popularity to cross over to mainstream films. Other recognizable actors making guest appearances in this film included Scatman Crothers, Joe E. Ross, Vaughn Meader, and Chuck McCann.
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 the Count's Son and the Leafman. After the show’s run, he remained in England and began directing for stage and television, as well as producing several of the shows he directed. In 1980, Dolenz produced and directed the sitcom Metal Mickey, featuring a large metallic robot with the catch-phrase "boogie boogie." In 1981 he directed a short film based on the sketch Balham, Gateway to the South with Robbie Coltrane playing multiple roles.
In the early 1980s, Dolenz 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 June 2006, Dolenz played Charlemagne at the Goodspeed Opera House for the revival of the musical Pippin in East Haddam, Connecticut. He also toured in that role. 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. On April 25, 2007, Dolenz was featured on American Idol on the "Idol Gives Back" episode when the show filmed celebrities singing and dancing to "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees. Dolenz participated in the 2008–09 season of CMT's "Gone Country," competing against fellow celebrities Sheila E (who eventually won), Taylor Dayne, George Clinton, and Richard Grieco.
Also in the mid-2000s Dolenz played the role of Zoser in the Broadway production of Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida.
On January 29, 2011, Dolenz appeared in the Syfy Channel movie Mega Python vs. Gatoroid alongside Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. On February 21, 2015, he had a cameo as himself in the Adult Swim TV special Bagboy.
MTV re-ignites Monkee Mania
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.
Since 1986, Dolenz has joined the other ex-Monkees for several reunion tours, most recently in 2011 and 2012 with a series of concerts in England and two tours of 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.
In 2009, Dolenz inked a deal to record an album of the classic songs of Carole King, titled "King for a Day". The album (released on Gigitone Records) was produced by Jeffrey Foskett, who has worked extensively with Brian Wilson and played on Wilson’s 2004 Grammy-winning Brian Wilson Presents Smile. King’s songs "Pleasant Valley Sunday", "Sometime in the Morning", and "The Porpoise Song (Theme From Head)" have emerged as signature songs from The Monkees. As of February 2010, he was appearing on stage in London in 'Hairspray with Michael Ball.' The show also went on tour and had a successful run in Dublin, Ireland during November 2010. In 2011, he rejoined Tork and Jones for An Evening with The Monkees: The 45th Anniversary Tour. Jones' sudden death in February 2012 led to Dolenz and Tork reuniting with Michael Nesmith for a 12 concert tour of the United States in November and December, 2012. The trio would tour again both in 2013 and 2014.
On January 10, 2005, Dolenz replaced Dan Taylor as the morning disc jockey at oldies radio station WCBS-FM in New York. On June 3, 2005, Dolenz celebrated his 100th show with a special morning show at B.B. King's. In an ironic and controversial twist, that was also his last regular show at the station; at 5:00 PM, WCBS-FM announced that the station would replace its oldies format with a "Jack" format, and fired all of the station's on-air disc jockeys. (Not all of the station's on-air disc jockeys were fired. Some were laid off, some were fired, and one retired.)
However, WCBS-FM had since returned to its oldies format on July 12, 2007, with Taylor reassuming his role again as the morning disc jockey the following day. Several months later, Dolenz was invited back to do his long postponed 101st show, and his final in-studio appearance there at the station, by guest hosting on a three-hour broadcast stint during its Sunday evening New York Radio Greats program on February 3, 2008.
Dolenz has been married three times and is the father of four daughters. In 1967, while in the UK on tour, Dolenz met future wife Samantha Juste, a co-presenter on BBC TV's pop music show, Top of the Pops. They married in 1968 and had a daughter, Ami Dolenz (b. January 8, 1969), an actress particularly active in the 1980s and 1990s. Dolenz and Juste divorced in 1975. They remained close friends until her death following a stroke on February 5, 2014.
He married Trina Dow in 1977. The couple had three daughters: Charlotte Janelle (born August 8, 1981), Emily Claire (born July 25, 1983), and Georgia Rose (born September 3, 1984). They divorced in 1991. Trina Dolenz has become a couples therapist (still using her married name). Dolenz married his third wife, Donna Quinter, in 2002.
- Ancestry.com. California Birth Index, 1905–1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.
- Circus Boy at the Internet Movie Database
- "Micky Dolenz Related Items at angelfire.com". Angelfire.com. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- Beat It: The Top 10 Singing Drummers. Hall, Russell at listentotheband.weebly.com on September 16, 2011.
- "tvshowsondvd.com". tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- "bcdb.com". bcdb.com. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- "Welcome to...Time Travel Is Possible". Timetravelispossible.com. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- BBC – Comedy – Shows A-Z Index
- "Opening sequence of 'Luna'". YouTube. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- "Micky Dolenz Internet Movie Database". Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- "Batman Forever Internet Movie Database". Retrieved July 20, 2011.
- Kevin Pollack's Chat Show episode 160. October 28, 2012. Event occurs at 1h39m25s.
- "Syfy Adds a Monkee to Debbie Gibson-Tiffany Movie". TVGuide.com.
- "TV: The Monkees Mickey Dolenz Joins Debbie Gibson-vs.-Tiffany in ',Mega Python vs. Gatoroid',". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- "Monkees announce 10-date concert tour". United Press International. February 21, 2011. Retrieved May 26, 2011.
- "Monkees Tour: Band Announces First Concert Run Since Davy Jones' Death". Huffington Post. August 8, 2012. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- "Wcbs Monkees With Morning Slot". Daily News (New York). December 8, 2004.
- "Greener fields for Greenfield". Daily News (New York). February 1, 2008.
- "Obituary of Samantha Juste". Daily Telegraph. 10 February 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Micky Dolenz.|
- Micky Dolenz official website
- Micky Dolenz at the Internet Movie Database
- MICKY FANS
- Micky's First Television Show: Circus Boy
- Former Monkee still a player
- 2006 radio interview with Micky
- Micky playing and signing autographs at July 5, 2009 Dundalk, Md. Heritage Fair