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Craig Kilborn

Craig Kilborn

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 24, 1962 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Hastings, Montana, USA Profession: TV host, sportscaster, actor, traffic school teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With his affably snarky wit, superior but never condescending attitude and penchant for sharp commentary, Craig Kilborn developed a distinctive persona as a more grown-up version of an amiable jock-cum-frat boy during stints as a late night host and sports anchor. After getting his start as a struggling play-by-play guy for a Fox affiliate in Northern California, Kilborn helped usher in a new era of delivering sports highlights in an irreverent fashion on the long-running "SportsCenter" (ESPN, 1979- ). During his three years on the cable sports network's flagship show, he - along with the likes of Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick and Charlie Steiner - helped change forever the way sportscasters announced highlights. Kilborn moved on to host "The Daily Show" (Comedy Central, 1996-98), which allowed him to snark on the day's news and cultural events. Far less political than the subsequent version hosted by Jon Stewart, Kilborn's "Daily Show" was equally as funny. He left that show in late 1998 to take over for Tom Snyder on "The Late, Late Show" (CBS, 1999-2004), where he revamped the program for a late-night college crowd and spent the next five years building a loyal following. Though he tried his hand...

With his affably snarky wit, superior but never condescending attitude and penchant for sharp commentary, Craig Kilborn developed a distinctive persona as a more grown-up version of an amiable jock-cum-frat boy during stints as a late night host and sports anchor. After getting his start as a struggling play-by-play guy for a Fox affiliate in Northern California, Kilborn helped usher in a new era of delivering sports highlights in an irreverent fashion on the long-running "SportsCenter" (ESPN, 1979- ). During his three years on the cable sports network's flagship show, he - along with the likes of Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick and Charlie Steiner - helped change forever the way sportscasters announced highlights. Kilborn moved on to host "The Daily Show" (Comedy Central, 1996-98), which allowed him to snark on the day's news and cultural events. Far less political than the subsequent version hosted by Jon Stewart, Kilborn's "Daily Show" was equally as funny. He left that show in late 1998 to take over for Tom Snyder on "The Late, Late Show" (CBS, 1999-2004), where he revamped the program for a late-night college crowd and spent the next five years building a loyal following. Though he tried his hand at his long-held dream of acting with roles in "Old School" (2003) and "The Benchwarmers" (2006), Kilborn returned to the hosting chair for "The Kilborn Files" (Fox, 2010- ), which once again allowed him to flourish in his snide, but amiable persona.

Born on Aug. 24, 1962 in Hastings, MT, Kilborn was raised by his father, Hiram, an insurance executive and his mother, Shirley, a junior high school teacher. By the time he was attending Hastings High School, Kilborn was a star basketball player who later played Division I ball for Montana State University from 1981-84; he later liked to boast that he set a Big Sky Conference record for most turnovers. Despite his prowess on the court, Kilborn had his sights on show business, with a special eye on becoming an actor or comedy performer. But following college, Kilborn drifted instead toward sports casting, landing a stint as a play-by-play commentator for Georgia's Savannah Spirits. After spending some time in Los Angeles studying improve and sending out audition tapes, he settled out West where Kilborn landed as a sportscaster for Fox affiliate KCBA-TV in Monterey, CA, where his quick quips won him notice; even earning him a fan following that included Robin Williams, who sent Kilborn an autographed poster after he cried "Jumanji!" during a basketball game.

In 1993, Kilborn gained a national audience as one of the wisecracking sports anchors on the cable sports giant ESPN's flagship series, "SportsCenter" (1979- ), where his razor-sharp comedic commentary and mischievous delivery helped revolutionize the way announcers presented highlights. For three years, Kilborn was part of a sports anchor team that included such irreverent sportscasters as Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne - a core group that helped propel "SportsCenter" into the preeminent highlight show. In 1994, the cable channel featured Kilborn and the others in a series of self-promotions called "This Is SportsCenter," a mockumentary-style ad campaign that often featured star athletes while lampooning what went on behind the scenes at the ESPN offices. One memorable commercial featured Kilborn's personal assistant praising his boss on camera, while b-roll footage of Kilborn terrorizing the poor kid was interspersed throughout. For his part, Kilborn hosted the late night broadcast of "SportsCenter" - which he dubbed the "Feel Good Edition" - and soon earned a large enough following that had him contemplating other avenues.

Kilborn left ESPN in 1996 and brought that following to the original version of "The Daily Show" (Comedy Central, 1996-98), where he served as the host of a mock news program that satirized the news events of the day. Kilborn became known for his quick wit and for his ability to surprise - but never embarrass - his guest interviewees with his trademark segment aptly called "Five Questions." He also featured regular segments like "This Day in Hasselhoff History," which mocked the triviality of entertainment news programs. But once again, the ever-restless Kilborn left after just a few years for another program; this time leaving to assume the desk of the retiring Tom Snyder as host of "The Late, Late Show" (CBS, 1999-2004), which he reinvigorated with a more youthful edge and an experimental, devil-may-care brand of humor that garnered a loyal audience. Though structured like most other late night shows - an opening monologue followed by guest interviews - Kilborn's show also featured various skits, including his "Five Questions" bit from "The Daily Show." He spent five years on the show - longer than his previous two gigs - but abruptly left following contract negotiations that ended with Kilborn neglecting to renew.

During his "Late, Late" run, Kilborn began to realize his long-held dream of acting on screen, starting with a small part in the irreverent comedy "Old School" (2003), starring Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. After Scottish-born Craig Ferguson took over "The Late, Late Show" in 2005, Kilborn focused exclusively on acting, making brief appearances in Wes Craven's "Cursed" (2005) and the Jeff Goldblum mockumentary "Pittsburgh" (2006), before landing a bigger role as the heartless coach of a baseball team in the critically panned comedy, "The Benchwarmers" (2006). Following a small turn in the Tim Allen comedy "The Shaggy Dog" (2006), he had a supporting role as a high school guidance counselor who advises a put-upon new student (Ryan Pinkston) to lie his way to popularity in "Full of It" (2007). Kilborn made his way back to late night television with "The Kilborn File" (Fox, 2010- ), which featured a new sidekick, Christine Lakin, while restoring old favorites like "Five Questions." The show began airing in June 2010 in select Fox stations.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Shaggy Dog, The (2006)
2.
 Benchwarmers, The (2006) Cast
4.
 Cursed (2005) Cast
5.
 Old School (2003) Mark
7.
 Ben Stein's Brain (2001) Interviewee
8.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in Hastings, Minnesota
1987:
Began career working in Savannah, Georgia at WTOG-TV and WSAI radio
:
Did play by play for Long Beach State men's basketball on KPZE radio in Anaheim; simultaneously was sports anchor at KFTY-TV in Santa Rosa, California
:
Was sportcaster at KCBA-TV, Salinas, California
1991:
Played bit part in "Open Window" (Showtime)
1993:
Became a host of "SportsCenter" on ESPN
:
Hosted "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central
1997:
Suspended for one week without pay for clashing with Lizz Winstead, the creator of "The Daily Show", and also for making offensive remarks to the press about Winstead and other staff members of the show
1998:
Announced as the successor to Tom Snyder as host of CBS' "The Late, Late Show"; assumed duties when Snyder retired in early 1999; sued by Comedy Central for breach of contract; suit settled; left show in December 1998
1999:
Was host and writer of "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn" (CBS)
2003:
Feature film acting debut alongside Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson in "Old School"
2006:
Played Tim Allen's Neighbor in a remake of Walt Disney's 1959 favorite "The Shaggy Dog"
2006:
Played a coach of a rival team in the comedy "The Benchwarmers" starring Jon Heder, David Spade and Rob Schneider
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Montana State University: Bozeman , Montana - 1987

Notes

"I hit viewers with a different kind of humor. There's highbrow, there's witty, there's puns, there's obnoxious." --Craig Kilborn in PEOPLE, March 10, 1997.

"On-camera, Kilborn seems a cross between an Aryan frat boy and Joan Rivers' long-lost son, with a barbed tongue ready to skewer anything that crosses his path. And with every punch line, he pauses and waits for recognition, like some punk kid just daring you to scold him." --From "A Moment for Himself: It's Better `Late Late' Than Never for Former Host of `The Daily Show'" by Mark A. Perigard, BOSTON HERALD, March 30, 1999

"Based on his first week's efforts, the word 'unctuous' was coined to describe guys like the tall, blond, Midwestern Kilborn. He's smug, he telegraphs his so-so humor with an efficacy Western Union should envy, and he regards his guests as only another means to impress his audience with just how tragically hip he really is." --From "Better Never Than 'Late Late': New Host Kilborn Looks Like a Dip Trying to Be Hip" by Dean Johnson, BOSTON HERALD, April 7, 1999

Family close complete family listing

father:
Hiram Kilborn. Insurance executive.
mother:
Shirley Kilborn. Homemaker.
son:
Jonathan. Born c. 1987; Kilborn revealed he had a son from a previous relationship to TV GUIDE in November 1998 but declined to identify the child's mother.

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