Tim Allen is reprising his role as Father Christmas in new festive Disney+ series The Santa Clauses, but before becoming a family film star, the actor had a shocking criminal history. Allen is now known for playing characters like Tim the tool man in sitcom Home Improvement, and voicing Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story films, but he spent his younger years as a drug trafficker.
Allen spent time in prison for his crime and managed to carve out an impressive acting career for himself after coming out of jail, although he found himself in trouble with the law again later in life. This is why Tim Allen went to jail, how long he served, and what happened after he was released.
Why did Tim Allen go to prison?
Allen attended Central Michigan University but transferred to Western Michigan in 174 - it was there that he began dealing drugs. In October 1978, aged 23 Allen was arrested at Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport for drug possession when over 650 grams of cocaine was found in his luggage. Today, the drugs would have a US street value of roughly $22,500.
Allen faced a possible penalty of life imprisonment, but pleaded guilty to two charges of drug trafficking and named other dealers in exchange for a reduced sentence. He faced a reduced sentence of three to seven years at a federal prison in Minnesota, but was released after two years and four months.
Allen has also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction over his life, and said that his father’s death in a car accident when he was 11 years old contributed to his drinking. In 1998, 17 years after being released from prison, he was arrested for driving under the influence in Michigan.
Allen’s blood alcohol level was almost double the state’s legal limit and the actor was sentenced to one-year probation and required to attend a rehabilitation clinic. Allen is now 24 years sober.
What has Tim Allen said about his conviction?
Speaking on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast last year, Allen said: “I was an F up. After my old man died, I really just played games with people and told adults what they wanted to hear and then stole their booze.
“I had so much shame at the things that I did… especially driving people around. Coming from a dad that was killed that way, it’s difficult to get past it.”
He said of his time in prison: “I just shut up and did what I was told. It was the first time ever I did what I was told and played the game.”
What is Tim Allen’s net worth?
Tim Allen has an estimated net worth of $100 million mostly amassed from his TV and film roles. At the peak of Home Improvement’s success, Allen was banking $1.25 million per episode, making him the fifth highest-paid TV actor ever.
And whilst he only made an estimated $50,000 for voicing Buzz in the first Toy Story movie, his salary for the sequel was $5 million.