Mar. 8th, 1945
Los Angeles, California, USA
Micky Dolenz's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Best known as the drummer of The Monkees, George Michael Dolenz Jr. - aka Micky - has fashioned a long-lasting and diversified career in show business. The son of actor George Dolenz, Micky, with American Indian and Yugoslavian blood in his heritage, took to acting as a boy, earning great success in the 1950s with "Circus Boy" (1956). Though he continued to act with the show's end, he focused more on college studies, his most passionate interest being architecture. He also delved into singing, performing in LA-area clubs with a band called Micky & The One-Nighters as well as with a band called Missing Links; among those who saw Micky in action was Michael Nesmith.
Micky auditioned for "The Monkees" (1966) TV series in 1965, and on the strength of his audition won a role and became the group's designated crazy one. Assigned as a drummer, Micky worked to learn the instrument well enough to bluff his way through filming. He was also initially welcome to the musical guidance of Don Kirshner, but as Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork grew more openly rebellious of the restrictions imposed, Micky, who could be hotheaded, quickly sided with his bandmates, and when the group began touring for real in late 1966 Micky learned drumming to pull off concerts.
It all led to the group's famous break with Kirshner and the resulting creation of the album Headquarters. Though Micky's drumming was called unsteady, in fact outtakes showed that Micky's command of the instrument was quite solid, particularly on the many spontaneous jams Mike, Peter, and Davy Jones (I) performed with the likes of John London (I). Despite that, though, Micky relinquished drumming to studio pros like "Fast Eddie" Ho for subsequent tracks. It was his superb voice, in any event, that was his greatest asset with the group. Whether in lead or in harmony with the others, Micky's voice made the group all the stronger; he was particularly effective in harmony with Mike Nesmith; "We always had a great combination", he said in 1990, and indeed, few singing tandems, then or now, compare as well as the tandem of Micky Dolenz and Michael Nesmith.
With the eventual break-up of The Monkees, Micky's career floundered for a few years (aggravated by substance abuse), despite good work in cartoon voice-over roles and touring with Davy Jones, Tommy Boyce, and Bobby Hart in the middle of the 1970s. His breakthrough came when he moved to London and began to direct, a trade he first began with The Monkees TV series. Micky stayed in London for many years and honed his directorial skills before returning to the US.
Micky has since toured repeatedly with The Monkees (even to returning to the drums for the full foursome's return LP "Justus"), directed television ads and other films, done additional voice-over work, guest-starred in such TV series as "Mike Hammer" (1984), and even submitted full-color artwork for public witness. He has also seen the wedding of his actress daughter Ami Dolenz in 2002; Micky and his sister Coco Dolenz, a priestess and accomplished singer in her own right, performed at the ceremony with such numbers as a perennial Micky favorite "Bye Bye Blackbird." His autobiography aptly sums up his life in showbiz - he is a survivor.
- Owned the third Moog Synthesizer ever commercially sold (the first two belonged to 'Wendy Carlos' (qv) and 'Buck Owens (II)' (qv)); his performance on 'The Monkees' (qv) song "Daily Nightly" (written by 'Michael Nesmith' (qv)) was the first use of a synthesizer on a rock recording. He eventually sold his instrument to 'Bobby Sherman (I)' (qv).
- Quit the re-formed 'The Monkees' (qv) briefly at the end of the 1980s, citing problems with clashing egos and ideas, but returned for their next tour.
- Son of actor 'George Dolenz' (qv)
- Born in the same hospital as 'Liza Minnelli' (qv), 'Natalie Cole (I)' (qv), and 'Desi Arnaz Jr.' (qv).
- When chosen for the role of 'The Monkees' (qv)' drummer, he signed up for daily drum lessons in order to fake playing them well enough for the cameras. When being able to actually play became crucial to the Monkees project, he had gotten to the point where he could carry off a stage show, but playing drums and holding tempo proved difficult in the recording studio. He played drums on every track of their "Headquarters" album, but gladly relinquished the role to studio drummers for their later albums.
- He wore a wig during the first season of _"The Monkees" (1966)_ (qv). His hair was naturally wavy and did not fit the image of the other three Monkees, which was straight. He would wet his hair down before each day of shooting and put on a mop-top, straight-haired wig. When 'The Monkees' (qv) assumed a free-form image during the second season, he stopped wearing the wig, and sported the "Afro" look.
- After "The Point!" Dolenz found work in England producing television programs for the BBC (using _"The Monkees" (1966)_ (qv) final episode, which he'd directed and co-written, as his demo reel). Aside from the occasional business or family trip back (and also a few celebrity tennis matches), Dolenz didn't return to the U.S. for the next 15 years.
- Grew up playing guitar; had taken some lessons at the suggestion of _"Circus Boy" (1956)_ (qv)'s producers in the 1950s. In his teens, Dolenz played guitar and sang in a series of cover bands, with names like "Micky and the One-Nighters" and "The Missing Links" (!). One of these bands was signed to a record company and made some demos, which were released as singles (under his own name) after 'The Monkees' (qv) became popular.
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