As the years go by, and technology increases ten fold, there are still actors that are considered timeless. And one such actor is Ted Danson, or more famously known as Sam Malone on the American sitcom, Cheers. Danson starred on the iconic sitcom for more than a decade and during that time, won over the hearts of many. But that is not all that he’s famous for.

In fact, Danson has a long line when it comes to TV and film, and his personal life is just as interesting. From scandalous marriages, to his interest in environmental causes, Danson has lead a somewhat intriguing life.

Here, you’ll learn all about the fascinating journey of Ted Danson, the ups, downs, and everything in between.

In The Beginning

Danson was born on December, 29 1961 in San Diego, California to mother, Jessica Danson and father, Edward Bridge Danson. He has one older sibling, sister, Jan Haury. Shortly after birth, he moved to Flagstaff, Arizona which is where he was brought up. Later, in 1961, Danson moved to Connecticut, where he attended the Kent School. It was here that he became somewhat of a basketball star.

Saving The Planet

At the age of 12, Danson became increasingly interested in the environment due to his friendship with Bill Breed. At that time, Breed was the manager of the geology section at the Museum of North Arizona. Together with his friend, Marc Gaede, Danson began cutting down advertisement signs around his neighbourhood in an attempt to “save the environment”.

After School

Upon completing high school, Danson attending Stanford University, which is when he began to pursue his passion for drama. Later, he transferred to Carnegie Mellon, where he successfully completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts specialising in drama in 1972.


Before graduating from university, Danson had already tied the knot to aspiring actress, Randall Gosch. Their marriage lasted four and a half years, from 1970 – 1975. The couple had only known each other for less than a year, and decided to get married quite quickly. This, however, did not last, and the pair divorced.

Early Career

Danson’s acting career began in 1975 when he stared in the soap opera, Somerset. He completed one full year on the show before moving onto his next role, a doctor for the TV show, The Doctors. During this time, he also took part in a number of commercials and made a name for himself as the Aramis Man for Estee Lauder.

Failed TV Attempts

Despite Danson’s budding TV and commercial success, he did however undergo a few TV flops throughout his career. In the late 70’s, he found himself in some undesirable roles such as in the films, The Women’s Room and Our Family Business.

Second Marriage

Luckily, his film flops did lead him to his second wife, producer Casey Coates. Together, the pair had one daughter, Kelly, and later, adopted a second child, Alexis. Casey however suffered from a stroke, which meant Danson’s undivided care for her and their children.

Film Success

After a few acting flops, Danson saw the light at the end of the tunnel when he starred in the provocative film, Body Heat in 1981. The following year, he took on the role of Sam Malone on the TV show, Cheers.

The Success of Cheers

While data shows that the first season of Cheers did not prove too successful, it went on to gain more and more traction and popularity with its second season. In fact, in 1986 the show gained the title as one of the top 10 TV shows in the US. During this time, Danson was awarded two Emmy’s and two Golden Globes. The show ended in 1993, and was known as the second most-watched TV show in the history of television.

Sam Malone

Danson’s character, Sam Malone, reached even more success and managed to do a few guest appearances on other TV shows, such as Frasier, The Simpsons, and The Jim Henson Hour. And even after Cheers ended, the show continued to receive awards.

More Serious

While Danson had gained popularity for his comedic roles, he took on a more serious role when he starred in the TV series, Something About Amelia. This series was based on the true story of The Bennet family, and Danson played the role of Amelia’s father, Steven Bennet. This lead him to win yet another Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Mini Series.

Third Time Lucky

After two divorces, Danson then went on to meet American actress, Mary Steenburgen. The pair married on October 7, 1995 and together, they share a passion of humanitarian work, such as saving the environment.

A Changed Man

Danson’s third marriage is said to be the reason for his change in on-screen roles, as he ditches the womanising characters and began playing more serious parts, portraying more of the family man. He has stayed faithful to Steenburgen and the pair have been happily married for 22 years.

Back to TV

In the late 90’s, and after starring in a number of films, Danson decided to go back to TV sitcoms. His most famous role during that time was that of Dr John Becker on the show, Becker.


After doing a series of TV shows, Danson decided to take on the role of deceitful businessman in the drama, Damages, until 2010. With this, he starred opposite Glen Close, which is said to be his deciding factor to be apart of the show.

Back to Comedy

But even with a number of serious roles under his belt, it was evident that Danson just couldn’t keep himself away from the more comedic roles. He took part in the sitcom, Bored To Death in 2009, but the show was cancelled two years later.


Then, it was over to star in the ever-popular show, CSI, starring as veteran crime scene detective, D.B. Russell. He played this role up until the finale in 2015. Then, he reprised the character and starred in the second season of CSI: Cyber. This show however, was cancelled in 2016.

Recent Endeavours

Of late, Danson is still going strong in his acting career. He can be seen in the second season of TV show, Fargo, playing Sheriff Hank Larsson.

And More

He can also be seen in the sitcom, The Good Place, which first aired on September 19, 2016. This comedy sitcom sees Danson play the role of Michael.

Saving The Planet

All the while holding a successful career in film and TV, Danson has always made time to work on his projects. One such project was becoming the contributing founder of American Oceans Campaigns in the 80’s, which later merged with Oceania in 2001. With this, he aimed to address sea pollution. He also co-authored a book entitled, Oceania, in order to educate others.

A Step into Politics

Not only did he find interest in environmental projects, but also politics. Being friends with former US president, Bill Clinton, he helped with Hillary Clinton’s latest campaign, and donated over $85,000 to the Democratic candidates.

An Abundance of Awards

Given all of Danson’s talent, he has accumulated a slew of awards throughout his career. Such as Golden Globes, two Best Actor awards, Funniest Male Performer in Television Series, and Outstanding Lead Actor in Comedy Series.

Meeting Goldberg

In 1993, Danson went through quite a messy divorce as he embarked on an affair with actress, Whoopi Goldberg the year prior after working on the film, Made in America, together. His divorce cost him a total of $30 million, and was said to be one of the most expensive divorces in Hollywood at the time.


In 1993, whilst dating Danson created a huge controversy when he appeared in blackface at the roast in honor of Goldberg. Goldberg not only defended him, but admitted that the pair had been in on planning the whole thing. Incredible.

Final Word

And even though Danson has excelled in a number of different spheres, he allegedly likes the occasional bit of gossip, as it is said that he leaked information about the finale of The Good Place before the screening to two of his close friends. And while he denied this accusation, co-star Kristen Bell insists that he is all about the spoilers!

Whatever the truth, there’s no denying the fact that this multi-talented man has made a big name for himself on-screen and we look forward to his future projects, for sure.