Jeff Dunham Biography

Jeff Dunham is an American comedian as well as a movie producer and ventriloquist. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts about his life.

Jeff Dunham
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Jeff Dunham
Quick Facts

Birthday: April 18, 1962

Nationality: American

Famous: Comedians American Men

Age: 58 Years, 58 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Aries

Born in: Dallas, Texas, U.S.

Famous as: Comedian, Ventriloquist

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males

Family:

Spouse/Ex-: Audrey Murdick (m. 2012), Paige Dunham (m. 1994–2010)

children: Ashlyn Dunham, Bree Dunham, Jack Steven Dunham, James Jeffrey Dunham, Kenna Dunham

U.S. State: Texas

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Jeff Dunham is an American comedian as well as a movie producer, who is also popular for him immense contribution to ventriloquism, having done a lot to promote this form of art. Having appeared on several TV shows such as ‘The Late Show with David Letterman’, ‘Comedy Central Presents’ and ‘The Tonight Show’, Dunham has received a lot of fame and appreciation all throughout the United States, having been called ‘America’s favorite comedian’, as well as one of the ‘World’s Top Grossing Comedians’. He is quite popular across Europe as well. Having a passion for ventriloquism from quite a young age, Dunham’s foray into the art happened when he was still a child. He performed in various venues such as schools and churches as a teenager. After having made several appearances on popular television programs, his popularity rose in the year 2006 with his self-produced one hour show ‘Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself’. His next significant work was ‘Jeff Dunham: Spark of Insanity’ which like the previous one, was a huge hit, earning him a lot of appreciation. His success put him at par with star comedians such as Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfield, after which, in 2009, he started the ‘The Jeff Dunham Show’, which became internationally popular. Throughout his career, he has also kindled numerous controversies, especially due to the way he caricatures eminent personalities.
Childhood & Early Life
Jeff Denham was born on 18 April 1962, in Dallas, Texas, in the US. A few months after his birth, he was adopted by real estate appraiser Howard Dunham and his homemaker wife Joyce. He was raised as an only child.
Dunham started practicing ventriloquism from the early age of eight when he was gifted a Mortimer Snerd dummy by his parents. After that he started learning ventriloquism from the library.
After various performances in local schools and colleges, his reputation started growing slowly across the Dallas community. But with his growing reputation, the stature of his targets also grew, as he made fun of several significant people of the community.
Dunham was just in his sixth grade, when he started attending the Vent Haven ConVENTion, which was held in Kentucky. It was an annual meeting for ventriloquists from all over the world. Eventually, the organizers found that the other attendees were too intimidated to compete against him, and were forced to declare him a ‘retired champion’, to prevent him from entering any more competitions.
He enrolled in Baylor University after finishing his high school. However, his weekends were quite busy, as he had to travel to different places within the country for various performances. During this time, he also decided that he would create few characters that would be with him continuously.
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Career
During his time at the Baylor University, Jeff Dunham also used to entertain corporate customers by giving private shows on weekends. He made fun of several prominent people such as the CEO of General Electric while he was on his routine.
During his early years as a ventriloquist, he performed for the Broadway Show ‘Sugar Babies,’ and later in events such as the ‘Westbury Music Fair’. Later in 1988, he went to Los Angeles, California, after which he started making appearances on several television programs.
In 2003, he made his first solo appearance on the Comedy Central TV network, on the show ‘Comedy Central Presents’ in a half hour piece. Though his appearance turned out to be successful and was appreciated, the network refused to give him more time.
Jeff Dunham finally decided to produce his own comedy DVD, and with his own finances, he produced his comedy DVD ‘Jeff Dunham: Arguing with Myself’. It was aired by Comedy Central in late 2006, and it turned out to be a huge success, attracting more than two million viewers, which made the network want to book him again.
After his success, his next work was ‘Spark of Insanity’, which was released the next year. It attracted more than 140 million hits on YouTube, as well as sold more than a million DVDs. Then in 2008, he released ‘A Very Special Christmas Special’, which like his other works, became a huge success.
In 2009, he signed a deal with Comedy Central, after which he worked on his own television series called ‘The Jeff Dunham Show’. The show’s premiere became the most-watched in the history of Comedy Central, and Dunham’s fame reached an international level. However, later, after receiving poor reviews, and because of high production costs, the show was cancelled after just one season.
Over the following years, he worked on his next comedy specials, ‘Jeff Dunham: Controlled Chaos’ which premiered on Comedy Central in September 2011, ‘Minding the Monsters’, which premiered in October 2012, ‘All Over the Map’, which premiered in November 2014, and ‘Unhinged in Hollywood’, which premiered in September 2015.
Jeff Dunham has attracted numerous controversies throughout his career. During a press tour to promote his upcoming show in 2009, he received criticism for making fun of TV critics.
Major Works
'Jeff Dunham: Arguing with myself' was the first significant work in Jeff Dunham’s career. Taped in Santa Ana, California, the DVD was released on April 11, 2006. Later it was aired on Comedy Central Network.
‘The Jeff Dunham Show’ which premiered on 22 October 2009, featured Dunham interacting with several characters that he used in his ventriloquism acts, such as Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, and Peanut. The show earned much popularity initially, but because it received poor reviews later and the production costs were found to be high, the show was cancelled after only one season. On May 2010, the entire series was released in a DVD ‘The Jeff Dunham Show DVD’.
Awards & Achievements
Jeff Dunham has won the ‘Ventriloquist of the Year’ Award twice, and has also been nominated once for ‘Comedian of the Year’ by the TNN Music City News Country Awards.
He was voted Funniest Male Standup at the American Comedy Awards in 1998.
Personal Life & Legacy
Jeff Dunham married Paige Brown in 1994 and adopted her one-and-half year old daughter, Bree. They had two more daughters, Ashlyn, born in 1995, and Kenna, born in 1997. Later, because of personal and professional reasons, the couple divorced.
In 2012, he got married to Audrey Murdick, a nutritionist and physical trainer. In October 2015, three years after their marriage, Audrey gave birth to twins, who were named James Jeffrey and Jack Steven.

See the events in life of Jeff Dunham in Chronological Order

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- Jeff Dunham Biography
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