Tommy Chong Biography (personal Life, Career)

Tommy Chong is an Irish-Chinese-Canadian stand-up comedian, actor, activist and musician best known as the taller half of the comedy team Cheech & Chong, with Cheech Marin and for his stereotypical portrayals of hippie-era stoners.

Personal Life

The stand-up comedian was born on 24 May 1938, in Edmonton Alberta, Canada from a Scottish-Irish mother and a Chinese father who immigrated to Canada in the 1920s. The stand-up comic was raised in Calgary, Alberta where he fallowed the Crescent Heights High School, who, he later on dropped it off, starting to play guitar to make money.

The stand-up comedian has two children with first wife Maxine: daughters Rae Dawn (born 1961) and Robbie (born 1965). He also has three children with second wife Shelby: daughter Precious (born 1968, while he was still married to first wife Maxine), and sons Paris (born 1974) and Gilbran (born 1980). The comic actor is also the adoptive father of actor Marcus Chong.

The stand-up comedian is a marijuana activist and is a supporter of marijuana legalization and medical use of marijuana. He is a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture Magazine and sits on the NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) advisory board. True to his comedy image, the stand-up comedian and his family ran Nice Dreams Enterprises, an internet company that sells marijuana bongs and pipes. The comic musician was arrested in 2003 on federal drug paraphernalia charges and sentenced in September to 9 months in jail and $120,000 in fines.


In the 1960s, the stand-up comedian and musician played guitar for a Calgary soul group called The Shades who changed their name when they moved to Vancouver. Together with Bobby Taylor, the stand-up comedian co-wrote the song ”Too Much Monkey Business" / "Junior's Jerk". In 1965, the stand-up comedian together with his band partner, Wes Henderson, signed with Gordy Records and recorded its debut album.

They became a national figure thanks to their debut single, the stand-up comedian’s co-composition "Does Your Mama Know About Me," peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100.While on tour concert in Chicago for a short time, the stand-up comedian’s band followed opening act The Jackson 5. The stand-up comedian later referred to the young Michael Jackson as a "cute little guy". The group broke up shortly afterwards.

After opening a night club in Vancouver, the stand-up comedian met Cheech Marin, an American comedian and so, they started to perform stand-up comedy in their night club and different other clubs in Vancouver.

The iconic comedy duo Cheech & Chong defined an era with their hilariously irreverent, satirical, counter-culture comedy routines. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong’s phenomenal success began on the stand up comedy circuit which led to 9 hit comedy albums and 8 hit films, breaking box office records, shattering comedy album sales, garnering multiple Grammy nominations and charming fans for more than a decade.

With nine albums released from 1972 through 1985, Cheech and Chong were nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album with their third album, Los Cochinos, released in 1973. Big Bambu, their second album, was the biggest selling comedy record of all time in 1972 and remained so for many years. Their comedy act became wildly popular in the 1970s, leading to several stoned comedy films, including Up In Smoke, Nice Dreams, and Get Out Of My Room. “Up In Smoke” had the highest grossing comedy of 1978, topping $100 million at the box office. The two comedians co-wrote and starred in a total of eight feature films together, all directed by Chong.

Cheech & Chong experienced creative differences and split amicably in 1985.The split of the comedy band was devastating for the stand-up comedian and, as he later declared, it was like a “death in the family”. Though, the recurring character kept up his stoner persona as a stand-up comic, often performing on stage with his wife of more than three decades, Shelby. He also played a perpetually stoned character on That '70s Show a role as a hippie in Dharma and Greg.

The stand-up comedian has appeared with his long-time television partner, Cheech Marin, in a South Park episode called Cherokee Hair Tampons, where they performed fictional versions of themselves pretending to be Cherokee herbalists. In mid-2008, Cheech & Chong reunited and started touring stand-up comedy. The comedy tour was called "Light Up America and Canada" and "The Felimony Tour".

In October, 2008, the both comedians appeared on The Opie and Anthony Show, The Howard Stern Show and The Ron and Fez Show on SIRIUS/XM Satellite Radio. On March 1, 2010, they hosted WWE Raw in Oklahoma City.

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