Rich Little, the undisputed master of mimicry, has gained international recognition as one of the most gifted and popular performers in the entertainment business. With his vast repertoire of close to 200 characters, he has headlined all the entertainment capitals of the world-Atlantic City, Las Vegas, New York, London. His portrayals of personalities range from President Clinton to Humphrey Bogart, Dr. Ruth Westheimer to Kermit the Frog.
He has an impression of each U.S. president since Kennedy and is currently preparing a one-man show entitled The Presidents for Broadway. His impressions of several U.S. presidents were featured in the 1981 and 1985 televised Inaugural Galas for President Reagan. These performances prompted numerous appearances at the White House.
A professed classic-movie buff, he does such classic stars as John Wayne, Clark Gable and Cary Grant. He's particularly fond of doing Alan Ladd and other stars no longer typically remembered. His favorite current stars to do
are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jack Nicholson, and Clint Eastwood.
Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, Rich is one of three sons of a prominent physician. He began doing impressions as a youngster, responding to the teachers' questions in their own voices. Teaming with a friend, he earned his first payment as an impressionist at age 17. The pair won a talent contest on a Canadian television show and went on to appear on variety programs throughout Canada. Rich later went solo, becoming a successful disc jockey and talk-show host in Ottawa.
As an actor, he performed in forty productions with the Ottawa Little Theatre over a period of ten years. In his early twenties, he recorded his first of nine comedy albums, My Fellow Canadians. It became the best-selling comedy album in Canadian history and made him nationally famous. In 1964, his friend, singer Mel Torme, introduced him to the American public on The Judy Garland Show.
Rich has appeared on countless variety shows over the years, often hosting The Tonight Show. He starred in his own weekly series, The Rich Little Show, and on the TV show, Kopy Kats. He has appeared on soap operas and numerous television dramas. He has made three HBO comedy specials, including Rich Little's Christmas Carol, in which he played all the roles of the Dickens classic, winning top prizes at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland and earning an Emmy in the United States. He has appeared in several movies, recently starring as Johnny Carson in the HBO movie, The Late Shift.
Over the years, Rich has been active with children's charities. He was co-host of the Canadian division of the Children's Miracle Network. He was inducted into the Miami Children's Hospital International Pediatrics Hall of Fame for his charitable work, and in 1983, the Ottawa Civic Hospital named an expanded nursing facility the Rich Little Special Care Nursery.
Rich has won numerous awards. He has twice received the Cleveland Amory Award as Best Guest on a Television Talk Show and was named Comedy Star of the Year by the American Guild of Variety Artists. In June 1998, he will add his star to the Canadian Walk of Fame to go along with his current star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has performed for the British royal family many times. On the occasion of Ottawa's 150th anniversary, he was honored as one of its most famous citizens.