Bruce Vilanch

Comedy writer, Comedian, Actor
One of the most sought-after jokesmiths in the entertainment industry, Bruce Vilanch has become a recognizable face in his own right, thanks to the feature-length documentary "Get Bruce!" (1999) and his stint as a ... Read more »
Born: 11/29/1947 in Paterson, New Jersey, USA

Filmography

Writer (108)

Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On 2010 - 2011 (TV Show)

Writer

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards 2010 - 2011 (TV Show)

Writer

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards 2009 - 2010 (TV Show)

Writer

81st Annual Academy Awards 2008 - 2009 (TV Show)

Writer

The 80th Annual Academy Awards 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Writer

Comic Relief 2006 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)

Writer

TV Land Awards 2007 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)

Writer

The 79th Annual Academy Awards 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)

Writer

The 78th Annual Academy Awards 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Writer

The 58th Annual Tony Awards 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Writer

TV Land Awards: A Celebration of Classic TV 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Writer

The 75th Annual Academy Awards 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Writer

The 74th Annual Academy Awards 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Other Writer

Donny Osmond: This Is the Moment 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Writer

The 15th Annual American Comedy Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Writer

The 73rd Annual Academy Awards 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Writer

The 14th Annual American Comedy Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Writer

The 51st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Writer

The 54th Annual Tony Awards (CBS) 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Writer

The 72nd Annual Academy Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Writer

50th Emmy Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

Celine Dion: These Are Special Times 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

Nathan Lane's Tribute to Danny Kaye 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

The 13th Annual American Comedy Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

The 18th Annual American Fashion Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

The 1999 World Music Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

The 41st Annual Grammy Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

The 53rd Annual Tony Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

The 71st Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Writer

12th Annual American Comedy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

A Gala For the President at Ford's Theatre 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

Comic Relief VIII 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

Sonny & Me: Cher Remembers 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

The 1998 World Music Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

The 19th Annual CableACE Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

The 24th Annual People's Choice Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

The 40th Annual Grammy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

The 52nd Annual Tony Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

The 70th Annual Academy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Writer

Bette Midler -- Diva Las Vegas 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

Caesars Palace 30th Anniversary Celebration 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

The 11th Annual American Comedy Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

The 18th Annual CableACE Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

The 1996 Emmy Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

The 1997 World Music Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

The 51st Annual Tony Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

The ShoWest Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Writer

1996 ShoWest Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Writer

Planet Hollywood Comes Home 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Writer

The 10th Annual American Comedy Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Writer

The 1996 World Music Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Writer

The 22nd Annual People's Choice Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Writer

The 50th Annual Tony Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Writer

The 68th Annual Academy Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Writer

A Gala For the President at Ford's Theatre 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Writer

Elvis Aron Presley: The Tribute 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Writer

Elvis: The Tribute 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Writer

Screen Actors Guild Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Writer

TV Laughs at Life Hosted By Brett Butler 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Writer

The 1995 World Music Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Writer

The 67th Annual Academy Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Writer

The 9th Annual American Comedy Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Writer

A Gala For the President at Ford's Theatre 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Writer

ABC's 40th Anniversary Special 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Writer

Comic Relief VI 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Writer

She Tv 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Writer

The 66th Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Screenplay

The 8th Annual American Comedy Awards 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Writer

Disney's Christmas Fantasy on Ice 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Writer

The 65th Annual Academy Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Screenplay

All New Circus of the Stars & Side Show 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Writer

Comic Relief V 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Writer

In a New Light 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Writer

Laughing Back: Comedy Takes a Stand 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Writer

The 34th Annual Grammy Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Writer

The 44th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Writer

The 64th Annual Academy Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Writer

America's All-Star Tribute to Oprah Winfrey 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Writer

The 17th Annual People's Choice Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Writer

The 63rd Annual Academy Awards 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Screenplay

America's Dance Honors 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Writer

That's What Friends Are For 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Writer

The 17th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Writer

The 1990 Miss USA Pageant 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Writer

The 4th Annual American Comedy Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Writer

Super Model Search: Look of the Year 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Writer

The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Writer

The Comedy Club Special 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Writer

The Ice Capades With Kirk Cameron 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Writer

Disney's Magic in the Magic Kingdom 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Writer

Las Vegas: An All Star 75th Anniversary 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Writer

Walt Disney World Celebrity Circus 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Writer

The Noel Edmonds Show 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Writer

Divine Madness 1980 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Donny and Marie 1975 - 1979 (TV Show)

Writer

The Brady Bunch Hour 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Writer
Actor (52)

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life 2012 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Going Down in LA-LA Land 2012 (Movie)

(Actor)

Shark Tank 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Celebrity Fit Club 2005 - 2006, 2010 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Actor

Hollywood Squares 1991 - 1992, 1998 - 2006, 2010 - 2011 (TV Show)

Actor

RuPaul's Drag Race 2010 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Nanny 1998 - 1999, 2005 - 2006, 2010 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Actor

Oy Vey! My Son is Gay! 2010 (Movie)

Max (Actor)

Vito 2010 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Beverly Hills Groomer 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

Jury Duty 2007 - 2009 (TV Show)

Actor

The A-List Awards 2008 - 2009 (TV Show)

Actor

Living With Ed 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

Sex: The Revolution! 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Tru Loved 2008 (Movie)

Daniel/Minister (Actor)

Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon 2008 (Movie)

(Actor)

You Don't Mess With the Zohan 2008 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Generation Boom 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)

Actor

Spring Breakdown 2007 (Movie)

Celebrity Judge (Actor)

Great Things About the Holidays 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

Inside TV Land: Tickled Pink 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

Naked Fame 2005 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Queer Duck: The Movie 2005 (Movie)

Voice (Actor)

Jimmy Kimmel Live 2004 (Tv Show)

Guest

100 Years of Hope and Humor 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

The AMC Project: Gay Hollywood 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

The Disco Ball 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Circuit 2002 (Movie)

(Actor)

Iron Chef USA: Showdown in Las Vegas 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

The Heroes of Black Comedy 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

The Test 2000 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

It's Burlesque 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Paul Lynde: Off Center 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

The Simpsons 2001 (Tv Show)

Voice

Queen of the Whole Wide World 2000 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Get Bruce 1999 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Santa Barbara 1983 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

It Nearly Wasn't Christmas 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Funny, You Don't Look 200 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Cheech Show 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Drifter 1987 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Morning After 1986 (Movie)

Bartender (Actor)

The Ice Pirates 1984 (Movie)

Wendon (Actor)

Breathless 1983 (Movie)

Man with Purse (Actor)

Mahogany 1975 (Movie)

Dress Manufacturer (Actor)

Call Me Claus (TV Show)

Actor

Fourth Story (TV Show)

Actor

Jackie's Back! (TV Show)

Actor

Love Can Be Murder (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (4)

The Paula Poundstone Show 1991 - 1992, 1998 - 1999, 2005 - 2006, 2010 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Producer

The 1994 World Music Awards 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Producer

The 1993 World Music Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Producer

Ray Charles: 50 Years in Music, Uh-Huh! 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Producer
Music (1)

Naked Boys Singing! 2007 (Movie)

Additional Lyrics (Lyrics)
Other (5)

Fired Up 1991 - 1992, 1997 - 2006, 2010 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Creative Consultant

Bette! 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Creative Consultant

It's My Party 1996 (Movie)

(Special Thanks)

Brett Butler: "Sold Out" 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Special Thanks

A Party For Richard Pryor 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Creative Consultant

Biography

One of the most sought-after jokesmiths in the entertainment industry, Bruce Vilanch has become a recognizable face in his own right, thanks to the feature-length documentary "Get Bruce!" (1999) and his stint as a regular on "Hollywood Squares" (1998- ), for which he also serves as head writer. Known for his eclectic eyewear and collection of unique T-shirts, he began as a child model for Lane Bryant, but when his initial efforts as an actor came to naught, he became an entertainment writer for the Chicago Tribune instead. Impressed by his review of her cabaret performance in 1970, Bette Midler hired him to punch up her act, and he later moved to Los Angeles where he wrote for variety shows like the original "Donny and Marie" and "The Brady Bunch Hour" (both ABC) and provided material for Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin and Joan Rivers. He has maintained his connection with Midler through the years, working on such projects as the feature "Divine Madness" (1980) and the TV special "Bette Midler--Diva Las Vegas" (HBO, 1997), as well as writing for her sitcom "Bette!" (CBS, 2000- ).

Relationships

Hennie Vilanch

Mother
had thwarted show business ambitions adoptive parent Vilanch revived her career with guest appearances on "Hollywood Squares" featured in the documentary "Get Bruce!"

EDUCATION

Ohio State University

Columbus , Ohio
attended

Milestones

2001

Headlined one-man show "Bruce! A Month of Mondays" in Beverly Hills, California

2000

Wrote for Midler's sitcom "Bette!" (CBS)

2000

Starred Off-Broadway in "Bruce Vilanch: Almost Famous", a one-man cabaret-style show in which he sang and told stories about working behind the scenes in Hollywood

2000

First time as head writer for the Academy Awards

2000

Penned music and lyrics for the comedy song "My Bill Gates" for "The 14th Annual American Comedy Awards"; garnered Emmy nomination

1999

Wrote Nathan Lane's "coming out" story for The Advocate

1999

Subject of feature-length documentary "Get Bruce!"

1998

Was regular on the sydicated "Hollywood Squares", sitting in close proximity to Goldberg in her center square; also served as head writer

1997

Reunited with Midler for "Bette Midler--Diva Las Vegas" (HBO)

1993

Provided the material that Ted Danson performed in blackface for the notorious Friars Club roast of then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg

1990

Reteamed with Midler on "An Evening With Bette, Cher, Goldie, Meryl, Olivia, Lily and Robin" (ABC)

1989

Portrayed Philpot, Santa's number one helper, in syndicated TV-movie "It Nearly Wasn't Christmas"

1989

First time as writer for the Academy Awards; earned a shared Emmy (2009, 2010) nomination for Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Special

1980

Co-wrote screenplay for "Divine Madness", starring Midler as the Divine Miss M

1978

Helped write the Broadway flop "Platinum"

1975

Moved to L.A. to write for the short-lived "The Manhattan Transfer" (CBS) variety show; later wrote for variety shows like the original "Donny and Marie" and "The Brady Bunch Hour" (both ABC)

1975

Feature debut as a dress designer in Berry Gordy's "Mahogany", starring Diana Ross

1969

Impressed by review of her cabaret performance, Bette Midler hired him to punch up her act; Vilanch introduced her to work of entertainer Sophie Tucker, a mainstay of her act

Began contributing a regular column to The Advocate; eventually called "Notes From a Blond"

Became an entertainment reporter for Chicago Tribune

Co-starred with Talulah Bankhead in summer stock

Worked as a child model ("charming chub" division) for Lane Bryant

Bonus Trivia

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On Barbra Streisand, for whom he has written frequently: "I think she's great, but over the years I've written 18 benefits for her and never made a dime. If I had to survive off what I've made from Barbra, I'd be living in a refrigerator carton. They'd be sending some of that 'Comic Relief' homeless money to me. It would literally be 'Comic Relief'." --Vilanch to Michael Logan in TV Guide, September 18, 1999.

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About writing for the Academy Awards telecast: "A lot of actresses and actors . . . they can do several takes if they're working for Stanley Kubrick, but they don't know quite what it's like to come out on stage and be themselves. They have no stage character. So that's the challenge, to help them get one, even for a minute when they're out there, so that they entertain the audience."If they're used to playing an action hero all the time, and they've never been in front of the camera without a weapon, this is a real test to have them just come there and be themselves. That's why it's difficult." --Vilanch to Stuart Levine in Daily Variety, March 5, 2000.

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Vilanch helped script the Academy Awards telecast hosted by David Lettterman: "I was standing in the wings with him and said, 'Well, are you having fun?' and he said, 'I feel like I'm in a hostage situation.'" --Vilanch in Daily Variety, March 5, 2000.

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Responding to Donny Osmond's commenting "You look like a Muppet" on their first meeting: "Funny you should say that. Jim Henson had his fist up my ass not ten minutes ago." --From Time Out New York, April 27-May 4, 2000.

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"I could direct Bruce's act. I AM Bruce's act. I just hope the house is big enough for him. But I don't think he should give up his day job. He's making a fortune." --Bette Midler to Joanne Kaufman in New York, May 15, 2000.

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"I was always out. Years ago. I read a comment by Merle Miller that a fag is a homosexual gentleman who's just left the room. And I thought, If they're going to make fag jokes, they're going to have to make them to my face." --Vilanch in New York, May 15, 2000.

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"There was no design to this. I gave up on finding fame a long time ago. But after not really chasing celebrity, the celebrity began happening by accident."I don't have a grand plan. But I'm doing pretty well without one. I like what I'm doing, and people seem to be impressed by what I have achieved." --Vilanch quoted in US Weekly, June 12, 2000.

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