Les Charles was born in Henderson, Nevada. After attending college in California and earning an undergraduate degree in English, Charles became a high school English teacher. However, he would soon make the transition to writing and producing for television. Along with his brother, Glen Charles, one of Charles's earliest successes was writing and producing episodes of "The Bob Newhart Show" in the late 1970s. By then, he had already earned writing credits for single episodes of "M*A*S*H" and "Mary Tyler Moore", as well as producing and writing for "Phyllis". Reaching moderate levels of success with these endeavors, Charles's career hit new heights when he began writing and producing for the hit series "Taxi" in 1978, and formed the production company Charles-Burrows-Charles with his brother and James Burrows. As much acclaim as "Taxi" received, Charles surpassed it by co-creating the television classic "Cheers", which ran for 11 seasons. Between the two series, Charles earned a total of 22 Emmy nominations with eight wins. Six years after "Cheers" ended, Charles and his brother would write the 1999 film "Pushing Tin", their only foray into film.