His published works include more than over 3,000 Short Stories, Novels, Plays, Comic Operas, Musical Comedies, Farces, Operettas, Novellas, Screenplay, Teleplays, Children's Books, Essays, Poems, Anthologies, Radio Plays, Lyrics, Poetry Collections, Novelized Books, Proses, Non-Fiction, a wide range of Criticism covering Literature, Animation, Comedy, Film, Television, Theater and Print Media. His work including his Cartoons is often published in The New Yorker magazine and Newspapers like The New York Times, The New York Post and many more. He has been known as "The Man of 1000 Laughs", as told by New York Times Critic Frank Rich.
He wrote about his life in his award-winning autobiography, "The Funniest Life in the World".
Michael Jeter was born in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. His mother, Virginia was a Comedy Writer of Radio and Broadway. His father, William Claud Jeter was a Broadway and Film Clown who also appeared in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World as one of the many pedestrians who followed the Treasure Hunters up to the Fire Escape. Jeter has one brother, William and four sisters, Virginia, Amanda, Emily and Larie. Jeter was a student at Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) when his interests included acting and writing. He performed in several Plays and Musicals at the Circuit Theatre and its sister Theater, the Playhouse on the Square, in mid-town Memphis, where he started writing Musicals and Plays. He left Memphis to further pursue his Stage, Film, Television and Screenwriting Career in Baltimore, Maryland.
Michael Jeter has a unique career that involves Acting and Writing.
His woebegone look, extreme flexibility and high energy led Tommy Tune to cast him in the Broadway Play Cloud 9 and again in the memorable role in the Musical Grand Hotel, for which he won a Tony Award in 1990. Many of his work specializes in playing eccentric, prententious, wimpy, wise-cracking, creative, poetic, sympathetic or both, as in The Fisher King, Air Bud, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 101 Dalmatians, Brain Donors, Drop Zone, The Little Rascals, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, Rat Race and Million Dollar Mystery. Occasionally, Jeter can be able to stay away from these types of roles for diverse characters like those he portrayed in Jurassic Park III, Open Range, The Legend of King Kong, Dinosaur Island and The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, although his characters in The Green Mile, Home Alone, No Deposit, No Return and The Million Dollar Duck could easily be described as both eccentric and wimpy. The only type of his characters he could turn down would be the villain and/or the villain's minions and sidekicks, because in a interview on Late Night with David Letterman, it will ruin his career and a project will become a flop. So he would give it to somebody or someone else, after he improved them.
Jeter began writing when he was only 5.
Jeter's first published work was his Short Story "[]".
His first Play entitled "[]" opened to extremely positive reviews.
In addition to drawing his Cartoons, Jeter has also showed special interest in all kinds of Animation, such as Traditional Animation, Stop Motion, Clay Animation, Go Motion, Strata-Cut Animation, Graphic Animation, Paint-on-glass Animation, Flip Book and Cutout Animation.
Marriage and Children
Michael married Actress Ashlyn Gere in 1978. They gave birth to ten children, Michael Jeter, Jr. (born April 4, 1978), Ashlyn Jeter (born March 12, 1978), Nathan Jeter (born August 30, 1978), Josh Jeter (born October 31, 1978), Benjy Jeter (born January 26, 1979), Robin Jeter (born May 21, 1979), John Jeter (born July 24, 1979), Donald Jeter (born December 25, 1979), Lisa Jeter (born February 28, 1980) and Madeline Jeter (born July 4, 1980). All of them either made small parts or play supporting characters in his Films.
Jeter claims, "My children are always the inspiration that can give me the greatest gift in the world. We all have a sense of humor inside all of us, we just have to let it out."
Jeter is a devoted Christian and Gospel Poet.
Jeter is an enthusiast of Typewriters and Railway Preservation.
In 1979, he teamed up with Robin Williams, Ludwig Bemelmans, Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Gilda Radner, Madeline Kahn, Cloris Leachman, Carl Reiner, Sid Caesar, Woody Allen, Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin, Lee Adams and many more to create a Charitable Organization. The result is the Make 'Em Laugh Foundation.
In 1993, Michael and Ashlyn founded the Michael Jeter Foundation.