Craig Kilborn is an American comedian-actor, sports host and television host, who is best known for his dry episode of poker-faced comic lines, due to his manner of presenting on “The Late Late Show” which aired on CBS in the early years 2000, and for being a former “SportsCenter” anchor on ESPN.
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Early life and family
Craig Lawrence “Kilby” Kilborn was born on August 24, 1962 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA to parents Hiram Kilborn, who was an insurance manager, and Shirley Kilborn, a former teacher. From the age of five, he and his brother Chris grew up in Hastings when his father decided to move to Minnesota.
Growing up, he was tall for his age and would use this advantage on the basketball court instead of the city’s beloved hockey sport. He would always find his taste a little different from his hometown peers, even at a young age, including listening to the ageless voice of Nat King Cole instead of the young Reo Speedwagon, or preferring to devour blue cheese over popular candies like Milky Way. and M&M which were made in Hastings. From an interview with Los Angeles Times, he said that ‘Yes, I had a very happy childhood and it only intensifies as an adult. At some point I mastered the art of living.’
He loved the time he spent watching “Firing Line,” a public affairs TV program hosted by William F. Buckley Jr., with his father, and was the reason he was never turned on by political humor or social commentary. He said he would like his politics to come from intellectuals, not amateurs.
He graduated from Hastings High School, where he played excellent basketball, and received a scholarship to Montana State University, where he graduated in 1984 with a double bachelor’s degree in media and theater arts.
Craig began his career in radio doing play-by-play commentary in 1986, for CBA’s Savannah Spirit’s games lasting until 1987. He then transitioned to television, making his debut on one of Fox’s affiliated television stations KCBA in Salinas, serving of the Monterey County locals in California as a sports anchor.
In 1993, he became a sports anchor in ESPN’s “SportsCenter” until 1996, where he became known for his iconic catchphrases such as “The Feel Good Edition,” “Oh, Precious” and “Release, Rotation, Splash.”
Craig left the sports world and turned to late night show TV hosting. In 1996, he was the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” which he ran for three years. He created several segments for the show, including “Dance, Dance, Dance,” “5 Questions” and “Moment for Us,” which became popular and used by future hosts of the show. It earned him an Outstanding Entertainment Host nomination from the Cable ACE Award, and his late night show was named Best Late Comedy by US magazine TV Guide.
When CBS offered him a hosting job, replacing Tom Snyder for “The Late Late Show,” which would air right after “Late Show with David Letterman,” he immediately accepted and left “The Daily Show” in 1998 after the hosting 386 episodes. Craig started hosting it in March 1999 and was filmed at Studio 58 for the next five seasons until he chose not to renew his contract, leaving everyone stunned by his decision. The show was popular and was the pinnacle of his career; he created many iconic segments that were fan-favorite, such as “Five Questions,” “Yambo,” and “What’s Up.” He left the show in August 2004.
Craig took a break from television for a while, but took part in a few movies, including the remake of Walt Disney’s “The Shaggy Dog” starring Tim Allen, Robert Downey Jr. and Kristin Davis in 2006, “The Benchwarmers” with Rob Schneider and David Spade in 2006, and “Full of It” with Kate Mara and Ryan Pinkston released in 2007.
After disappearing from television for six years, Craig returned to the small screen and started a new show called “The Kilborn File,” which aired on Fox. However, it didn’t get past the six-week test run given for TV shows with a primetime slot and was canceled immediately after the 30th.e episode. The show was not received positively by viewers or critics alike.
Craig did some voice acting for an episode in “BoJack Horseman”, an adult comedy cartoon series in 2015, and appeared in an episode in the “Workaholics” series, a comedy series that aired on Comedy Central in 2017. He also had supporting roles in a few films, including “The Extendables,” a parody of Sylvester Stallone’s “The Expendables” in 2014, and in “The Bronze,” a sports comedy-drama in 2015.
He was not part of a regular TV show after “The Kilborn File” was cancelled, and was rarely seen except for a few guest appearances on TV specials, including Jon Stewart’s last “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” in 2015 and “The Rich Eisen Show” interview for the 40e anniversary of ESPN in 2019.
- When he didn’t renew his contract with CBS “Late Late Show,” all sorts of speculation aired. One was money issues as one producer claimed he was asking for more. Another said Craig got tired when things weren’t going well with the show’s formatting. Craig broke his silence by saying he was tired of the late night show comedy and the demand to make social comments, which he didn’t want to do.
- He easily enjoyed his early retirement and adapted quickly by renovating his 1920s mansion. His Instagram account, which he opened in August 2018, delighted many of his fans, who said it was like looking at the vintage Kilby again.
- It was rumored that Craig was gay because he would never share details about his personal life or his sexual preference. Once it was said that after he divorced his first wife, he married himself and went to Catalina Island for a honeymoon, masturbating all week. His comedic monologues would spark debate among fans whether it was true or not. The rumor was silenced when it became known that he was remarrying.
Little else is known about his personal life, other than that he married his personal trainer Erin O’Brien and has a son, Sheppard O’Brien, and a daughter, Malin O’Brien, with her. He was also married to former model actress Amber Smith in 1998, but they divorced in 2002 after having a son, Jonathan, long before they were married.
Lewis is 6ft 5ins. (1.96 m) tall and weighs 190 lbs (86 kg). He is of Scottish descent, with blond hair and hazel eyes.
According to sourcesCraig Kilborn has an estimated net worth of over $7 million as of June 2020.