January 14, 1966
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Dan Schneider was best known as the creator and producer of numerous television series for young audiences through his Schneider's Bakery production company for Nickelodeon, including "Kenan & Kel" (1996-2000), "Drake & Josh" (2004-2007), "Zoey 101" (2005-2008), "iCarly" (2007-2012) and "Victorious" (2010-2013). Early in his career Schneider was also an actor, performing numerous roles in movies and television series between 1984 and his move into production in 1993, including a co-starring role in the high school comedy "Head of the Class" (ABC 1986-1991) and a key supporting role in the cult film "Better Off Dead" (1985) opposite John Cusack.Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Schneider performed onstage in school plays and became his senior year class president by giving a funny speech. Going on to study at Memphis State University, Schneider would skip classes to go to his job fixing computers. Yet when one of his acting teachers suggested he try auditioning for a movie that was filming in town, he ended up getting a part as the unflatteringly named Blimp in the low-key Judd Nelson comedy "Making the Grade" (1984). The same production team rehired him for another low-budget comedy, the Caribbean-set "Hot Resort" (1985). Inspired, Schneider moved to Los Angeles and secured an agent, with his two biggest jobs over the next few years being the role of computer geek Dennis on the sitcom "Head of the Class" (ABC 1986-1991) and as the best friend of John Cusack's lead character in the black comedy "Better Off Dead" (1985). He also picked up roles in the Christopher Guest Hollywood comedy "The Big Picture" (1989), college drama "Listen to Me" (1989) and a short-lived sitcom starring Matthew Perry called "Home Free" (ABC 1993). Yet the most important role for Schneider at this time in relation to his future career would be hosting the second annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards (1988) alongside Tony Danza. The producer of that show, Albie Hecht, went on to become the head of development at Nickelodeon, and Schneider -- who had already scripted one episode of "Head of the Class" -- ended up writing a sketch comedy pilot for him called "All That" (Nickelodeon 1994-2005). Along with creating the show, Schneider served as showrunner for its first four seasons and returned to revamp it in 2001. At the same time. Schneider created "Kenan & Kel" (Nickelodeon 1996-2000) for "All That" breakout stars Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell; he also took co-writing credit on "Good Burger" (1997), the pair's big screen spinoff of their most popular "All That" characters.From "All That" onwards, Schneider worked consistently in creating series for Nickelodeon aimed at tween viewers around the 8 to 12 age bracket, building on a roughly-connected universe of characters and a procession of young child stars. "The Amanda Show" (1999-2002) was a sketch show starring Amanda Bynes, another breakout star of "All That." Drake Bell and Josh Peck from "Drake & Josh" (2004-2007) had previously been in "The Amanda Show." Ensemble comedy "Zoey 101" (2005-2008) starred Jamie Lynn Spears, sister of Britney. The web-based multi-platform comedy "iCarly" (2007-2012) starred Miranda Cosgrove from "Drake & Josh." "Sam & Cat" (2013-14) took its title characters from past Schneider shows "iCarly" and "Victorious" (2010-2013). In more mature realms, Schneider created two adult sitcoms, "Guys Like Us" (UPN 1998-99) and the Bynes-starring "What I Like About You" (WB 2002-06). He also wrote the film "Big Fat Liar" (2002) for Bynes and Frankie Muniz.