(most famously in the Monkees
, film producer
. He was born December
. His mother
Bette invented Liquid Paper
, but it was still experimental enough that Nesmith didn't grow up rich.
He moved to California around age 19 or 20 and performed music under the name of Michael Blessing, also writing songs that were performed by Los Angeles bands like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which did "Mary, Mary." (When the Monkees version of the same song became popular, the Butterfield Band and its record company were deluged with complaints about how that guy from the Monkees was claiming he wrote the Butterfield Band's song -- the blues fans refused to believe someone in a pop group on TV could have written it.)
He auditioned for the Monkees wearing a knitted wool hat to keep his hair out of his eyes when he rode his motorcycle, and both he and the hat were accepted for the group. More of a musician than an actor, Nesmith was always pushing for the Monkees to have more control over the music put out under their name, and once put his fist through a wall and said to dominating producer Don Kirshner, "That could have been your face" during the fight for more control. He did write and sing a lot of Monkees songs, as well as writing "Different Drum" which became a big hit for Linda Ronstadt.
He left the Monkees in 1970 to form a country-rock band and eventually record solo. In 1976, he filmed a video clip to accompany his single "Rio" and eventually came up with the idea of a half-hour show of these music promotional videos. He sold the idea to Warner Amex, which had 56 of the shows made, and paved the way for the introduction of MTV a few years later.
And in 1981, Nesmith created a "video record"
entitled "Elephant Parts", a film-length mix
of comedy and pop video. This project
won the very first Video Grammy Award in
1982. After that, he produced several films (including Repo Man and Tapeheads), also co-writing and scoring one (Timerider).
He's since released some more of his own albums, and those of other groups on his record label, and done some reunion work with the Monkees. He's even written a novel (The Long Sandy Hair Of Neftoon Zamora) which came out in 1998.