Arthur Steven Lange was born on October 11, 1967 in Union
Township, Union County, New Jersey where he grew up in a middle
class family. His ethnic background is Italian, but a genetic
test revealed that he might have considerable Native American
ancestry. During high school he excelled in baseball, becoming
an All County third baseman, and spent his free time working
with his contractor father. Some time after Lange completed high
school in 1986, his father fell off a roof becoming a
quadriplegic and causing Lange to change his college plans of
attending Bob Jones University to be near his family. He took up
work as a longshoreman and other numerous odd jobs until 1995
when he landed a recurring role on FOX's hit sketch comedy MADtv.
He has a mother, Judy Lange, and a sister, Stacie Lange. His
steady girlfriend from the beginning of March 2002 until some
time in late winter or early spring 2006 was a woman who taught
biology at a Paterson, New Jersey high school named Dana Sironi,
whom Artie met while she was working part time in a New Jersey
bar that Lange frequented.
Artie Lange Lange in MADtv's My White Momma.Lange was one of the original nine cast members of MADtv when the series aired in 1995, living at the time with fellow cast member Orlando Jones. Unlike some of his fellow original repertory performers on MADtv, Lange came to the show with limited sketch comedy experience and hardly any television background. However, he did have a well established background in stand-up comedy, which aided his ability to captivate audiences with his humor. Years after his departure, Artie made a guest star appearance and was cheered by everyone.
Characters: Momma ("That's My White Momma")
The MADtv staff and co-stars started to notice Lange's apparent erratic behavior on and off the set. His deteriorating physical appearance was also a sign of problems. They questioned him about his suspected drug use and the possibility of entering rehab. When Lange adamantly refused, MADtv staff contacted the police. After the police arrived, Lange, in the midst of a cocaine binge, fled the scene on foot with the Los Angeles Police Department and MADtv staff in tow. During the chase, Lange ran into a Pavilion's supermarket and threw a cantaloupe at his manager, prompting a call to 9-1-1. The chase continued with Lange climbing over fences and running through backyards until he was eventually subdued by a police officer. Lange admitted during interviews on The Howard Stern Show that he did the dumbest thing a person can do: he "took a swing at a cop". And missed. After being apprehended by the police, Lange was charged with possession of cocaine, assaulting an officer, and possessing an open alcoholic container in his car, amongst other charges. Artie has stated on the air that as a result of this incident he is a convicted felon and cannot vote.
While Artie Lange was being booked, Lange was seated next to a Mexican gangbanger (who had, according to Lange, a tattoo of Speedy Gonzalez covering his entire back) who recognized him from MADtv. Once Lange was identified as a "celebrity", the police placed him in his own cell instead of mixing him with the general population.
Artie was bailed out by his manager Peter Principato, who waited for four days in the lobby of Los Angeles County Jail to do so. Legendary jazz producer and songwriter Quincy Jones, an executive producer for MADtv, offered his consolation to Lange and arranged for him to continue on the show for a second season. Lange's sobriety did not last and he was fired after two seasons.
Following a short prison term and successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program, Lange was contacted by comedian Norm MacDonald and offered a part in his movie Dirty Work (1998). Coincidentally, MacDonald himself had just been fired from Saturday Night Live. Lange also appeared in MacDonald's ABC sitcom The Norm Show (1999). Lange also appeared in Mystery Men (1999), The Bachelor (1999) and Old School (2003).
After MADtv, Artie Lange continued to work in movies and performs stand-up at comedy houses around the United States. However, his big break came when he landed a full-time spot on The Howard Stern Show after Jackie Martling quit the show. Lange's personality added depth to the show and complemented Howard Stern's style very well.
While Howard often teases Lange for his eating habits, his role in the poorly-received movie Dirty Work and his unprofessionalism, he also makes a point to praise Lange's comedic talents. Stern is especially amazed by Artie's ability to memorize and deliver lines with perfect timing. Artie's almost flawless renditions of scenes from movies such as The Godfather have become a favorite of Stern's and the audience.
Stern and company have commented that Lange's life is a sort of perpetual adolescence; his mother delivers food parcels and cleans his apartment, he continually gorges himself on pizza and other high-fat foods, and his frequent drunken binges are legendary.
Artie Lange's personal life is often discussed on the Stern show and many revelations were revealed. For example, it was discovered on the Howard Stern Show that during Lange's teenage years he had been arrested for attempted bank robbery. Lange stated he was trying to impress a cute bank teller by passing her a fake hold-up note that said he was armed and wanted $50,000. Unfortunately, the note included his name and the teller took it seriously and triggered the silent alarm. Police officers arrested Lange back at his home later that day. Luckily, Lange was able to reach a plea agreement and only had to perform community service as a punishment.
Another example of Lange discussing his private life on the Howard Stern Show was his February 24, 2006 announcement that his relationship with his long-time girlfriend, Dana, was over. However, following Dana's participation on the "Better Half Show" on Sirius Satellite Radio, shortly after Lange's breakup announcement, Lange got back together with Dana and they are attempted to mend their relationship. Lange announced on June 12, 2006 that the relationship had ended.
In January of 2006, it was revealed on Stern's Sirius Radio Show (during a bit where cast members revealed secrets about themselves) that a small amount of another man's ejaculate had once landed on his chest during a cocaine and Ecstasy induced s--ual three-way with a pornstar and another man. Lange threatened to shoot the guilty party (even though he did not have a gun) but no charges were ever filed.
On May 8, 2006, Artie revealed on the show that he and Dana have been broken up (again) for a month, which came up when she did not show up at Robin's Cast Party on May 6, 2006. It was due to Artie telling Dana he refused to go to therapy, which she had demanded of him. He said the split might be for good this time, and is now extremely depressed. One of the other issues which came up was that Artie did not want to associate with Dana's dog.
Artie wrote a 5 page letter to Dana (which may have been closer to 3 or 4 pages since he has huge block style handwriting. A relationship therapist told the show that a love letter should not be more than 3 pages, so considering his handwriting, he should be safe). On May 11, 2006, we found out that Dana responded with a 3 page letter (which is just the right size). This information, along with Artie's lack of interest in a 21 year old gravelly voiced stripper and comment earlier in the day that he is "not single"; prompted the cast to probe further. It was discovered that the letter was signed "Love, Dana" and that Dana expressed a desire to get back together with Artie if he is willing to work on "some things". Mainly improving his physical and mental health since she is concerned. Artie mentioned that he is now willing to go to therapy. If nothing else, the breakup has produced some fantastic songs on the show such as "Dana Dumped You" sung to the tune of "Desperado".
On Monday, June 12, 2006, Artie Lange revealed that his relationship with Dana was over and was ended by Artie himself. Although Dana responded with a 3-page letter of her own to Artie's 5-page letter, the relationship could not be repaired and the couple had not spoken in 3 weeks. Artie feels resentment towards authority and felt Dana's insistance on therapy wouldn't work. Artie felt that he would have to enter therapy on his own accord, and being forced into it by Dana would just lead to further problems in their relationship in the future. He also noted that this could lead to him giving 60% of his net worth to Dana, an allusion to the divorce that might result from his resentment. Howard Stern and George Takei, a frequent guest of the show and the show's official announcer on Sirius, both agreed that therapy would probably benefit Artie.
In early June 2005, Lange began missing work at the Howard Stern Show, prompting concerns of a possible relapse into the substance abuse issues that had affected him earlier. Lange confessed he was under considerable stress from shooting a new film and maintaining his daily appearances on the show. At that time, he sought professional help and quit drinking for a few months. In July 2005 Lange revealed he did not plan on signing a longterm contract with The Howard Stern Show and Sirius Satellite Radio because he felt there would be opportunities to star in motion pictures and possibly create a television show. During this on-air "outburst", Lange stated he would only do what he wanted and had stopped seeing a psychiatrist, which he said was a decision he made only to please Howard Stern. By September of 2005, Lange had returned to drinking, especially at comedy gigs. In November 2005 Artie changed his mind and decided to go with Stern and his crew to Sirius Satellite Radio. Lange also revealed that he and Gary Dell'Abate were approached by Infinity Broadcasting about replacing Howard Stern on terrestrial radio with their own show during the Summer of 2005. Lange was supposedly offered an exorbitant sum of money (roughly $5 million) to defect. This has caused speculation that Lange's absences and self-doubt were triggered by the dilemma over whether to leave the Howard Stern Show. On February 24, 2006, Lange described this event as a mental breakdown caused by stress.
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