Ty Pennington (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Tygert Burton "Ty" Pennington (born Gary Tygert Burton on October 19, 1964, in Atlanta, Georgia) is an American television host, artist and carpenter. He is most notable for having been the host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition which aired on ABC in the US until its cancellation in December 2012 and will return with specials and Ty's Great British Adventure, which airs on Home in the UK and TV Land. Previously, Pennington was a carpenter on the TLC reality show Trading Spaces. Currently, he manufactures a line of furniture with the Howard Miller Company.
Tygert Pennington was born on October 19, 1964, as Gary Tygert Burton, the second son of school psychologist Yvonne Burton. Yvonne separated from Ty's father when he and his older brother Wynn were very young, and spent several years as a single parent before she remarried. Her new husband adopted both boys, giving them the name Pennington. Pennington grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, primarily in his hometown of Marietta. He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 17, and has been an advocate for the treatment of the disorder, particularly for children.
A self-described "Jack of all trades", Pennington learned woodworking early in life. His interest in home improvement started when he and several neighborhood kids built a three-story treehouse in their neighborhood, which Ty designed at the age of 12. From there, he began teaching himself about carpentry and home improvement. After attending Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia, he attended Kennesaw State University, graduated from The Art Institute of Atlanta with a diploma in commercial art, and attended the Atlanta College of Art while working his way through school as a carpenter. Shortly after Extreme Makeover: Home Edition ended, Pennington received from the Savannah College of Art and Design an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters.
During his final semester, Pennington was approached by a modeling scout, and soon began a lucrative career in that field. He traveled the world and landed print jobs for J.Crew, Swatch and Sprite, and appeared in television spots for Diet Coke, Levi's, Macy's and Bayer, among others. His job as a model took him to places all over the world, as he went on to reside in Japan, Thailand, Italy, Canada, and Germany.
Pennington parlayed his hands-on skills and design acumen into a career in the entertainment industry, becoming a set designer, including for the critically acclaimed film Leaving Las Vegas in 1995. However, his professional breakthrough came through The Learning Channel's (now known as simply TLC) innovative hit show "Trading Spaces". He quickly became known for his off-the-wall sense of humor and creative style during four years as the show's playful designer and carpenter. Pennington has also taken a hand into acting as well. In 2003, he played Wilbur Wright in the independent film, The Adventures of Ociee Nash, and, in 2004, he made an appearance on the TV series Wild Card. He also appeared in country music singer Cyndi Thomson's music video I'm Gone.
In 2003, when ABC began developing a show that would transform the homes of deserving families in seven days or less, Pennington was chosen as the leader of the eight-person design team. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which was originally planned to be a 13-part special, became a huge hit, and catapulted Pennington to stardom. This led to an endorsement deal with Sears, a sponsor of the show. Pennington was extremely dedicated to the show, spending on average 240 days of the year working, and was known to have fought off anything from pulled muscles to heatstroke to food poisoning to keep doing his job. In many interviews, he proclaimed his career on the show as "the greatest job in the world". The success of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in the UK, where it is shown on the Home channel, resulted in the channel commissioning Ty's Great British Adventure, where Pennington worked with the community of Portreath in Cornwall to restore a run-down town park in a week. The series was shown from September 16, 2008.
When Extreme Makeover Home Edition ended in 2011 with its ninth season, Pennington had helped rebuild more than 200 homes for the show. Afterwards, Pennington relocated from Los Angeles to New York City, where he was cast to take part in the lifestyle-based talk show The Revolution, which aired on ABC in January 2012. The show was cancelled after six months, after which Ty began pursuing other goals.
Prior to his partnership with Sears, Pennington was the owner and designer of his company, Furniture Unlimited, which is based in Atlanta and Los Angeles. He also lends his name to Sears, with their design team guiding the design of every item in the Ty Pennington Style line of bedding, tabletop items, bath accessories, furniture, patio furniture, and other miscellaneous home decor. In addition to his involvement in design, marketing promotions and public relations activities for Sears, Pennington is also active in community outreach through the Sears American Dream Campaign. In addition to his furniture designing, he also carries a line of hardwood flooring through Lumber Liquidators.
Pennington published the book Ty's Tricks: Home Repair Secrets Plus Cheap and Easy Projects to Transform Any Room (2003), a do-it-yourself guide on home improvement. On May 15, 2007, he released the first issue of his quarterly magazine Ty Pennington at Home. The magazine gives his fans and avid interior designers a glimpse of his works as well as bits and pieces of his rather busy life. He has described many of his techniques and the techniques of other designers on interior design as well as answers questions sent from readers. Ty Pennington at Home also includes articles from people across the country who share different aspects of home repair and design. Ty's own advice articles include do's and don'ts, choices of tools, how-to instructions on how to build custom pieces of furniture, and comparisons between glamorous interiors and identical, more budget-friendly choices of decor. Other sections include information of eco-friendly home decor items, the latest electronic gadgets to ease the process of everyday life, and even recipes for family meetings and social gatherings.
On July 25, 2008, Ty announced a 3 year partnership with Marketplace Events, the largest organizer of consumer remodeling, home decor and gardening shows in North America. Ty will be spokesperson for the 30+ events in 25 markets.
In September 2008, Pennington became the spokesperson for Abbott Nutrition and their baby formula packaging innovation called Similac SimplePac. He was also involved with the Similac Custom Nursery Design Contest and Ty's Nursery Guide that were part of the new product marketing.
In September 2011, Pennington was on one showing of Disney's Take Two With Phineas and Ferb.
On October 3, 2011, it was announced that Pennington was to join the upcoming series The Revolution. The show premiered on Monday, January 16, 2012.
One popular feature in his magazine is where Pennington discusses his involvement with several charities. For example, he visited Hawaii and stumbled across AccessSurfHawaii, a volunteer group which helps kids with disabilities learn to surf and play other water sports. Ty spent the day surfing with the volunteers and their kids. Afterwards, he approached the founder, Mark Marble, and said "I've been to Hawaii six times and this is the first time I've understood the true meaning of Aloha".
He also helped Bayer Asprin, for whom he's been an avid spokesperson, launch their first Wonders of the Heart contest, the first winners being announced in Summer 2007, and he also participated in a celebrity soccer match as part of a fundraiser for the Los Angeles Children's Hospital, benefiting bone marrow transplant patients, which was organized by Olympic gold medalist Mia Hamm. Ty has given tours of several Hollywood homes and work places including his own, that of fellow Extreme Makeover: Home Edition designer Michael Moloney, actress Constance Zimmer, and TV talk show host and cook Rachael Ray. He shows tours of makeovers he has given to other celebrities, including Mark Stines, Extra co-host Dayna Devon (done with much assistance by Michael Moloney, and Live with Regis and Kelly co host Kelly Ripa). He has given several "Behind the Scenes" tours of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, showing the work he and the rest of the designers and production crew carry out during the 7-day transformations of peoples' homes and lives.
Pennington was arrested on suspicion of DUI on May 5, 2007, at 12:35 am in Los Angeles. He was released on $5,000 bail. Pennington issued an apology shortly after. It was later revealed that Pennington had a .14 blood alcohol level when he was stopped. The legal limit in California is .08. Pennington said "This was my wake-up call ... I also want to apologize to my fans, ABC Television and my design team for my lapse in judgment and the embarrassment I have caused."
On May 25, 2007, Pennington pleaded no contest to a charge of driving over the limit. He was fined $390, received 36 months probation, 90 days suspended driver's license, and 90 days in an alcohol treatment program, and, for community service, was required to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) seminar.
Good Design Can Change Your Life: Beautiful Rooms, Inspiring Stories, Simon & Schuster; (September 9, 2008) ISBN 978-0-7432-9474-4
Ty's Tricks: Home Repair Secrets Plus Cheap and Easy Projects to Transform Any Room, Hyperion (2003) ISBN 1-4013-0067-7
Andy Kane - equivalent on Changing Rooms, the British forerunner of Trading Spaces