Tim Allen, a conservative Hollywood actor, has a secret past that he would rather not have known to the public. While known for his roles in family-friendly movies, Allen was once a convicted criminal who served hard time in prison. In 1978, he was arrested and convicted for dealing cocaine and sentenced to two years in prison.

Although Allen became a household name after he was cast as “the Tool Man” in the ABC sitcom Home Improvement, his life of crime started years before that while he was living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In the late 1970s, Allen was caught dealing more than half a kilo of cocaine to street addicts. This resulted in him facing a potential life sentence as he was convicted of selling a controlled substance responsible for many overdose deaths in America.

Tim “Dick” Allen was born in Denver, Colorado, to parents Martha Katherine and Gerald M. Dick. Allen, who wanted to avoid being associated with comedian Andy Dick, had hidden his birth last name, Dick. He was the middle child of six siblings. When he was eleven years old, his father was killed by a drunk driver. Allen’s mother remarried and moved the family to Birmingham, Michigan.

Allen went to Seaholm High School and graduated from Western Michigan University in 1976. However, two years later, he was busted for smuggling 650 grams of cocaine through Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. Allen was trying to act as a mule and planned to sell the cocaine to addicts, putting their lives at risk. An undercover police officer caught him in the act of dealing drugs.

Esquire Magazine later interviewed Allen, and he revealed that he was put in a holding cell with twenty other men, where they had to share the same bathroom. At that moment, he thought he could not survive seven and a half years in prison, and he wanted to kill himself.

Allen served two years in the Federal Correctional Institution in Sandstone and was released on parole in 1981. While Allen became a successful actor, his drug-dealing past has not been forgotten. Although he continues to earn a paycheck from his past roles, including Home Improvement and Toy Story, he claims not to be dabbling in drugs anymore.