Bill Maher was born on Jan. 20, 1956, in New York City and raised in River Vale, NJ. He graduated from Cornell University, whereat he studied English and history, in 1978, and jumped immediately into the pursuit of a career in comedy. He developed success as a standup throughout the 1980s, appearing occasionally on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (NBC 1962-1992), all the while costarring on the short-lived sitcom "Sara" (NBC 1985). By the early '90s, Maher was headlining his own television series: the political talk show "Politically Incorrect" (Comedy Central/ABC 1993-2002). The series was canceled after a broadcast during which Maher made controversial remarks about the September 11th terrorist attacks; however, the following year, Maher assumed the hosting position of a second political talk series, "Real Time with Bill Maher" (HBO 2003-). His next major project was the documentary film "Religulous" (2008), directed by Larry Charles, chronicling Maher's slanted exploration of major world religions.