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Bob Vila
Born (1946-06-20) June 20, 1946 (age 77)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
Education University of Florida (Journalism, 1969)
Occupation Television host
Diana Barrett
(m. 1975)
Children 3

Robert Joseph Vila (born June 20, 1946) is an American home improvement television show host known for This Old House (1979–1989), Bob Vila's Home Again (1990–2005), and Bob Vila (2005–2007).

Early life and education

Vila, a Cuban-American, is a native of Miami, Florida. When Vila was a child, his father built the family home by hand. Vila graduated from Miami Jackson High School and studied journalism at the University of Florida. After graduating, he served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps, working in Panama in the late 1960s. He then went to Europe for two years to study and travel, before returning to the US and enrolling at the Boston Architectural Center.


Vila was hired as the host of This Old House in 1979, after receiving the “Heritage House of 1978” award by Better Homes and Gardens, for his restoration of a Victorian Italianate house in Newton, Massachusetts. On This Old House, Vila appeared with carpenter Norm Abram as they, and others, renovated houses. In 1989, he left the show following a disagreement arising from his involvement with outside commercial endorsements for New Jersey–based Rickel, and the subsequent retaliatory pulling of underwriting by Rickel's competitor, Home Depot, and lumber supplier Weyerhaeuser. He was replaced by Steve Thomas.

After leaving This Old House, Vila became a commercial spokesman for Sears, and beginning in 1990, he hosted Bob Vila's Home Again (renamed to simply Bob Vila in 2005), a weekly syndicated home-improvement program. His series ran for 16 seasons in syndication before it was canceled by distributor CBS Television Distribution due to declining ratings; the series remains in reruns and on streaming service PlutoTV.

From 1989 onward, Bob Vila appeared in Sears commercials to promote the Craftsman tools brand. The partnership broke down in 2006, after a dispute between him and the company.

Vila also appeared on three episodes of the situation comedy Home Improvement during 1992 and 1993 as himself on Tool Time, the fictional show within the sitcom, where main character and cable TV host Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) saw him as a rival, and made futile attempts to outdo Vila. Contrary to Home Improvement, when Allen was interviewed by Nintendo Power and asked if he could make a video game, Allen proposed one about aspects of carpentry, and the end scene would be the player being featured on Bob Vila's Home Again.

Vila made a cameo in the 1993 comedy spoof Hot Shots! Part Deux.

Vila has written 10 books, including a five-book series titled Bob Vila's Guide to Historic Homes of America.

Vila has appeared on the Home Shopping Network selling a range of tools under his own name brand that he founded in 2016.

Other productions

Bob Vila's less widely known productions include: Guide to Historic Homes of America (1996), In Search of Palladio (1996) for A&E, and Restore America for HGTV.

Guide to Historic Homes of America

The Guide to Historic Homes of America (1996) included two-hour segments on each of four major regions of the United States: the Northeast (including New England and the Mid-Atlantic States), the South, the Midwest, and the West.

The Northeast

The Mid-Atlantic States

The South

The Midwest and West

In Search of Palladio

In Search of Palladio (1996) was a three-part, six-hour study of the work and lasting influence of the 16th-century architect Andrea Palladio. Palladio designed various types of buildings, but the series concentrates on his domestic architecture. (see also: Palladian Villas of the Veneto).

I. Villas of the Veneto

  • Villa Giustinian, Roncade → For Vila, this building (not by Palladio) provided the context for Palladio's innovative thinking—gothic battlements, portcullis, and stone walls that concealed a Renaissance palace and farm buildings.
  • Villa Pisani in Montagnana → a descendant of the original owners served as Vila's guide.
  • Villa Cornaro → A suburban villa on a town street, a palatial residence which was also an on-site place of business for running a large farming enterprise.
  • Villa Barbaro.
  • Villa Emo – For Vila this is "perhaps the most dramatic farmhouse ever built".
  • La Rocca Pisana – spectacular hilltop belvedere by Palladio's pupil Vincenzo Scamozzi.
II. The Palladians in England and Ireland
III. The Palladian Legacy in America

Restore America

Restore America consisted of 50 one-hour segments which explored historic preservation and building restoration in each of the fifty U.S. states. Anticipating the turn of the 3rd millennium, it was first broadcast on HGTV between July 4, 1999, and July 4, 2000.

See also

  • List of Cuban Americans
Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Athletes:
DeHart Hubbard
Wilma Rudolph
Jesse Owens
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Major Taylor
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