John Cleese Biography

Birthday: 1939-10-27
Place of Birth: Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset
Height: 6' 5" (1.96 m)
Wiki Biography: John Cleese was born on October 27, 1939, in Weston-Super-Mare, England. He was born into a family of modest means, his father being an insurance salesman; but he was nonetheless sent off to private schools to obtain a good education. Here he was often tormented for his height, having reached a height of six feet by the age of twelve, and eventually discovered that being humorous could deflect aggressive behavior in others. He loved humor in and of itself, collected jokes, and, like many young Britons who would grow up to be comedians, was devoted to the radio comedy show, "The Goon Show," starring the legendary Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and Harry Secombe. Cleese did well in both sports and academics, but his real love was comedy. He attended Cambridge to read (study) Law, but devoted a great deal of time to the university's legendary Footlights group, writing and performing in comedy reviews, often in collaboration with future fellow Python Graham Chapman. Several of these comedy reviews met with great success, including one in particular which toured under the name "Cambridge Circus." When Cleese graduated, he went on to write for the BBC, then rejoined Cambridge Circus in 1964, which toured New Zealand and America. He remained in America after leaving Cambridge Circus, performing and doing a little journalism, and here met Terry Gilliam, another future Python. Returning to England, he began appearing in a BBC radio series, "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again", based on Cambridge Circus. It ran for several years and also starred future Goodies Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden. He also appeared, briefly, with Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman in "At Last the 1948 Show" (1967), for television, and a series of collaborations with some of the finest comedy-writing talent in England at the time, some of whom - Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Chapman - eventually joined him in Monty Python. These programs included "The Frost Report" (1966) and Marty Feldman's program "Marty" (1968). Eventually, however, the writers were themselves collected to be the talent for their own program, "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (1969), which displayed a strange and completely absorbing blend of low farce and high-concept absurdist humor, and remains influential to this day. After three seasons of the intensity of Monty Python, Cleese left the show, though he collaborated with one or more of the other Pythons for decades to come, including the Python movies released in the mid-70s to early 80s - Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Life of Brian (1979), Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982), and The Meaning of Life (1983). Cleese and then-wife Connie Booth collaborated in the legendary television series "Fawlty Towers" (1975), as the sharp-tongued, rude, bumbling yet somehow lovable proprietor of an English seaside hotel. Cleese based this character on a proprietor he had met while staying with the other Pythons at a hotel in Torquay, England. Only a dozen episodes were made, but each is truly hilarious, and he is still closely associated with the program to this day. Meanwhile Cleese had established a production company, Video Arts, for clever business training videos in which he generally starred, which were and continue to be enormously successful in the English-speaking world. He continues to act prolifically in movies, including in the hit comedy A Fish Called Wanda (1988), in the Harry Potter series, and in the James Bond series as the new Q, starting with The World Is Not Enough (1999), in which he began as R before graduating to Q. Cleese also supplies his voice to numerous animated and video projects, and frequently does commercials. Besides the infamous Basil Fawlty character, Cleese's other well-known trademark is his rendition of an English upper-class toff. He has a daughter with Connie Booth and a daughter with his second wife, Barbara Trentham. As of January 19, 2008, he became embroiled in divorce proceedings with third wife (of nineteen years) Alyce Faye Eichelberger. Education and learning are important elements of his life - he was Rector of the University of Saint Andrews from 1973 until 1976, and continues to be a professor-at-large of Cornell University in New York. Cleese lives in Santa Barbara, California.

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Filmography

TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
At Last the 1948 Show 1948 Comedy
George of the Jungle An Ape Named 'Ape' 1967 Action
Monty Python's Flying Circus Announcer / ... 1969 - 1970 Comedy
Sez Les Himself - Various Characters 1969 - 1976
Fawlty Towers Basil Fawlty 1979 Comedy
Unpleasant World of Penn & Teller Himself 1994 Comedy
Look at the State We're In! Minister 1995 Comedy
Kitchen Cabinet Announcer 2012
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
The Rat Race Donald Sinclair 1960 Biography, 0
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom 1968 Comedy
How to Irritate People 1969 Comedy
And Now For Something Completely Different Self-Defence Teacher 1972 Comedy
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer 1973 Comedy
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Second Swallow-Savvy Guard 1974 Adventure, Comedy
The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It 1977 Comedy, Crime, Mystery
Life of Brian Wise Man #1 1979 Comedy
The Great Muppet Caper 1981 Comedy, Family, Music
Time Bandits Robin Hood 1981 Adventure, Comedy, Family
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl The Pope 1982 Documentary, Comedy
Monty Python's the Meaning of Life Second Fish Grim 1983
Yellowbeard 1983 0
The Meaning of Life Grim Reaper 1983 Comedy, Musical
Silverado 1985 0, Fantasy, 0
Clockwise Brian Stimpson 1986 Comedy
A Fish Called Wanda Archie Leach 1988 0
Erik the Viking 1989 0, 0
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West Cat R. Waul 1991 Animation, Adventure, Family
Splitting Heirs 1993
The Swan Princess Jean-Bob 1994 0, Drama, 0, 0
The Jungle Book Dr. Julien Plumford 1994 Adventure, Romance
George of the Jungle An Ape Named 'Ape' 1997 0, 0, 0
Fierce Creatures Rollo Lee 1997 Comedy
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Mr. Toad's Lawyer 1997 Adventure, Comedy, Family
The Out-of-Towners Mr. Mersault 1999 Comedy
Parting Shots Maurice Walpole 1999 Comedy, Crime, Romance
The World Is Not Enough R 1999 Action, Adventure, Thriller
Isn't She Great Henry Marcus 2000
The Magic Pudding Albert, The Magic Pudding 2000 Animation, Family
Die Another Day Q 2002 Game Show, 0
The Adventures of Pluto Nash 2002 Sport, 0, 0
Scorched 2003 0
Shrek 2 King 2004 Drama, 0, 0, 0
Valiant 2005 Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Charlottes Web Samuel the Sheep 2006
Man About Town 2006 0, 0
Charlotte's Web Samuel the Sheep 2006 0, 0
L'entente cordiale Lord Conrad 2006 Comedy
Shrek the Third King 2007 Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Igor Dr. Glickenstein 2008 Drama, 0, 0
Batteries Not Included 2008 Documentary
The Day the Earth Stood Still Professor Barnhardt 2008 Drama, Thriller
Planet 51 Professor Kipple 2009 Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Shrek Forever After King Harold 2010 0, Drama, 0, 0
Spud The Guv - Mr. Edly 2010 Comedy
O Theos agapaei to haviari McCormick 2012 Adventure, Biography, History
A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman Various 2013 Animation, Comedy
Spud 2: The Madness Continues The Guv 2013 Comedy
Planes Bulldog 2013 Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Monty Python Live (Mostly) Himself - Various 2014 Comedy
Spud 3: Learning to Fly The Guv 2014 Comedy
Frankenstein Professor Waldman 2015 Reality Tv
Absolutely Anything Extraterrestrial 2015 0, Sport