John Cleese, born on October 27, 1939, is a British comedian, actor, and film producer. He is one of Britain’s foremost comedians. Cleese is a well-known comedian who was a key part of the iconic programs “Monty Python” and the “Flying Circus.” He also co-wrote and performed in “Fawlty Towers,” a popular B.B.C. sitcom. He has also appeared in movies such as “A Fish Called Wanda” and two “Harry Potter” films. He specializes in black humor, satire, surreal humor, and television comedy skits. Cleese is also a prominent author of both fiction and non-fiction works. Why not celebrate the evergreen comedian’s special day in style?
John Marwood Cleese, who goes by the stage name ‘John Cleese,’ is an English comedian, artist, producer, and screenwriter. He is possibly among the few British comedians who can come up with creative, unique comic acts and trite character profiles. His father, Reginald Francis Cleese, was an insurance salesman and his mother, Muriel Evelyn Cleese, was a homemaker. He was an avid entertainer from an early age, beginning when he was 13. Cleese excelled in sports such as cricket and boxing and academics. He was then accepted to Downing College, Cambridge, to pursue law. In addition to this, he joined the Cambridge Footlights. At Footlights theatre club, he met his erstwhile literary partner, Graham Chapman, and formed solid relationships with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie.
Cleese began his career as a playwright and cast member for the Footlights Revue “A Clump Of Plinths” in his early 20s. It was a smashing hit at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Cleese’s worldwide touring cabaret brought him to New York, where he appeared in several Broadway and Off-Broadway plays. As a result of his efforts, he was offered a position as a writer for B.B.C. Radio. Working on “The Frost Report” allowed Cleese to feature on British comedy television. His work has exposed him to Python’s Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and Terry Jones. Cleese became involved with Chapman, which eventually led to his popularity as ‘Monty Python.’ He opted to depart from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” at the end of the third season. His notable contributions include “The Ministry of Silly Walks” and his position as ‘Sergeant Major.’ Cleese stayed connected with his group of authors and comedians even after his departure.
Besides these movies, he has also featured in “The Out-of-Towners,” “Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone,” “Die Another Day,” “Cheers,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” “The World Is Not Enough,” “Rat Race,” “Die Another Day,” “Shrek 2,” and “Hoops Apocalypse,” He was married four times, with the first three ending in divorce. Connie Booth, Barbara Trentham, and Alyce Faye Eichelberger were his ex-wives. He exchanged vows with Jennifer Wade in 2012. He has two children from prior marriages, one with Booth and the other with Trentham.
He works as a playwright and lead actor in the Footlights comedy, "A Clump of Plinths," which is played at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
He starts writing for "The Frost Report" and debuts on broadcast as a performer for the show the following year, rubbing shoulders with British comic Peter Cook.
He co-writes the TV series "How to Irritate People" and starts working on a T.V. project alongside Chapman, Idle, Gilliam, Jones, and Palin, establishing the comic troupe "Monty Python."
He is employed as the rector of the University of St Andrews, where he also works on a sketch for the stand-up comedy show “Sez Les” with comedian Les Dawson.
He leaves "Monty Python" following the third season of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" and later appears in the British comedy sketch show "Sez Les."
He keeps amicable contact with his former cast-mates and begins working on the film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" with them, which is released in April.
Why We Love John Cleese
His charity Work
Throughout his career, he has sponsored several charities, including Amnesty International, Dream Foundation, and the Small Steps Project. He is quite the chap, isn’t he?
He is a Primetime Emmy award winner for ‘Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.’ He played Lyle Finster in the show “Will and Grace.”
His outstanding performances
Among Cleese's honors is the BAFTA Award for ‘Best Actor In A Leading Role.’ The film was called “A Fish called Wanda.” He also took home another BAFTA award for ‘Best light Entertainment Performance’ in the series “Fawlty Towers.”
5 Surprising Facts
“Harry Potter” Nick
In the first Harry Potter film, Cleese played ‘Nearly Headless Nick.’
Could you recognize his voice?
He voiced the character ‘Albert’ in “The Magic Pudding,” an Australian animated musical adventure comedy film.
Being tall was a hindrance
He was taunted and harassed for his extraordinary height of six feet by the time he was 12 years old.
He owns an antique shop
He co-owns Christine Schell Fine Objects, an antique shop in Montecito, California.
He knew what was best for him
While he excelled in athletics and academics, his favorite pastime was comedy.
John Cleese FAQs
Why did John Cleese decide to depart from Monty Python?
He believed that the show’s writing had deteriorated in quality. For these reasons, he felt agitated and decided to leave.
Who is John Cleese's daughter?
Cynthia Cleese and Camilla Cleese.
How many members were in Monty Python?
Monty Python had five members.
John Cleese’s birthday dates