John Cleese

BirthDay:

27 Oct 1939

BirthPlace:

Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, England, UK

BirthName:

John Marwood Cleese

Bio:

John Cleese was born on October 27, 1939, in Weston-Super-Mare, England, to Muriel Evelyn (Cross) and Reginald Francis Cleese. 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.

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.
Filmography

Actor ( 232 credits )

I am Khama (2019) Sir Henry Loch
Arctic Justice: Thunder Squad (2018) (voice)
Charming (2017) Fairy Godmother (voice)
Neutron Zombies (2017) Dr. Zennheiser (rumored)
Trolls (2016) King Gristle (voice)
Albion: The Enchanted Stallion (2016) General Eeder
A.C.O.R.N.S.: Operation Crackdown (2015) Mr. Bellwood (voice)
Absolutely Anything (2015) Extraterrestrial (voice)
Britain's Best Loved Sitcoms (2015)  Basil Fawlty (archive footage) (uncredited) (1 episode
Wogan: The Best Of (2015)  Himself (archive footage) (1 episode)
Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2015)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Spud 3: Learning to Fly (2014) The Guv
Monty Python Live (Mostly) (2014) Himself / Llama lecturer / Second Yorkshireman / Man wi
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014)  Himself - Monty Python (1 episode, 2015)
Late Night with Seth Meyers (2014)  Himself (1 episode, 2015)
Planes (2013) Bulldog (voice)
Spud 2: The Madness Continues (2013) The Guv
Funny Business (2013)  Himself (2 episodes, 2013)
A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman (2012) Himself / Exploding Don / David Frost (voice)
Anatomy of a Liar (2012) Himself
God Loves Caviar (2012) McCormick
Comix from the Underground (2012)  Anti-Communist Newscaster (archive footage) (1 episode
Welcome to the Basement (2012)  Narrator (archive footage) (1 episode, 2012)
The Big Year (2011) Historical Montage Narrator (voice)
The Undefeated (2011) Himself (archive footage)
Winnie the Pooh (2011) Narrator (voice)
Whitney (2011)  Dr. Grant (2 episodes, 2012-2013)
Mini Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (2011)  Narrator (29 episodes, 2011-2014)
Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight (2011)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Spud (2010) The Guv - Mr. Edly
Shrek Forever After (2010) King (voice)
Special Collector's Edition (2010)  Sir Lancelot the Brave / ... (5 episodes, 2010-2014)
The Many Faces of... (2010)  Himself (2 episodes, 2011-2012)
Paul O'Grady Live (2010)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
Conan (2010)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2015)
Planet 51 (2009) Professor Kipple (voice)
Mitgefühl, Weisheit und Humor (2009) Himself
The Pink Panther 2 (2009) Dreyfus
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Just for Laughs (2009)  Himself - Host (1 episode, 2009)
Skavlan (2009)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2010)
Live from Studio Five (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Beyond a Joke (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation (2009)  Himself (1 episode, 2012)
Animation Lookback (2009)  Nicky Flippers (archive footage) (1 episode, 2012)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008) Professor Barnhardt
Igor (2008) Dr. Glickenstein (voice)
The Seventh Python (2008) Himself
Batteries Not Included (2008)  Himself (6 episodes, 2008)
The Bonnie Hunt Show (2008)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Shrek the Third (2007) King (voice)
The Graham Norton Show (2007)  Himself (2 episodes, 2010-2013)
Movie Connections (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2009)
Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy (2007)  Himself (3 episodes, 2007)
More Dawn French's Boys Who Do Comedy (2007)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
The Comedy Map of Britain (2007)  Himself / ... (archive footage) (2 episodes, 2007-2008
Charlotte's Web (2006) Samuel the Sheep (voice)
L'entente cordiale (2006) Lord Conrad
Man About Town (2006) Dr. Primkin
The ONE Show (2006)  Himself / ... (3 episodes, 2010-2013)
Legends (2006)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Efter Tio (2006)  Himself (1 episode, 2011)
Robins (2006)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2010)
Monty Python's Personal Best (2006)  Himself / ... (5 episodes, 2006)
Complete Guide to Guys (2005) Noted Behavioral Scientist / Noted Doctor / Leading Soc
Valiant (2005) Mercury (voice)
20 to 1 (2005)  King (1 episode, 2010)
80s (2005)  Basil Fawlty (archive footage) (1 episode, 2005)
Dokument: Humor (2005)  Himself (1 episode, 2005)
The Power of the Sun (2005) Himself
Around the World in 80 Days (2004) Grizzled Sergeant
Shrek 2 (2004) King (voice)
Entourage (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2010)
Britain's Best Sitcom (2004)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
I Love '70s (2004)  Himself
Scorched (2003) Charles Merchant
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) Mr. Munday
Stupidity (2003) Himself
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (2003)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2009)
X-Play (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
Imagine (2003) (1 episode, 2014)
Comedy Connections (2003)  Himself / ... (4 episodes, 2005-2008)
VH1 Goes Inside (2003)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
Real Time with Bill Maher (2003)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2014)
Pinocchio (2002) The Talking Crickett (voice)
Die Another Day (2002) Q
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) Nearly Headless Nick
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002) James
Taking the Wheel (2002) Nathan Sullivan
Timeshift (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Just for Laughs (2002)  Himself (1 episode, 2007)
My Adventures in Television (2002)  Red Lansing (7 episodes, 2002)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) Nearly Headless Nick
Rat Race (2001) Donald P. Sinclair
House of Mouse (2001)  Narrator (segment 'Around the World in 80 Days') / ...
The Sketch Show Story (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2001)
Lorraine (2001)  Himself (1 episode, 2014)
Rockstar (2000) Interviewer in lounge
The Magic Pudding (2000) Albert the Magic Pudding (voice)
Quantum Project (2000) Alexander Pentcho
Isn't She Great (2000) Henry Marcus
Rove Live (2000)  Himself (1 episode, 2003)
Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (2000) Himself - Narrator (voice)
The World Is Not Enough (1999) R
The BFI London Imax Signature Film (1999) Himself
The Out-of-Towners (1999) Mr. Mersault
Loose Women (1999)  Himself (2 episodes, 2008-2009)
The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn (1999)  Himself (2 episodes, 2001-2004)
The Directors (1999)  Himself (uncredited) (1 episode)
Casper & Mandrilaftalen (1999)  Fake Bosse Bo Johansson / ... (1 episode, 1999)
Mickey Mouse Works (1999)  Himself - Narrator (5 episodes, 1999)
Steve Martin: Seriously Funny (1999) Himself
Parting Shots (1998) Maurice Walpole
Will & Grace (1998)  Lyle Finster (uncredited) (6 episodes, 2003-2004)
Kiss Me Kate (1998)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
The Greatest (1998)  Basil Fawlty (uncredited) (1 episode, 2001)
Comme au cinéma (1998)  Himself (2 episodes, 1999)
Amazing World of Animals (1998)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
George of the Jungle (1997) An Ape Named 'Ape' (voice)
Fierce Creatures (1997) Rollo Lee
Funny Women (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
Brigitte & Friends (1997)  Himself (1 episode, 2000)
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (1996) Mr. Toad's Lawyer
3rd Rock from the Sun (1996)  Dr. Liam Neesam (4 episodes, 1998-2001)
TFI Friday (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 1997)
Hannity & Colmes (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2008)
Mundo VIP (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 1997)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 1997)
Sen kväll med Luuk (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 1997)
E! True Hollywood Story (1996)  Himself (1 episode, 2002)
MADtv (1995)  Himself (2 episodes, 1999-2001)
Heroes of Comedy (1995)  Himself (7 episodes, 1997-2002)
Today Tonight (1995)  Basil Fawlty (1 episode, 2009)
Lo + plus (1995)  Himself (1 episode, 1997)
The Jungle Book (1994) Dr. Julien Plumford
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) Professor Waldman
The Swan Princess (1994) Jean-Bob (voice)
Dennis Miller Live (1994)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
Room 101 (1994)  Pilot (uncredited) (1 episode, 2007)
The Unpleasant World of Penn & Teller (1994)  Himself (1 episode, 1994)
Splitting Heirs (1993) Raoul P. Shadgrind
Late Show with David Letterman (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 1995)
Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993)  Himself (1 episode, 1997)
Funny Business (1992)  Himself (1 episode, 1992)
In the Wild (1992)  Himself (1 episode, 1998)
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) Cat R. Waul (voice)
Um Passo, Outro Passo e Depois... (1991) Actor on TV (uncredited)
Charlie Rose (1991)  Himself (1 episode, 1995)
Auntie's Bloomers (1991)  Himself (unknown episodes)
Bullseye! (1990) Man on the Beach in Barbados Who Looks Like John Cleese
Have I Got News for You (1990)  Basil Fawlty (uncredited) (1 episode, 2001)
Harry Måneskin (1990)  Archie Leach (archive footage) (uncredited) (2 episode
Erik the Viking (1989) Halfdan the Black
The Big Picture (1989) Bartender
A Fish Called Wanda (1988) Archie Leach
Lunettes noires pour nuits blanches (1988)  Himself (1 episode, 1989)
Quark and the Highway Robber (1987) Narrator (voice)
The Secret Policeman's Third Ball (1987) Jim Cleese
Clockwise (1986) Brian Stimpson
Silverado (1985) Sheriff Langston
Aspel & Company (1984)  Himself (2 episodes, 1986-1988)
The Secret Policeman's Private Parts (1984) Himself
Privates on Parade (1983) Major Giles Flack
Yellowbeard (1983) Harvey 'Blind' Pew
Group Madness (1983) Himself
The Meaning of Life (1983) Fish #2 / Dr. Spencer / Humphrey Williams / Sturridge /
Good Morning Britain (1983)  Himself (1 episode, 1983)
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) First Barber / Wrestling commentator / Pope Julius II /
The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1982) Himself / Various Roles
Cheers (1982)  Dr. Simon Finch-Royce / ... (2 episodes, 1987-1990)
Late Night with David Letterman (1982)  Himself (4 episodes, 1984-1988)
Whoops Apocalypse (1982)  Lacrobat (1 episode, 1982)
Wogan (1982)  Himself (1 episode, 1990)
Head for Business (1982)
Time Bandits (1981) Robin Hood
The Great Muppet Caper (1981) Neville
Wetten, dass..? (1981)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
Away from It All (1979) Himself - Narrator (voice) (as Nigel Farquhar-Bennett)
Life of Brian (1979) Wise Man #1 / Reg / Jewish Official / Centurion / Deadl
Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979)  Himself (1 episode, 1979)
Food, Wine & Friends (1979)  Himself (unknown episodes)
Friday Night, Saturday Morning (1979)  Himself (1 episode, 1979)
The South Bank Show (1978)  Himself (2 episodes, 1986-2006)
That's the Way the Money Goes (1978)  Customer - Dead Parrot Sketch (archive footage) (1 epi
The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977) Arthur Sherlock Holmes
Three Piece Suite (1977)  Kevin (segment "Every Day in Every Way") (1 episode, 1
The Fortune Teller (1977)
The Muppet Show (1976)  Himself (1 episode, 1977)
Ripping Yarns (1976)  a Passer-by (1 episode, 1979)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Second Swallow-Savvy Guard / The Black Knight / Peasant
Saturday Night Live (1975)  Himself / ... (uncredited) (1 episode, 1997)
Fawlty Towers (1975)  Basil Fawlty (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
Arena (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 2004)
Les rendez-vous du dimanche (1975)  Himself (1 episode, 1980)
It's Alright, It's Only a Customer (1975) Himself
Romance with a Double Bass (1974) Musician Smychkov
The Dean Martin Comedy World (1974)  Himself (3 episodes, 1974)
Golf Etiquette (1973) A Golfer
Last of the Summer Wine (1973)  Neighbour (1 episode, 1993)
Anyone for Sex? (1973) Contraceptives Lecturer
Is This a Record? (1973)
The Midnight Special (1972)  Himself (2 episodes, 1973-1974)
Canada A.M. (1972)  Himself - Guest (1 episode, 2014)
Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus (1972)  Attendant / ... (unknown episodes)
And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) Announcer / Hungarian Man / Self-Defence Teacher / Sir
The Statue (1971) Harry
Parkinson (1971)  Himself (2 episodes, 1980-2001)
The Two Ronnies (1971)  Himself / ... (2 episodes, 1971)
A Current Affair (1971)  Himself (archive footage) (2 episodes, 2006-2011)
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970) Pumer
The Goodies (1970)  The genie (1 episode, 1973)
The Magic Christian (1969) Director in Sotheby's
The Best House in London (1969) Jones (uncredited)
Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969)  Announcer / ... (40 episodes, 1969-1973)
Jokers Wild (1969)  Himself (6 episodes, 1971)
Sez Les (1969)  Himself - Various Characters (18 episodes, 1971-1974)
The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom (1968) Post Office clerk
Interlude (1968) TV Publicist
Goodbye Again (1968)  Himself (1 episode, 1968)
At Last the 1948 Show (1967)  Himself - Various Characters (13 episodes, 1967)
Misleading Cases (1967)  Mr. Partridge (1 episode, 1971)
Dee Time (1967)  Himself (1 episode, 1967)
Omnibus (1967)  Himself (2 episodes, 1976-1990)
The Frost Report (1966)  Various Roles (28 episodes, 1966-1967)
Doctor Who (1963)  Art Gallery Visitor (1 episode, 1979)
The Avengers (1961)  Marcus Rugman (1 episode, 1968)
Comedy Playhouse (1961)  Sherlock Holmes (1 episode, 1973)
A Christmas Night with the Stars (1958)  Various (1 episode, 1969)
The Ed Sullivan Show (1948)  Himself (1 episode, 1964)
Wedding of the Year (0) Lionel
The B Team (0) Victor Van Vaught
Elliot the Littlest Reindeer (0) (voice)

Producer ( 6 credits )

Fierce Creatures (1997) producer
A Fish Called Wanda (1988) executive producer
Fairly Secret Army (1984) executive producer (12 episodes, 1984-1986)
The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1982) producer (uncredited)
Free to Choose (1980) executive producer (unknown episodes)
It's Alright, It's Only a Customer (1975) executive producer

Writer ( 31 credits )

The Croods (2013)
Just for Laughs (2009) (1 episode, 2009)
Casper & Mandrilaftalen (1999) (1 episode, 1999)
Fierce Creatures (1997) (written by) &
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
The Meaning of Life (1983) (written by) &
Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) (written by) &
Away from It All (1979) (as Friend)
Life of Brian (1979) (written by) &
The Muppet Show (1976) (unknown episodes)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) (written by) &
Fawlty Towers (1975) (12 episodes, 1975-1979)
Romance with a Double Bass (1974)
Is This a Record? (1973) (additional material)
Rentadick (1972) (uncredited)
Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus (1972) (written by) (unknown episodes)
And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) (screen foreplay & conception) &
Doctor at Large (1971) (6 episodes, 1971)
Six Dates with Barker (1971) (1 episode, 1971)
The Two Ronnies (1971) (9 episodes, 1971-1976)
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970) (screenplay) &
The Magic Christian (1969)
Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969) (creator) (43 episodes, 1969-1974)
Doctor in the House (1969) (1 episode, 1969)
Marty (1968) (11 episodes, 1968-1969)
Broaden Your Mind (1968) (3 episodes, 1968)
At Last the 1948 Show (1967) (13 episodes, 1967)
The Frost Report (1966) (28 episodes, 1966-1967)
BBC Show of the Week (1965) (1 episode, 1968)
That Was the Week That Was (1962) (37 episodes, 1962-1963)
A Christmas Night with the Stars (1958) (1 episode, 1969)

Director ( 2 credits )

A Fish Called Wanda (1988) (uncredited)
Away from It All (1979) (as Friend)