John Cleese

Biography

John Cleese (27.10.1939)

John Cleese is an English, Oscar-winning comedian, writer and actor. He rose to fame as a part of the Monty Python comedy troupe.

John Cleese: Childhood

John Cleese was born to Muriel and Reginald Cleese, in Weston-Super-Mare. His mother was an acrobat and his father was an insurance salesman.

John Cleese attended St. Peter's Preparatory School in Weston-Super-Mare, where he was considered a star pupil. He was grated a part-scholarship to Clifton College, a Bristolian public school. When he left school, he initially returned to his prep school to teach science. He eventually took up a place at Cambridge University to study Law. Whilst there, he joined the Cambridge Footlights Revue. It was here that he met Graham Chapman, his future writing partner.

John Cleese: Show Business Career

Whilst he a member of the Footlights Revue, Cleese was a member of the cast for A Clump of Plinths, which was hugely successful at the 1963 Edinburgh Festival. The cast also featured in some sketches on the Ed Sullivan Show. Whilst in America, Cleese met Terry Gilliam whilst he performed in Half a Sixpence.

Cleese was offered work as a BBC writer and worked on shows such as The Dick Emery Show and I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again. In 1965, he started working on the Frost Report along with a number of other writers, including Barry Cryer, Bill Oddie, Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. The list also included Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, future Monty Python members.

Monty Python's Flying Circus ran for four seasons on the BBC, between 1969 and 1974. Notable moments include the Ministry of Silly Walks, the Cheese Shop and Cleese's Mr Praline character. John Cleese and Graham Chapman formed a writing partnership on the show, actually writing together, unlike Palin and Jones. Cleese left the group before the fourth series but returned to feature in the writing and production of the films, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian, and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

Life after Python saw John Cleese star in the enduringly popular Fawlty Towers. Cleese wrote the show with his wife at the time, Connie Booth. The show also starred Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs.

In 1977, John Cleese appeared on The Muppet Show, also co-writing much of the episode. He also makes a cameo in the 1981 film The Great Muppet Caper.

Also in 1981, John Cleese starred in the Terry Gilliam-directed film Time Bandits, along with Michael Palin and Sean Connery.

In 1988, John Cleese wrote and starred in A Fish Called Wanda. The comedy film also starred Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin and Kevin Kline. It was a commercial and critical success. The script earned Cleese an Academy Award nomination. He later landed a role in Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, along with Robert De Niro.

In 1996, John Cleese rejected an invitation to accept a CBE (Commander of the British Empire).

The follow-up to A Fish Called Wanda was entitled Fierce Creatures. Featuring much of the same cast, the film was not so well received as its predecessor.

John Cleese appeared in the 1999 James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. In the film, he plays Q's assistant, referred to as R. In the film, Bond was played by Pierce Brosnan and the film also stars Denise Richards, Robert Carlyle and Sophie Marceau. Cleese then went on to reprise his role in Die Another Day, with Brosnan at the helm as well as Halle Berry and Rosamund Pike.

In 2003, John Cleese made a brief appearance in the popular US sitcom Will and Grace, starring Debra Messing and Eric McCormack. He also filmed the sequel to the remake of The Pink Panther (entitled The Pink Panther 2) with Steve Martin and the Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai.

John Cleese: Personal Life

John Cleese married Connie Booth in 1968. Their only child, Cynthia Cleese, was born in 1971. After divorcing Booth, Cleese married the actress Barbara Trentham. Their daughter Camilla was born in 1984. He divorced Trentham in 1990.

Cleese then married Alyce Faye Eichelberger, an American psychotherapist. When they divorced in 2008, the settlement was worked so that Eichelberger would end up with more of Cleese's money than he would.

Read More

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18th August 2014 -

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Communications watchdog Ofcom is investigating the Monty Python live show after bad language was broadcast before the watershed. Many of the complaints about the farewell show on 'Gold' concerned offensive language though some fans had...

John Cleese To Star As Villain in Baywatch-but-not-Baywatch Spin-Off. What?

8th July 2014 -

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4th July 2014 -

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3rd July 2014 -

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The last ever round of Monty Python reunion shows has been getting mixed reviews since its first night, July 1. While most fans likely filled the 20,000 seats of the O2 Arena because of nostalgia,...

Mick Jagger Takes The Mickey In Monty Python Reunion Tour Video

1st July 2014 -

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Mick Jagger has starred in a promotional video for the upcoming Monty Python live shows, the first of which will be held tonight at London's O2 venue. The Rolling Stones rocker displays his witty sense...

Recent James Bond Films Have Been Geared Towards Asian Audiences, Says John Cleese

24th June 2014 -

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John Cleese, who played James Bond’s gadget man Q in 2002’s Die Another Day, has claimed that filmmakers are more interested in the Britsh Spy’s action sequences than the witty one-liners and quintessentially British themes...

'The Last Night Of Monty Python' Stage Show To Be Shown In Cinemas

25th April 2014 -

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This latest announcement will see Monty Python fans simultaneously rejoice and mourn. The bizarre band of innovative comedians will regroup for the final time to perform at London’s O2 arena in July. The five remaining...

Michael Palin: "A Lot of Monty Python Was Crap, It Really Was"

9th April 2014 -

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Michael Palin, 70, has claimed that much of his pioneering comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus was "crap". The comedian, writer and broadcaster conceded there had been some "gleaming moments" such as the Dead Parrot...

Monty Python Live Tickets Sell Out In Just 43 Seconds, More Shows Announced

25th November 2013 -

 News

The eagerly-awaited Monty Python stage show has been extended from one to five days, scheduled for early July next year. The move to add more live dates to the list came as organisers announced that...

A Week In News: Monty Python Reunion, Hunger Games Catching Fire, Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner

22nd November 2013 -

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Dead Parrot's alive! Like David Bowie's comeback in January, we were stunned this week when the surviving members of Monty Python announced they would be reuniting for a special-one off stage show at London's O2...

Monty Python Tickets From £25. Showing the Stones How To Do It.

22nd November 2013 -

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News that the surviving members of Monty Python are to reunite for a one-off show at London's O2 Arena in July was met with universal delight in the comedy world this week, though there was...

Monty Python Will Be Back With New Stage Show! Press Conference Scheduled For Today!

21st November 2013 -

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Earlier this week, Terry Jones announced that he and the surviving Monty Python members will all return to the stage, marking the first time in decades since they were all reunited. Jones' initial statement was...

Monty Python Reunion Sees Bookies Cutting Odds on New Feature Film

20th November 2013 -

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News of the Monty Python reunion ripped through the entertainment world on Tuesday (August 19, 2013), with the surviving members of the Flying Circus, John Cleese, 74, Terry Gilliam, 72, Terry Jones, 71, Eric Idle,...

Monty Python Set To Reunite For Stage Show

20th November 2013 -

 News

Britain's funniest comedy group are set to reunite for a stage production for the first time in over quarter of a century. The five surviving members, John Cleese, 74, Terry Gilliam, 72, Terry Jones, 71,...

Monty Python Back Together For Stage Show - Just in Time For Christmas

19th November 2013 -

 News

They say timing is everything when it comes to comedy, although that logic applies to more then a well-delivered joke, it would seem. The cast of Monty Python, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric...

Planes

15th August 2013 -

 Movie Review

Disney takes over Pixar's "World of Cars" with this spin-off that no-one really asked for (Cars 2 wasn't exactly a mega-hit). Indeed, this is an essentially disposable adventure, smiley and formulaic with a few minor...

John Cleese Furiously Lashes Out At British Press As He Mourns Ex-Wife

14th August 2013 -

 News

Less than a fortnight after the passing of his ex-wife of nine years, actor John Cleese has decided to vocalise his opinions about the UK press. Cleese was married to model Barbara Trentham until 1990...

Check Out The First Sneak Peak At Pixar's 'Planes' [Trailer]

28th May 2013 -

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Pixar Animators may have nailed it again, with the new trailer for the upcoming Planes looking as though the only way is (further) up for the Disney-owned studio. The new film comes straight from the...

Planes

28th May 2013 -

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Dusty is a super swift cropduster whose horsepower would be a force to be reckoned with for many aircrafts were he to compete with them for speed. However, there's just one problem; Dusty is terrified...

Lightning McQueen's Aeroplane Incarnation Dusty Crophopper To Hit Theatres In 'Planes' (Pictures and Trailer)

2nd April 2013 -

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Here is your first taster of the upcoming 'Cars' spin-off 'Planes'; an equally endearing animated movie about determination and achieving your dreams set to hit screens on August 16th 2013.DisneyToon Studios brings us this fantastic...

Planes

2nd April 2013 -

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Dusty may be a super speedy cropdusting aircraft but there's a reason why he spends his days skimming fields; he is terrified of flying. Nonetheless he is determined to conquer his phobia of heights and...

A Liar's Autobiography

8th February 2013 -

 Movie Review

Subtitled "The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman", this outrageously colourful animated movie certainly can't be pigeonholed as a documentary or a biopic, even though there are elements of each. The filmmakers use recordings...

A Liar's Autobiography

4th February 2013 -

 Video

The 'Monty Python' group are returning to our screens once more with 'A Liar's Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman'. It is not a Monty Python sketch, merely the uncensored screen product...

BBC Accused of 'Airbrushing History' in Fawlty Towers

23rd January 2013 -

 News

One of the UK's most popular comedy moments, The Germans episode in Fawlty Towers, was censored to avoid racist language. Instead of the positive reaction the BBC probably expected, there has instead been mass criticism...

Tributes for Michael Winner Roll In

21st January 2013 -

 News

British film director, actor and food writer, Michael Winner, died aged 77 today after battling a long illness. Such was his influence, both at work and away from it, the tributes are both heartfelt and...

Robbie Williams, David Beckham and John Cleese Among 150-Strong Shortlist To Feature On The New £10 Note

23rd December 2012 -

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Robbie Williams, David Beckham, Princess Diana, and a few people actually deserving of the honour, have all been included in a 150-strong shortlist of potential replacements for Charles Darwin on the back of the £10...

Monty Python Stars Sued For As Much As £1m In Royalties From The Musical Spamalot.

30th November 2012 -

 News

An enigmatic, mysterious man dubbed the 'seventh Python' is suing the stars of Monty Python for the cash they made while performing in the musical, Spamalot, a spin off from Monty Python And The Holy...

Spamalot Won’t Pay A Lot? Surviving Monty Pythons Sued By Holy Grail Producer

30th November 2012 -

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The producer of Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Mark Forstater - is suing the remaining members of Monty Python over royalty rights to the stage show Spamalot. Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael...

The Big Year

29th November 2011 -

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Brad Harris is having what he calls a 'no-life crisis'. He is stuck in a soul destroying job and he is still living with his parents, despite him being in his mid-thirties. The one thing...

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Hundred Acre Wood is home to a very special group of friends, Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl Kanga and Roo, their day to day lives are filled with adverture - and most importantly the...

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Comments

lynne jenkinson's picture

lynne jenkinson

John You are a rich man which gave your the advantage of marrying a woman many years younger than you are. You enjoyed the priveldge for nine years of being seen around with a very beautiful blond, which must have done a lot for your image. So you got taken to the cleaners. Tough luck! Trophy wives are an expensive commodity. You are a celebrity who has been round the track a few times it has happened to others of your ilk! Did you think that it could not happen to you. I do not agree with big divorce settlements but you should have seen it coming

4 years 11 months ago
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Blair Davidson's picture

Blair Davidson

Here is a comment: In Cleese's "Mountaneer Sketch" the interesting point is that his apparent dillusion is that they will be climbing "both peaks of Mount Kilamanjaro". The truth is that Kilamanjaro does have two peaks,of 19,565 ft and 17,300 ft. Cleese was in the right as his luny character in the sketch.

8 years 5 months ago
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