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.