John Cleese

Actor, Screenwriter, Producer
As perhaps the most famous of the performers who starred in the irreverent comedy troupe, Monty Python, actor and comedian John Cleese reached legendary status, thanks to his deadpan delivery of ridiculous characters ... Read more »
Born: 10/26/1939 in Somerset, England, GB

Filmography

Actor (99)

Absolutely Anything 2015 (Movie)

(Voice)

Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbled Big 2014 (Movie)

(Voice)

Igor: Unholy Frijoles 2014 (Movie)

Voice of Dr. Glickenstein (Voice)

Monty Python Live (Mostly) 2014 (Movie)

Himself - Various (Actor)

Over the Garden Wall 2014 (Tv Show)

Voice

Real Time with Bill Maher 2014 (Tv Show)

Interviewee

Spud 3: Learning to Fly 2014 (Movie)

The Guv (Actor)

The Last Impresario 2014 (Movie)

Interviewee (Himself)

Planes 2013 (Movie)

Bulldog (Voice)

Whitney 2012 - 2013 (Tv Show)

Actor

God Loves Caviar 2012 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Big Year 2011 (Movie)

Historical Montage Narrator (Actor)

Winnie the Pooh 2011 (Movie)

(Narrator)

Entourage 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Shrek Forever After 2010 (Movie)

King (Voice)

Spud 2010 (Movie)

(Actor)

Planet 51 2009 (Movie)

Voice of Professor Kipple (Actor)

The Pink Panther 2 2009 (Movie)

Dreyfus (Actor)

Igor 2008 (Movie)

Dr. Glickenstein (Voice)

The Day the Earth Stood Still 2008 (Movie)

Professor Barnhardt (Actor)

Shrek the Third 2007 (Movie)

Voice of King (Actor)

Charlotte's Web 2006 (Movie)

Voice of Samuel the Sheep (Actor)

John Cleese on Wine for the Confused 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Host

Man About Town 2005 (Movie)

Dr Primkin (Actor)

The 2004 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

Valiant 2005 (Movie)

Voice of Mecury (Voice)

Around the World in 80 Days 2004 (Movie)

Grizzled Sergeant (Actor)

Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys 2004 (Movie)

British Expert (Actor)

Shrek 2 2004 (Movie)

Voice of King (Actor)

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle 2003 (Movie)

Mr Munday (Actor)

Scorched 2003 (Movie)

Charles Merchant (Actor)

Die Another Day 2002 (Movie)

Q (Actor)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 (Movie)

Nearly Headless Nick (Actor)

Pinocchio 2002 (Movie)

Voice of The Cricket (Actor)

The Adventures of Pluto Nash 2002 (Movie)

James (Actor)

Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central) 2002 (Tv Show)

Actor

3rd Rock From the Sun 1997 - 1998, 2000 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Disney's Mickey MouseWorks 1998 - 2001 (TV Show)

Narrator

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 2001 (Movie)

Nearly Headless Nick (Actor)

Intimate Portrait: Jamie Lee Curtis 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Rat Race 2001 (Movie)

Donald Sinclair (Actor)

Steve Martin Seriously Funny 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

The Human Face With John Cleese 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Isn't She Great 2000 (Movie)

Henry Marcus (Actor)

Lemurs With John Cleese 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The Magic Pudding 2000 (Movie)

of Albert--The Magic Pudding (Voice)

The Out-Of-Towners 1999 (Movie)

Mr Mersault (Actor)

The Quantum Project 1999 (Movie)

Alexander Pentcho (Actor)

The World Is Not Enough 1999 (Movie)

R (Actor)

12th Annual American Comedy Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Parting Shots 1998 (Movie)

Maurice Walpole (Actor)

Fierce Creatures 1997 (Movie)

Rollo Lee (Actor)

George of the Jungle 1997 (Movie)

of an Ape named (Voice)

The Wind in the Willows 1997 (Movie)

Mr Toad's Lawyer (Actor)

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 1994 (Movie)

Professor Waldman (Actor)

Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book 1994 (Movie)

Dr Plumford (Actor)

The Swan Princess 1994 (Movie)

of Jean-Bob (Voice)

Splitting Heirs 1993 (Movie)

Shadgrind (Actor)

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West 1991 (Movie)

of Cat R Waul (Voice)

The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Bullseye! 1990 (Movie)

Man on Beach in Barbados (Actor)

Life of Python 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Erik the Viking 1989 (Movie)

Halfdan the Black (Actor)

The Big Picture 1989 (Movie)

Bartender (Actor)

A Fish Called Wanda 1988 (Movie)

Archie Leach (Actor)

George Schlatter's Funny People 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Monty Python's Flying Circus 1974 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The 2nd Annual American Comedy Awards 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Cheers 1987 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Secret Policeman's Third Ball 1987 (Movie)

(Actor)

Clockwise 1986 (Movie)

Brian Stimpson (Actor)

Silverado 1985 (Movie)

Sheriff Langston (Actor)

Privates on Parade 1983 (Movie)

Major Giles Flack (Actor)

Yellowbeard 1983 (Movie)

Blind Pew (Actor)

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1982 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Great Muppet Caper 1981 (Movie)

Neville (Actor)

Time Bandits 1981 (Movie)

Robin Hood (Actor)

The Secret Policeman's Other Ball 1980 (Movie)

(Actor)

Monty Python's Life Of Brian 1979 (Movie)

3rd Wise Man (Actor)

The Secret Policeman's Ball 1978 (Movie)

(Actor)

Fawlty Towers 1976 (TV Show)

Actor

Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 (Movie)

Black Knight (Actor)

Pleasure at Her Majesty's 1975 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer 1970 (Movie)

Pumer (Actor)

The Magic Christian 1969 (Movie)

Director at Sotheby's (Actor)

The Statue 1969 (Movie)

Harry (Actor)

Interlude 1968 (Movie)

TV Publicist (Actor)

The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom 1968 (Movie)

(Actor)

Laughing Matters (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (15)

The Croods 2013 (Movie)

(Story By)

Fierce Creatures 1997 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

A Fish Called Wanda 1988 (Movie)

(From Story)

A Fish Called Wanda 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

That Was the Week That Was 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Writer

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1982 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl 1981 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Monty Python's Life Of Brian 1979 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Secret Policeman's Ball 1978 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Fawlty Towers 1976 (TV Show)

Creator

Fawlty Towers 1976 (TV Show)

Writer

Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1975 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Doctor in the House 1971 - 1974 (TV Show)

Writer

And Now For Something Completely Different 1973 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer 1970 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Music (2)

George of the Jungle 1997 (Movie)

("My Way") (Song Performer)

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life 1982 (Movie)

("Oh Lord Please Don't Burn Us Down") (Song)
Producer (2)

Fierce Creatures 1997 (Movie)

(Producer)

A Fish Called Wanda 1988 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)
Director (1)

The Secret Policeman's Ball 1978 (Movie)

stage director (Director)
Production Management (1)

The Secret Policeman's Other Ball 1980 (Movie)

stage show assistant director (Assistant Director)
Other (2)

Payne 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Other

And Now For Something Completely Different 1973 (Movie)

from idea (Other)

Biography

As perhaps the most famous of the performers who starred in the irreverent comedy troupe, Monty Python, actor and comedian John Cleese reached legendary status, thanks to his deadpan delivery of ridiculous characters and limber-limbed slapstick antics. Prior to starring on "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (BBC, 1969-1974) with cast mates Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, Cleese had established himself predominantly as a writer and occasional performer on such British series as "The Dick Emery Show" (BBC, 1963-1991) and "The Frost Report" (BBC, 1966). But with Monty Python, Cleese became an international star once the series began airing in America on PBS, which led to several films, two of which - "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1974) and "Monty Python's Life of Brian" (1979) - became instant classics. Following the death of Chapman in 1989, Monty Python as a full unit ceased to be, though on several occasions the surviving members reunited for various stage performances. Meanwhile, after numerous supporting roles, Cleese broke through with "A Fish Called Wanda" (1988), which reintroduced him to a new generation and paved the way for a long, venerable career as a prominent character actor in major Hollywood blockbusters.

Relationships

Connie Booth Actor

Wife
Married 1968 Co-wrote and co-starred in BBC's "Fawlty Towers"; also appeared in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) Divorced 1978

Reginald Cleese

Father

Muriel Cleese

Mother

Camilla Cleese

Daughter
Born in 1984 mother, Barbara Trentham

Cynthia Cleese

Daughter
Born in 1971 mother, Connie Booth played a zookeepers in "Fierce Creatures" (1997) starring her father

Alyce Faye Eichelberger Actor

Wife
Married Dec. 28, 1992 Divorced January 2008

Barbara Trentham Actor

Wife
Married 1981 Divorced 1990

Jennifer Wade

Wife
Married Aug. 2, 2012

EDUCATION

University of Cambridge

Cambridge , England 1960 - 1963
Attended Cambridge's Downing College; met future writing partner Graham Chapman

Clifton College

Clifton , Bristol, City of 1953 - 1958
Concentrated on math, physics, and chemistry

Milestones

2011

Cast in the comedy feature "The Big Year" opposite Owen Wilson, Jack Black, and Steve Martin

2011

Narrated the animated family film "Winnie the Pooh"

2010

Returned to voice King Harold in the animated feature "Shrek Forever After"

2009

Voiced Professer Kripple in the animated sci-fi film "Planet 51"

2008

Cast as Professor Barnhardt, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist in the remake of the 1951 sci-fi movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

2008

Lent his voice to the animated comedy "Igor"

2007

Reprised the role of King Harold for "Shrek the Third"

2006

Voiced Samuel the sheep in live-action/computer-animated feature film "Charlotte's Web," based on the book by E.B. White

2005

Toured New Zealand with his one-man show "Seven Ways to Skin an Ocelot"

2004

Cast as The Balloon Man in the Disney live action feature "Around the World in 80 Days"

2004

Voiced Fiona's Father, King Harold in the animated feature "Shrek 2"

2004

Had a recurring role on the NBC sitcom, "Will and Grace," as the father of Lorraine Finster (Minnie Driver) and Karen's love interest; nominated for an Emmy Award

2003

Cast as the father of Alex (Lucy Liu) in "Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle"

2002

Returned as Nearly Headless Nick in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets"

2002

Promoted to the role of Q in his next Bond outing "Die Another Day"

2002

Cast as the owner of a TV network on the short-lived ABC comedy "Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)"

2001

Appeared in the ensemble comedy "Rat Race," a throwback to the star-packed comedies of the 1960s

2001

Played Nearly Headless Nick in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"

1999

Played a fictionalized version of Simon & Schuster head Dick Snyder in "Isn't She Great"

1999

Appeared in the James Bond film "The World Is Not Enough" as Q's assistant, referred to by Bond as 'R'

1999

Played Mr. Mersault, the hotel manager in the remake of "The Out-of-Towners"

1997

Voiced Ape, the mentor and father figure of Brendan Fraser's "George of the Jungle"

1995

Re-teamed with the cast from "A Fish Called Wanda" for the less successful, "Fierce Creatures"

1994

Portrayed Professor Waldman, Frankenstein's tutor and colleague, in Kenneth Branagh's "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein"

1991

Lent his voice to the animated feature "An American Tail: Feivel Goes West"

1988

First feature film as producer, "A Fish Called Wanda" (also co-starred and scripted); directed by Crichton; nominated for an Academy Award for his script; Kline co-starred in his Oscar winning performance

1987

First American TV guest spot, "Cheers" (NBC)

1986

Played a school headmaster obsessed with punctuality in "Clockwise"

1985

Delivered a memorable turn as Sheriff Langston in "Silverado"; first collaboration with Kevin Kline

1983

Re-teamed for "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life"

1981

Starred as Robin Hood in Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits"

1979

Starred in "The Secret Policeman's Ball" for Amnesty International (aired as a one-hour TV special, a full-length movie and two record albums)

1979

Offended all religions equally in "Monty Python's Life of Brian"

1975

Co-created, co-starred and co-wrote (with then wife Connie Booth) the TV series "Fawlty Towers" (BBC)

1975

Re-teamed with the gang for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

1972

Began making TV commercials

1970

Formed Video Arts Ltd. to make industrial training films

1970

First Monty Python film, "And Now for Something Completely Different"

1970

Wrote (with Chapman) several episodes including the pilot of the British series "Doctor in the House"

1969

Feature screenwriting debut (with Chapman), "The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer"; also acted in film

1968

Debuted the BBC's "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (aired in the U.S. on PBS)

1968

First screen credit (with Chapman), "The Magic Christian"

1968

Screen acting debut in "The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom"

1966

Began writing (with Chapman) for the BBC show "The Frost Report"

1964

Performed in New York (on and off-Broadway) and on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (CBS) with the Footlights Revue

1963

Joined BBC Radio writing sketches for the "Dick Emery Show"

1963

Cast in the Footlights Revue "A Clump of Plinths"; later changed name to "Cambridge Circus" and performed in London's West End

Worked with Charles Crichton on 17 short films

Joined the Cambridge Footlights Revue, where he met his future writing partner Graham Chapman

Bonus Trivia

.

Cleese's company, Video Arts Ltd., won the prestigious Queen's Award for Industry in 1981.

.

"In October 1988, Cleese gave about $140,000 to Sussex University to finance a three-year study into the psychological phenomenon of projection and denial – the tendency for people to deny that a problem is caused by themselves, and to project the blame onto someone else. Cleese will own the copyright on the research and hopes to eventually write a book with Robin Skynner on the topic." – from "Cleese Up Close" by Bill Bryson in The New York Times magazine, Dec. 25, 1988

.

"Cleese's humor has always been built around those characteristics that most set the English apart – a sense of decorum, class rigidities, suppressed emotions, a fondness for the lilt and flow of words and, above all, an instinctive delight in the absurd." – from "Cleese Up Close" by Bill Bryson in The New York Times magazine, Dec. 25, 1988

.

In 1996, Cleese declined the British honor of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

.

"I'm the most unmusical man in Europe. I once did a Broadway musical ('Half a Sixpence') and I was only allowed to mime. It was in 1965 and it was only a small role. But after about six weeks, I just started joining in very quietly, and about two performances later, the musical director came up and said, 'John?' I said, 'Yes, sir?' 'Are you singing?' I said, 'Just a little.' He said, 'Don't!'" – Cleese on his lack of singing ability, quoted in Premiere magazine, January 1997

.

"The only way to understand 'Monty Python' was that it was six writers who happened to perform their own material. And the reason you can tell is because we used to fight like cats and dogs about relative merit of material. Terrible fights. We never, ever fought about the acting. Nobody was ever cross about not getting a part. It didn't matter. What mattered was getting the material right. We were almost a bit Puritan about it." – Cleese quoted in USA Today, Feb. 16, 1999

.

A longtime outspoken advocate and activist for animals, Cleese inspired researchers in 2005 to name a newly discovered species of Madagascar lemur after him: the avahi cleesei.

SIMILAR ARTICLES