Happy Birthday, Ricky Gervais!

For a guy who only hit the big time just a decade ago, The Office genius has packed a whole lot of success into his forties.

To celebrate his 50 years, WENN has come up with 10 fascinating facts you may not know about the British birthday boy…

– Before he became a star, Gervais had a flop music career as part of New Romantic duo Seona Dancing, with his pal Bill Macrae. They released two singles – Bitter Heart and More To Lose. He went on to manage cult British band Suede.

– He has been with his girlfriend, TV producer Jane Fallon, since they met at university in London in 1982. They have never married.

– Ricky won’t do just anything for cash – he has turned down a $2 million (£1.25 million) drinks advertisement, a role in Pirates of the Caribbean and a part in Mission: Impossible II.

– He loves animals. As well as outspokenly campaigning for animal rights, he has a cat called Ollie and owned a salamander, named Tel.

– Gervais is a charitable soul – he once raised $8,000 (£5,000) by winning a BBC celebrity boxing match against British businessman Grant Bovey.

– His top three albums of all time are The Bends by Radiohead, David Bowie classic Aladdin Sane and The Smiths’ eponymous debut record.

– Ricky hated watching back his role in TV show Alias because he can’t stand to see himself acting seriously.

– He offered to help write Prince Harry’s best man speech for Prince William’s wedding in April (11).

– Gervais is the only Brit to ever pen an episode of The Simpsons.

– He holds dual British/Canadian citizenship. His dad, Lawrence, emigrated to London from Ontario during World War II.