"The really good idea is always traceable back quite a long way, often to a not very good idea which sparked off another idea that was only slightly better, which somebody else misunderstood in such a way that they then said something which was really rather interesting."

Happy birthday John Cleese!


John Cleese (born October 27, 1939) is a British actor, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known for his work in the comedy troupe Monty Python, and its associated television and film series.

John-Cleese-001Cleese was born John Marwood Cleese in Weston-super-Mare, England to Reginald Francis Cleese and Muriel Evelyn Cleese. He attended St Peter's Preparatory School, where he did well in English, cricket, and boxing. He spent two years teaching there before going on to Cambridge, where he joined Cambridge Footlights, the theatrical group on campus. This is where he met future writing partner Graham Chapman. (Image source)

While in Footlights, he was a cast member in the 1963 Footlights Revue A Clump of Plinths (later renamed Cambridge Circus), which was so successful that it went all the way to London's West End.


The cast of 'Cambridge Circus (source)

After Cambridge Circus, he performed on and off Broadway in the United States. Before long, he was asked to write for the BBC. He wrote for the sketch comedy show The Dick Emery Show and The Frost Report. He eventually also appeared as an actor on The Frost Report, and later on At Last the 1948 Show.





Soon, he began writing Monty Python's Flying Circus with some of his colleagues from his previous shows. It debuted on the BBC in October, 1969.



©BBC (source)





In 1972, he formed Video Arts Ltd., which produced humorous training videos for corporations.

After its fourth season, Cleese left Flying Circus, feeling frustrated that he was paired to write with Chapman, whose alcoholism had begun to affect his work. Despite having left the television series, he did contribute to the group's film projects: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979), and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983). Some of his best-known characters on Monty Python included "Mr. Praline," the man with a dead Norwegian Blue parrot and other animals all called "Eric," and "Sergeant Major."


By 1975, he had begun work on a sitcom, Fawlty Towers, with his wife, Connie Booth.


In 1988, he garnered success again with the film A Fish Called Wanda. In it, he starred alongside Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis. The script earned him an Academy Award nomination and it made $200 million at the box office.

Since then, he has appeared in The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Ever After (2010).



Cleese has appeared in countless other television and film roles, his voice being very frequently put to use. He has even lent his voice to several video games.

Cleese has won two BAFTA awards and one Emmy award, and has been nominated for several others.

His latest project has been a comedy tour to raise money for the alimony he owes his ex-wife, Alyce Faye Eichelberger.


Selected performances:

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Monday, 27 October 2014
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