John Cleese


John Marwood Cleese (born 27 October 1939) is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer. He achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and as a scriptwriter on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s he became a member of Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the four Monty Python films: And Now for Something Completely Different, Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

In the mid 1970s, Cleese and his first wife Connie Booth, co-wrote and starred in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. Later, he co-starred with Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and former Python colleague Michael Palin in A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures. He also starred in Clockwise, and has appeared in many other films, including two James Bond films, two Harry Potter films, and three Shrek films.

With Yes Minister writer Antony Jay he co-founded the production company Video Arts, responsible for making entertaining training films.


Birth Name

John Marwood Cleese


6′ 5″ (1.96 m)


Early life

Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, the only child of Muriel (née Cross), an acrobat, and Reginald Francis Cleese (b. 1894), who worked in insurance sales.[1] His family’s surname was previously “Cheese”, but his father changed it to “Cleese” in 1915, upon joining the Army.[2][3]

Cleese was educated at St Peter’s Preparatory School where he was a star pupil, receiving a prize for English studies and doing well at sport including cricket and boxing. At 13 he received an exhibition to Clifton College, an English public school in Bristol. He was tall as a child and was well over 6 ft when he arrived there. While at the school he is said to have defaced the school grounds for a prank by painting footprints to suggest that the school’s statue of Field Marshal Earl Haig had got down from his plinth and gone to the toilet.[4] Cleese played cricket for the first team, and after initial indifference he did well academically, passing 8 O-Levels and 3 A-Levels in mathematics, physics and chemistry.[citation needed]

After leaving school, he went back to his prep school to teach science before taking up a place he had won at Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied Law and joined the Cambridge Footlights. There he met his future writing partner Graham Chapman. Cleese wrote extra material for the 1961 Footlights Revue I Thought I Saw It Move,[5][6] and was Registrar for the Footlights Club during 1962, as well as being one of the cast members for the 1962 Footlights Revue Double Take![5][6] He graduated from Cambridge in 1963 with a 2:1 classification in his degree. Despite his successes on The Frost Report, his father would send him cuttings from the Daily Telegraph offering management jobs in places like Marks and Spencer.


Where Are They Now

(February 2005) Provided recorded voice of God for the Broadway musical “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”

(November 2005) Currently touring New Zealand with his new stage show “John Cleese, His Life and His Current Medical Conditions” (or something very similar)

(June 2006) He lives in Montecito, California.

(2008) Co-host with Barbara, of an infomercial for Bottom Line’s “Book of Inside Infomation”.

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