John Cleese
Born 1939

Fawlty Towers 2: BBC Radio Audio Book Cassette (1994)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
Taming of the Shrew | Rentadick
At Last the 1948 Show
The Complete Fawlty Towers
Monty Python - The Monster Box Set
Monty Python's Flying Circus - The Complete First Series | Second Series | Third Series | Fourth Series

British Actor

Spindly, straight-backed, grasshopper-like British comic actor with thinning dark hair, hollow eyes, annoyed expression and snapping, upper-class tones. Perhaps the funniest British star of his generation, his films and TV appearances have been too few for the liking of his fans.

The son of a Somerset insurance salesman, Cleese (the family name was changed from Cheese in 1915) was 6 ft tall at 12 years old, 'a timid, weedy kid with no way of fading into the background'. Seven years and five inches later, he joined the Cambridge University Footlights revue and shattered forever his parents' dreams of him becoming a solicitor.

Excelling at characters who express annoyance at being found funny, Cleese broke through on television with other university-reared comedians in the anarchic TV series Monty Python's Flying Circus. He could be beautifully straight-faced about idiotic subjects: a famous sketch about a man complaining about being sold a dead parrot was repeated in a subsequent Python film. Above all, his body language - all knees and elbows - was hilarious.

John Cleese, Rat Race (2001)

John Cleese autographs, dvds, photographs, dvds and more @ (direct link to signed items)

Film roles, though, remained largely snooty cameos, even after his tremendous TV success as Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers, the monstrous seaside hotelier described by one writer as 'a unique exhibit in the comedy chamber of horrors'. The Fawlty half-hours are little miracles of invention, characterisation and comic timing, and in them Cleese proved himself a master of sarcasm and one of comedy's great escalating panickers, a man whose snide unflappability gradually crumbled as he attempted to put fingers in an ever-increasing number of holes in a dam in the face of a flood of impending disaster.

The Fawlty creation was unusual in that he remained a fairly unsympathetic character. Cleese re-proved the theory that you didn't have to play lovable idiots to get laughs in the films Privates on Parade and Clockwise. In 1988 he had his first really big box-office hit with A Fish Called Wanda, a caper comedy which, like most of his material, Cleese wrote himself.

He was at one time married to American-born actress Connie Booth, his co-writer and co-star in Fawlty Towers.

f i l m o g r a p h y

    Bond 21 (2005) (pre-production) .... Q
    Valiant (2005) (filming) (voice)
    Complete Guide to Guys (2005) (post-production) .... British Expert

    Around the World in 80 Days (2004) .... Grizzled Sergeant
    Shrek 2 (2004) (voice) .... King
    James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (2004) (VG) (voice) .... Q
    ... aka Everything or Nothing (2004) (VG) (USA: short title)
    Education Tips No. 41: Choosing a Really Expensive School (2003) (V) .... Prof. Dik Bonkers/Dr. Ken Enron Chaney
    George of the Jungle 2 (2003) (V) (voice) .... Ape
    Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) .... Mr. Munday
    Die Another Day (2002) .... Q
    ... aka D.A.D. (2002) (USA: promotional abbreviation)
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) .... Nearly Headless Nick
    Pinocchio (2002) (voice: US version) .... The Talking Cricket
    ... aka Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio (2002) (USA: promotional title)
    Mickey's House of Villains (2002) (V) (voice) .... Narrator (segment "Mickey's Mechanical House")
    Adventures of Pluto Nash, The (2002) .... James
    ... aka Pluto Nash (2002) (UK) (USA: working title)
    Scorched (2003/I) .... Mr. Merchant
    "Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)" (2002) TV Series .... Red Lansing
    ... aka "My Adventures in Television" (2002) (USA: new title)
    Taking the Wheel (2002)
    Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse (2001) (V) .... Narrator
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) .... Nearly Headless Nick
    ... aka Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001) (International: English title) (UK)
    ... aka Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) (USA)
    Rat Race (2001) .... Donald P. Sinclair
    ... aka Course folle (2001) (Canada: French title)
    "House of Mouse" (2001) TV Series (voice) .... Narrator
    Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (2000) (voice)
    Rockstar (2000) .... Interviewer in lounge
    Magic Pudding, The (2000) (voice) .... Albert the Magic Pudding
    007 Racing (2000) (VG) (voice) .... R
    Quantum Project (2000) .... Alexander Pentcho
    Isn't She Great (2000) .... Henry Marcus
    ... aka Ist sie nicht gro▀artig? (2001) (Germany)

    World Is Not Enough, The (1999) .... R
    ... aka Pressure Point (1999) (USA: changed title)
    ... aka T.W.I.N.E. (1999) (UK: promotional abbreviation)
    "Mickey Mouse Works" (1999) TV Series (voice) .... Narrator
    BFI London Imax Signature Film, The (1999)
    Out-of-Towners, The (1999) .... Mr. Mersault
    Parting Shots (1999) .... Maurice Walpole
    Starship Titanic (1998) (VG) (as Kim Bread) .... The Bomb
    Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1997) (VG) .... Various
    Unorganized Manager, Part Three: Lamentations, The (1997) (V) .... St. Peter
    George of the Jungle (1997) (voice) .... An Ape Named 'Ape'
    Fierce Creatures (1997) .... Rollo Lee
    Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail (1996) (VG) .... Sir Lancelot, et. al.
    Wind in the Willows, The (1996/I) .... Mr. Toad's Lawyer
    ... aka Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (1997) (USA: video title)
    "Look at the State We're In!" (1995) (mini) TV Series .... Minister
    Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time (1994) (VG) .... Various
    Jungle Book, The (1994) .... Dr. Julien Plumford
    ... aka Libro de la selva, El (1994) (USA: Spanish title)
    ... aka Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1994)
    Swan Princess, The (1994) (voice) .... Jean-Bob
    Frankenstein (1994) .... Professor Waldeman
    ... aka Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)
    Splitting Heirs (1993) .... Raoul P. Shadgrind
    American Tail: Fievel Goes West, An (1991) (voice) .... Cat R. Waul
    Grime Goes Green: Your Business and the Environment (1990) (V) .... Mr. Grime
    Bullseye! (1990) .... Man on the Beach in Barbados Who Looks Like John Cleese

    Big Picture, The (1989) .... Bartender Frankie
    Erik the Viking (1989) .... Halfdan the Black
    ... aka Erik viking (1989) (Sweden)
    Fish Called Wanda, A (1988) .... Archie Leach
    Baby Quark (1987) (TV) (voice: English version) .... Narrator
    Quark and the Highway Robber (1987) (voice)
    Clockwise (1986) .... Brian Stimpson
    Silverado (1985) .... Sheriff John T. Langston, Turley
    Budgeting (1984) (V) .... Julian Carruthers
    Yellowbeard (1983) .... Harvey 'Blind' Pew
    Meaning of Life, The (1983) .... Fish #2/Dr. Spenser/Humphrey
    Williams/Sturridge/Ainsworth/Waiter/Man/Maitre D/Grim Reaper
    ... aka Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983) (UK: complete title)
    Privates on Parade (1982) .... Major Giles Flack
    Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) .... Various roles
    "Whoops Apocalypse" (1982) TV Series .... Lacrobat
    Time Bandits (1981) .... Robin Hood
    Great Muppet Caper, The (1981) .... Nevil
    Cost, Profit, and Break-Even (1980) (V) .... Julian Carruthers
    Depreciation and Inflation (1980) (V) .... Julian Carruthers
    Taming of the Shrew, The (1980) (TV) .... Petruchio
    ... aka Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew, The (1980) (TV) (USA: video title)
    Peter Cook & Co. (1980) (TV) .... Various Characters

    Away from It All (1979) (as Nigel Farquhar-Bennett) .... Narrator
    I'd Like a Word with You (1979) (V) .... Ethelred the Unready/Ivan the Terrible/William the Silent
    To Norway, Home of Giants (1979) (TV) .... Norman Fearless
    Life of Brian (1979) .... Wise Man #1/Reg/Jewish Official/Centurion/Deadly Dirk/Arthur
    ... aka Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) (UK: complete title)
    Control of Working Capital, The (1978) (V) .... Julian Carruthers
    Balance Sheet Barrier, The (1977) (V) .... Julian Carruthers
    Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It, The (1977) .... Arthur Sherlock Holmes
    Mermaid Frolics, The (1977) (TV) .... Various
    ... aka Evening Without Sir Bernard Miles, An (1977) (TV) (UK)
    Can We Please Have That the Right Way Round? (1976) (V)
    Cold Call, The (1976) (V)
    Pleasure at Her Majesty's (1976) (TV) .... Various
    ... aka Monty Python Meets Beyond the Fringe (1976) (TV)
    Awkward Customers (1975) (V)
    ... aka Selling Line: Awkward Customers, The (1975) (V) (UK: complete title)
    Decisions, Decisions (1975) (V) .... Field Marshal Montgomery/Queen Elizabeth I./Brutus/Sir Winston Churchill
    In Two Minds (1975) (V)
    ... aka Selling Line: In Two Minds, The (1975) (V) (UK: complete title)
    Meeting of Minds, The (1975) (V)
    More Akward Customers (1975) (V)
    ... aka Selling Line: More Awkward Customers, The (1975) (V) (UK: complete title)
    How Not to Exhibit Yourself (1975) (V)
    ... aka Selling Line: How Not to Exhibit Yourself, The (1975) (V) (UK: series title)
    I'll Think About It (1975) (V)
    ... aka Selling Line: I'll Think About It, The (1975) (V) (UK: series title)
    It's Alright, It's Only a Customer (1975)
    ... aka Selling Line: It's Alright, It's Only a Customer, The (1975) (UK: series title)
    Who Sold You This, Then? (1975) (V) .... Charlie Jenkins
    ... aka Selling Line: Who Sold You This, Then?, The (1975) (V) (UK: complete title)
    "Fawlty Towers" (1975) TV Series .... Basil Fawlty
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) .... Second Swallow-Savvy Guard/The Black Knight/Peasant 3/Sir Lancelot, the Brave/Taunting French Guard/Tim the Enchanter
    Romance with a Double Bass (1974) .... Musician Smychkov
    Golf Etiquette (1973) .... A Golfer
    Love Ban, The (1973) .... Contraceptives Lecturer
    ... aka Anyone for Sex? (1973) (UK: changed title)
    ... aka It's a 2'6'' Above the Ground World (1973)
    Goodies and the Beanstalk, The (1973) (TV) .... The genie
    Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus (1972) (TV) .... Various roles
    "Sez Les" (1969) TV Series .... Various Characters (Series 3, 8-9) (1971, 1974)
    And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) .... Announcer/Hungarian Man/Self-Defence Teacher/Sir George Head/Policeman/Interviewer/Mr. Praline/Second General/Christopher Columbus/Mungo the Cook/Bank Robber/Accountant #2 (falling past the window)/Vocational Guidance Counselor/Vivian Smith Smythe Smith
    ... aka Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) (UK: complete title)
    Euroshow 71 (1971) (TV) (as Montypython Flyingcircus) .... Various
    Ronnie Barker Yearbook, The (1971) (TV) .... Various Characters
    Statue, The (1971) .... Harry
    Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer, The (1970) .... Pumer

    "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (1969) TV Series .... Announcer/Various Roles (1969-1973)
    ... aka "Monty Python" (1974) (UK: new title)
    Light Entertainment Killers (1969) (TV)
    Magic Christian, The (1969) .... Mr. Dougdale (director in Sotheby's)
    Best House in London, The (1969) (uncredited) .... Jones
    How to Irritate People (1968) (TV) .... Various
    ... aka John Cleese on How to Irritate People (1968) (TV)
    Bliss of Mrs. Blossom, The (1968) .... Post Office clerk
    Interlude (1968) .... TV Publicist
    "At Last the 1948 Show" (1967) TV Series .... Various Characters

    Unorganized Manager, Part Four: Revelations, The (????) (V) .... St. Peter

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