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John Cleese
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6' 4 3/4"
Alice Faye Eichelberger (1992 - present)
Barbara Trentham (1981 - 1990)
Booth, Connie (20 February 1968 - 1978) (divorced); 1 daughter

Member of the comedy group "Monty Python"

Father of Cynthia Cleese

Holds a law degree from Downing College, Cambridge University.

Co-wrote several episodes of "Doctor in the House" (1969) and its sequels with Graham Chapman, and also wrote some later episodes as sole author.

John Cleese was a cast member of the highly successful radio show "I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again". His fellow cast members were Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Jo Kendall. It was in this radio show that Cleese's famous 'Ferret Song' (later sung on the television series "At Last the 1948 Show") was first heard.

Was a member of the prestigious Cambridge University Footlights Club.

Went to the United States with the Footlights stage show "Cambridge Circus" in 1964, and appeared on the "Ed Sullivan Show".

When he had to join American Actors' Equity in 1989, for his third appearance on American TV, none of the staff at the Equity office recognised him, or had any idea who he was.

Ever since one of his most famous Monty Python sketches, The Ministry of Silly Walks, he has found himself continualy pestered by admirers to do silly walks for them.

Who's Who lists his recreations as "gluttony, sloth."

Rector of University of St Andrews from 1973 -1976.

According to Brian Henson, when Cleese guest starred on "Muppet Show, The" (1976), he enjoyed the show very much and became very close with the writers because he wanted to get involved in the writing. When he did get involved with the writing, he and the other writers came up with a concept where Cleese was being held against his will on the show and would try to get off the show while the Muppets were trying to get him to do his scheduled bits. Of course, in this case, life did not imitate art, as a few years later, Cleese appeared again with the Muppets in the film Great Muppet Caper, The (1981).

Is an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.

Joked that his family's name changed from Cheese to Cleese before his birth. During a 20 Questions interview with Playboy magazine, Cleese spun a wild yarn about his ancestors being named "Cheese". Couple this with the fact that close friends call him Jack (a common alternative for John), Cleese joked that he might go back to his old "family" name and move to Monterey, CA... thus becoming Monterey Jack Cheese.

Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:

This inspired, revolutionary group of anarchic satirists are probably second only to The Marx Brothers as the best-known comedic collective of this century. The five U.K.-born members of the group were all TV writers (Cleese, Idle, and Chapman wrote for David Frost, whom they later frequently lampooned) before concocting their own show in the late 1960s, in which they acted mainly because they thought no one else would. Gilliam had met Cleese when the latter toured the United States in another comedy troupe; finding that Gilliam had moved to England to work as a cartoonist, Cleese recruited him to do the bizarre cutout animation for the show. Their first feature-film foray, And Now for Something Completely Different (1972, directed by their regular series helmer Ian McNaughton), consisting of refilmed sketches from their show, was met by blank indifference and befuddlement by an American public that had never heard of them. But the troupe became a cult item when episodes of the series began airing in the United States shortly thereafter; around that time a couple of Python record albums also became must-owns among collegiate cognoscenti and others in the know. By the time their sec- ond film, the medieval sendup Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, codirected by Jones and Gilliam), opened in the States, America-or a particularly demented portion thereof-was ready for them.

The troupe's TV series ended in the mid-1970s-tall "silly walks" master Cleese had actually departed before its last season, to work on his own hysterical series "Fawlty Towers"-but Python's worldwide popularity reunited the group for two more proper film projects, both controversial.Life of Brian (1979, directed by Jones), a religious satire that targeted the corruption of Christ's message rather than Christ himself, was widely condemned by many who thought it sacrilegious. The ultra-bleak Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983, directed by Jones) was an hysterical compendium of bad taste and extremely pointed, bitter satire.

In the meantime, all the members of the troupe were pursuing their own individual projects. In 1977, Gilliam directed his first solo feature, the Middle Ages fantasyJabberwocky he then helmed the sleeper hit Time Bandits (1981) and wrangled with studio heads over his futuristic satire Brazil (1985; which earned him an Oscar nomination for co-writing the screenplay). His spectacular, big-budgetThe Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989) fizzled, but Gilliam came back with a 1991 surprise hit,The Fisher King a more optimistic (and for Gilliam, conventional) project starring Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges. Idle acted in and cowrote a funny produced-for-TV Beatles sendup,All You Need Is Cash (1978, akaThe Rutles and has acted in numerous comedies, including National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985, as a Brit with a truly stiff upper lip), Gilliam's Baron Munchausen the minor hit Nuns on the Run (1990), and the terrible Mom and Dad Save the World (1992). He also cowrote and executive produced Splitting Heirs (1993). Palin and Jones stayed in projects closer to England, together concocting a veddy British series called "Ripping Yarns." Jones directed but did not act in the prostitution-tweaking comedy Personal Services (1987) and wrote, appeared in, and helmed the flop comedy Erik the Viking (with Tim Robbins and Cleese; based on a children's book by Jones, who's an acknowledged expert on the period of history in which it's set) in 1989. Jones also directed an episode of TV's short-lived "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles." Palin wrote and coproduced a starring vehicle for himself, The Missionary (1982), but has mostly stuck to acting, as in A Private Function (1985), and was memorable as the stuttering fish-fancier in the Cleese-written hit comedy A Fish Called Wanda in 1988. He then embarked on a pair of madly ambitious TV projects, "Around the World in 80 Days" (1990) and "Pole to Pole" (1993) in which he documented his farflung travels. He also cowrote and starred in American Friends (1991). Chapman's last project before he died in 1989 was the failed pirate parody Yellowbeard (1983), which he cowrote.

Cleese is the most visible Python member, appearing in many films and TV ads on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Great Muppet Caper (1981), Privates on Parade (1982), Silverado (1985, incongruously cast in a Western), Clockwise (1986), and the aforementioned Wanda (which earned Cleese an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay). He won a 1987 Emmy for his appearance in an episode of "Cheers," and provided a villainous voice for An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991). He then took a supporting role in Eric Idle's Splitting Heirs (1993). Cleese also runs a company that makes unusual, comic-oriented training films for executives. There has been a good deal of cross-pollination in the solo projects of the Python individuals, but the death of Chapman effectively ruled out the possibility of any full-scale reunion of the troupe.

John Cleese stared in:

Title Year Saw with/at: Scene On Rating
Monty Python and the Holy Grail 1974 In Boston with Anne L. 0000-00-00 *** 1/2
Monty Phython's Life of Brian 1979 At home with House Church 0000-00-00 ****
Time Bandits 1981 With Peter L. 0000-00-00 ****
Monty Python's Meaning of Life 1983 With Peter L. 0000-00-00 1/2 *
Silverado 1985 With Jessica 0000-00-00 *** 1/2
A Fish Called Wanda 1988 With Jessica 0000-00-00 ****
Fierce Creatures 1997 on HBO 2003-01-01 **
George of the Jungle 1997 Kendra at/ home 2002-01-25 ***
The World is Not Enough 1999 Cheri and kids at Hoyts Branford 0000-00-00 *** 1/2
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 2001 Suzy and Kendra at Berlin Showcase 2001-11-24 **
Rat Race 2001 Showcase North Haven 2001-08-18 **
Die Another Day 2002 w/ Suzy at Hoyts Branford 2002-11-22 **
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 2002 w/ Suzy, Kendra, Alyssa & Michael at Showcase Berlin 2002-11-15 ** 1/2
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle 2003 2003-12-31 1/2 *
Shrek 2 2004 w/ Suzy on DVD 2004-12-30 ** 1/2
Charlotte's Web 2006 family on DVD 2007-04-13 ** 1/2
Shrek the Third 2007 family on DVD 2007-11-25 * 1/2
Igor 2008 family 2009-06-12 ***
Planet 51 2009 Suzy and Hanna 2010-01-01 * 1/2
Shrek Forever After 2010 Suzy and Hanna 2011-02-12 **
Albion: The Enchanted Stallion 2016 Suzy and Hanna 2017-08-04 ** 1/2
Absolutely Anything 2017 Suzy 2021-05-22 **