Alan Cumming

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Alan Cumming

Born

1/27/1965, Perthshire, Scotland, UK

Birth Name

Gender

Male
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9.1
out of 10
User Rating
72 votes

Biography

EDIT
On the 27th of January 1965, Alan was born in Perthshire in Scotland. His father, Alex, was a forester at Atholl Estate. When Alan was one, the family (mother Mary, dad Alex, and older brother Tom) moved from Dunkeld to Fassfern on the West Coast of Scotland. When…more

Credits

Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Alan opted to skip the premiere of his movie Dare at the Sundance Film Festival to attend the inauguration of president Barack Obama.

    • When Alan left school at 16, he went to work for Tops, a youth magazine. His tasks involved interviewing bands, editing comic strips and appearing in photo-love stories for other magazines own by his employer, like Jackie.

    • For the US presidential race of 2008, Alan was approached by Barack Obama's team to be an official surrogate. But because Alan did not get his dual citizenship in time, he wasn't able to take this function, only American citizens are able to be official surrogates. He had to give his support to President Obama's campaign in an unofficial capacity.

    • In October 2008, Alan was an Honorary Chairman for a silent auction held in New York City. The funds raised by the event went to Ali Forney Center; an organization that provides housing and services for homeless gay lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths.

    • Alan hosted a celebrity auction to amass funds for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Items auctionned included Alan's ticket to Liza Minelli and David Gest's wedding, the dress Susan Sarandon wore to the 2008 Emmy Awards and a Wonder Woman's figurine signed by Lynda Carter.

    • One of the reasons Alan has become a director and a producer of movies is because he was encountering projects that weren't being made because of their controversy, he found that "sinful" and decided to get more involved in the process.

    • Theatre Awards

      Tony Awards

      Best Actor in a Musical for Cabaret (1998) (Won).

      Drama Desk Awards

      Outstanding Actor in a Musical for Cabaret (1998) (Won).

      Theatre World Award

      For Cabaret (1998) (Won).

      Laurence Olivier Award

      Comedy Performance of the Year for Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1991) (Won).

    • Alan's Broadway work includes:

      Cabaret, as Master of Ceremonies (1998, and again in 2004).
      Design for Living, as Otto (2001).
      The 24 Hour Plays 2003, as Chris (2003).
      The Threepenny Opera, as Macheath (2006).

    • In the Independent on Sunday's annual Pink List - the Top 100 most powerful and influential openly gay people in the UK, Alan was a new entry in 2008 at No. 70.

    • In 2008, Alan was selected by The Trevor Project for the 'Trevor Here' Award, '...because he is an excellent example of an individual who is a true role model for gay and questioning youth through his spectacular and highly successful career.'

    • In 2008, Alan appeared with Dianne Wiest in Chekhov's The Seagull, and the performances received critical acclaim.

    • Alan took part in the Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack series in the UK in January 2008.

    • Alan is patron of NORM-UK, a charity concerned about the male foreskin and circumcision.

    • Alan's Cuban scenes in Goldeneye were filmed in Watford.

    • Alan has provided the voice for the following audio books by children's author Darren Shan: The Vampire's Assistant, Tunnels of Blood and Cirque du Freak.

    • Alan joined with Grant Schaffer in a civil ceremony on the 6th January 2007 at the Old Royal Naval College just outside London. Guests included Ian McKellen, Rufus Wainwright, Geri Halliwell and Monica Lewinsky.

    • Alan's dog Honey, plays herself in his movie Sweet Land.

    • In 1991, Alan won a British Comedy Award as Best TV Comedy Newcomer for his role in Bernard and the Genie.

    • Alan is 5'10" tall.

    • Alan has stated publicly that he is an atheist.

    • Alan was voted 13th most eligible bachelor in Scotland in 2005.

    • Alan Cumming has written a book called Tommy's Tale. He has asked him mom not to read it, she thought it was because of the family being talked in the book, but Alan didn't want her to read about the sex and the drugs included in the story. Alan's brother Tom did read it though and had difficulty seeing it as novel since a lot of characters are based on people he and his brother knew.

    • Alan has a Doctor of Arts honorary degree from the University of Abertay Dundee, awarded in November 2006.

    • Alan describes himself as bisexual, having been married to a woman (Hilary Lyon) for 8 years and is now in a civil partnership with a man (Grant Shaffer).

    • Alan Cumming has his own cologne named Cumming.

  • Quotes

    • (Talking about Calvin Klein)
      Alan: He was one of the first people when a designer suddenly was in the mainstream and he also brought homoeroticism in to the mainstream, I'd say.

    • (Talking about his father and how difficult it was growing up in a house run by him)
      Alan: My dad was quite strict. We did a lot of work on the estate all the time. My brother and I worked. And it wasn't, like... easy. It wasn't easy stuff we had to do. We were terrified of him. When there's an adult person who's scaring you, you grow up pretty quickly. The whole area of my dad is obviously very difficult for me to talk about. But my brother and I often talk about it: things like mowing the lawn in the dark. With his car lights on, so that I could see... it was a little excessive.

    • (On seeing one of his first play as a child a production about Bonnie Prince Charlie and and the Highland Clearances)
      Alan: I thought it was the most magical thing I'd ever seen. And I saw them putting all their props in a van afterwards and going on to the next thing. And I just thought - I want to do that.

    • (Answering a question about what part of acting he prefers
      Alan: My favorite part of acting... I suppose it would be just... to lose yourself in another person. I think acting's like... really, it's like being a child. You know when children play, they say, "Oh look, here's my dinosaur" and they believe it's a dinosaur, and so you believe it's a dinosaur, and I think that's the same thing as being an actor. I go to work, and I'm pretending that I've got half my brain, and I'm walking down this road.

    • (On what attracted him to "Tin Man" the 2007 mini-series reimagining "The Wizard of Oz")
      Alan: My agent sent it to me. People ask me to do things and I just go "Oh, let's do this" without thinking. I don't have any kind of plan. If something connects, I like it, it connects, it all seems like fun, I'll do it. I always have liked "The Wizard of Oz" and actually I've always kind of fantasized about it. I mean, I kind of like fantasy and fantastical thingsn

    • (Commenting on how the United States are perceived in the eyes of the world)
      Alan: Although the notion of America being a force for good is noble and beautiful, the reality of how the world sees America is very different: America is an imperialist power that invades oil and mineral rich countries on little or flimsy evidence, and at the same time turns a blind eye to blatant genocide taking place in other parts of the globe. American friends of mine [are] being afraid to open their mouths when abroad for fear of reprisal for their nation's 'force of good.' (And I'm not talkin' about scary, rearin' their head places like Russia or Iran. I'm talkin' about in like cool places like London).

    • (His advice to people trying to work as artists)
      Alan: Be yourself. You are the most interesting thing about yourself. Your life experience, your thoughts, who you are as a person is the most interesting thing about you as a person and as an artist. Don't try and be something that you're not as an artist. Just live your life and imbue your art with your experience.

    • (On his "coming out" as a bisexual man in the American press)
      Alan: There was sort of a coming out in America, in the American press. It is confusing for people because I'd been married before. Now I'm married again, to a man, but I'd been married to a woman, and gone out with women. And then, I hadn't really had regular relationships with men, long-term ones, I mean. But amongst my friends, amongst people I'd known, I was always bisexual. That wasn't a thing.

    • (About his experience writing "Tommy's Tale", his novel)
      Alan: I think I wanted to try and write a novel. I thought that would be quite a good challenge. I think people are quite resistant to actors who do things other than act, and the literary world is a bit snobby, so it was quite nice to be treated seriously in that world.

    • (On walking the line between independent and mainstream projects)
      Alan: To be blunt, sometimes I do things for money, and sometimes I do things because I feel passionate about them. Also, I think it's important that, for me to be able to get things like this made, I have to have a certain level of success and public awareness so that people will see films and want to give me money to make films.

    • (Commenting on his bid to become an American citizen in 2008)
      Alan: I've got the questions and the answers. Now all I've got to do is memorise them. It's just like learning a lot of lines, so I kind of think that as an actor, I'll be better prepared than most.

    • (On the many hats he wears in his career)
      Alan: I sort of think about it more as being an artist with some power. Because producing, writing, or directing, it's kind of all the same thing where you're just trying to tell a story. Especially when you're producing, for example, you have the ability to make something happen that otherwise you'd just be a part of if you're an actor. Although I'm producing lots more now, it just sort of happened because, in a way, if there's something I'm passionate about I've always tried to support it and bring it to fruition.

    • (on his personal philosophy)
      Alan: I find organised religion really menacing, especially living in America, where the power of religion is terrible. I believe what you give out in the world you get back. I would much rather think about the effects of what I do now when I'm alive; much more useful than thinking about what's going to happen to me after I die.

    • (while promoting "Tin Man" in the UK, Alan commented on the pigeonholing of out gay actors)
      Alan: Some of them do, but lots of straight actors get pigeonholed in various roles. I'm quite outspoken in the media about what I perceive as a civil rights struggle that gay people in America are still going through. But I don't think that I only play gay characters, or I wouldn't be as convincing if I had a wife or a girlfriend in a movie.

    • (On his relationship with Saffron Burrows after his divorce from Hilary)
      Alan Cumming: I was really lucky in that the first relationship I had after Hilary was with Saffron, who's really... understanding and a broadminded person. And who's now... As I'm sure you know. Well. She bats for both teams, too.

    • (on relating to the works of Christopher Isherwood)
      Alan: The thing about it that stands out for me is this idea of self-acceptance, especially when you're living under tyranny and oppression, of how the only thing you have is yourself and be happy with who you are.

    • (joint statement from Alan and Grant Schaffer following their Civil Union in January 2007)
      Alan and Grant: Not only are we so happy to be able to celebrate our love for each other, but also to be able to do it in a country that properly recognizes the rights of same sex couples. As residents of America we would have loved to marry there, but we hope that soon the civil rights that we have been afforded in the U.K. will be available to all gay Americans, and we look forward to celebrating not only our marriage, but the end of prejudice.

    • (when asked in an interview why he is successful in the US.)
      Alan Cumming: I am the acceptable face of sexual ambiguity, I'm like a naughty schoolboy - I can get away with stuff, say stuff that's controversial. I giggle a lot and I'm foreign - which is a big thing. I've done lots of heavyweight classy things. And I can dip my finger in trash quite easily.

    • (on receiving a Humanitarian Award at the San Francisco Human Rights Campaign Awards)
      Alan Cumming: We need to do everything we can to counteract the hatred and shame that so many people are propagating. They are wrong and we are not, but we need to be so strong in this fight, and we need to call them on it every single time.

    • (describing Stanley Kubrick, whom he worked with on "Eyes Wide Shut".)
      Alan Cumming: He's sort of a cuddly man! He was really warm and made me laugh, very dry sense of humour. He wore these little jackets with no sleeves and all little pockets to put pens in and those things. And he looked like an older, less scary version of Salman Rushdie. He was quite frail when we made the film, and he was smaller than I had thought. I thought he was going to be this scary big monster.

    • (on the death of Stanley Kubrick)
      Alan Cumming: I was very saddened. It seemed like the end of an era. But on the other hand Stanley Kubrick's work has become so seminal to the fabric of film that he will live on. He now is part of the essential vocabulary of film, and great directors still unborn will be influenced by him.

SUBMIT REVIEW
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    7.0
    Alan Cumming is a true actor. You really believe that he got into acting because he loves it for what it is. You'll never see him in any tabloids and you won't hear any gossip about him. In his roles, you sense more realism than many other actor's who are considered more talented than he. Of all of his roles in all of his movies, my favorite has to be "X-Men 2."moreless
  • Alan is one of those people who can light up a room with his personality, as a guest he is cheeky, charming, attractive and entertaining. As an actor, he is a chameleon, and I have never been disappointed by any of his performances.moreless

    9.0
    I first saw Alan Cumming in the very funny, very camp and very rude Scottish comedy The High Life - the outrageous and infectiuos opening number, through the wild and bizarre storylines, this show never fails to make me laugh, even on repeat viewings!



    A contrasting appearance in Goldenye brought him to Hollywood, and a quirky role in X-Men 2 brought him to the world.



    A talented musical performer, a cheeky, in-your-face personality and his outstanding personal confidence make him a must-see no matter what.



    And who can overlook his wonderful promotional campaign for his own fragrance, Cumming?



    May he have continued success and good fortune.moreless
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