John Cleese

John Cleese


10/27/1939, Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, England, UK

Birth Name

John Mawrwood Cleese



Also Known As

John Otto Cleese, Nigel Farquhar-Bennett, Kim Bread
out of 10
User Rating
145 votes


Member of the comedy group Monty Python. 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. As a child he was often mocked for his extreme height but managed to counter teasing with…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • As a boy he was expelled from Clifton College in Bristol for defacing the school grounds.

    • His family's surname was originally "Cheese", but his father Reginald Francis Cheese, changed his surname when joining to army to "Cleese" in 1915.

    • In 1971, Cleese's daughter Cynthia Cleese was born, she was the only child Cleese had with ex - wife Connie Booth.

    • On the 9th of April 2008, Cleese offered his to serve as Barrack Obama's speechwriter should he win the Democratic nomination. According to Cleese, his jokes could help the Illinois senator get into the White House.

    • In the Australian program "20 to 1: World's Funniest People" which aired on November 9, 2008, John Cleese was ranked #3.

    • Out of the whole Monty Python group, John has acted the most with Eric Idle (9).

    • In total, John Cleese's films have earned over $1.8 billion at the US box office.

    • In a recent list of Top 100 stars at the Box Office which was based on the total amount of US revenue generated by the movies a star has appeared in during the 2000's; John Cleese was ranked #8.

    • In 2006; John embarked on a worldwide tour in his one - man show "Seven Ways to Skin an Ocelot".

    • John Cleese hosted the comedy gala for Prince Charles's 60th birthday on the 12th of November 2008. He and Fawlty Towers co - star Andrew Sachs were reunited in a skit that night as their Fawlty Towers characters.

    • Awards and Nominations: 2008/strong>(nominated)- VES award for outstanding animated character for "Shrek the Third". 2004/strong>(nomination)- Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for Will & Grace. 2003/strong>(nominated)- PFCS award for Best acting ensemble for "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets". 2002/strong>(nomination)- Emmy award for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special (Informational) for "The Human Face". 2002/strong>(Win)- Sir Peter Ustinov Award. 2001/strong>(nomination)- DVD Exclusive Award for Best Audio Commentary for "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". 1998/strong>(nomination)- Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for 3rd Rock from the Sun. 1991/strong>(win)- Aftonbladet TV Prize, Sweden for Best foreign Tv personality - Male. 1989/strong>(nomination)- Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for A Fish Called Wanda. 1989/strong>(nomination)- BAFTA film award for Best Screenplay - Original for A Fish Called Wanda. 1989/strong>(win)- BAFTA film award for Best Actor for A Fish Called Wanda. 1989/strong>(win)- David di Donatello Award for Best Screenplay - Foreign Film for "A Fish Called Wanda". 1989/strong>(nominated)- Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture for "A Fish Called Wanda". 1989/strong>(nominated)- Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical for "A Fish Called Wanda". 1989/strong>(nominated)- WGA Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen for "A Fish Called Wanda". 1987/strong>(won)- Peter Sellers Award for Comedy for "Clockwise". 1987/strong>(won)- Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Performers in a Comedy Series for Cheers: Simon Says. 1980/strong>(won)- BAFTA TV Award for Best Light Entertainment Performance for "Fawlty Towers". 1976/strong>(nominated)- BAFTA TV Award for Best Light Entertainment Performance for "Fawlty Towers". 1971/strong>(nominated)- BAFTA TV Award for Best Light Entertainment Performance for "Monty Python's Flying Circus". 1970/strong>(nominated)- BAFTA TV Award for Best Light Entertainment Personality for "Monty Python's Flying Circus".

    • Cleese is best known for playing imposing and bumbling characters; he rarely plays villains.

    • Cleese wrote a script for two radio comics he would listen to when he was sick in bed at age 12.

    • As a child, he loved "The Goon Show".

    • At 6'5" he was the tallest member of Monty Python. As well as being the tallest member of Monty Python, he was also the oldest.

    • During the 1990s, John turned down both a Peerage and a CBE from the then leader of the Liberal Democrats, Paddy Ashdown.

    • John is a longtime fan of Bristol City Football Club; even going so far as to locate Sports Bars in New York to watch their games.

    • Following John's third wife instigating rather drawn out divorce proceedings, his good friend Michael Winner took him on a 'divorcey-moon' and wrote about it for The Sunday Times.

    • In the summer of 2008, John returned to Bristol's Redgrave Theatre for three Q and A performances with broadcaster Chris Searle, in aid of Bristol Zoo. A lemur called Colin was also featured. In addition, Urs Thalmann of Zurich University has named a woolly lemur after him - Avahi cleesei.

    • In the 1965-1966 Season, John appeared in Half a Sixpence as Young Walshingham.

    • He is a strict vegetarian.

    • John Cleese would have been John Cheese if his father had not changed the family surname back in 1915 before he joined the army.

    • John Cleese was the writer and host of the BBC mini series The Human Face.

    • In 2005, offered a part of his colon, removed due to diverticulitis, for sale on his official website. The proceeds are reportedly to be divided between Cleese himself and his surgeon.

    • Former supporter of the Liberal Democrat political party.

    • Has resided for many years in the prestigious Chicago North Shore suburb of Lake Forest, Illinois.

    • Has played the father of two of the Charlie's Angels. First he played Lucy Liu's father in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003). The next year he played Cameron Diaz's father in Shrek 2 (2004).

    • Voiced Jean-Bob, a frog who believes he's a prince, in The Swan Princess (1994), then went on to voice a king who used to be a frog in Shrek 2 (2004).

    • In 2002, he appeared in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), with Maggie Smith, and in Die Another Day (2002), opposite her son, Toby Stephens.

    • Appeared in a series of educational short subjects produced by Video Arts [gb] designed to teach management and trainees how to handle stress and unusual situations. Cleese took advantage of his comic talents and portrayed events as absurd situations so that audiences would better remember their training.

    • Father-in-law of Ed Solomon.

    • When the Globe Theatre was rebuilt in London, a service was offered whereby you could have your name on a tile in the courtyard, for a donation to the project. Cleese and fellow python Michael Palin both signed up for tiles, but Palin's was spelled wrong. Cleese paid extra to ensure it would be spelled "Pallin."

    • In the late nineties he appeared in German TV commercials for a lottery service. He actually spoke German in some of these spots (while some had no dialogue and others where dubbed later on). In addition, he has shot several commercials for the Polish WBK Bank - the first of which was the most watch Polish commercial ever.

    • The inspiration for "Fawlty Towers" (1975) came from a hotel stay he had with the other Pythons in the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay, England. The hotel manager was called Donald Sinclair, someone Cleese considered to be the rudest man he had ever encountered. He later played a character by the name of Donald P. Sinclair in Rat Race (2001).

    • He is an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.

    • John has been married three times and has two daughters:

      Connie Booth, married 1968 - 1978, and their daughter is Cynthia, born in 1971.
      Barbara Trentham, married 1981 - 1990, and their daughter is Camilla, born in 1983.
      Alyce Faye Eichelberger, married 1992-2008.

  • Quotes

    • John: (on the differences between Americans and the English) When we hold a World Championship for a particular sport, we invite teams from other countries to play, as well.

    • John: If God did not intend for us to eat animals, then why did he make them out of meat?

    • John: Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited.

    • John: Technology frightens me to death. It's designed by engineers to impress other engineers, and they always come with instruction booklets that are written by engineers for other engineers - which is why almost no technology ever works.

    • John: I am due to come to Europe in November but I may be tied up until then because if Barack Obama gets the nomination I'm going to offer my services to him as a speechwriter because I think he is a brilliant man.

    • John: (on Sarah Palin)
      I'm sorry Michael Palin to say that you're not the funniest Palin anymore.

    • John: (on the Republican Party's vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin) If you lined up from Europe; left wingers, centrists, right wingers you would find 10%, you might even find 5% that think she's good enough to run the United States.

    • John: Of course, it's true that I don't have the raw energy that I used to, but I am craftier about finding ways of keeping things simple.

    • John: I think it's harder to find an audience if you are older, because so much comedy is aimed at young audiences. But I sense that there are still enough people out there who like what I do.

    • John: Women eh? Can't live with them, can't afford to pay them $2 million either.

    • John: The one thing i remember about Christmas was that my father used to take me out in a boat about ten miles offshore on Christmas Day, and i used to have to swim back. Extraordinary. It was a ritual. Mind you, that wasn't the hard part. The difficult bit was getting out of the sack.

    • John: (at Graham Chapman's memorial service) Good riddance to him, the freeloading bastard, I hope he fries. ...

    • John: (when asked about a Fawlty Towers movie) I don't want to do it.

    • (on aging disgracefully)
      John: I have decided that when we get to 85 it'll be 'To hell with it'. It's going to be drugs, orgies and a lot of cream'.

    • John: I did have a dreadful mother. Isn't that a terrible thing to say? But it's true. She was classically self-centred. Always thought entirely of herself. And she lived to 101 - I thought I'd never get rid of her.

    • John: (confessing he can't do his trademark silly walk any longer) I can't do it any more because I've had a hip replacement - probably because I did so much of it. I don't know how I even managed in the first place.

    • John: There's something about watching an animal that puts you in contact with where we came from and what we're still a part of.

    • John: It is absolutely impossible to get even a majority of us together in a room, and I'm not joking, ... It just happens very, very seldom -- every three years or something.

    • John: There's so many good people producing wine now, ... It's just amazing. There's so much on the shelves. You don't have to go buy those overpriced wines.

    • John: Don't let anyone tell you what you ought to like, ... Some wines that some experts think are absolutely exquisite don't appeal to me at all.

    • John: Wine is wonderful stuff, ... But so many people are put off by the snobbery of it.

    • John: Who's ever going to write a film in which I get the girl? Me!

    • John: A man will give up almost anything except his suffering.

    • John: 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.

    • John: The trouble with the British is that they are not interested in ideas. If Jesus came back today and offered to speak for an hour on British television, they would say, "What! Another talking head?"

    • John: I used to desire many, many things, but now I have just one desire, and that's to get rid of all my other desires.

    • John: The English contribution to world cuisine - the chip.

    • John: You don't have to be the Dalai Lama to tell people that life's about change.

    • John: If life were fair, Dan Quayle would be making a living asking 'Do you want fries with that?'

    • John: If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And if I can persuade you to laugh at the particular point I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge its truth.

    • John: I find it rather easy to portray a businessman. Being bland, rather cruel and incompetent comes naturally to me.

    • John: He who laughs most, learns best.

  • If someone thinks of Britain; they think of Tea, Big Ben, The Queen and John Cleese.

    What can anyone say about this guy?

    Whether he's acting, doing stand - up or simply writing he exhibits talent and and a natural funniness that many wish they had.

    His freakish height, distinctive voice and aura of upper - class has left marks in many areas of show biz. As the uptight hotel manager in Fawlty Towers, the downtrodden Archie Leach in the classic "A Fish Called Wanda", the nearlyheadless ghost in Harry Potter and who could forget the Monty Python TV series and movies where he played almost every possible persona known to mankind.

    Even in his twilight years; his physicality may've decreased but his newly acquired "grumpy old man" view has become his latest fame. John Cleese has entertained and inspired for decades and shows no sign or capability of quitting.moreless
  • John Cleese is a very funny man!

    John Cleese is a very funny man! I like Fawlty Towers that he does when he is the hotel manager Basil Fawlty and he does a lot of funny things. Also it was funny when he did the top 100 best movis and at the end the people at the cenima were walking out pushing him out of the way. Even in a James Bond film that I saw it is very funny at the bits he comes on. I think he was doing a science thing or something, I can't remember now. So John cleese is a very funny man which i'll give 8 out of 10.moreless