John Cleese is a multifaceted English entertainer. He is a screenwriter, actor, dubbing artist, comedian, and producer. Over the years, he has made a tremendous contribution to the entertainment industry and has become one of the most sought-after British entertainers. He is best known as one of the co-founders of Monty Python, a British surreal comedy troupe that produced a handful of films and a sketch comedy series. Cleese has written, produced, and starred in numerous shows and films, most notably the successful BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers. Here we take you through the highlights of his illustrious career as well as facts from his personal life.
John Cleese Bio, Age
John Marwood Cleese was born on October 27, 1939, in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. He was the only child of his parents, Reginald Francis Cleese (1893-1972), and the housewife Muriel Evelyn (née Cross; 1899-2000). His father worked as an insurance agent and earned a modest living. However, Cleese was able to attend good private schools thanks to his mother’s inheritance from her own father, who worked as an auctioneer.
In elementary school, Cleese excelled in science and sports (cricket). He earned an exhibition to attend Clifton College, after which he went to Cambridge University to study law. By this time he had developed a fondness for comedy radio shows like “The Goon Show”. To express his comedy side, he joined the Footlights Dramatic Club in Cambridge and began writing and performing in their comedy reviews, many of which were successful, particularly the Cambridge Circus. Cleese graduated from Cambridge in 1963 with a 2:1 score.
After college, he wrote for the BBC and returned to Cambridge Circus shortly after. After he left Cambridge Circus, he stayed in America for some time. John Cleese then returned to England, where he appeared on many radio and television shows. Cleese had his big breakthrough as an author and actor for The Frost Report. He became friends with some of his co-authors of the show, who together with him founded the Monty Python comedy troupe.
The members of the troupe, including Cleese, soon became a sensation thanks to their successful sketch show “Flying Circus”. The show is still influential today. Cleese left the show after three seasons but continued to work with the members of the troupe. His next big hit was Fawlty Towers (1975 – 1979), which he wrote together with his then-wife Connie Booth. The show won three BAFTA awards.
The talented comedian has proven to be resilient over the years. He has performed in numerous works and is still relevant today. His other notable works include A Fish Called Wanda, Fierce Creatures, and Clockwise. Cleese starred in two James Bond films, first in R and later in Q, as well as two Harry Potter films. He has voiced numerous cartoon characters. In the last 3 Shrek movies, he was the spokesman for King Harold. In recent years, Cleese has devoted more and more time to appearances as a spokesman.
John Cleese Achievements
John Cleese has been duly honored for his services to the entertainment industry. Here is a look at some of his achievements.
• 1980 BAFTA for Best Entertainment Performance – Fawlty Towers
• 1986 Evening Standard British Film Awards Peter Sellers Award for Comedy Clockwise
• 1987 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series – Cheers
• 1988 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role – A Fish Called Wanda
• Rose d’Or lifetime achievement award in 2016
• The asteroid 9618 Johncleese, named in his honor
The Rose d’Or prizewinner has been enormously successful in his career. In addition to writing, acting, and producing films and television shows, John has made a fortune in advertising. Over the course of his career, he has appeared in over 50 commercials. His net worth has been estimated at $10 million. Cleese would have been far richer had it not been for his divorce from his third wife in 2008, which cost him £12 million in finances and assets and an annual payout of £600,000 for 7 years until 2015.
John Cleese is known for his many marriages. In 2012 he married the English jewelry designer and former model Jennifer Wade for the fourth time. Their wedding took place in August on the Caribbean island of Mustique. Cleese once said in an interview with The Lady that although he had been married three times before, he had never had the kind of connection he has with Wade, who is 32 years younger than him.
Cleese was first married in 1968 to the American writer and actress Connie Booth. Three years later, in 1971, they welcomed their first child together, their daughter Cynthia, who was their only child when they divorced in 1978.
Three years after his first divorce, John Cleese entered into an alliance with the American actress Barbara Trentham in 1981. They had a daughter, Camilla (born 1984), and were divorced in 1990. Cleese then married his third wife, the American psychotherapist Alyce Faye Eichelberger, in 1992. Their marriage ended in an ugly divorce in 2008, which cost Cleese tens of millions of pounds in divorce settlements.
In addition to his characteristic mustache, John Cleese is also known for his large body size. At the age of 12 years, Cleese was already 1.80 m tall and was often teased at school. Now he stands 6 feet 5 inches tall. The comedian often takes advantage of his tall and intimidating stature to play roles.