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Cleese, John 1939– (Kim Bread, John Otto Cleese, Nigel Farquhar– Bennett)

CLEESE, John 1939
(Kim Bread, John Otto Cleese, Nigel Farquhar Bennett)

PERSONAL

Original name, John Marwood Cleese; born October 27, 1939, in WestonsuperMare, Somerset, England; son of Reginald (in insurance sales) and Muriel (an acrobat; maiden name, Cross) Cleese; married Connie Booth (an actress, writer, and therapist), February 20, 1968 (divorced, 1978); married Barbara Trentham (a director, actress, and artist), February 15, 1981 (divorced, 1990); married Alyce Faye Eichelberger (a therapist), December 28, 1992; children: (first marriage) Cynthia (an actress); (second marriage) Camilla; (third marriage) two stepsons. Education: Downing College, Cambridge, M.A., 1963.

Addresses: Agent Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Comedian, actor, writer, producer, and composer. Member of Monty Python, a comedy troupe originally consisting of Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, beginning c. 1969, affiliated with Python (Monty) Pictures, Limited; Video Arts, Ltd., London, founder, c. 1971, owner, president, and creator of business training films in London and Chicago, IL, 197289; creator of and performer in commercial advertisements for radio and television. Former member of Cambridge University Footlights Club; St. Peter's Preparatory School, teacher, 195860; University of St. Andrews, rector, 197376; Cornell University, Andrew D. White professor at large, 19992004; Christine Schell Fine Objects (antiques shop), Montecito, CA, coowner; also worked at Newsweek.

Member: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Awards, Honors: Golden Rose (with others), Montreux Television Festival, 1967, for The Frost Report; Silver Rose (with others), Montreux Television Festival, 1971, for Monty Python's Flying Circus; Honorary LL.D., University of St. Andrews, 1971; Television Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best light entertainment performance, 1980, for Fawlty Towers; Queen's Award for Exports, 1982, for an American radio commercial series; special jury prize (with others), Cannes International Film Festival, 1983, for Monty Python's The Meaning of Life; named star presenter of the year, Advertising Age Crain Communications, 1983; Peter Sellers Award for Comedy, Evening Standard British Film Awards, 1987, for Clockwise; Emmy Award, outstanding guest performance in a comedy series, 1987, for "Simon Says," Cheers; Michael Balcon Award (with other members of Monty Python), British Academy of Film and Television Arts, outstanding British contribution to cinema, 1987; Film Award, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best actor, David di Donatello Award, best screenplayforeign film, Academy Award nomination (with Charles Crichton), best writing, original screenplay, Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actor in a comedy or musical motion picture, Film Award nomination, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, best original screenplay, Screen Award nomination (with Charles Crichton), Writers Guild of America, best screenplay written directly for the screen, and Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination, Mystery Writers of America, best motion picture, all 1989, for A Fish Called Wanda; Aftonbladet Television Prize, Sweden, best foreign male television personality, 1991; Jack Oakie Award, Screen Actors Guild, outstanding achievement in comedy, 1994; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest actor in a comedy series, 1998, for "Dick and the Other Guy," 3rd Rock from the Sun; Video Premiere Award nomination (with Eric Idle and Michael Palin), DVD Exclusive Awards, best audio commentary, 2001, for Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Sir Peter Ustinov/Comedy Network Award, Banff Television Festival, for lifetime achievement, 2002; Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding nonfiction (informational) special, 2002, for The Human Face.

CREDITS

Television Appearances; Series:

Member of the ensemble, The Frost Report, BBC, 19661967.

Various characters, At Last the 1948 Show, Associated Rediffusion Television, 1967.

Various characters, Marty (also known as It's Marty ), BBC2, 19681969.

Various characters, Monty Python's Flying Circus (also known as Gwen Dibley's Flying Circus and Monty Python ), BBC, 19691970 and 19721973, then PBS, 19741982.

Various characters, Sez Les, ITV, 1971, 1974.

Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers, BBC2, 1975 and 1979, PBS, 1980.

Lacrobat, Whoops Apocalypse, London Weekend Television, 1982.

Narrator, House of Mouse (animated), ABC, beginning 2001.

Red Lansing, Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central) (also known as My Adventures in Television ), ABC, 2002.

Lyle "Finney" Finster, a recurring role, Will & Grace, NBC, 20032004.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Minister, "The Status Quo," and Harold Kingsby, "Secrecy," Look at the State We're In!, BBC, 1995.

Himself, Funny Women, BBC, 1998.

Himself and Basil Fawlty, Laughter in the House: The Story of British Sitcom (miniseries), [Great Britain], 1999.

Host, The Human Face (also known as The Human Face with John Cleese ), The Learning Channel, 2001.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Arthur Sherlock Holmes, The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It, London Weekend Television, 1977.

Son, Taking the Wheel (short movie), HBO, 2002.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Announcer, The Goon Show, Thames Television, 1968.

Various characters, How to Irritate People (also known as John Cleese on How to Irritate People ), 1968.

Light Entertainment Killers, 1969.

Various characters, The Ronnie Barker Yearbook, [Great Britain], 1971.

Various characters, Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus, BBC, 1972.

Holmes, "Elementary My Dear Watson," Comedy Playhouse, BBC, 1973.

Himself, Monty Python & the Holy Grail Location Report (documentary; also known as On Location with the Pythons ), BBC, 1974.

Various characters, The Mermaid Frolics, 1977.

(And in archive footage) Himself, The Pythons: Somewhere in Tunisia, circa A.D. 1979 (documentary; also known as The Pythons ), BBC, 1979.

Norman Fearless, To Norway, Home of Giants, [Norway], 1979.

Petruchio, The Taming of the Shrew (also known as BBC Television Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew and The Complete Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew ), BBC2, 1980.

Various characters, Peter Cook & Co., [Great Britain], 1980.

Himself, $uces Part One (also known as SuccesGruppen "Plat "), Danmarks Radio (Denmark), 1986.

Narrator, Baby Quark, 1987.

The Grand Knockout Tournament, BBC, 1987.

Hysteria 2!, [Great Britain], 1989.

(And various characters in archive footage) Himself, Life of Python (also known as Life of Python: Monty Python 20th Anniversary Omnibus ), BBC and Showtime, 1990.

(And various characters in archive footage) Himself, Twenty Years of Monty Python (Parrot Sketch Not Included) (also known as Parrot Sketch Not Included: Twenty Years of Monty Python ), Showtime, 1990.

(With Spitting Image) The Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball, Arts and Entertainment, 1990.

Himself, It's the Monty Python Story (documentary; also known as Life of Python ), BBC, 1993.

(In archive footage) Himself, There Now Follows (documentary), BBC2, 1993.

Laughing Matters (also known as Funny Business ), Showtime, 1993.

The Making of "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book," The Disney Channel, 1994.

Himself, Spike (documentary), BBC, 1996.

(In archive footage) John Cleese's Sense of Humor (also known as John Cleese fornemmelse for humor ), 1997.

Himself, The Fine Art of Separating People from Their Money (also known as Wie man die Leute von ihrem Geld trennt ), Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen and Bravo, 1998.

(And various characters in archive footage) Himself and various characters, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Tribute to Monty Python (also known as Monty Python's Flying Circus: Live at Aspen ), HBO, 1998.

Narrator and presenter, Lemurs (also known as Born to Be Wild: Operation Lemur with John Cleese and Lemurs with John Cleese ), 1998.

Himself, Comic Relief: The Record Breaker, BBC, 1999.

Himself, From Spam to Sperm, BBC, 1999.

Himself, Pythonland, BBC, 1999.

(And in archive footage) Himself, John Cleese & Anders Lund Madsen, 1999.

Himself, Steve Martin: Seriously Funny, Comedy Central, 2000.

Night of a Thousand Shows, BBC, 2000.

(In archive footage) Basil Fawlty, The 100 Greatest TV Characters, Channel 4, 2001.

Himself, Comic Relief Short Pants, 2001.

Heroes for the PlanetA Tribute to National Geographic, CNBC, Fox News Channel, and National Geographic Channel, 2001.

Himself, Best Ever Bond, ITV, 2002.

Himself, James Bond: A BAFTA Tribute, BBC, 2002.

Himself, Premiere Bond: Die Another Day, ITV, 2002.

Himself, Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do, BBC, 2003.

Peter Cook: At a Slight Angle to the Universe, 2003.

Host, John Cleese on Wine for the Confused, The Food Network, 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 12th Annual American Comedy Awards, Fox, 1998.

The Second Annual American Comedy Awards, ABC, 1988.

Presenter, 2002 ABC World Stunt Awards, ABC, 2002.

Himself, Ronnie Barker: A BAFTA Tribute, BBC, 2004.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

The Ed Sullivan Show, CBS, 1964.

Marcus Rugman, "Look (Stop Me If You've Heard This One) but There Were These Two Fellers," The Avengers, Associated British Picture Corporation, 1968.

Himself, Joker's Wild, CBS, 1971, 1974.

The genie, "The Goodies and the Beanstalk," The Goodies, BBC, 1973.

Himself, The Midnight Special, NBC, 1973.

Himself, The Muppet Show, syndicated, 1977.

Art gallery visitor, "City of Death," Doctor Who, BBC, 1979.

Passerby, "Golden Gordon," Ripping Yarns, BBC and PBS, 1979.

Himself, Friday Night, Saturday Morning, 1979.

Himself, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC, 1984, 1986, 1988.

Himself, "John Cleese," The South Bank Show, ITV, 1986.

Dr. Simon FinchRoyce, "Simon Says," Cheers, NBC, 1987.

Funny People (also known as George Schlatter's Funny People ), NBC, 1988.

The Unpleasant World of Penn & Teller, 1994.

Guest, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1995, 1996.

Himself (in archive footage), "The Goons," Heroes of Comedy, 1997.

Himself, Saturday Night Live (also known as NBC's Saturday Night, Saturday Night, and SNL ), NBC, 1997.

Himslef, Sen kvaell med Luuk, 1997.

Himself, TFI Friday, Channel 4, 1997.

Dr. Liam Neesam, "Dick and the Other Guy," 3rd Rock from the Sun (also known as Life as We Know It ), NBC, 1998.

Dr. Liam Neesam, "Just Your Average Dick," 3rd Rock from the Sun (also known as Life as We Know It ), NBC, 1998.

Himself, "Greed," Dennis Miller Live, HBO, 1998.

"Calendar," Kiss Me Kate, 1998.

Gun rack technician, Casper & Mandrilaftalen, 1999.

Narrator, Mickey Mouse Works (animated), ABC, 1999.

Himself, Brigitte & Friends, 2000.

Himself, Intimate Portrait: Jamie Lee Curtis, Lifetime, 2000.

Dr. Liam Neesam/the black knight, "Mary Loves Scoochie: Parts 1&2," 3rd Rock from the Sun (also known as Life as We Know It ), NBC, 2001.

Himself, Mad TV, Fox, 2001.

Himself, Parkinson, BBC, 2001.

Himself, The Sketch Show Story (also known as Victoria Wood's Sketch Show Story ), BBC, 2001.

Himself, The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, 2001, 2004.

Himself, Intimate Portrait: Famous Families, Lifetime, 2003.

Himself, Rove Live, 10 Network (Australia), 2003.

Appeared in episodes of other series, including Misleading Cases (also known as A. P. Herbert's Misleading Cases ), BBC.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Not the Nine O'Clock News, BBC2, 1979.

Larry King, HMO, ABC, 2001.

Television Creator; with Others; Series:

At Last the 1948 Show, Associated Rediffusion Television, 1967.

Monty Python's Flying Circus (also known as Gwen Dibley's Flying Circus and Monty Python ), BBC, 19691970 and 19721973, then PBS, 19741982.

(And executive producer) Fawlty Towers, BBC2, 1975 and 1979, PBS, 1980.

Television Creator; Miniseries:

Look at the State We're In!, BBC, 1995.

Film Appearances:

Post office clerk, The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom, 1968.

Television publicist, Interlude, Columbia, 1968.

(Uncredited) Jones, The Best House in London, 1969.

Mr. Dougdale, The Magic Christian, Commonwealth United, 1970.

Pumer, The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer, Seven Arts/Warner Bros., 1970.

Harry, The Statue, Cinerama, 1971.

Various characters, And Now for Something Completely Different (also known as Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different ), Columbia, 1972.

Contraceptives lecturer, The Love Ban (also known as Anyone for Sex? and It's a 2'6 " above the Ground World ), 1973.

Golfer, Golf Etiquette, 1973.

Musician Smychkov, Romance with a Double Bass (short film), 1974.

Sir Lancelot, knight with coconut, black knight, ex newt, French knight, and Tim the Enchanter, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cinema V, 1975.

Various characters, Monty Python Meets Beyond the Fringe (also known as Pleasure at Her Majesty's ), 1977.

Dirk Reg, Jewish official at stoning, centurion of the yard, Arthur, and other characters, Monty Python's Life of Brian (also known as Life of Brian ), Warner Bros., 1979.

(As Nigel FarquharBennett) Narrator, Away from It All, 1979.

The Secret Policeman's Ball (also known as The 1979 Amnesty International Comedy Gala ), Tigon/Amnesty International/Island, 1979.

Nevil, The Great Muppet Caper, Universal, 1981.

Robin Hood, Time Bandits, AvcoEmbassy, 1981.

Various characters, The Secret Policeman's Other Ball, United International Pictures, 1981.

Various characters, Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Paramount, 1982.

Harvey "Blind" Pew, Yellowbeard, Orion, 1983.

Himself and Harvey "Blind" Pew, Group Madness, 1983.

Various characters, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (also known as The Meaning of Life ), Universal, 1983.

Himself, The Secret Policeman's Private Parts, 1984.

Major Giles Flack, Privates on Parade, Orion Classics, 1984.

Sheriff John T. Langston/Turley, Silverado, Columbia, 1985.

Brian Stimpson, Clockwise, Universal, 1986.

Jim Cleese, The Secret Policeman's Third Ball, 1987.

Voice, Quark and the Highway Robber, 1987.

Archie Leach, A Fish Called Wanda, MetroGoldwyn Mayer/United Artists, 1988.

Frankie the bartender, The Big Picture, Columbia, 1989.

Halfdan the Black, Erik the Viking (also known as Erik viking ), Orion, 1989.

Man on the beach in Barbados, Bullseye!, Sony Pictures Releasing, 1991.

Voice of Cat R. Waul, An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (animated), Universal, 1991.

Raoul P. Shadgrind, Splitting Heirs, Universal, 1993.

Dr. Julien Plumford, Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (also known as The Jungle Book and El libro de la selva ), Buena Vista, 1994.

Professor Waldman, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (also known as Frankenstein ), TriStar, 1994.

Voice of JeanBob, The Swan Princess (animated; also known as Swan Lake ), New Line Cinema, 1994.

Rollo Lee, Fierce Creatures (also known as Death Fish II ), Universal, 1995.

Mr. Toad's lawyer, The Wind in the Willows (animated; also known as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride ), Good Times, 1995, Columbia, 1997.

(In archive footage) And It's Goodnight from Him, 1996.

Voice of an ape named Ape, George of the Jungle, Buena Vista, 1997.

Maurice Walpole, Parting Shots, Michael Winner/Scimitar Films, 1998.

Mr. Mersault, The OutofTowners, Paramount, 1999.

R, The World Is Not Enough (also known as Bond 19, Bond 2000, Death Waits for No Man, Fire and Ice, Pressure Point, and T.W.I.N.E. ), MetroGoldwyn Mayer/United Artists, 1999.

The BFI London Imax Signature Film, British Film Institute, 1999.

Alexander Pentcho, Quantum Project, Sightsound.com, 2000.

Henry Marcus, Isn't She Great (also known as Ist sie nicht grossartig? ), MCA/Universal, 2000.

Interviewer in lounge, Rockstar (short film), 2000.

Voice of Albert (title role), The Magic Pudding (animated), Twentieth CenturyFox Australia, 2000.

Voice, Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big (animated short film), Nickelodeon Movies, 2000.

Donald P. Sinclair, Rat Race (also known as Course folle ), Paramount, 2001.

Nearly Headless Nick, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (also known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone ), Warner Bros., 2001.

Charles Merchant, Scorched, Juniper Productions, 2002.

James, The Adventures of Pluto Nash (also known as Pluto Nash ), Warner Bros., 2002.

Nearly Headless Nick, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (also known as Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens ), Warner Bros., 2002.

Q, Die Another Day (also known as D.A.D. ), Metro GoldwynMayer, 2002.

Voice of talking cricket for American version, Pinocchio (also known as Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio ), Miramax, 2002.

Himself, Stupidity, Telefilm Canada/Trailervision, 2003.

Mr. Munday, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Columbia, 2003.

Voice of an ape named Ape, George of the Jungle 2, Buena Vista, 2003.

Grizzled sergeant (balloon man), Around the World in 80 Days, Buena Vista, 2004.

Nearly Headless Nick, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Warner Bros., 2004.

Voice of King Harold, Shrek 2 (animated), Dream-Works, 2004.

Voice, Valiant (animated), Buena Vista, 2004.

British expert, Complete Guide to Guys (also known as Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys and G2G ), Labrador Films, 2005.

Nearly Headless Nick, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Warner Bros., 2005.

Film Work:

Coexecutive producer and (uncredited) director, A Fish Called Wanda, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1988.

Coproducer, Fierce Creatures (also known as Death Fish II ), Universal, 1995.

Stage Appearances:

Footlights Revue, London, 1962, retitled Cambridge Circus, 1963, then Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1964.

Young Walsingham, Half a Sixpence (musical), Broad-hurst Theatre, New York City, 19651966, 1969.

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA, 1970.

Monty Python Live!, New York City, 1976.

The Secret Policeman's Ball (comedy gala; also known as The 1979 Amnesty International Comedy Gala ), Her Majesty's Theatre, London, 1979.

Major Tours:

Footlights Revue New Zealand and New York City, Broadway and offBroadway, 1964.

Establishment Revue, Chicago, IL, and Washington, DC, 1966.

Monty Python's First Farewell Tour, British and Canadian cities, 1973.

As a member of Monty Python, toured the United States other times.

Stage Director:

The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (comedy gala), Drury Lane Theatre, London, 1981.

Radio Appearances:

Cambridge Circus, BBC Radio, 1963.

(As John Otto Cleese) Various characters, I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (series), BBC Radio, 1964, 19661970, 1973.

Also appeared in specials related to I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, BBC Radio, 1968 and 1970, and BBC Radio 2, 1989.

RECORDINGS

Albums with Monty Python (Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin):

Monty Python's Flying Circus, BBC Records, 1969.

Another Monty Python Record, Charisma, 1970.

Monty Python's Previous Record, Charisma, 1972.

Monty Python's Matching Tie and Handkerchief, Charisma, 1973, Arista, 1975.

Monty Python Live at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane (also known as Monty Python Live at Drury Lane ), Charisma, 1974.

The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," Arista, 1975.

Monty Python Live at City the Center, Arista, 1976.

The Worst of Monty Python, 1976.

Monty Python's Instant Record Collection, Charisma, 1977.

Monty Python's Life of Brian (film soundtrack), Warner Bros., 1979.

Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album, Arista, 1980.

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (film soundtrack), CBS Records, 1983.

Monty Python's The Final Ripoff (compilation), 1988.

Albums; Other:

(With Tim BrookeTaylor, David Frost, and others) The Frost Report on Britain, Starline, 1966.

(With Connie Booth) Fawlty Towers, BBC Records and Tapes, 1979.

(With others) The Secret Policeman's Ball, Island, 1979.

(With Booth) Fawlty Towers/Second Sitting, BBC Records, 1981.

(With Booth) Fawlty Towers/At Your Service, BBC Records, 1982.

Master of ceremonies, Tubular Bells (DVDAudio), Warner Music Group, 2003.

Video Appearances:

Ethelred the Unready, Ivan the Terrible, and William the Silent, Man Hunt, 1974.

Charlie Jenkins, The Selling Line: Who Sold You This, Then? (also known as Who Sold You This, Then? ), 1975.

The Selling Line: Awkward Customers (also known as Awkward Customers ), 1975.

The Selling Line: The Competitive Spirit (also known as The Competitive Spirit ), 1975.

The Selling Line: How Not to Exhibit Yourself (also known as How Not to Exhibit Yourself ), 1975.

The Selling Line: I'll Think about It (also known as I'll Think about It ), 1975.

The Selling Line: In Two Minds (also known as In Two Minds ), 1975.

The Selling Line: It's Alright, It's Only a Customer (also known as It's Alright: It's Only a Customer ), 1975.

The Selling Line: More Awkward Customers (also known as More Awkward Customers ), 1975.

Field Marshal Montgomery, Queen Elizabeth I, Brutus, and Sir Winston Churchill, Decisions, Decisions, 1975.

Can We Please Have That the Right Way Round?, 1976.

Tim, Meetings, Bloody Meetings, 1976, Video Arts, Ltd., 1994.

Ethelred the Unready, Ivan the Terrible, and William the Silent, How Am I Doing?, 1977.

St. Peter, The Unorganized Manager, Part One: Damnation, 1977.

St. Peter, The Unorganized Manager, Part Two: Salvation, 1977.

Julian Carruthers, The Balance Sheet Barrier, 1977, Video Arts, Ltd., 1993.

Julian Carruthers, The Control of Working Capital, 1978.

Julian Carruthers, Cost, Profit, and BreakEven, 1980.

Julian Carruthers, Depreciation and Inflation, 1980.

Fawlty Towers, six volumes, TimeLife Video, 1980.

RoastingRoast Beef, TimeLife Video, 1980.

You'll Soon Get the Hang of It, 1981.

Julian Carruthers, Budgeting, 1984.

More Bloody Meetings, 1984.

Julian Carruthers, Return on Investment, 1986.

H. G. Wells, All Change, 1988.

Mr. Grime, Grime Goes Green: Your Business and the Environment, 1990.

The Helping Hand, 1990.

Art gallery patron, More Than Thirty Years in the TAR DIS (also known as Doctor Who: Thirty Years in the TARDIS ), 1993.

What You Really Need to Know about Ulcers: Gastric and Duodenal Peptic Ulcers, 1995.

Himself, Inside Q's Laboratory, 2000.

Himself, Making "Rat Race," Paramount/Fireworks Pictures, 2001.

Himself, The Quest for Holy Grail Locations, Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment, 2001.

Narrator, Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, Buena Vista Home Video/Walt Disney Home Video, 2001.

Narrator, "Mickey's Mechanical House," Mickey's House of Villains, Buena Vista Home Video/Walt Disney Home Video, 2002.

Himself, Inside "Die Another Day," 2003.

Himself, The Meaning of Making "The Meaning of Life," 2003.

Professor Dik Bonkers and Dr. Ken Enron Chaney, Education Tips No. 41: Choosing a Really Expensive School, Python Pictures, 2003.

Appeared as St. Peter in The Unorganized Manager, Part Three: Lamentations (also known as The Unorganized Manager, Part Three: Divine Intervention ), and The Unorganized Manager, Part Four: Revelations; as Ethelred the Unready, Ivan the Terrible, and William the Silent in I'd Like a Word with You; as a performer in The Cold Call and The Meeting of Minds; other videos released by Video Arts, Ltd. include Absence Minded: Managing Absenteeism, Body Language Howlers, Bosses from Hell, Call to Order, Can You Spare a Moment?, Colleagues from Hell, Communicators from Hell, The Customer Is Always Dwight, Creativity in Management, Demanding Customers, The Dreaded Appraisal, Employees from Hell, From No to Yes: The Constructive Route to Agreement, Going to a Meeting Series, The Grapevine, The Hidden Mind, How to Lose Customers without Really Trying, If Looks Could Kill, The Importance of Mistakes, An Inside Job, Interpersonal Skills Howlers, Interviewers from Hell, It's Your Choice, I Wasn't Prepared for That, Listening Howlers, Meeting Howlers, Meeting Menaces, Messing Up a Meeting, Negotiating: Tying the Knot, No Complaints, Office Howlers, The Paperchase, Performance Matters (two tapes, includes The Importance of Praise and The Need for Constructive Criticism ), Performance Review Series (Part One: Every Manager's Nightmare, Part Two: Every Apraisee's Dream ), Presentation Howlers (includes Part One: The Preparation, Part Two: The Presentation, Part Three: Difficult Customers, and Part Four: Closing the Sale ), The Secretary and Her Boss, Straight Talk: The Art Assertiveness, Teams from Hell, Team Spirit?, Telephone Behavior, That's Show Business, The Unorganized Salesperson Series (includes Part One: Valuing Your Customers and Part Two: Valuing Yourself ), Think or Sink, This Is Going to Hurt Me More Than It's Going to Hurt You, and Where There's a Will.

Video Games:

Various characters, Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time, 1994.

Voice of Sir Lancelot and other roles, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, 1996.

Various characters, Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, 1997.

(As Kim Bread) Voice of the bomb, Starship Titanic, 1998.

Voice of R, 007 Racing, Electronic Arts, 2000.

(From archive footage) Voice of R, The World Is Not Enough, 2000.

Voice of Q, James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing (also known as Everything or Nothing ), Electronic Arts, 2004.

Audiobooks:

Narrator, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?, by Dr. Seuss, Random House, 1993.

Narrator, The Inferno, Audio Literature, 1997.

(With Monty Python) The Pythons: Autobiography by the Pythons, Audio Renaissance, 2003.

Video Executive Producer:

Man Hunt, 1974.

Decisions, Decisions, 1975.

The Selling Line: Awkward Customers (also known as Awkward Customers ), 1975.

The Selling Line: The Competitive Spirit (also known as The Competitive Spirit ), 1975.

The Selling Line: In Two Minds (also known as In Two Minds ), 1975.

The Selling Line: More Awkward Customers (also known as More Awkward Customers ), 1975.

The Selling Line: Who Sold You This, Then? (also known as Who Sold You This, Then? ), 1975.

Can We Please Have That the Right Way Round?, 1976.

Meetings, Bloody Meetings, 1976, Video Arts, Ltd., 1994.

How Am I Doing?, 1977.

The Unorganized Manager, Part One: Damnation, 1977.

The Unorganized Manager, Part Two: Salvation, 1977.

The Balance Sheet Barrier, 1977, Video Arts, Ltd., 1993.

The Control of Working Capital, 1978.

Cost, Profit, and BreakEven, 1980.

Depreciation and Inflation, 1980.

You'll Soon Get the Hang of It, 1981.

Budgeting, 1984.

More Bloody Meetings, 1984.

Return on Investment, 1986.

All Change, 1988.

Grime Goes Green: Your Business and the Environment, 1990.

The Helping Hand, 1990.

Executive producer of several other products from Video Arts, Ltd., including The Cold Call, I'd Like a Word with You, The Meeting of Minds, The Unorganized Manager, Part Three: Lamentations (also known as The Unorganized Manager, Part Three: Divine Intervention ), and The Unorganized Manager, Part Four: Revelations.

WRITINGS

Teleplays; Series:

(With others) That Was the Week That Was (also known as TW3 ), BBC, 19621963.

(With others) ABC Stage 67, ABC, 19661967.

(With Terry Jones and Michael Palin) The Frost Report, BBC, 19661967.

(With others) At Last the 1948 Show, Associated Redif-fusion Television, 1967.

(With others) Broaden Your Mind, BBC, 1968.

(With others) Marty (also known as It's Marty ), BBC2, 19681969.

(With others) Doctor in the House, London Weekend Television, 19691970.

(With Jones, Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, and Eric Idle; and music [with others]) Monty Python's Flying Circus (also known as Gwen Dibley's Flying Circus and Monty Python ), BBC, 19691970 and 19721973, then PBS, 19741982.

(With others) Doctor at Large, London Weekend Television, 1971.

(With others) Six Dates with Barker, London Weekend Television, 1971.

(With others) The Two Ronnies, BBC, beginning c. 1971.

(With others) Doctor in Charge, London Weekend Television, 19721973.

(With Connie Booth) Fawlty Towers, BBC, 19751979, PBS, 1980.

Teleplays; Miniseries:

Look at the State We're In!, BBC, 1995.

(With others) The Human Face (also known as The Human Face with John Cleese ), The Learning Channel, 2001.

Teleplays with Monty Python (Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin); Specials:

Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus, BBC, 1972.

Life of Python (also known as Life of Python: Monty Python 20th Anniversary Omnibus ), BBC and Showtime, 1990.

Twenty Years of Monty Python (Parrot Sketch Not Included) (also known as Parrot Sketch Not Included: Twenty Years of Monty Python ), Showtime, 1990.

It's the Monty Python Story (documentary; also known as Life of Python ), BBC, 1993.

Teleplays; Specials:

How to Irritate People (also known as John Cleese on How to Irritate People ), 1968.

Simply Sheila (also known as Show of the Week: Simply Sheila ), BBC, 1968.

(With others) The Ronnie Barker Yearbook, [Great Britain], 1971.

The Mermaid Frolics, 1977.

(With others) That Was the Week That Was, ABC, 1985.

"Merchant Banker," Comic Relief (also known as The Utterly Utterly Rude Video Live ), BBC, 1986.

"Four Yorkshiremen," We Know Where You Live (also known as Amnesty International's We Know Where You Live Live! ), Channel 4, 2001.

Teleplays; Episodic:

(Uncredited; with others) The Muppet Show, syndicated, 1977.

Teleplays; Other:

(With Graham Chapman) Doctor in the House (pilot), London Weekend Television, 1969.

(With Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin) Pythons in Deutschland (movie), Batavia Atelier, 1971.

(With Jack Hobbs and Joe McGrath) The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It (movie), London Weekend Television, 1977.

Screenplays with Monty Python (Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin):

(And idea for film) And Now for Something Completely Different (also known as Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different; adapted from Monty Python's Flying Circus ), Columbia, 1972.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Cinema V, 1975, published by Methuen, 1977, published as Monty Python's Second Film: A First Draft, 1977.

Monty Python's Life of Brian (also known as Life of Brian ), Warner Bros., 1979, published by Ace Books, 1979, published as Monty Python's Life of Brian (of Nazareth) [and] Montypythonscrapbook, Grosset, 1979.

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Paramount, 1982.

(And song "Oh Lord Please Don't Burn Us Down") Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (also known as The Meaning of Life ), Universal, 1983, published as Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Grove, 1983.

Screenplays:

(With Chapman, Peter Sellers, Terry Southern, and Joseph McGrath) The Magic Christian, Commonwealth United, 1970.

(With Graham Chapman, Peter Cook, and Kevin Billington) The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer, Seven Arts/Warner Bros., 1970.

(Uncredited; with Chapman) Rentadick, Virgin Films, 1972.

Romance with a Double Bass (short film), 1974.

(With others) The Secret Policeman's Ball (also known as The 1979 Amnesty International Comedy Gala ), Tigon/Amnesty International/Island, 1979.

(And story with Charles Crichton) A Fish Called Wanda, MetroGoldwynMayer/United Artists, 1988, published by Applause Theatre Book Publishers, 1988.

(With Iain Johnstone) Fierce Creatures (also known as Death Fish II ), Universal, 1995.

Stage Writings with Monty Python (Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin):

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA, 1970.

Monty Python's First Farewell Tour, British and Canadian cities, 1973.

Monty Python Live!, New York City, 1976.

Stage Writings:

(With others) The Secret Policeman's Ball (comedy gala; also known as The 1979 Amnesty International Comedy Gala ), Her Majesty's Theatre, London, 1979.

Radio Scripts:

Cambridge Circus, BBC Radio, 1963.

The Dick Emery Show, BBC Radio, beginning 1963.

(As John Otto Cleese) I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again (series), BBC Radio, 1964, 19661970, 1973.

Wrote (with others) specials related to I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, BBC Radio, 1968 and 1970, and BBC Radio 2, 1989.

Videos:

Man Hunt, 1974.

The Selling Line: Awkward Customers (also known as Awkward Customers ), 1975.

The Selling Line: The Competitive Spirit (also known as The Competitive Spirit ), 1975.

The Selling Line: How Not to Exhibit Yourself (also known as How Not to Exhibit Yourself ), 1975.

The Selling Line: I'll Think about It (also known as I'll Think about It ), 1975.

The Selling Line: In Two Minds (also known as In Two Minds ), 1975.

The Selling Line: It's Alright, It's Only a Customer (also known as It's Alright: It's Only a Customer ), 1975.

The Selling Line: More Awkward Customers (also known as More Awkward Customers ), 1975.

The Selling Line: Who Sold You This, Then? (also known as Who Sold You This, Then? ), 1975.

Meetings, Bloody Meetings, 1976, Video Arts, Ltd., 1994.

How Am I Doing?, 1977.

Grime Goes Green: Your Business and the Environment, 1990.

Writer for The Meeting of Minds; writer for several videos released by Video Arts, Ltd.

Video Games with Monty Python (Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin):

Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time, 1994.

Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail (based on the screenplay Monty Python and the Holy Grail ), 1996.

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (based on the screenplay of the same name), 1997.

Monty Python Books with Monty Python (Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin):

Monty Python's Big Red Book, edited by Eric Idle, Methuen, 1972, Warner Books, 1975.

(Also with Jerry Gillian [pseudonym of Gilliam]) The Brand New Monty Python Bok, edited by Eric Idle, illustrated by Terry Gilliam under the pseudonym Jerry Gilliam, and by Peter Brookes, Methuen, 1973, published as The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok, 1974, Regnery, 1976.

The Complete Works of Shakespeare and Monty Python: Volume OneMonty Python (contains Monty Python's Big Red Book and The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok ), Warner Books, 1976, Methuen, 1981.

The Monty Python Gift Books (contains Monty Python's Big Red Book and The Brand New Monty Python Papperbok ), Methuen, 1988.

The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the Words, two volumes, Pantheon, 1989.

Monty Python: Just the Words, Pantheon, 1989.

Pocketful of Python: Volume 2, Methuen Drama, 2000.

(And with Barry X. Miller) The Pythons: Autobiography by the Pythons, Thomas Dunne Books, 2003.

Writings Related to Other Television Productions:

(With Jack Hobbs and Joe McGrath) The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation As We Know It, Star Books, 1977.

(With Connie Booth) Fawlty Towers, Futura, Volume I, 1977, Volume II, 1979, published in one volume as The Complete Fawlty Towers, Pantheon, 1989.

(With Brian Bates) The Human Face, DK Publishing, 2001.

Nonfiction:

(With Robin Skynner) Families and How to Survive Them, cartoons by Bud Handelman, Methuen, 1983.

(With Skynner) Life and How to Survive It, 1993.

(Author of foreword) Jacob Needleman, Time and the Soul: Where Has All the Meaningful Time GoneAnd Can We Get It Back?, BerrettKoehler, 2003.

Writings; Other:

(With others) The Golden Skits of WingCommander Muriel Volestrangler, FHRS and Bar, Methuen, 1984.

ADAPTATIONS

The television sketch "Four Yorkshiremen" appears in the video Comedy Masterclass, 2001. The 1999 American television series Payne was based on Cleese's series Fawlty Towers.

OTHER SOURCES

Books:

Hewison, Robert, Monty Python: The Case Against, Eyre Methuen, 1981.

Hewison, Robert, Footlights!, Eyre Methuen, 1983.

Johnson, Kim Howard, The First 200 Years of Monty Python, St. Martin's, 1989.

Margolis, Jonathan, Cleese Encounters, St. Martin's, 1992.

Morgan, David, Monty Python Speaks!, Avon, 1999.

Novick, Jeremy, Life of Michael, Headline, 2001.

Perry, George, Life of Python, Pavilion Books and Little, Brown, both 1983, expanded edition, 1995,.

Thompson, John O., editor, Monty Python's Complete and Utter Theory of the Grotesque, University of Illinois Press, 1982.

Wilmut, Roger, From Fringe to Flying Circus, Methuen, 1980.

Periodicals:

Blitz, October, 1988, p. 19.

Chicago Tribune, September 21, 1979; April 1, 1983; November 2, 1986; July 29, 1988.

Empire, Issue 92, 1997, pp. 6467.

Entertainment Weekly, January 31, 1997, p. 12; June 28, 2002, p. 52.

Esquire, April, 1984.

Fortune, July 6, 1998, p. 203.

Independent, August 15, 2002; September 29, 2003.

Los Angeles Times, March 31, 1983; July 15, 1988; August 4, 1988.

Maclean's, June 24, 2002, p. 54.

Neon, February, 1997, p. 82.

New Republic, September 23, 1972; May 24, 1975; September 22, 1979; April 18, 1983.

Newsday, May 20, 1984.

Newsweek, September 3, 1979; July 12, 1982; April 4, 1983; August 8, 1988; February 15, 1999, p. 47; September 8, 2003, p. 63.

New Yorker, August 26, 1972; May 5, 1975; May 12, 1975; August 27, 1979.

New York Times, April 28, 1975; April 16, 1976; August 17, 1979; March 31, 1983; March 24, 2002.

New York Times Magazine, April 18, 1976; December 25, 1983.

People Weekly, August 22, 1982; September 26, 1983; November 29, 1999, pp. 14142; May 10, 2004, p. 33.

Premiere, January, 1997, p. 35.

Radio Times, August 22, 1998, p. 13.

Time, May 26, 1975; September 17, 1979; March 28, 1983.

Times (London), June 10, 1983; September 28, 1983; February 24, 2003.

TV Guide, April 25, 1998, pp. 56.

Washington Post, July 29, 1988; July 31, 1988; September 13, 1988.

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"Cleese, John 1939– (Kim Bread, John Otto Cleese, Nigel Farquhar– Bennett)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Cleese, John 1939– (Kim Bread, John Otto Cleese, Nigel Farquhar– Bennett)." Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television. . Retrieved November 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/cleese-john-1939-kim-bread-john-otto-cleese-nigel-farquhar-bennett

Cleese, John

CLEESE, John



Nationality: British. Born: John Marwood Cleese in Weston-Super-Mare, 27 October 1939. Education: Attended Clifton College; studied law at Downing College, Cambridge, graduated 1963. Family: Married 1) Connie Booth, 1968 (divorced 1978), daughter: Cynthia; 2) Barbara Trentham, 1981 (divorced 1990), daughter: Camilla; 3) Alyce Faye Eichelberger, 1992. Career: 1963—appeared on stage in West End as a cast member of Cambridge Footlights


Revue (same show given on Broadway in 1964); 1965—in Half a Sixpence on Broadway; 1966–67—wrote with Graham Chapman for and appeared on The Frost Report and At Last the 1948 Show for TV; 1969—in the first series of Monty Python's Flying Circus for BBC TV, developed with Chapman, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, and Terry Gilliam; 1971—appears in first Monty Python film, And Now for Something Completely Different; founded a company for industrial training films, Video Arts Ltd.; 1975—co-writer and co-actor with Connie Booth, Fawlty Towers TV series; 1982—in TV series Whoops Apocalypse. Awards: Honorary LLD, St. Andrew's University, 1971; Emmy Award for best performance in comedy for guest appearance, for Cheers episode, "Simon Says," 1987; British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Actor, for A Fish Called Wanda, 1988; Jack Oakie Award for comedy in motion pictures, Screen Actors Guild in the United States, 1994. Agent: David Wilkinson Associates, 115 Hazlebury Road, London SW6 2LX, England. Address: c/o 8 Clarendon Road, London W11 3AA, England.


Films as Actor:

1968

Interlude (Billington) (as TV publicist); The Best House in London (Savile); The Bliss of Mrs. Blossom (McGrath)

1970

The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (Billington) (as Plumer, + co-sc); The Magic Christian (McGrath) (as director in Sotheby's, + co-sc); The Statue (Amateau) (as Harry)

1971

And Now for Something Completely Different (Macnaughton) (+ co-sc)

1972

It's a 2¢ 6above the Ground World (The Love Ban) (Thomas)

1974

Romance with a Double Bass (Robert Young) (as Musician Smychkov, + co-sc)

1975

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Gilliam and Terry Jones) (as Sir Lancelot/minor roles, + co-sc)

1977

The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It (McGrath—for TV) (as Arthur Sherlock Holmes, + co-sc)

1979

Monty Python's Life of Brian (Life of Brian) (Terry Jones) (as Reg/minor roles, + co-sc); The Secret Policeman's Ball (Graef)

1980

The Taming of the Shrew (Jonathan Miller—for TV) (as Petruchio)

1981

Time Bandits (Gilliam) (as Robin Hood); The Great Muppet Caper (Henson) (as Neville)

1982

The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (Temple); Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (Terry Hughes and Ian MacNaughton) (various roles, + co-sc); Privates on Parade (Blakemore) (as Major Giles Flack)

1983

Monty Python's the Meaning of Life (Terry Jones) (as Second Fish/Grim, + co-sc, co-mus); Yellowbeard (Damski) (as Blind Pew)

1985

Silverado (Kasdan) (as Sheriff Langston)

1986

Clockwise (Morahan) (as Brian Stimpson)

1987

The Secret Policeman's Third Ball

1988

A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton) (as Archie Leach, + exec pr, sc)

1989

The Big Picture (Guest) (as bartender); Erik the Viking (Terry Jones) (as Halfdan the Black)

1990

Bullseye! (Winner) (as man on the beach in Barbados who. . . )

1991

An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (Nibbelink and Wells—animation) (as voice of Cat R. Waul)

1993

Splitting Heirs (Robert M. Young) (as Raoul P. Shadgrind)

1994

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Branagh) (as Prof. Waldman); Rudyard Kipling's the Jungle Book (The Jungle Book) (Sommers) (as Dr. Plumford); The Swan Princess (Richard Rich—animation) (as voice of Jean-Bob)

1996

Fierce Creatures (Robert M. Young) (as Rollo Lee, + co-sc, co-pr)

1998

The Out-Of-Towners (Weisman) (as Mr. Mersault)

1999

The World Is Not Enough (Apted) (as R); 30 years of Monty Python: A Revelation (It's the Monty Python Story (for TV) (as himself)

2000

Isn't She Great (Andrew Bergman) (as Henry Marcos); Quantum Project (Zanetti) (as Alexander Pentcho); The Magic Pudding (animation) (as voice of Albert the Magic Pudding); Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big (animation)



Other Film:

1972

Rentadick (Jim Clark) (co-sc)



Publications


By CLEESE: books—

The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation as We Know It, with Jack Hobbs and Joe McGrath, London, 1970.

Fawlty Towers, with Connie Booth, Volume I, London, 1977; Volume II, 1979.

Families and How to Survive Them, with Robin Skynner, London, 1983.

The Golden Skits of Wing-Commander Muriel Volestrangler, FRHS and Bar, London, 1984.

The Complete Fawlty Towers, with Connie Booth, London, 1988.

A Fish Called Wanda: The Screenplay, New York, 1988.

Life and How to Survive It, with Robin Skynner, London, 1993.

Pocket Full of Pythons, vol. 2, New York, 2000.


By CLEESE: articles—

Interview in Time Out (London), 5 November 1982.

Interview in Interview (New York), April 1985.

Interview with Quentin Falk, in Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1988.

Interview with Allan Hunter and Philip Strick, in Films and Filming (London), October 1988.

Interview with Robert Benayoun and others, in Positif (Paris), February 1989.

Interview in Premiere (Boulder), January 1997.


On CLEESE: books—

Perry, George, Life of Python, London, 1983.

Johnson, Kim "Howard," The First 200 Years of Monty Python, New York, 1989.

Margolis, Jonathan, Cleese Encounters, New York, 1992.

On CLEESE: articles:

Current Biography 1984, New York, 1984.

Castro, Janice, "Monty Python in the Boardroom: Comic John Cleese Gets Laughs with Corporate Training Films," in Time (New York), 20 October 1986.

Gilliatt, Penelope, "Height's Delight," in New Yorker, 2 May 1988.

"This Man Is Not Fishing for Compliments," in Life (New York), September 1988.

Voss, Bristol, "John Cleese Gets Serious about Training," in Sales & Marketing Management, March 1991.

Dwyer, Paula, "John Cleese's Flying Business Circus: He's a One-Man Conglomerate and Playing It Straight—Sort Of," in Business Week, 21 June 1993.

"John Cleese," in Film Dope (Nottingham), no. 50, April 1994.


* * *

The bulk of John Cleese's acting career featured his work as a comedian and ranged from an occasional sophisticated stage comedy to surreal, odd humor typical of British comedy linked to the radio Goon Show, the college revue, and the variety stage. Critics lauded as superior his Petruchio in the BBC TV version of The Taming of the Shrew. However, most of the actor's portraits were in original comedies, some of which he had a hand in writing. Cleese's most popular and critically successful solo performance—at least in the United States—appeared in 1988 with A Fish Called Wanda. He was the lead actor, writer, and executive producer of this movie in which he played a role close to that of the light, sophisticated male comedian of the thirties—a character with romantic possibilities with the female comedienne. As Archie Leach, a lawyer, the actor played the role of a person who realized he led a staid existence and wanted to break away from such a stuffy life.

The premise of A Fish Called Wanda tends to follow that which was sometimes used by writer-director Preston Sturges who created such witty comedies as Easy Living (1937), as a writer, and The Lady Eve (1941), as a writer-director. This Cleese vehicle uses the kind of picaresque characters that Sturges used for a broader type of comedy. The 1988 comedy features two American con-artist-robbers, Wanda, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and Otto, enacted by Kevin Kline. These two free-spirited oddballs provide comic contrast with the conservative lawyer, Archie.

As Wanda moves in to seduce Archie, he says, before they kiss, "Sorry if I seem pompous." Cleese handles the line with even more effective understatement than he employed in all the stuffy English gentlemen he portrayed in the broad comic Monty Python and Fawlty Towers shows.

When confronted by the other con artist, Otto, the lawyer is, once more, no match when intimidated. Expansive, high-intensity comedy evolves when Otto stalks Archie to thwart any sexual encounter with Wanda. Kevin Kline, who received an Academy Award for the supporting role of Otto, enacts a foil diametrically the opposite of the lawyer. This volatile, comically explosive cross between a neo-Nazi and Mafia hit man, provides a counterpoint to Cleese's humorously impotent personality. Pushing Archie backwards on a window sill so that he dangles upside down, held only by Otto leaning on his legs, the temperamental, jealous madman demands an apology for trying to seduce Wanda. Cleese, as Archie, responds in lawyer type terms: "All right. All right. I apologize. I'm really, really sorry—unreservedly. . . . I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis."

Less than a decade earlier, broader portraits of the upper-class Englishman show Cleese as a master of depicting this type of comic figure. Critic Anthony Slide lauds the actor's enactment of a minor role in Time Bandits (1981) and views it as a lampoon of royalty: "Cleese is unquestionably the funniest man in the film, and one can only wish that his sequence had been longer. As Robin Hood, Cleese appears to have based his characterization on the present British Royal Family, patronizingly distributing wealth to the poor. 'Have you met the poor? Charming people,' he says." (Essay on Time Bandits in Magill's Cinema Annual 1982.)

A few more examples of the variety of roles and the range of John Cleese's acting deserve a concluding survey. In Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) as Lancelot he botches a heroic rescue from the tower of a person he believes is a fair damsel. After he has hacked his way through a crowd of wedding guests, killing a multitude with his sword, he finds out that the prisoner in the tower is the groom who does not want to get married. His discovery is capped with a meek, "Sorry." As a con man and informer named Blind Pew in a swashbuckling pirate movie, Yellowbeard (1983) Cleese enacts one of his most picaresque parts. With an exaggerated claim that he has such acute hearing he can detect the pirate Yellowbeard from the rustling of his beard, he gives his pronouncements in a harsh voice, using the accent of a growling, low-class cockney. Three years later, in the 1986 Clockwise, Cleese is back playing the would-be cultured gentleman as a headmaster who is a tyrant and an unreasonable disciplinarian, barking reprimands over a public address system as he views questionable activities on a school playground. In his physical demeanor and voice this character that Cleese portrays is another authority figure lampoon. Then, ten years later, the actor creates another picaresque character. As an insane lawyer in Splitting Heirs (1993) the comedian kills a number of people "to clear the path" for the rightful heir to achieve the title of duke. When the heir finds the lawyer is responsible for the deaths, he declares, "You're mad!" With aplomb the killer jovially replies, "Well, we are all a bit mad."

While the inventory of humor in the actor's craft proves to be his vocal intonations, phrasings, and timing of responses, Cleese has a definite, unusual physical side to his comedy. In his Monty Python period he was noted for his silly walks—exaggerated, eccentric movements of his long legs. A 6¢ 4″ man, he also created funny movements when frustrated or angry by odd jumps and twists or, when playing an eccentric character, by just walking away with an erratic gait. The former was most often displayed when he portrayed Basil Fawlty in the situation comedy series Fawlty Towers. The latter is evident in Splitting Heirs, with his creation of the quirky, deranged lawyer.

In 1994 Cleese portrayed characters removed form his usual comedic personae: Dr. Waldeman in Frankenstein and Dr. Plumford in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, a live action cinema version of the novel. However, that same year he would contribute to the cartoon, The Swan Princess, with the voice-over portrait for a frisky frog named Jean-Bob. His most distinctive voice-over portrayal developed when he dubbed in the dialogue for a gorilla named Ape for the 1997 George of the Jungle. This amazing talking primate provides an officious counselor and cook for a handsome but dense strongman who is a live action lampoon of Tarzan. While this character has the uptight, British pretension Cleese was so famous for in the Monty Python television and film series, his advice to George sometimes lapses into the primitive mating habits of his genes.

Two other enactments reveal some of the famous officious and pretentious characters he employed in his Monty Python and Fawlty Towers days: A manager of a zoo in Fierce Creatures (1997) with the same cast as the successful film comedy, A Fish Called Wanda, and a hotel manager in a 1999 remake of the 1970 The Out of Towners, a vehicle for Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis. In the more recent version starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, critics found this humorous dramatic reinstatement inferior to the original. However, some evaluators gave kudos to Cleese, who provides the most intriguing and risible moments in the movie.

John Cleese has enjoyed a rich and varied career as both a writer and actor for stage, television, and movies. His innovation as a writer obviously makes it possible for him to design parts with which he can exhibit a variety of roles and a range of acting skills. This combination of writing and acting to best show his talent was, of course, most evident in the 12 Fawlty Towers television shows and the feature movie A Fish Called Wanda.

—Donald W. McCaffrey

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