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Biography #2 (for Shrek 2)

John Cleese has long been one of the industry's most innovative and influential comedic talents. Today's audiences have most recently seen him on the big screen as the new Q in the James Bond movie Die Another Day-having been promoted from R in The World is Not Enough-and as Nearly Headless Nick in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He has also had a recurring role as Lyle Finster on the NBC television sitcom Will & Grace. On the big screen, he next stars in the remake of Around the World in 80 Days, and will be heard in the animated film Valiant.

Hailing from England, Cleese first gained international fame for his groundbreaking work as a creator, writer and member of the classic Monty Python's Flying Circus. First aired on the BBC in 1969, the series was an instant hit in Europe and gained an equally loyal following when it landed on American shores in 1972. The show also spawned the feature film comedies Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. There have also been subsequent Monty Python videos, CDs and specials.

In 1988, Cleese co-wrote, executive produced and starred in the comedy hit A Fish Called Wanda, for which he earned Oscar and BAFTA nominations for Best Original Screenplay, and won a BAFTA Award and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. He also co-wrote, produced and starred in the sequel Fierce Creatures. His additional film acting credits include Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, The Out-of-Towners, Rat Race, The Jungle Book, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Silverado, Time Bandits and The Great Muppet Caper.

For his work on television, Cleese won an Emmy Award for his guest role on the comedy series Cheers, and received another Emmy nomination for a guest stint on 3rd Rock From the Sun. He also garnered a BAFTA Award for the acclaimed BBC series Fawlty Towers, which he created and starred in.

Bio courtesy DreamWorks for "Shrek 2" (10-Jun-2004)


Biography #3 (for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

John Cleese needs little or no introduction having entertained the world for 40 years as a comedian, actor, writer, author, director, producer and generally very funny person.

It was perhaps in 1969 and the first series of Monty Python's Flying Circus that Cleese first shot to fame. The Pythons' unique brand of humor was to spawn three hit series, a UK and Canadian stage tour, a stage show at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and at City Center, New York as well as a show at the Hollywood Bowl. The team made their first film in 1971 And Now For Something Completely Different, followed two years later by Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in 1978 Life of Brian and in 1982 The Meaning of Life.

In 1975 he created what was to similarly become a worldwide phenomenon, the television series Fawlty Towers. This was followed with a second series in 1979.

Cleese wrote, produced and starred in A Fish Called Wanda, co-starring Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Palin, which was released in 1988. The film received an Academy Award nomination, an Italian Oscar and a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Screenplay and Cleese received a BAFTA Award for Best Actor with the film being further nominated for Best Screenplay.

Other film credits include: Clockwise; Romance With a Double Bass; Time Bandits; The Great Muppet Caper; Privates on Parade; Silverado; Splitting Heirs; Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; The Jungle Book; Fierce Creatures (co-writer and co-producer); Out of Towners; Isn't She Great; The World is not Enough; The Quantum Project and Rat Race.

In addition, Cleese organized the first Amnesty Concert A Poke in the Eye (directed by Jonathan Miller) in 1975 and directed The Secret Policeman's Ball again for Amnesty on stage in 1979. He then co-directed The Secret Policeman's Other Ball in 1981.

Other career highlights include BBC television's The Frost Report, The Frost Programme and At Last the 1948 Show which in 1966 and 1967 first introduced him to UK audiences; the role of Petruchio in the BBC's adaptation of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew; LWT's Whoops Apocalypse and most recently the BBC's The Human Face.

Cleese was also the founder of the highly successful management training films company Video Arts (awarded the Queen's Award to Industry for Exports) and has written two self-help books Families & How to Survive Them and Life and How to Survive it (both with Dr. Robin Skynner), the first of which was made into a BBC Radio 4 series. He is a Cambridge graduate (MA), was Rector of St. Andrew's University for three years (Honorary LL.D) and in 1999 he has appointed an Andrew D White Professor-at-large to Cornell University.

Bio courtesy Warner Bros. for "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" (01-Jan-2000)


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