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 humour. At a young age he would also write down all the funny things he ever heard in a little blue book.
John Cleese was a cast member of the highly successful BBC Radio show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, which ran 1965-74. His fellow cast members were Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie, David Hatch and Jo Kendall. It was in this radio show that Cleese's famous Ferret Song (later sung on the television series At Last the 1948 Show) was first heard.
Went to the United States with the Footlights stage show Cambridge Circus in 1964, and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.
His most successful post-Python efforts included Fawlty Towers (BBC-2, 1975 and 1979). Patterned after an actual hotel in southwest England (where he had stayed while filming Python), Cleese excelled as Basil Fawlty, the irate hotel manager.
According to Brian Henson (I), when Cleese guest starred on The Muppet Show in the late '70s, he enjoyed the show very much and became very close with the writers because he wanted to get involved in the writing. When he did get involved with the writing, he and the other writers came up with a concept where Cleese was being held against his will on the show and would try to get off the show while the Muppets were trying to get him to do his scheduled bits. Of course, in this case, life did not imitate art, as a few years later, Cleese appeared again with the Muppets in the film The Great Muppet Caper (1981).
Cleese found his psychotherapy of immense value after his divorce from Connie Booth. He and his therapist, Robin Skynner, co-wrote the 1983 bestseller Families and How to Survive Them, a series of dialogues on human emotions. Their long-awaited sequel, Life and How to Survive It, came out in 1995. John also went out on a limb by publishing his sketch work under the joke name The Golden Skits of Wing-Commander Muriel Volestrangler FRHS and Bar.
But his greatest film success came with his 1988 script A Fish Called Wanda, which co-starred fellow Python Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline. The film made $55 million in America alone.
Said he was be the first person to say the S-word on British television, and became the first person ever at a British memorial service to use the F-word, when he eulogized fellow Python Graham Chapman in December 1989..
John Cleese has also become a well-respected author and has co-written such books as Families And How to Survive Them and Life And How to Survive It. He was Rector of the University of Saint Andrews from 1973 until 1976 and continues to be a professor at large of Cornell University in New York. … Expand
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