Facts about John Cleese
John Cleese Biography
John Cleese is a British actor who went from being “the tall one” on Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-74) to being a ubiquitous presence in films, television and advertising. Cleese started out in the 1960s as a member of Cambridge’s comedy troupe The Footlight Society. He wrote for television and magazines, and in the late ’60s co-founded the Monty Python comedy group. Cleese was especially good at portraying prim, rigid characters who seemed about to explode into insanity at any moment, a trait he exploited as Basil Fawlty, the main character of the BBC comedy series Fawlty Towers (1975-79). Always involved as an actor and writer in the Monty Python film projects (including 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail and 1979’s Life of Brian), Cleese branched out into other films in the ’80s. His biggest box office success came with the movie A Fish Called Wanda (1988), which he also co-wrote and co-produced. Since then he has appeared in many television commercials and provided his voice to animated projects including 1994’s The Swan Princess and 2004’s Shrek 2 (with Cameron Diaz). He also played Headless Nick in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), and took the role of “R” in the James Bond film The World is Not Enough (1999) and the role of “Q” in Die Another Day (2002).
Cleese succeeded Desmond Llewelyn in the role of Q. Cleese first appeared as Q’s assistant R in The World Is Not Enough, then was bumped up to Q when Llewylyn passed away in 1999.