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Definition: Cleese from The Macquarie Dictionary

born 1939, British comic writer and actor; noted for television series such as Monty Python's Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers and feature films including A Fish Called Wanda (1988).

Summary Article: Cleese, John Marwood
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary


♦ English comic actor and writer

Born in Weston-super-Mare, he studied law at Cambridge, where he joined the Footlights Revue (1963), subsequently performing with them in London, New Zealand and New York. He appeared in the Broadway production of Half a Sixpence (1965) and returned to the UK to write and perform in such television series as The Frost Report (1966) and At Last the 1948 Show (1967). With Graham Chapman (1941-89) he wrote scripts for television (Doctor in the House, 1968) and film (The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer, 1970). He then joined Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-74), an anarchic series that changed the face of British television humour with its surreal comedy and animated graphics. The Monty Python team subsequently collaborated on such films as Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) and Monty Python's Meaning of Life (1983). He had further success as the writer and star of the series Fawlty Towers (1975, 1979) and the films A Fish Called Wanda (1988) and Fierce Creatures (1996). Other films in which he has appeared include Clockwise (1985), Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002). He has also written two self-help books, together with Robin Skynner (1922-2000): Families and How to Survive Them (1983) and Life and How to Survive It (1993).

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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