BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning British legend, John Cleese is best known for being one of the founding members of the renowned comedy group Monty Python’s Flying Circus and as the writer and star of the popular television comedy Fawlty Towers. He studied Law at Cambridge University, where he met future fellow Python, Graeme Chapman.
During the Sixties, he was a script-writer for several BBC TV and radio programmes, including the influential Frost Report, presented by David Frost.
The television comedy Monty Python’s Flying Circus ran from 1969 to 1974 on the BBC. It was written and performed by John Cleese and fellow members Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Graeme Chapman, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam. He also co-starred in and co-wrote the films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.
Having left Monty Python, he achieved probably his most tremendous success when he wrote (with Connie Booth) and starred in Fawlty Towers, which ran for two series. It recently topped the British Film Institute list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes.
During the 1980s and 1990s, John Cleese focused mainly on film work. He has won BAFTA and Emmy awards and was an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter for his film, A Fish Called Wanda. He appeared in two James Bond films, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, and The Harry Potter and Shrek series.
In 1972 he demonstrated his interest in the business world when he set up the video training company Video Arts. The video used humour (and many of Cleese’s colleagues from British entertainment) to show good business practices, such as time management, communication, customer service and creativity.
John Cleese is a passionate advocate of the need to encourage creativity. In 2020, Cleese wrote, an immensely practical and often very amusing guide ‘Creativity’ sharing the nature of a creative process, and offers advice on how to get your own inventive juices flowing.