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John Marwood Cleese (born 27 October 1939) is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning English comedian and actor. He is best known for being one of the founding members of the renowned comedy group Monty Python, and as the writer and star of the popular television comedy Fawlty Towers.

He has won BAFTA and Emmy awards, and was an Academy Award nominated screenwriter for his film, A Fish Called Wanda.


Early life[]

Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England to Reginald Francis Cleese and Muriel (Cross). His family's surname was previously "Cheese", but his father, an insurance salesman, changed his surname to "Cleese" upon joining the army in 1915.[1] As a boy, Cleese was educated at Clifton College in Bristol, from which he was expelled for a humorous defacing of school grounds: he used painted footsteps to suggest that the school's statue of Field Marshal Earl Haig had got down from his plinth and gone to the toilet.[2]

His talent for comedy progressed with his membership of the Cambridge Footlights Revue while he was studying for a law degree at Downing College at Cambridge University. Here he met his future writing partner Graham Chapman. Cleese wrote extra material for the 1961 Footlights Revue I Thought I Saw It Move,[3][4] and was Registrar for the Footlights Club during 1962, as well as being one of the cast members for the 1962 Footlights Revue Double Take![3][4]

Cleese was one of the script writers, as well as being a member of cast for the 1963 Footlights Revue A Clump of Plinths,[3][4] which was so successful during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that its name was changed to Cambridge Circus, was taken to West End in London, and then on a tour of New Zealand and Broadway, (with the cast also appearing in some of the revue sketches on the Ed Sullivan Show in September 1964).[4]

After Cambridge Circus, Cleese decided to stay on in America performing on and off-Broadway, including in the musical Half a Sixpence,[4] and it was during this time he met future Python Terry Gilliam and his future wife, American actress Connie Booth, whom he married on 20 February 1968.[4]

As Cleese's comic reputation grew, he was soon offered a position as a writer with BBC Radio, where he worked on several programs, most notably as a sketch writer for The Dick Emery Show. The success of the Footlights Revue led to the recording of a short series of half-hour radio programmes, called I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, which was so popular that the BBC commissioned a regular series with the same title.[4]

Cleese is also a vegetarian.[1]


After his return to England, Cleese started performing as a cast member of the highly successful BBC Radio show I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, which ran from 1965 to 1974.[4] Cleese (even though he is credited as "John Cleese") is referred to at the close of every episode as "John Otto Cleese". His real middle name is "Marwood", not "Otto". (It appears that John Cleese just liked the name. There were various characters named "Otto" in episodes of "Monty Python's Flying Circus", and there is also an "Otto", played by Kevin Kline in the film "A Fish Called Wanda", which was written by John Cleese. John Cleese's mother once stated that her son called himself "Otto", rather than his second name of "Marwood", but she did not know why he called himself "Otto", or where the name "Otto" came from.[4])

On his return to London in 1965, Cleese and Chapman began writing on The Frost Report, an important landmark in satire and British Comedy in the 1960s. The writing staff chosen for The Frost Report was, in many ways, made up of some of the finest comedy minds of the 1960s in the United Kingdom. It consisted of a number of writers and performers who would go on to make names for themselves in comedy. They included future Goodies Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor, and also Frank Muir, Barry Cryer, Marty Feldman, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Dick Vosburgh and future Python members Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. It was while working on The Frost Report, in fact, that the future Pythons developed the writing styles that would make their collaboration significant . Cleese and Chapman's sketches often involved authority figures, some of which were performed by Cleese, while Terry Jones and Michael Palin were both infatuated with filmed scenes that open with idyllic countryside panoramas. Eric Idle was one of those charged with writing David Frost's monologue. It was during this period that Cleese met and befriended influential British comedian Peter Cook.

Such was the popularity of the series that, in 1966, John Cleese and Graham Chapman were invited to work as writers and performers with Tim Brooke-Taylor and Marty Feldman on At Last the 1948 Show,[4] during which time the Four Yorkshiremen sketch was written by all four writers/performers (the Four Yorkshiremen sketch is now better known as a Monty Python sketch). John Cleese and Graham Chapman also wrote episodes of Doctor in the House. These series were successful and, in 1969, Cleese and Chapman were offered their very own series. However, due to Chapman's alcoholism, Cleese found himself bearing an increasing workload in the partnership and was therefore unenthusiastic about doing a series with just the two of them. He had found working with Michael Palin on The Frost Report an enjoyable experience, and invited him to join the series. Palin had previously been working on Do Not Adjust Your Set, with Eric Idle and Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam doing animations. The four of them had, on the back of the success of Do Not Adjust Your Set, been offered a series for ITV, which they were waiting to begin when Cleese's offer arrived. Palin agreed to work with Cleese and Chapman in the meantime, bringing with him Gilliam, Jones and Idle. This union led to the creation of Monty Python. Many have suggested that this important landmark in comedy was brought about by Cleese's desire to work with Palin, who Cleese has maintained is his favourite Python to work with. Monty Python's Flying Circus ran for four series from October 1969 to December 1974 on BBC. Cleese is particularly remembered for the "Cheese Shop", "The Ministry of Silly Walks", and "Dead Parrot" sketches. Though the programme lasted four series, by the start of series 3, Cleese, who was probably the best known and most experienced member of the group, was growing tired of coping with Chapman's alcoholism. According to Terry Gilliam, Cleese was the "most Cambridge" of the Cambridge-educated members of the group (Cleese, Chapman, and Idle), by which Gilliam meant that Cleese was the tallest and most aggressive of the whole group. He felt, too, that the show's scripts had declined in quality. For these reasons, he became restless and decided to move on. Though he stayed for the third series, he did not appear in the fourth, and received only a minor writing credit. Cleese returned to the troupe to co-write and co-star in the Monty Python films Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Monty Python's Life of Brian and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.In 1971, Connie Booth gave birth to Cynthia Cleese, their only child.

Cleese portrayed the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail

From 1970 to 1973 Cleese served as rector of the University of St Andrews.[5] While his election by the students might have seemed a prank, it proved a milestone for the University, revolutionising and modernising the post. For instance, the Rector was traditionally entitled to appoint an "Assessor", in short a deputy to sit in his place at important meetings in his absence. Cleese changed this into a position for a student, elected across campus by the student body, resulting in direct access and representation for the student body for the first time in over 500 years. This was but one of a whole host of improvements that Cleese swept in as a true wind of change.

Having left Monty Python, Cleese went on to achieve possibly greater success in the United Kingdom as the neurotic hotel manager Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers, which he co-wrote with Connie Booth. The series won widespread critical acclaim and is still considered one of the finest examples of British comedy, having won three BAFTA awards when produced and recently topping the British Film Institute list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes. The series also featured Andrew Sachs as the much abused Spanish waiter Manuel ("...he's from Barcelona"), Prunella Scales as Basil's fire-breathing dragon of a wife Sybil, and Booth as waitress Polly. Cleese based Basil Fawlty on a real person, Donald Sinclair, whom he encountered in 1971, when he and the rest of the Monty Python team were staying at the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay while filming Monty Python's Flying Circus. Cleese was reportedly inspired by Sinclair's mantra of "I could run this hotel just fine, if it weren't for the guests." He later described Sinclair as "the most wonderfully rude man I have ever met", although Mr Sinclair's widow has since said her husband was totally misrepresented in the comedy.

During the Pythons' stay, Sinclair threw Eric Idle's briefcase out of the hotel "in case it contained a bomb", complained about Terry Gilliam's "American" table manners, and threw a bus timetable at another guest after they dared to ask the time of the next bus to town. The series portrayed stereotypical British attitudes towards sex, death, complaining, violence towards employees and unhappy marriages, often simultaneously embodied in Cleese's madcap physical performances.

The first series began on 19 September 1975, and whilst not an instant hit, soon gained momentum. However, the second series did not appear until 1979, by which time Cleese's marriage to Booth had broken down. Despite this the two reprised their writing and performing roles in the second series. Fawlty Towers consisted of only twelve episodes. Cleese and Booth both maintain that this was to avoid compromising the quality of the series.

In 1978, Cleese appeared as guest star on The Muppet Show. Instead of singing along, he showed up a pretend album, his own new vocal record "John Cleese: A Man & His Music", and finally strangled Kermit the Frog. Cleese won the TV Times award for Funniest Man On TV - 1978 / 1979. He is the first person ever to say 'shit' on British Television.

The city of Palmerston North in New Zealand christened a trash heap at the city's local dump Mt. Cleese in response to Cleese's coments about the city being a "suicide capital of New Zealand". Palmerston North has a normal suicide rate.

Later career[]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Cleese focused on film, though he did work with Peter Cook in his one-off TV special Peter Cook and Co. in 1980. In the same year a theatrical piece for TV was released, with Cleese playing Petruchio, in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. He also rejoined the Pythons for Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982), and starred in The Secret Policeman's Ball for Amnesty International. He married Barbara Trentham on 15 February 1981. Their daughter Camilla Cleese was born in 1984.

In 1988 he wrote and starred in A Fish Called Wanda, as the lead, Archie Leach, along with Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and fellow Python Michael Palin. Wandabecame the most successful British film ever, and Cleese was nominated for an Academy Award for his script. Cynthia Cleese starred as Leach's daughter. However, his marriage was in trouble and in 1990 he and Trentham divorced. On 28 December 1992 he married Alyce Faye Eichelberger, his third blonde American actress wife.

Cleese's Monty Python writing partner and friend, Graham Chapman, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1989, and during his final hours, Cleese, along with Michael Palin, Peter Cook and David Sherlock, witnessed Chapman's passing. Chapman's death occurred one day before the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Flying Circus with Jones commenting, “the worst case of party-pooping in all history.” Cleese gave a stirring eulogy at Graham Chapman's memorial service, in which he "became the first person ever at a British memorial service to say 'fuck'".[6]

Cleese also produced and acted in a number of successful business training films, including Meetings, Bloody Meetings and More Bloody Meetings about how to set up and run successful meetings. These were produced by his company Video Arts.

With Robin Skynner, the Group Analyst (Group Analysis) and family therapist, Cleese wrote two books on relationships: Families and how to survive them, and Life and how to survive it. The books are presented as a dialogue between Skynner and Cleese.

In 1996, Cleese declined the British honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

In 1999, Cleese appeared in the James Bond movie, The World Is Not Enough as Q's assistant, referred to by Bond as R. In 2002, when Cleese reprised his role in Die Another Day, the character was promoted, making Cleese the new quartermaster (Q) of MI6. Cleese did not reprise his role in the latest James Bond film, Casino Royale, where Daniel Craig replaces Pierce Brosnan in the leading role.

He is currently an Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, his term having been extended until 2006. Although he makes occasional, well-received appearances on the Cornell campus, he lives in the town of Montecito, California. He has also been appointed a Provost's Visiting Professor through 2009.

In a 2005 poll of comedians and comedy insiders The Comedian's Comedian, Cleese's peers showed their appreciation of his talent when he was voted second only to Peter Cook. Also in 2005, a long-standing piece of internet humour, "The Revocation of Independence", was wrongly attributed to Cleese.

John Cleese recently lent his voice to the BioWare video game Jade Empire. His role was that of an "outlander" named Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard, stranded in the Imperial City of the Jade Empire. His character is essentially a British colonialist stereotype who refers to the people of the Jade Empire (effectively like the ancient Chinese) as a lot of savages in need of enlightenment. While perhaps a small role in John Cleese's respect, such lines as "half of you can't even grow a decent moustache" and "your idea of honour is outdated, too. (shoots player). PERCIVAL! My towel" were a welcome touch of humour.

He also had a cameo appearance in the computer game Starship Titanic as "The Bomb" (credited as "Kim Bread"), written by Douglas Adams. When the bomb is activated it tells you that "The ship is now armed and preparing to explode. This will be a fairly large explosion, so you'd best keep back about 22 miles", and, in attempting to disarm it, "Well, you can try that, but it won't work because nobody likes a smartarse!"

In 2003, John also appeared as Lyle Finster in long-running US sitcom Will & Grace. His character eventually ended up having a short-lived marriage to Karen (Megan Mullally) and was Lorraine's (Karen's arch-nemesis, following her affair with Karen's then husband) father.

In 2004, Cleese was credited as co-writer of a DC Comics graphic novel entitled Superman: True Brit. Part of DC's "Elseworlds" line of imaginary stories, True Brit, mostly written by Kim Howard Johnson, suggests what might have happened had Superman's rocket ship landed in Britain, not America.

From 10 November to 9 December 2005, Cleese toured New Zealand with his stage show 'John Cleese — His Life, Times and Current Medical Problems'. Cleese described it as "a one man show with several people in it, which pushes the envelope of acceptable behaviour in new and disgusting ways." The show was developed in New York with William Goldman and includes Cleese's daughter Camilla Cleese as a writer and actor (the shows were directed by Australian Bille Brown.) John's assistant of many years, Garry Scott-Irvine, also appeared, and was listed as a co-producer. It then played in universities in California and Arizona from 10 January to 25 March 2006 under the title "Seven Ways to Skin an Ocelot".[7] His voice can be downloaded for directional guidance purposes as a downloadable option on some personal GPS-navigation device models by company TomTom.

In June 2006, whilst promoting a football (soccer) song in which he was featured, entitled Don't Mention the World Cup, Cleese appears to have claimed that he decided to retire from performing in sitcoms, instead opting to writing a book on the history of comedy and tutoring young comedians. This was an erroneous story, the result of an interview with The Times of London (the piece was not fact checked before printing).

Just For Laughs 2006[]

John Cleese's most recent live comedic performance was at the 2006 Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, Canada. John Cleese was host for one of the galas and performed sketches very reminiscent to his Monty Python days. His first sketch was him performing his own eulogy as he promised to kill himself as the grand finale, remarking "Top that Jason bastard." The second sketch was him as the judge of 'Cleese Idol', where contestants from Montreal would be performing his skits, so he could find his successor. He shot the last contestant as well as the special guest host, Ben Mulroney (the host of Canadian Idol). The gala ended with his 'execution', where he asked people to choose the method of execution by text messaging a number (which was fake). The choices were stoning, electric chair, firing squad, hanging and guillotine. The guillotine won, and John Cleese was beheaded just as he was about to say something to the crowd.

Honours and tributes[]

  • A species of lemur, Avahi cleesei, has been named in his honour. John Cleese mentioned this in television interviews. Also there is mention of this honour in "The New Scientist" [8] — and John Cleese's response to the honour.[9]
  • An asteroid, 9618 Johncleese, is named in his honour.
  • In the BBC documentary series, "The Human Face", it is claimed that Cleese is a Professor-At-Large at Cornell University, and that he is a best-selling author on psychology.

Radio credits[]

  • I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again

Television credits[]

  • The Frost Report (1966)
  • Frost on Sunday
  • At Last the 1948 Show
  • The Avengers (1968, guest appearance as Marcus Rugman (egg clown-face collector) in the episode Look (Stop Me if You've Heard this One)...)
  • The Goodies (1973, guest cameo appearance as a Genie in the episode The Goodies and the Beanstalk).
  • The Muppet Show (1977, special guest star)
  • Doctor Who (1979, guest cameo appearance as an Art Lover in the episode City of Death as a favour to writer / script editor Douglas Adams)
  • How to Irritate People (1968) with Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Connie Booth and Tim Brooke-Taylor
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–1974)
  • Fawlty Towers (1975, 1979)
  • The Taming of the Shrew, as Petruchio (1980)
  • Cheers (episode "Simon Says"), he won an Emmy Award for best actor in a guest starring role (1987).
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun (1998–2001) as recurring character Dr Liam Neesam.
  • The Human Face (2001) Cleese was the host of this 4 episode BBC documentary. It also featured Michael Palin, Elizabeth Hurley, David Attenborough, Pierce Brosnan, Paul Ekman, and Dacher Keltner, among others.
  • Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central) (2002) as Red
  • Will & Grace (2003-2004) as recurring character Lyle Finster.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus, John Cleese's Personal Best (At the beginning of the episode, the show was dedicated to "Mr John Cleese, who has recently died". A lot of Monty Python fans were saddened for his demise. It turned out it was just part of a skit; John Cleese was portraying himself as a 97-year-old, senile, old man who is being interviewed by a newswoman before succumbing to a heart attack.)
  • Hosted the TV show Wine for the Confused
  • Numerous commercials, including for supermarket chain Sainsbury's (commercials which Sainsbury's said actually led to a downturn in sales), snack firm Planters and a British government Stop Smoking campaign
  • Party political broadcasts for the Liberal Democrats and predecessor, the SDP-Liberal Alliance
  • Song "Don't Mention The World Cup" animated video played on ITV, BBC and Channel 4 News June 2006
  • Host of the PBS series The Human Face (2007)


  • The Bliss of Mrs Blossom (1968)
  • Interlude (1968)
  • The Magic Christian (1969) (had written w/ Chapman an earlier version of the script, of which only the scenes they appear in survived)
  • The Best House in London (1969)
  • The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970) (writer and actor)
  • Romance with a Double Bass (1974) (writer and actor)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974) (writer and actor: Sir Lancelot, Tim the Enchanter, swallow obsessed guard #2, Peasant #1, Black Knight, French Taunter, body cart customer)
  • Meetings, Bloody Meetings (1976) (a humorous business-oriented training video)
  • The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977) (Arthur Sherlock Holmes, a descendant of the original)
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) (writer and actor: various roles including Reg)
  • The Secret Policeman's Ball (1980)
  • The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
  • Time Bandits (1981) (as a gormless Robin Hood)
  • Privates on Parade (1982) (Major Giles Flack)
  • Yellowbeard (1983) (Blind Pew)
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983) (writer and actor) (various roles)
  • Silverado (1985) (plays Langston an English sheriff in a town in the western USA. His first line, as he walks in to a bar to break up a brawl, is, "What's all this, then?")
  • Clockwise (1986) (as Mr Stimpson, a school headmaster)
  • A Fish Called Wanda (1988) (writer and actor) (as lawyer Archie Leach (Cary Grant's real name))
  • Erik the Viking (1989) (as Halfdan the Black)
  • Bullseye! (1990) (as Man on the Beach in Barbados Who Looks Like John Cleese)
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) (Cat R. Waul)
  • Splitting Heirs (1993) (Raoul P. Shadgrind)
  • Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994)
  • Disney's Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1994) (Dr Julien Plumford)
  • The Swan Princess (1994) (Jean-Bob)
  • The Wind in the Willows (1996) (as Mr Toad's lawyer)
  • Fierce Creatures (1996) (as Rollo Lee, manager of an English zoo; the novelization suggests that he is actually the twin brother of Archie Leach from A Fish Called Wanda, with a slight change of surname)
  • George of the Jungle (1997) (as the voice of an ape named Ape)
  • The Out-of-Towners (1999) (as Mr Mersault, the hotel manager)
  • The World Is Not Enough (1999) (a James Bond film) (as Q's assistant, nicknamed R by Bond)
  • Isn't She Great (2000)
  • Quantum Project (2001) (as father of Stephen Dorff's character)
  • Rat Race (2001) (as eccentric millionaire Donald P. Sinclair)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) ("Nearly Headless Nick")
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) ("Nearly Headless Nick")
  • Die Another Day (2002) (second appearance in a James Bond film; replaces Desmond Llewelyn as Q in the series)
  • Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) (Father of Alex)
  • Scorched (2003) (Local Millionaire)
  • George of the Jungle 2 (2003) (as the voice of an ape named Ape)
  • Shrek 2 (2004) (voice of Princess Fiona's father, King Harold)
  • Around the World in 80 Days (2004) (Grizzled Sergeant)
  • Valiant (2005) (voice of captured pigeon, Mercury)
  • Charlotte's Web (2006) (voice of Samuel the sheep)
  • Shrek the Third (2007) (King Harold)
  • Crood Awakening (2008) (Alvan) Voice (also writer)

Video game credits

  • Monty Python's Complete Waste of Time (1994) 7th Level
  • Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail (1996) 7th Level
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1997) Panasonic
  • Starship Titanic (1998) Simon & Schuster Interactive (voice of the Bomb) — (Credited as Kim Bread)
  • 007 Racing (2000) Electronic Arts
  • The World Is Not Enough (video game) (2000) Electronic Arts
  • Everything or Nothing (video game) (2004) Electronic Arts
  • Trivial Pursuit: Unhinged (2004) Atari
  • Jade Empire (2005) BioWare (as Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard)

Other credits[]

  • In 2003, John Cleese took part in Mike Oldfield's re-recording of the 1973 hit Tubular Bells, Tubular Bells 2003. He took over the "Master of Ceremonies" duties in the ‘Finale’ part, in which he announced the various instruments eccentrically, from the late Vivian Stanshall.[10]
  • Cleese recorded the voice of God for Spamalot, the musical based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • In an episode of Will & Grace, he referred to the maid character, Rosario, as Manuel, a homage to his previous television show Fawlty Towers.
  • Cleese narrated the audio version of C. S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters.
  • In the late-1990s Cleese appeared in a set of badly-received commercials for the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's, which the chain said actually drove sales down. Around the same time, his Fawlty Towers co-star, Prunella Scales, appeared in more well-received commercials for rival chain Tesco.
  • He has enunciated a very welcome set of directions for the TomTom in-car navigation system. This allows itself humorous notes at non-critical moments, for instance when asking for a U-turn and when signing off: "I'm not going to carry your baggage - from now on, you're on your own".
  • He plays the voice of Samuel the Sheep in the 2006 adaption of Charlotte's Web. Samuel keeps on telling the other sheep to be individuals, not sheep. This is a reference to Life Of Brian.


  • The Rectorial Address of John Cleese, Epam, 1971, 8 pages


  • The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation As We Know It, w/Jack Hobbs & Joseph McGrath, 1977  ISBN 0-352-30109-0
  • Fawlty Towers, w/Connie Booth, 1977 (The Builders, The Hotel Inspectors, Gourmet Night)  ISBN 0-86007-598-2
  • Fawlty Towers: Book 2, w/Connie Booth, 1979 (The Wedding Party, A Touch of Class, The Germans)
  • The Golden Skits of Wing Commander Muriel Volestrangler FRHS & Bar, 1984  ISBN 0-413-41560-0
  • The Complete Fawlty Towers, w/Connie Booth, 1988  ISBN 0-413-18390-4 (hardcover), ISBN 0-679-72127-4 (paperback)
  • A Fish Called Wanda: The Screenplay, w/Charles Crichton, 1988  ISBN 1-55783-033-9
  • Fawlty's Hotel: Sämtliche Stücke, w/Connie Booth, (The Complete Fawlty Towers in German), Haffmans Verlag AG Zürich, 1995


External links[]

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  1. John Cleese's father
  2. .San Diego Magazine, Silly Walks and Dead Parrots
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Footlights! — 'A Hundred Years of Cambridge Comedy' — Robert Hewison, Methuen London Ltd, 1983, ISBN 0-413-51150-2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 From Fringe to Flying Circus — 'Celebrating a Unique Generation of Comedy 1960–1980' — Roger Wilmut, Eyre Methuen Ltd, 1980, ISBN 0-413-46950-6.
  5. List of Rectors of University of St. Andrews
  6. Memorial eulogy by John Cleese for Graham Chapman
  7. Playbill
  8. "The New Scientist" comment about the lemur being named after John Cleese
  9. "The New Scientist" and John Cleese's response to the honour
  10. Mike Oldfield "Tubular Bells" reaches thirty years old... (information about John Cleese is given towards the end of the second paragraph)