THE RANDOM HOUSE GROUP has acquired world rights in the autobiography of John Cleese. The announcement was made today by Susan Sandon, Managing Director of Cornerstone Publishing. The deal was struck with Phil McIntyre of Phil McIntyre Entertainment.
From tall adolescent (he was 6’ at the age of 12) to giant of the comedy world, John Cleese has led an extraordinary life and enjoyed astonishing acclaim. Now he plans to tell the inside story of how a shy child from Weston-super-Mare, who dabbled briefly with teaching and law, went on to become one of the most feted writers and performers of the past fifty years. His autobiography, like the man himself, promises to be both hilariously frank and frankly hilarious.
Born in 1939, John Cleese joined the legendary Cambridge Footlights group in the early 1960s and then went on to write for the BBC. After stints on I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again on radio and The Frost Report on television he joined Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam as a writer and performer in Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969). He left after three series, but continued to collaborate with the other Pythons on such films as Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975) and Life of Brian (1979). With his then wife Connie Booth, he created and starred in the classic TV comedy Fawlty Towers. He has appeared in the James Bond and Harry Potter films, co-starred in A Fish Called Wanda (1988), and also established his own production company, Video Arts. Currently professor-at-large at Cornell University in New York, he most recently toured with a very successful one-man show.
Cleese will work on the memoir with Random House Books Publishing Director Nigel Wilcockson. US rights have already been sold to Crown, part of Random House Inc.