JOHN CLEESE (Narrator) was born and raised in Weston-super-Mare. He initially studied science at Cambridge, but after sampling the conversation in the chemistry laboratories, Cleese switched to law. Fortunately, the success of the 1963 Cambridge Footlights Revue, which played in the West End and on Broadway, saved him from a legal career.
Cleese first shot to fame in England with "The Frost Report" in 1966, and in 1969, he co-created Monty Python's Flying Circus. The team went on to conquer the world with four cult TV series and four hugely successful films, "And Now For Something Completely Different" (1971), "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1974), "The Life of Brian" (1979) and "The Meaning of Life" (1983).
After leaving Python, Cleese created Basil Fawlty, the hotel manager from hell in "Fawlty Towers." As one of the most successful TV series ever made, the 12 episodes of "Fawlty Towers" have been repeated on the BBC many times.
In 1988, Cleese starred in and co-wrote "A Fish Called Wanda." He reunited the stars of the film in 1996 to make "Fierce Creatures," a film about a zoo, which was released worldwide in 1997. Cleese's film credits as an actor include "The Great Muppet Caper" (1980), "Time Bandits" (1980), "Privates on Parade" (1982), "Silverado" (1984), "Clockwise" (1986), Terry Jones' "Erik the Viking" (1989), Eric Idle's "Splitting Heirs" (1992), Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (1994), "The Jungle Book" (1995), "The Wind in the Willows" (1996), "The Out-of-Towners" (1999), and "Rat Race" (2001). Cleese lends his voice to The Kin in the "Shrek" movies.
Less well known is the fact that Cleese co-wrote (with Robin Skynner) two bestselling books on psychology, "Families and How to Survive Them," and "Life and How to Survive It." He also co-founded Video Arts in 1972, which became the largest producer of management and sales training films outside the United States. Video Arts was sold in 1991.
Cleese started the Secret Policeman's Ball concerts for Amnesty International, and has continued to do a lot of charity work-much of it, like "The Human Face" (2001), for the BBC.
Cleese writes film scripts, makes speeches to business audiences, conducts seminars on creativity, teaches at Cornell and UCSB, raises chickens and tries to grow a decent tomato.