[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/john_cleese.jpg]]

->''"John Cleese is very, very tall. He also has a very SillyWalk."''
-->--'''[=TeeVeePedia=] article on John Cleese'''

'''John Marwood Cleese''' (October 27, 1939-) is a British actor. He is most famous for his work in ''Creator/MontyPython'', where he often played authority figures and yelled a lot. His leaving the show before the fourth season is widely seen to be the moment when it JumpedTheShark. Beyond that, he, along with his then-wife Connie Booth, created and starred in ''Series/FawltyTowers'', co-wrote and starred in ''Film/AFishCalledWanda'', helped write a ''Franchise/{{Superman}}'' Film/{{Elseworld}}, [[HeyItsThatGuy made cameo appearances all over the place]], and gave a [[PrecisionFStrike rather famous]] eulogy to friend and fellow Pythonite Creator/GrahamChapman.

He is the straightest StraightMan possible without having to resort to Asimo or attaching girders to one's back. Except when he's playing a raving lunatic. Although even then he manages to be the straightest raving lunatic you've ever encountered (see [[Series/FawltyTowers Basil Fawlty]] and [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail Tim the Enchanter]]).

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!!Partial list of roles:

'''Live Action TV'''
* ''Series/ThatWasTheWeekThatWas'' (1962-1963)
* ''Series/AtLastThe1948Show'' (1967-1968)
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' (1969) (1970) (1971) (1972-1973) (1974): Many characters, but most memorably the "And now for something completely different..." presenter in black costume.
* ''Series/FawltyTowers'' (1975) (1979): Basil Fawlty.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': Appeared as himself in the episode ''Recap/DoctorWhoS17E2CityOfDeath''.
* ''Series/TheMuppetShow'': Appeared as himself in one episode.
* ''Series/{{Cheers}}'': Dr. Simon Finch-Royce in one episode
* ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'': Appeared as Dr. Liam Neesam in one episode

'''Films'''
* ''Literature/RomanceWithADoubleBass'' (1968)
* ''Film/TheMagicChristian'' (1969): Art expert
* ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'' (1975): Sir Lancelot, The Black Knight, the taunting French Knight, Tim the Enchanter and various minor roles.
* ''Film/MontyPythonsLifeOfBrian'' (1979): One of the three wise men, the Roman centurion and the head of the People's Front Of Judea.
* ''Film/TimeBandits'' (1981): RobinHood.
* ''Film.TheGreatMuppetCaper'' (1981): Has a cameo as a stuffy British man.
* ''Film/MontyPythonsTheMeaningOfLife'' (1983): One of the doctors in the "Birth" and "Liver Transplant" segment, the Sex Education teacher, a French waiter
* ''Film/{{Clockwise}}'' (1983): The teacher
* ''Film/{{Silverado}}'' (1985): Sheriff Langston.
* ''Film/AFishCalledWanda'' (1988): Archie Leach.
* ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail (1991): Fievel Goes West'': Cat R. Waul (voice).
* ''Film/SplittingHeirs'' (1993): Shadgrind
* ''Film/FierceCreatures'' (1995): Dr. Rollo Lee
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSwanPrincess'' (1996): The frog.
* ''Film/GeorgeOfTheJungle'': Ape (voice in the movie).
* ''Film/JamesBond'': R (''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'' (1999)), Q (''Film/DieAnotherDay'' (2002)) (same character, he just got promoted between films).
* ''Film/HarryPotter'' (2001-2011): Nearly Headless Nick.
* ''Film/RatRace'' (2002): Donald Sinclair.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek2}} (2004)'': King Harold (voice).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Planet 51}}'': Professor Kipple (voice).
* ''Disney/WinnieThePooh'': The Narrator.
* ''Film/TheBigYear'' (2011): Narrator.

'''Video Games'''
* ''VideoGame/StarshipTitanic'': The Bomb.
* ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'': Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard.
* ''VideoGame/FableIII'': Jasper (voice).

'''Literature'''
* ''Literature/TheScrewtapeLetters'': Undersecretary Screwtape (voice in an audiobook edition).

'''Radio Shows'''
* ''Radio/ImSorryIllReadThatAgain'' (1965-1973)

'''Discography'''
* ''AudioPlay/AnotherMontyPythonRecord'' (1971)
* ''AudioPlay/TheMontyPythonMatchingTieAndHandkerchief'' (1973)
* ''AudioPlay/MontyPythonLiveAtDruryLane'' (1974)
* ''AudioPlay/MontyPythonsContractualObligationAlbum'' (1980)

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!!Tropes associated with him include:
* AbsenteeActor: The fourth season of ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' was done without his participation. Cleese had grown tired of the show and left to do other things. In his own opinion he felt they were repeating themselves and he was always pitted to write together with Creator/GrahamChapman who still suffered from alcoholism in those days. He tried to change the system of working with different people within the group, but the others weren't keen on that.
* AcronymAndAbbreviationOverload: In ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' an MPFC LP played by Cleese had this as the basis for a sketch IIRC.
--> '': Gentlemen, our MP saw the PM this AM and the PM wants more LSD from the PIB by tomorrow AM or PM at the latest. I told the PM's PPS that AM was NBG so tomorrow PM it is for the PM nem. con.''
* BadassMustache: It's something of a trademark of his in the post-''Python'' years, with the exception of some appearances like ''Film/AFishCalledWanda''.
* TheBigGuy: His tall length is often used as a source for his comedy. He plays authoritarian characters or is pitched against smaller comedians. One can simply quote from the Archaeology Sketch: "Because I am six-foot-five, and I eat little twerps like you for breakfast!"
* BritishStuffiness: He has performed these kind of characters in many of his comedies, most notably Archie in ''Film/AFishCalledWanda''.
* TheComicallySerious: Basil Fawlty himself was designed with this trope in mind. Creator/JohnCleese has mentioned in interviews that the guiding principle he had when designing Fawlty was that someone having something embarrassing happen to them isn't funny; someone having something embarrassing happen to them and trying to press on as though everything is normal is hilarious.
* CreatorBacklash: Despite being the most famous member of Creator/MontyPython, he is the only one who grew dissatisfied with the format early, left the series after the third season because of SeasonalRot, and to this day still thinks most of what they did could've been a whole lot better if they had more time and money to perfect some stuff. He is also the only Python who once complained to the BBC about one of their sketches he deemed too vulgar and managed to have it cut.
* DeadpanSnarker: Cleese is very well known for saying odd stuff while remaining straight-faced.
* DrillSergeantNasty: Due to his imposing length Cleese is often cast as a military officer, a teacher, a principal, a manager or any kind of person with power. It allows him to command orders and shout at people, with hilarious results. He played these kind of characters a lot in ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'', for instance in the "Self Defense Against Fresh Fruit" sketch.
* TheFunInFuneral: Both InUniverse as well as in reality. The "Undertaker" sketch in ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' has Cleese going to an undertaker with his mother's corpse in a bag and being convinced to eat her. In an episode of ''Series/FawltyTowers'' a hotel guest dies and needs to be smuggled out of the hotel in all discretion, which naturally goes completely wrong. When Creator/GrahamChapman died in 1989 Cleese livened up the funeral by saying at the eulogy: "Good riddance, the free loading bastard. I hope he fries!", explaining that Chapman loved a little controversy and would have been saddened if it didn't happen at his funeral.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: With Creator/GrahamChapman.
* IAmVeryBritish: It may be difficult to find another British comedian who embodies all the stereotypical ideas about the QuintessentialBritishGentleman more than Cleese. Maybe Creator/PeterSellers could, but he's more famous as [[Franchise/ThePinkPanther a French detective]].
* MeaningfulRename: His actual last name is "Cheese", but his father changed this to avoid other pupils laughing at him as he had experienced in his own youth. It didn't help anyway, because the others still laughed at him. Interestingly enough Cleese is very fond of his actual last name and has often referred to cheese in a lot of his comedy, including the "Cheese Shop" sketch.
* OnlyInItForTheMoney: Cleese has a reputation for being very intent on earning money. Creator/EricIdle complained a lot about this, especially because Cleese only wanted to do the post-Python projects (like the movies) if they brought in a lot of cash. Many of the films and TV sitcom appearances Cleese has done in the later years of his life have been criticized as this too. Ironically, Idle himself has gone the same route the last twenty years.
** BegoneBribe: Eric Idle on John Cleese in "The Pythons Autobiography":
--> ''He once told me, and he won't deny this, "I'll do anything for money." So I offered him a pound to shut up, and he took it.''
* PopCulturalOsmosis: In the USA he is best remembered for his roles in Creator/MontyPython, while in Europe probably more people recognize him as Basil Fawlty in ''Series/FawltyTowers''.
* PrecisionFStrike: Believes that profanity has its place, but it must be handled carefully or it loses its effect. He abhors works that use it simply for the sake of being vulgar.
* SadClown: Like most comedians, he suffered from depression with his failed marriages. He also got tired of the Creator/MontyPython format quickly and left after three seasons. His conversations with psychiatrist Robin Skynner led to the popular books ''Families and How To Survive Them'' and ''Life And How To Survive It''.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: In ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' Cleese often portrays characters who use very out of the ordinary words in their every day speech.
--> ''"Frankly, I'm against people who give vent to their loquacity by extraneous bombastic circumlocution." ''
* SillyWalk: Not the TropeNamer, since other comedians before him have had silly walks, but he could be the TropeCodifier. A famous Monty Python sketch has him as the Minister of Silly Walks and he goosestepped another funny walk in the ''Series/FawltyTowers'' episode "The Germans". It's one of his trademarks, though he doesn't particularly like the fact that he is pigeonholed for "[[CreatorBacklash such a ordinary and simple joke]]."
* StiffUpperLip: Talks a lot between his teeth while remaining straight-faced.
* TypeCasting: He's pretty much the same in every movie. He often says "Jolly good", "Right!", "Marvelous", and "[sucks wind between teeth]...Still!". Since ''Film/AFishCalledWanda'', he is also often cast in films and TV series as somewhat of a ChickMagnet.
* WorkingWithTheEx: In ''Series/FawltyTowers'' Cleese plays Basil, while his then wife Connie Booth plays Polly the maid. In the first series they were still together. In the second they were divorced. Still, they did get along fine, seeing that she also co-wrote the scripts.
* WriteWhatYouKnow: He based Basil Fawlty on a very rude hotel manager called Donald Sinclair. The other Pythons left the hotel, but John chose to stay and study Donald's behavior.

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->''[[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail Ooh, ooh, I see. Going to another page, eh? YOU YELLOW BASTARDS!! Come back here and read the article again! I'll bite your legs off]]!!''
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