'Monty Python' Alum John Cleese Signs Deal for Autobiography

John Cleese Sydney - H 2012
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John Cleese Sydney - H 2012

The British-born actor famous for his comedic turns in "Fawlty Towers," "A Fish Called Wanda" and "Shrek" will pen his life story.

John Cleese, the Monty Python alum, signed with Crown Archetype to write the story of his life, the publisher announced today.

The actor rose to fame when he joined with Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam to create Monty Python’s Flying Circus in 1969.

He left the BBC show three seasons into its four season run, but continued to collaborate with the group on several hit films, including Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975) and Life of Brian (1979).

From 1975 to 1979, he starred on the BBC comedy Fawlty Towers, which lasted just twelve episodes but was named the greatest program in the history of British television by the British Film Institute.

His other notable roles include playing Bond gadget expert Q in Die Another Day (2002)Archie Leach in A Fish Called Wanda (1988) and the King in the Shrek films.

Cleese was born in 1939 and raised in Somerset, England, before attending Cambridge University.

After he graduated in 1963, he wrote for a number of news programs for BBC radio and TV.

He is currently a visiting professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he also taught intermittently from 1999 to 2006.

Cleese was also the Rector at St. Andrew's University in Scotland (the alma mater of Prince William) from 1970-1973.

A title or publication date has not been set.

Phil McIntyre of Phil McIntyre Entertainment represented Cleese on the book deal. Crown Archetype Publisher Tina Constable and British-based executive Susan Sandon represented Random House.