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Cleese memoir secured by Cornerstone

Random House has acquired world rights in the autobiography of comedy great John Cleese, star of "Fawlty Towers" and "Monty Python's Flying Circus".

Cornerstone managing director Susan Sandon secured world rights through Phil McIntyre of Phil McIntyre Entertainment. Cleese will work on the the memoir with Random House Books publishing director Nigel Wilcockson [pictured with Cleese], with publication date to be confirmed. US rights have been sold to Crown.

Sandon said: "Comedy legends' autobiographies really don't come much bigger than John Cleese's. Enduringly popular, brilliantly witty and impressively erudite, he is a towering figure in every sense of the word. His memoir will be a major publishing event." 

Born in 1939, Cleese joined the Cambridge Footlights group in the early 1960s and then wrote 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 "Monty Python's Flying Circus".

He then collaborated with the other Pythons on "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian".

He next created the TV hotel-set comedy, "Fawlty Towers", alongside his then-wife Connie Booth. He has also appeared in the James Bond and Harry Potter films, co-starred in "A Fish Called Wanda" and established his own production company, Video Arts. Currently professor-at-large at Cornell University in New York, he recently toured with a one-man show.