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Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 27, 1965 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: actor, comedian, director, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Possessing energy, charisma and enough flair to command the stages of Broadway and the West End, Scottish actor Alan Cumming proved a scene-stealing character player after being discovered by Hollywood. Cumming swept the international theater world with his performance as The Emcee in a 1990s revival of "Cabaret," having built his foundation as both a cult comedy act and a Shakespearean player throughout the U.K. Among the stunningly versatile actor's screen fortes were his over-the-top villains in action blockbusters like "X2: X-Men United" (2003), "GoldenEye" (1995), and, in a role that showcased his campier side, his pushy filmmaker in "Spice World" (1997). Cumming also knew how to adapt his perennially mischievous expression for subtler fare like "Emma" (1996) and the popular indie ensemble "The Anniversary Party" (2001), which he co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in with a very accessible role as a Hollywood writer with a troubled marriage. From his evil-to-good character arc in Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids" film franchise to his portrayal of a blunt campaign manager on the hit series "The Good Wife" (CBS, 2009- ), Cumming's ability to dial up or down his sophistication and debauched sides at...

Possessing energy, charisma and enough flair to command the stages of Broadway and the West End, Scottish actor Alan Cumming proved a scene-stealing character player after being discovered by Hollywood. Cumming swept the international theater world with his performance as The Emcee in a 1990s revival of "Cabaret," having built his foundation as both a cult comedy act and a Shakespearean player throughout the U.K. Among the stunningly versatile actor's screen fortes were his over-the-top villains in action blockbusters like "X2: X-Men United" (2003), "GoldenEye" (1995), and, in a role that showcased his campier side, his pushy filmmaker in "Spice World" (1997). Cumming also knew how to adapt his perennially mischievous expression for subtler fare like "Emma" (1996) and the popular indie ensemble "The Anniversary Party" (2001), which he co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in with a very accessible role as a Hollywood writer with a troubled marriage. From his evil-to-good character arc in Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids" film franchise to his portrayal of a blunt campaign manager on the hit series "The Good Wife" (CBS, 2009- ), Cumming's ability to dial up or down his sophistication and debauched sides at will gave him wide appeal, as well as a varied, interesting career.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
  Anniversary Party, The (2001) Director (Co-Director)

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Smurfs 2, The (2013)
3.
 Almost in Love (2013)
4.
 Outback, The (2012)
5.
 Outback, The (2012)
6.
 Surrealist, The (2012)
7.
 Any Day Now (2012)
8.
 Smurfs, The (2011)
9.
 Tempest, The (2010)
10.
 Burlesque (2010)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
First came to attention with cabaret act "Vic and Barry," starring along with Forbes Masson
1986:
Film debut, Gillies MacKinnon's "Passing Glory"
1988:
London stage debut in "The Conquest of the South Pole"
1991:
Featured in the comedy "Bernard and the Genie" (aired on television in Great Britain and released on video the following year in the US)
1992:
Starred in "Prague" as a man searching for a piece of film featuring his family being carted off to concentration camps
1993:
Played "Hamlet" at the experimental Donmar Warehouse Theater Sam Mendes ran in London
1993:
Cast as the Emcee in Mendes' site-specific staging of "Cabaret"; Jane Horrocks co-starred as Sally Bowles
1994:
First US film, "Black Beauty" (voice only)
1994:
Directoral debut, the short film "Butter"
1994:
First onscreen teaming with Minnie Driver, the short "That Sunday"
1995:
Co-wrote and co-starred in hit BBC-TV series "The High Life," reteaming with Forbes Masson
1995:
Had featured role as creepy Sean Walsh in "Circle of Friends," reteamed him with Minnie Driver
1995:
Appeared in the James Bond film "GoldenEye" as computer wiz Boris Grishenko; Driver also had supporting part
1996:
Featured as Reverend Elton in "Emma"
1997:
Co-starred as a former nerd in the comedy "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion"
1997:
Starred in "For My Baby," as a Jewish stand-up comedian taken over by the ghost of his sister
1998:
Had a co-starring role in the mock rockumentary "Spice World"
1998:
Made Broadway debut recreating his London stage role of the Emcee in a revival of "Cabaret"
1999:
Offered a sly turn as a lascivious hotel clerk in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut"
1999:
Played Lord Rochester, the foppish old friend of Jonny Lee Miller's Macleane, in "Plunkett and Macleane"
1999:
Co-starred with Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange in "Titus," Julie Taymor's film version of Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus"
1999:
Played the villainous Rooster in the ABC remake of the musical "Annie"
2000:
Had dual role of The Great Gazoo and Mick Jagged in the live-action feature "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas"
2000:
Played Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in the comedy "Company Man," co-starring Woody Allen
2000:
Cast as an AIDS-stricken gay man in the dark drama "Urbania", based on Daniel Rietz's play "Urban Folk Tales"
2001:
With Jennifer Jason Leigh, co-directed, co-produced, co-wrote and co-starred in "The Anniversary Party"
2001:
Co-starred with Jennifer Ehle and Dominic West in the Broadway revival of "Design for Living"
2001:
Acted alongside Antonio Banderas in the family comedy "Spy Kids"
2001:
Appeared with Nick Nolte in Alan Rudolph's period comedy-drama "Investigating Sex"
2002:
Revised role as Fegan Floop in "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams"
2003:
Played Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler in "X2"
2003:
Returned to play Fegan Floop for "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over"
2004:
Appeared in the television remake of Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl," with Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton
2004:
Starred opposite Bill Murray in "Garfield: The Movie"
2005:
Co-starred with Steven Weber in Showtime's movie adaptation of "Reefer Madness," an off-Broadway musical that was itself based on a hysterical 1930s film
2006:
Reprised the role of Nightcrawler in the third installment of the "X-Men" series, "X-Men: The Last Stand"
2006:
U.S. television series debut on Showtime's "The L Word," as Billie Blaikie, a party promoter
2007:
Cast opposite Heather Graham in the indie feature "Gray Matters"
2007:
Cast as Glitch in "Tin Man" (Sci-Fi), a six hour miniseries based on L. Frank Baum's book <i>The Wonderful Wizard of Oz</i>
2008:
Appeared in the indie comedy, "Full Grown Men"
2009:
Cast as Desrae, a transvestite, on the British series "The Runaway"
2009:
Released debut solo album, <i>I Bought a Blue Car Today</i>
2010:
Cast in a recurring role on the CBS television show "The Good Wife"
2010:
Co-starred with Cher and Christina Aguilera in "Burlesque"
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Carnoustie High School: -
Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama: -

Notes

"His ... face is pretty but not pretty enough to spoil a joke. He has an expression of surprised innocence. He's naturally, flirtatiously funny, not one of those comedians for whom laughter is strictly professional." --Kate Kellaway in The Observer, October 24, 1993.

Reacting to the fame and acclaim that greeted his "Cabaret" performance: "When someone like Meryl Streep comes back and says 'I've always liked your work', I feel that chaos is ruling the world. I can't even imagine her knowing who I am." --Cumming quoted in New York Post, March 16, 1998.

Cumming on the difference between New York and London theater: "Broadway as an entity is much more enthusiastic and less jaded than the West End. You get a lot of respect from people who actually work in the theater, as well as from the public. There's an endearing feeling of wanting to get it right." --quoted in InTheater, May 15, 1998.

"I quite like directing something I act in because it means that you, as an actor, don't have to worry if you don't get along with the director. And as a director you don't have to worry that your leading actor is a wanker and won't listen to what you're saying." --Cumming quoted in Interview, October 1998.

Cumming once shared a flat with choreographer Matthew Bourne. In a twist of fate, he also presented Bourne with a Tony Award for Choreography during the 1999 telecast.

"The fact that somebody like me is a sex symbol, it's kind of good, I think, because it's not like I'm a big muscle man or any of those things that normally are treated as sex symbols.

"It's quite a good kind of thing for skinny people." --Cumming to Detour. February, 2000.

Regarding his sexuality, Cumming told The Scotsman in March 2001: " ... although I was perfectly happy in my marriage, and with Saffy, and I thought both times it was going to last for ever. But I had this whole thing sussed when I was 15, when I first found boys attractive, too."

"A big, huge, bizarre thing has happened to me in my career and this is no longer just about me being an actor - I'm this entity now. It's not about playing a part anymore; if people want you, they want the whole thing, the real deal.

"I think they should get that and it's always been important to me that I sound like the sum of my life. The most important thing about any actor is the person, and the more of that person you let through, the more interesting you are." --Cumming to The Scotsman, March 2001.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Hilary Lyon. Actor. Born c. 1962; were high school sweethearts; married c. 1983; played Ophelia to his Hamlet in 1993; acted in his short film "Butter"; divorced c. 1993.
companion:
Saffron Burrows. Actor. Met during the filming of "Circle of Friends"; reportedly were engaged; no longer together as of 1996.
companion:
Nick. Born in 1961; English; live together in NYC.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Alex Cumming. Forester. Divorced from Cumming's mother; Cumming is estranged from his father and they haven't spoken since c. 1992.
brother:
Tom Cumming. Born c. 1959; has three children.

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