PROFILE
Name:
Ricky Gervais
Birth Date:
June 25, 1961
Birth Place:
Reading, Berkshire, England, UK
Height:
5' 8" (1.73 m)
Nationality:
British
BIOGRAPHY
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The Office

Background:

“There's nothing wrong with getting 20 million viewers, but I think there's something wrong with aiming at getting 20 million viewers because then you have to take away all the things that will offend and you'll end up with something so anodyne that it just washes over you for half an hour. I imagine ‘The Office’ (2001) was also one of the most hated shows on television, that some people passionately hated it. But that's better for me. David Bowie said that after ‘Let's Dance,’ which is his biggest album ever and obviously not his best, he was doing these stadium gigs and looked out at the audience and suddenly realized that he had Phil Collins fans instead of Iggy Pop fans. And that's how I feel about everything I do. I want Iggy Pop fans.” Ricky Gervais

British comedian, actor, writer, host and filmmaker Ricky Gervais has reached mainstream prominence thanks to his critically acclaimed TV series “The Office” (BBC Two, 2001-2003) and “Extras” (BBC Two/HBO, 2005-2007), both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with long time partner Stephen Merchant. He also starred as David Brent in “The Office,” for which he picked up a Golden Globe Award, three BAFTA Awards, a British Comedy Award, a Royal Television Society Award and a Television Critics Association Award, and Andy Millman in “Extras,” where he won an Emmy Award, a BAFTA Award, a Satellite Award and a British Comedy Award, not to mention nominations at the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards, for his performance. Gervais won a Satellite Award for his starring role in the film “Ghost Town” (2008). Other film acting credits include “For Your Consideration” (2006), “Night at the Museum” (2006) and its sequel “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” (2009), “Stardust” (2007), and “The Invention of Lying” (2009), which he also co-directed and co-wrote with Matthew Robinson and produced. He has guest starred in “Alias,” “24” and “The Simpsons.” On the standup circuit, Gervais has performed the sold out tours “Animals” (2003), “Politics” (2004) and “Fame” (2007). His new comedy show, “Science,” premiered at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow in August 2009. Gervais also published the bestselling “Flanimals” book series and performed with Merchant and Karl Pilkington in “The Ricky Gervais Show.”

Gervais began his career in the music industry as part of the pop duo Seona Dancing in the early 1980s. He moved to radio before gaining notice on the small screen in the late 1990s through a performance in “The 11 O'Clock Show.” His career earned substantial momentum with “The Office.”

Gervais has had a long term relationship with TV producer Jane Fallon, whom he met in college. They currently live in Hampstead, London. In 2008, they purchased a second home in Manhattan in New York City. He mentions “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984) as his favorite film.

Gervais is an atheist, a fact that he publicly disclosed during a 2007 interview with Kirsty Young for “Desert Island Disc.” He stated he lost his faith as a child.

A lifelong fan of wildlife documentaries, Gervais has actively supported animal rights and is opposed to fox hunting and bull fighting.


Philosophy

Childhood and Family:

Ricky Dene Gervais was born on June 25, 1961, in Reading, Berkshire, England, to a French Canadian father, Jerry Gervais, and an English mother, Eva Gervais. His father emigrated from Canada while on duty in World War 2. After meeting Ricky's mother, they settled in the suburb of Whitley in Reading. Despite growing up in relative impoverishment, Ricky had a stable and happy family where openness and honesty among family members became the emphasis. One of four siblings, he has two brothers, Larry and Robert Gervais and a sister named Marsha Gervais.

Ricky was educated at Whitley Park Infants and Junior Schools and Ashmead Comprehensive School. He attended college at the University College London in London, England. Originally, he was going to study Biology in college but changed to philosophy within two weeks of his arrival. He graduated with a degree in philosophy. It was at UCL that Ricky met his girlfriend Jane Fallon.


Extras

Career:

During his final year of college, Ricky Gervais founded the pop duo Seona Dancing with his friend Bill Macrae. The group released two singles in 1983 called “Bitter Heart” and “More To Lose” before disbanding the following year. He then became a manager for the U.K. group Suede and later spent several years working as an entertainment manager for the University of London Union (ULU). After a string of office jobs and comedy stints, Gervais joined the London radio station XFM. While there, he recruited future writing partner Stephen Merchant as his assistant. In 1998, after the Capital Radio group took over XFM, Gervais, accompanied by his assistant Merchant, moved to BBC Radio 1, where he became a music advisor and provided sketch material to many programs.

Gervais' first break on television arrived in 1998 when he wrote and performed on the sketch comedy series “The 11 O'Clock Show” (BBC Four). The same year, he also co-wrote with Merchant the pilot for a series called “Golden Years,” where Gervais starred as a David Bowie fanatic. The episode was shown in September 1999 during season 2 of the Channel 4 series “Comedy Lab.”

After writing for the BBC short lived sketch show “Bruiser,” Gervais had his own TV show on BBC Four called “Meet Ricky Gervais,” where he mixed a talk show format with his reporter character, which was previously introduced on “The 11 O'Clock Show.” Debuting on September 4, 2000, the show, however, earned negative feedback and was canceled after six episodes. Thanks to video footage of Gervais that Merchant shot and submitted to ITV in the 1990s, the two were able to secure a writing job at the network's sketch comedy series “The Sketch Show” in 2001.

Debuting on July 9, 2001, on BBC Two, “The Office,” which centered on daily lives of office workers, initially received little notice during its first six episodes and was almost canceled due to poor ratings. Thanks to gradual gossip and critical acclaim, the show developed an audience by the time it returned in 2002. It was concluded with two Christmas specials in 2003. Shown internationally through BBC Worldwide channels such as BBC Prime, BBC America and BBC Canada, “The Office” has since become one of the most flourishing British comedy exports of all time.

After its debut, “The Office” won a 2001 British Comedy for Best New TV Comedy and a nomination for Best TV Comedy. It went on to collect more awards in 2002, including a BAFTA for Situation Comedy Award, a Banff Rockie Award for Best Comedy, and a British Comedy for Best TV Comedy, among many other awards and nominations. Meanwhile, Gervais, starred as general manager David Brent on the series, gained extensive recognition for his performance and was handed consecutive BAFTA Awards for Best Comedy Performance from 2002 to 2004, a 2002 British Comedy for Best Comedy Actor, a 2003 RTS for Best Comedy Performance, a 2004 TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy and a 2004 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy. Gervais also co-directed the show with Merchant.

After the first season of “The Office,” Gervais and Merchant collaborated on a Saturday radio show for XFM called “The Ricky Gervais Show.” Premiering in November 2001, the show ran until January 2004 and in mid 2005. Beginning in late 2005, the show was developed into a podcast series of 12 shows and was later listed in the Guinness World Record in 2007 for the most downloaded podcast in the world.

2001 also became a turning point for Gervais' standup career following a few unsuccessful efforts in the late 1990s. His first successful show, “Rubbernecker,” ran at the Cafe Royal as part of the 2001 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It also featured Jimmy Carr, Robin Ince and Merchant. It was followed by the well known live themed trilogy “Animals” (2003), “Politics” (2004) and “Fame” (2007).

Gervais made his feature film acting debut in the 2001 Moody Shoaibi directed comedy “Dog Eat Dog,” where he was cast as Bouncer. The same year, he voiced a character in the 30 minute British animated TV movie “Legend of the Lost Tribe.” After the success of “The Office,” Gervais landed the notable role of Daniel Ryan in an episode of the American hit series “Alias” called “Facade” (2004).

Gervais' popularity in the U.S. increased when he, in partnership with Merchant, joined forces with creator Greg Daniels to develop an American version of “The Office.” Debuting on NBC on March 25, 2005, the show has won many awards, including a 2006 Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, a 2007 Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Greg Daniels).

Back to U.K., Gervais co-created, co-wrote and co-directed with Merchant the situation comedy series “Extras.” Starring Gervais as Andy Millman, the show was first broadcasted on BBC Two on July 21, 2001, and on HBO on September 25, 2005. “Extras” won the 2006 Rose d'Or for Best Sitcom (UK) and a 2008 Golden Globe for Best Television Series - Best Comedy or Musical, among other awards and nominations. For his acting, Gervais received a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, a 2007 BAFTA for Best Comedy Performance and a 2008 British Comedy for Best Television Comedy Actor.

Gervais next provided the voice of Bugsy in the 2005 British animated movie “Valiant,” directed by Gary Chapman and starring Ewan McGregor as the voice of Valiant and Tim Curry as the voice of Von Talon, guest starred in an episode of Fox's hit animated series “The Simpsons” called “Homer Simpson, This Is Your Wife” (2006), which he also wrote, and had a small role in the Christopher Guest directed “For Your Consideration” (2006). Also in 2006, he portrayed Dr. McPhee in the Ben Stiller successful comedy “Night at the Museum.” It was followed by a guest stint in the series “24” (2007) and a notable supporting role in Matthew Vaughn's “Stardust” (2007).

Gervais made his debut as a leading man in a feature film when he was hired to portray Bertram Pincus in the David Koepp directed “Ghost Town” (2008), opposite Greg Kinnear. The role brought the actor a Satellite for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical. The same year, he performed a comedy special on HBO called “Ricky Gervais: Out of England - The Stand-Up Special,” where he received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special and Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special.

In 2009, Gervais reprised his role of Dr. McPhee in the sequel “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” and starred opposite Jennifer Garner in the comedy “The Invention of Lying,” which he also produced, co-directed and co-wrote (with Matthew Robinson). Released on October 2, 2009, “The Invention of Lying” grossed over $32 million at the box office. However, it earned mixed reviews from critics. The same year, Gervais could be seen performing his new comedy show titled “Science” at the 2009 Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow.

More recently, Gervais served as a host on the 67th Golden Globes (2010). He will also portray Len Taylor in the film “Cemetery Junction,” which he co-wrote and co-directed with Merchant and produced. The film will be released in the U.K. on April, 7, 2010. He will then lend his voice to the upcoming animation film “Flanimals” (2011), which was adapted from Gervais' 2004 successful children's book of the same name. The book “Flanimals” has spawned three sequels, “More Flanimals” (2005), “Flanimals of the Deep” (2006) and “Flanimals: The Day of the Bletchling” (2007).

“I don't think a comedian should even be concerned with being cool or sexy. As soon as you do, you aren't a comedian any more. Looks are still the most important thing for women when it comes to meeting a partner, and that's fair enough, but a sense of humor is really important too. For starters, it's a great indicator of whether you are going to get on. If the first time you go on a date you don't find each other funny, there's a fundamental problem.” Ricky Gervais


Awards:

  • British Comedy: Best Television Comedy Actor, “Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale (#3.0),” 2008

  • Satellite: Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, “Ghost Town,” 2008

  • BAFTA (TV): Best Comedy Performance, “Extras,” 2007

  • Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, “Extras,” 2007

  • Writers Guild of America (WGA): Comedy Series, “The Office,” 2007

  • Emmy: Outstanding Comedy Series, “The Office,” 2006

  • Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival: Honorary Rose, 2006

  • BAFTA (TV): Best Comedy Performance, “The Office,” 2004

  • BAFTA (TV): Situation Comedy Award, “The Office,” 2004

  • Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy, “The Office,” 2004

  • Television Critics Association (TCA): Individual Achievement in Comedy, “The Office,” 2004

  • BAFTA (TV): Best Comedy Performance, “The Office,” 2003

  • BAFTA (TV): Situation Comedy Award, “The Office,” 2003

  • Broadcasting Press Guild: Writer's Award, “The Office,” 2003

  • Royal Television Society (RTS): Television Award, Best Comedy Performance, “The Office,” 2003

  • BAFTA (TV): Best Comedy Performance, “The Office,” 2002

  • BAFTA (TV): Situation Comedy Award, “The Office,” 2002

  • British Comedy: Best Comedy Actor, “The Office,” 2002

  • Broadcasting Press Guild: Writer's Award, “The Office,” 2002

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