Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard

Date of birth: 07-02-1962
Born in Yemen, Eddie Izzard moved to Northern Ireland when he was about two, then to south Wales in 1967. His mother died of cancer in March 1968, when he was six, and he has frequently cited her early death as a reason for going into stand-up.

He began as a street performer in the Eighties, having been being kicked off his accountancy course at Sheffield University, and then moved into the stand-up circuit. His first appearance at The Comedy Store was in 1987.

He was nominated for the Perrier in 1991, the same year he won a Time Out Comedy Award, and in 1993, he was named top stand-up at the British Comedy Award for Live At The Ambassadors – which was also nominated for an Oliver theatre award. He scooped the same British Comedy Award three years later for his second show, Definite Article.

He followed that up with the shows Glorious and Dress To Kill, which was to prove his breakthrough in America. First performed in 1997, it aired on HBO two years later, winning him two Emmy Awards for performance and writing. In 2000, he cemented his reputation in the US by touring the country with the show Circle.

In 2001, he hosted the Amnesy Benefit We Know Where You Live! at Wembley Arena, and in 2003 embarked on a world tour of a new show, Sexie. His latest show, Stripped, began with a 34-city American tour in 2008, before transferring to the West End for a five-week run, ahead of its tour of the UK in late 2009.

Early in his career, Izzard took a famously offhand approach to television, turning down most appearances. Although in 1997, he wrote the sitcom Cows for Channel 4, about a family of bovines, played by humans in prostethics. But the surreal show was critically panned.

Alongside his comedy, Izzard has developed a straight acting career, that has spanned TV, film and stage.

In 1994, Izzard made his West End drama debut as the lead in David Mamet's The Cryptogram, which was followed by starring roles in David Beaird's black comedy 900 Oneonta and Christopher Marlowe's Edward II. Izzard portrayed Lenny Bruce in the 1999 revival of Julian Barry's biographical play Lenny, and two years later he starred in another West End revival, A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg – a role he reprised on Broadway in 2003, earning him a Tony Award nomination.

He made his film debut in 1996, when he appeared in both the Damien Hirst short film Hanging Around and a movie adaptation of Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent. Other early notable movie appearances include Velvet Goldmine, The Avengers, Mystery Men, All The Queen's Men, and The Cat's Meow, n which he played Charlie Chaplin. In 2003 he starred on TV as testosterone-fuelled Ralph in the three-part Channel 4 drama 40.

His stock as an actor rose further with an appearance in the blockbuster squel Ocean's Twelve in 2004; and in 2006, he landed his biggest American break, co-starring with Minnie Driver in the FX drama series the Riches, about a family of con artists trying to go straight after assuming the identity of a suburban couple, which ran until 2008.

Further major roles include Ocean's Thirteen in 2007, and his starring role opposite Tom Cruise in the 2008 wartime action film Valkyrie.

Izzard is also passionate about issues including history, European integration and the environment. In 2003 he fronted the Discovery Channel documentary series Mongrel Nation. aboutEnglish identity, has long spoken about becoming more active in European politics, and appeared in a 2005 party political broadcast for the Labour Party, to which he has donated more than £10,000.

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Eddie Izzard to play the Edinburgh Fringe

Reading Dickens' Great Expectations

Eddie Izzard is to perform Great Expectations at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

The comic will be doing a  work-in-progress reading of the Charles Dickens' classic as part of the programme at Assembly.

Last year he recorded an audiobook version after discovering he had the same birthday as the novelist. ‘I’m exactly 150 years younger than Dickens to the day,’ he said. ‘7th February 1812, 7th February 1962. Doesn’t mean anything, but it means slightly more than being 147 years and 12 days.’

News of Izzard’s appearance come as a new raft of Edinburgh Fringe shows goes on sale today.

Also among them are news tour shows from Rhod Gilbert and Ruby Wax and Saturday Live and Strictly Come Dancing’s Revd Richard Coles – all at the Pleasance.

Here are some of the highlights:


John Luke-Roberts returns with two new shows: Terrible Wonderful Adaptations and the absurdly titled After Me Comes the Flood (But in French) drip splosh splash drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!!

The venue is also playing host to Milton Jones  Sarah Kendall, Josh Berry,  Rob Auton, Police Cops, Australian twins - The Stevenson Experience and Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorne with a live version of their Scummy Mummies podcast.

William Burdett-Coutts, artistic director of Assembly Festival said: ‘August is shaping up to be another fantastic year for Assembly Festival with the very best theatre and comedy at the heart of our programme.’ 


Newcomers include Tom Taylor, Yuriko Kotani and former Chortle student finalists Jack Gleadow and Michael Odewale

Newly crowned Chortle best newcomer Sarah Keyworth is returning, as are  Catherine Bohart, Heidi Regan, Micky Overman, Alasdair Beckett-King, Chris Washington, Ed Night, Tom Houghton and Jordan Brookes

From South Africa, Loyiso Gola will be returning alongside Fringe debutant Schalk Bezuidenhout.

And festival favourites The Showstoppers,  Mervyn Stutter's Pick of the Fringe  and Chortle’s Fast Fringe are also heading back

Gilded Balloon

Daliso Chaponda returns to the Fringe after his third-placed performance in Britain’s Got Talent 2017.

Tommy Tiernan performs his latest tour show Paddy Crazy Horse, while Jan Ravens shows off her impersonations at the Museum of Scotland.

Konstantin Kisin, who made headlines for refusing to sign a university’s ‘safe space’ agreement has a new show entitled Orwell That Ends Well 

There are also shows from Maisie Adam, Juliette Burton, JJ Whitehead, Isma Almas, Patrick Monagan, Alison Spittle, The Kagools, New Zealand comic David Correos and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre,


Andrew Maxwell returns with a new show, All Talk, along with Italy’s Francesco De Carlo, Northern Ireland’s Micky Bartlett, England’s Lucy Frederick and local comic Gareth Waugh

Monkey Barrel

Tom Ballard, the host of ABC’s Tonightly with Tom Ballard in Australia returns to the Fringe with a show called Enough.

Just The Tonic At The Caves

Josh Pugh, Luca Cupani and Andrew White all have shows on sale now

• Click here for all the listings so far.

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Published: 21 Mar 2019

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