Alan Cumming Poster


Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (1)  | Trivia (40)  | Personal Quotes (15)

Overview (2)

Born in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland, UK
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Alan Cumming was born on January 27, 1965, in Aberfeldy, Scotland, to Mary (Darling), an insurance company secretary, and Alex Cumming. His family lived nearby in Dunkeld, where his father was a forester for Atholl Estate. The family (including his brother, Tom) moved to Fassfern near Fort William, before moving to the east coast of Scotland in 1969, where Alan's father took up the position of Head Forester of Panmure Estate; it was there that Alan grew up. He went to Monikie Primary School and Carnoustie High School, where he began appearing in plays, and soon after that began working with with the Carnoustie Theatre Club and Carnoustie Musical Society.

In 1981, he left high school with 8 'O' Grades and 4 Highers, but because he was too young to enter any university or drama school he worked for just over a year as a sub-editor at D.C. Thomson Publishers in Dundee. There he worked on the launch of a new magazine, "Tops", and was also the "Young Alan" who answered readers' letters. In September 1982 he began a three-year course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. He graduated in 1985 with a B.A. (Dramatic Studies) and awards for verse speaking and direction. He also had formed a cabaret double act with fellow student Forbes Masson called Victor and Barry, which went on to become hugely successful with tours (including two Perrier Pick of the Fringe seasons in London and a month-long engagement at the Sydney Opera House as part of an Australian tour), records ("Hear Victor and Barry and Faint", "Are We Too Loud?") and many TV appearances throughout the UK. Before graduating Alan made his professional theater and film debuts in "Macbeth" at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow and in Gillies MacKinnon's "Passing Glory". After graduating, Alan worked extensively in Scottish theater and television, including a stint on the soap opera High Road (1980) before moving to London when "Conquest of the South Pole", a play by German playwright Manfred Karge, transferred from the Traverse Theatre in, Edinburgh to the the Royal Court in London, earning him his first Olivier award nomination for Most Promising Newcomer of 1988. Alan performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and then the Royal National Theatre, where he starred in "Accidental Death of an Anarchist", which he also adapted with director Tim Supple. The production was nominated for Best revival at the 1991 Olivier awards and Alan won for Comedy Performance of the Year.

His film career began with Ian Sellar's Prague (1992), in which he starred with Sandrine Bonnaire and Bruno Ganz. The film premiered at the 1992 Cannes film festival and went on to win him Best Actor award at the Atlantic Film Festival and a Scottish BAFTA Best Actor nomination. In the same year he made two films for the BBC - Screen Two: The Last Romantics (1992) and Bernard and the Genie (1991), the latter winning him the Top Television Newcomer award at 1992 British Comedy Awards. In the 1992 Olivier awards he was also nominated for Comedy Performance of the Year for "La Bete". In 1993 he played Hamlet for the English Touring Theare to great critical acclaim ("An actor knocking on the door of greatness" - Daily Mail; ranked first and second--with his performance in "Cabaret"--in the Daily Telegraph's performances of the year) and then immediately went on to play the Emcee in Sam Mendes' revival of "Cabaret" at the same venue (London's Donmar Warehouse). He received a 1994 Olivier award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for "Cabaret", and for Hamlet he received the 1994 TMA Best Actor award and a Shakespeare Globe award nomination.

In 1994, he made his first Hollywood film, Circle of Friends (1995), and his performance as the oleaginous Sean Walsh along with those in two films released in quick succession (Emma (1996) and GoldenEye (1995)) brought him to the attention of American producers, and he appeared in several Hollywood films, such as Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997) and Buddy (1997). He returned to the UK in 1997 to work with Stanley Kubrick and the Spice Girls before returning stateside in 1998 to reprise his role in "Cabaret" on Broadway. The show and his portrayal were a sensation, and he received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics' Circle, Theatre World, FANY, New York Press and New York Public Advocate's awards for his performance. Since then he has alternated between theater and films, and also between smaller independent films and more mainstream fare. His theater work includes 2001's "Design for Living" on Broadway and the hugely successful off-Broadway "Elle" by Jean Genet, which he adapted and played the lead in 2002. His films include Julie Taymor's Titus (1999), Urbania (2000), the "Spy Kids" trilogy, Josie and the Pussycats (2001), X2: X-Men United (2003), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Son of the Mask (2005) and the Showtime movie musical Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical (2005).

He wrote, directed, produced and acted in The Anniversary Party (2001) with Jennifer Jason Leigh, which premiered at the Cannes Film festival in 2002 and went on to win a National Board of Review award and two Independent Spirit award nominations. More recently he has produced the documentary Show People (2004) and the films Sweet Land (2005) and Full Grown Men (2006) (and appears in both) and acted in Gray Matters (2006) opposite Heather Graham and Bam Bam and Celeste (2005), opposite Margaret Cho. In 2006, he returned to Broadway as Macheath in "The Threepenny Opera". He has also found the time to write a novel, "Tommy's Tale", in 2002.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: www.alancumming.com

Spouse (2)

Grant Shaffer (7 January 2007 - present)
Hilary Lyon (1985 - 1993) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

His ability to flawlessly change his voice and appearance for each role

Trivia (40)

Hosted Saturday Night Live (1975) in February 2000 when the expected host, Jon Stewart, had to back out at the last minute.
Graduated from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama with a B.A. and also won the Gordon Bottomley Award for direction, and an award for the speaking of Scots verse in 1985.
Was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Award as Most Promising Newcomer for his performance in the production of "The Conquest of the South Pole" in 1988.
Won a Laurence Olivier Award for Comedy Performance of the Year for "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" in 1991.
Was nominated for an Olivier award as the Best Film Actor and was nominated for a Scottish BAFTA award as Best Film Actor for his role in Prague (1992) in 1992.
He was nominated for the Richard Burton Award at the Shakespeare Globe Awards for his role as Hamlet in 1993.
Was nominated for an Olivier award in the category of Comedy Perfomance of the Year for "La Bete" in 1993.
Was nominated for an Lawrence Olivier award as Best Actor in a Musical category for "Cabaret" in 1994.
Won Best Actor at the Martini Rossi/TMA awards for "Hamlet" in 1994.
Won the Tony Drama desk award for his performance of the Emcee in "Cabaret" along with New York Free Press, Outer Critics Circle, Theater World and New York Public Advocate's awards.
Was inducted into the Vanity Fair Hall of Fame for his work in "Cabaret".
Named one of the 100 most creative people in the world in Entertainment Weekly in 1998.
Came at number 18 in one of the 50 most eligible bachelors of Scotland in 2000.
Was nominated for a GQ magazine Man of the Year award in 2001.
Received the NY Immigrant Achievement Award. [2001]
He was also honored by the Drama League for "Design For Living".
For The Anniversary Party (2001), he received the National Board of Review Excellence in Filmmaking Award and was nominated for The Indie Spirit Award for Best First Feature and Screenplay.
For Halloween 2002 in Vancouver, Cumming and his X2: X-Men United (2003) costar, Ian McKellen, dressed as their characters Fegan Floop (from "Spy Kids") and Gandalf (from the Lord of the Rings trilogy) respectively. 'He carved me this great Nightcrawler pumpkin and helped answer the door so there were Gandalf and Floop handing out candies,' says Cumming.
Received the Olivier Award in 1991 (1990 season) for Best Comedy Performance for Accidental Death of an Anarchist.
On Sunday 7 January 2007, he registered his civil partnership with Grant Shaffer at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London.
Has his own cologne called "Cumming."
Won Broadway's 1998 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for a revival of "Cabaret."
Mentioned on The Rosie O'Donnell Show (1996) that Reese's Peanut Butter Cups was one of his favorite things about the United States, after which he was so bombarded by the candy sent to him from fans that he had to stop eating them for a while.
He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the arts and civil rights.
Earned his part in Eyes Wide Shut (1999) after sending an audition to director Stanley Kubrick. His American accent was so fluent that Kubrick, who was himself American, had no idea Cumming was Scottish until he met him on set.
Is a huge fan of the TV series The Outs (2012) and appeared in the final episode of its debut season after offering to do so.
TLA Releasing Awards - Gaybie - Best Lead Actor in a Gay Movie - 2013 - Nominee - Alan Cumming - Any Day Now (2012).
Currently starring in the off-Broadway production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull at the Classic Stage Company opposite Dianne Wiest. [January 2008]
Performing as Macheath in the Broadway Revival of The Threepenny Opera at Studio 54. [May 2006]
Attending Collectormania 7 at Milton Keynes [May 2005]
A prominent celebrity supporter of Scottish independence.
Was offered the role of Gildery Lockheart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), but when he learned from his agent how much more money Rupert Grint, with whom he shares an agent, would be getting paid he refused to sign on as he would not agree to be paid less than "a 12 year old amateur!".
Was considered for the role of Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa in Moulin Rouge! (2001) that went to John Leguizamo.
Didn't reprise his role as Nightcrawler in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), because he couldn't bear going through the make-up process again.
Was originally cast as The Green Goblin/Norman Osborne in the disastrous musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, but left due to delays.
Became a U.S. Citizen in 2008.
Between his runs in London (1993) and Broadway (1998 and 2014), Alan has played the Emcee in Cabaret in his 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s.
Speaks fluent German. This came in handy when Cumming was cast in X2 as Nightcrawler, a mutant born and raised in Munich, Germany.
Of Clan Cumming.
In 2014, he published the tell-all memoir "Not My Father's Son", which documents the physical and emotional abuse inflicted on him by his father, and their years of estrangement.

Personal Quotes (15)

Sometimes people get really sniffy about the films you choose if you've done more dramatic projects or you're classically trained.
I love a film where I get squished by two Dumpsters or I fly through the air.
Kids are more genuine. When they come up and want to talk to you, they don't have an agenda. It's more endearing and less piercing to your aura.
[on therapy] It's like a workout for the mind.
I think directing in a team is a really good idea because it stops the cult of the director as God straight away, and also you're discussing things on set so it opens it out to everyone and it becomes a totally collaborative thing. And you have someone who supports you when you're feeling a bit insecure.
[on why he feels well-suited to play Salvador Dali] We share a bonkers gene.
[on Scottish independence] The Better Together campaign is really like ferrets in a sack. Their backs are against the wall. The fear has not been working, the Scottish people are sick and tired of being patronised.
[advocating a yes vote for Scottish independence] People who are staunch Labour supporters, have been for generations, like myself, actually, are now realising that the only way to keep the values and to keep the priorities that Labour voters have is with a yes vote.
[on Eyes Wide Shut (1999)] I worked for five days on it. Normally, a scene like that would be shot in half a day or a day. Basically, Kubrick would just let me go, let me play and let me try different things. It was such fun. And every little moment and nuance was important to him, and it was a really good thing for me, because I've done so many films where you sort of arrive, do your shtick and go away. A lot of the time in film, you just sort of wing it, but with him, it felt like you were really, really polishing something to make it as good as it possibly could be. So it was quite a lot of direction for that wee scene. I felt like he wouldn't actually let me go home until it was as good as he thought it could be. It was a really great week of my life. Tom Cruise was faultless - very willing to have a bash at different things. I thought that was really brave of him as well, that he was cool with that. He is obviously pretty sure of himself and confident. We did it so many different ways, and he was so focused every time.
(Why he left Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark) "Because it just fucked me about. It kept getting delayed and delayed, and so I was like, 'OK, time to move on.'"
(If he'd attend the Oscars) "Oh no, those things aren't much fun. But when I did once go, I got pushed out of the way twice, in one weekend, by Diana Ross. Literally, her hair went into my face. And one of those times, she was pushing me out of the way to get to the dancefloor to dance to one of her own songs. Isn't that just the best?"
(On leaving Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) "My GOD, that was a lucky escape. Jesus Christ! Talk about dodging a bullet there!"
"My feeling about work is it's much more about the experience of doing it than the end product. Sometimes things that are really great and make lots of money are miserable to make, and vice versa".
(On comments by Richard Chamberlain and Rupert Everett about not coming out) "I think it's so mean-spirited. If you're living a lie, that's not healthy, and I think it is really irresponsible of [Chamberlain] and Rupert to say these things...But it's not about your work. It's about how you exist as a person in the world, and the idea that your work is more important than you as a person is a horrible, horrible message. I always think about a little gay boy in Wisconsin or a little lesbian in Arkansas seeing someone like me, and if I cannot be open in my life, how on earth can they? Anyway, it's an academic question: how can you know [that coming out affects your career]? Some people get less work than others and it has nothing to do with sexuality."
I think the news media has to look at what really their job is as a reporter or a journalist in the news media. It is to challenge falsehoods. And to take people to task and to make sure the viewers are getting an unbiased and honest and accurate account of what is happening. Now that, obviously, did not happen in the U.S. election and obviously did not happen in the Brexit campaign. So I think it is a time for the news media to completely reassess how they communicate the news and how the whole system is set up. [Nov. 2016]

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