Peter Cook Biography

Film Actor, Actor, Comedian(1937–1995)
Peter Cook is widely credited as one of the leading figures of the British satire boom of the 1960s.

Synopsis

Born in England in 1937, comedian and actor Peter Cook first achieved prominence as one of the writers and performers of the British comedy stage revue Beyond the Fringe (1959-1964), as well as its sequel, Behind the Fridge (1971-72). Cook invented the stage character E.L. Wisty, a forlorn figure perplexed by the complexities of life. He later collaborated with Dudley Moore on the irreverent TV series Not Only... But Also. Cook died in London in 1995, at age 57.

Background

Famed comedian, actor, satirist and writer Peter Edward Cook was born in Torquay, Devon, England, on November 17, 1937. Cook gained an early education at the independent boarding school Radley College before studying at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, where he became a member of the prestigious Footlights Club, of which he was later named president.

Cook first achieved prominence as one of the writers and performers of the British comedy stage revue Beyond the Fringe (1959-1964), which was adapted for a television movie in 1964. He cemented that fame with a sequel revue, Behind the Fridge (1971-72), which—like its predecessor—was made into a memorable TV movie (1971). Cook starred alongside Jonathan Miller, Alan Bennett and Dudley Moore in both revues' London and New York productions. Cook's and Moore's comic partnership would prove most binding, however, as the two went on to work side-by-side for several years thereafter.

'Derek & Clive'

From 1965 to 1970, Cook collaborated with Moore on the irreverent TV series Not Only... But Also. The two later formed a comedy duo/routine known as "Derek & Clive," with Moore playing Derek and Cook playing Clive. Together they released three comedic records in the 1970s: Derek and Clive (Live) (1976), Derek and Clive Come Again (1977) and Derek and Clive Ad Nauseam (1978). (More than three decades later, in 2011, a greatest hits album honoring the famous duo entitled Rude & Rare The Best of Derek and Clive would be released.)

Legacy

Cook is perhaps best known for inventing the stage character E.L. Wisty, a fictional, forlorn, know-it-all figure perplexed by the complexities of life; Cook played the character several times throughout his career.

Cook made regular film appearances, as well, notably in The Bed Sitting Room (1970) and The Princess Bride (1987)—in which he respectively played an inspector and a clergyman—and was long associated with the satirical magazine Private Eye.

Peter Cook died on January 9, 1995, in Hampstead, London, England, after suffering from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage. He was 57 years old.

Fact Check

We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us!