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Alan Cumming
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Wikipedia

Early life

Cumming was born in Aberfeldy, Perth and Kinross, Scotland, the son of Mary, an insurance company secretary, and Alex Cumming, a forester.[1][2] He has one older brother, Tom. Cumming attended Monikie Primary School and Carnoustie High School and originally aspired to a career in veterinary medicine, but a personality clash with his biology teacher put him off the idea and he subsequently set his sights on becoming an actor.[3] Following graduation, he spent a year and a half employed as an editor for the Scottish pop magazine TOPS before entering the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

[edit] Career

Developing his talents off-camera, Cumming co-wrote, co-directed, co-produced, and co-starred in the ensemble film The Anniversary Party with friend and former Cabaret co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh, in 2001.[4] The two starred in the movie as a Hollywood couple. During his career, Cumming has also directed two short films, Butter and Burn Your Phone - the latter was firstly a one-off drama on BBC Radio 4, however the nature of the narrative meant that it translated poorly to television.

2003 saw him playing a cameo role in the successful American sitcom Frasier, playing Niles's yoga instructor.

In 2004, he starred in Showtime's Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical in which he played the role of The Lecturer - a versatile character who narrates the story and transforms himself into several other minor characters. Shortly afterwards, he had a short role in Richard Bell's provocative feature film Eighteen, which was narrated by Ian McKellen. Having also worked together on X2: X-Men United, and also linked by their work for gay rights, they have become friends.

Cumming plays a psychotic ex-amusement park employee in David Munro's upcoming Full Grown Men.

In 2007, Cumming played Glitch/Ambrose, an inventor whose brain had been partially removed, in the TV miniseries, Tin Man. He also provided the voice of Chuck Masters, a 50 year-old, paralyzed, HIV-positive gay man in Logo's Rick and Steve, a stop animation sitcom created by Q. Allan Brocka.

In 2008, Cumming will provide the voice of Adolf Hitler in the film Jackboots on Whitehall.

Cumming also appeared as the third celebrity hijacker in Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, giving the housemates a method acting task in which they had to stay in character all day and then produce an improvised play.

[edit] Theatre

Cumming had a highly acclaimed performance as the impish Emcee in the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret, for which he won a Tony, as well as other awards.[5] He had previously played the role in a production at London's famed Donmar Warehouse theatre, for which he had been nominated for an Olivier Award.[5] Both productions were directed by Sam Mendes.

Other stage roles have included Otto in the 2001 Broadway production of Design for Living by Noel Coward, Valere in David Hirson's multi award-winning La Bete, the title role in the 1993 English Touring Theatre's Hamlet (playing opposite his then-wife, Hilary Lyon, in the role of Ophelia), and The Madman in the 1990 Royal National Theatre production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo, for which he won an Olivier Award.[6]

In 2002, Cumming and then-boyfriend British director Nick Philippou formed the production company The Art Party. The company's first play was the first English production of Jean Genet's play Elle, which Cumming had adapted from a literal translation by Terri Gordon. The play was hugely successful, however, the company folded in 2003.

In 2006, Cumming returned to the stage, firstly performing in a revival of the Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill musical The Threepenny Opera opposite Cyndi Lauper.They later performed at the Tony Awards. In late 2006, he appeared in the West End playing the lead role in Bent, a play about homosexuals in Germany under the Nazis. In 2007 he took the lead role in the National Theatre of Scotland's production of The Bacchae, which premiéred at the Edinburgh Festival in August, transferring to the Lyric Theatre in London during September.

Cumming performed alongside Dianne Wiest in Classic Stage Company's production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Viacheslav Dolgachev.

[edit] Other work

Cumming has also dabbled in other media. His first novel, Tommy's Tale, was published in 2002.[7] He has also written many articles for magazines, notably as a contributing editor for Marie Claire magazine, writing articles about the haute couture shows in Paris. In addition to various film and musical soundtracks on which he has appeared, in 2001, he recorded a duet of "Baby, It’s Cold Outside" with Liza Minnelli to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the September 11 Fund.

Cumming also has his own range of beauty products, the initial product being a cologne called "Cumming: the Fragrance", as well as a series of other bath/body products, many with suggestive names such as "Cumming All Over" body wash.[8]

Cumming served as a delegate for the Creative Coalition during the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston.[9] In this same vein, he contributed to If You Had Five Minutes with the President, an original non-partisan collection of 55+ essays by members or supporters of The Creative Coalition.[10]

Recent projects include adapting his novel for the screen, and several gay-themed films: Gray Matters, Coming Out and Suffering Man's Charity.

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