The Cast of Fawlty Towers

Basil Fawlty played by John Cleese

Basil Fawlty

Well, what can we say about Basil Fawlty? Patient, polite, customer-focused are just some of the words that can't be used to describe this hotel owner for whom every day is a battle of wits against his wife Sybil, his staff, and most of all, those infuriating obstacles to an easy life — guests!

Basil seems to spend most of his life alternating between fawning to any guest who he perceived as being worthy of his attention, and then trying to shove their face into an omelette after learning they didn't quite have the social standing he first thought they had.

Basil's trouble is that he thinks his hotel is a higher-class establishment worthy of the titled, rather than the riff-raff he has to endure between his two great passions in life — his wife and his work — well okay then, horseracing and putting his feet up!

But the real bÍte noire in Basil's life is his wife Sybil. For all his external bravado, Basil could quickly be brought into line with a curt “Basil!” or two. Basil never could stand up to his evidently better half.

No, life is never a bowl of cherries for Basil Fawlty. If health officials aren't snooping around the kitchens trying to close him down, hotel inspectors are conspiring to put the boot in. Some guests even have the bad manners to die on him!

Photo of Basil Fawlty in his car from the Gourmet Night episode when he dashes round to pick up a duck from a friend's restaurant.

Played by: John Cleese

Born: John Marwood Cleese to Reg and Muriel Cleese. Reg was an insurance salesman and Muriel was an acrobat! Is it any wonder their son turned out looking like a cross between the two!
Date of Birth: 27 October, 1939 — John Cleese shares a birthday with Simon Le Bon, Dylan Thomas and Theodore Roosevelt
Place of Birth: Weston-Super-Mare, Somerset, England

John Cleese studied Law as a young man, earning a degree from Cambridge University but even in those days, writing comedy was his true passion. He married Connie Booth in 1968 but they were divorced in 1978, the split was relatively amicable though as they continued to work on the second series of Fawlty Towers during and after their split. Cleese then married American TV director and painter Barbara Trentham a couple of years later in 1981 although this marriage too eventually broke down and they were divorced in 1990. John Cleese married for a third time in 1992 to Alyce Faye Eichelberger and as far as I am aware is still married. John has a daughter Cynthia from his marriage to Connie and another daughter, Camilla, from his second marriage.

John Cleese has starred in countless films and television series and he has also been involved in writing, producing and directing many others. You can find further details of the career of this true legend of British comedy on the Internet Movie Database.

John Cleese/Basil Fawlty Lookalikes!

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The website of Ed Wells and the website of John Parkin.

Both of these are remarkable lookalikes, both are available for hire so visit their websites to find out more!