Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Talk Show Host, Actor
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: "It's a great day for America"
Craig Ferguson dropped out of high school "mainly to drink," and started in show business as a drummer in Bastards From Hell, a punk band that went nowhere. He drifted toward comedy when he found he enjoyed the between song banter more than pounding the drums.
He performed stand-up and improvisational comedy under the stage name Bing Hitler ("Bing for familiarity and Hitler for shock"), and wrote for a British sketch comedy series, The Russ Abbot Show. In his first TV appearance, he played Confidence in an episode of Red Dwarf. In his first attempt to conquer America, in 1989, he was offered a role as a teacher on High, intended as a high school-themed TV series with Gwyneth Paltrow and Zach Braff among the students, but the pilot episode was unsold and Ferguson returned to Scotland.
He played Brad and sang "Dammit, Janet" in a 1990 West End production of The Rocky Horror Show with Anthony Head as Dr Frank N Furter. In The Craig Ferguson Story, a 1990 special on Britain's Channel 4, he presented his life for laughs, with Peter Cook playing Ferguson's father as a washed-up vaudevillian and an overbearing presence in his son's life. The Craig Ferguson Show was a short-run sketch comedy series in Britain, and he later hosted The Dirt Detective, a BBC educational series on archaeology, and starred in a popular sketch show called The Ferguson Theory.
Poised for stardom in the UK, he decided instead to return to Hollywood, where his European accomplishments meant little -- he was back to auditioning for roles, and there were many more auditions than roles. His first American sitcom was Maybe This Time, but Ferguson was deep in the credits as an unscrupulous cook in a coffee shop, while the show revolved around Marie Osmond as a recent divorcée and Betty White as her worldly-wise mother. He had a recurring but tiny role on Almost Perfect with Nancy Travis, and came to a modicum of American fame when he joined the cast of The Drew Carey Show as Nigel Wick, the evil but lovable boss.
Ferguson has also had artistic if not box office success in movies. He co-wrote and starred in The Big Tease, a 1999 comedy of hairstyles and stylists which Ferguson later confessed was an allegory for his own struggles and yearned-for success in Hollywood. He co-wrote and starred in the marijuana gardening comedy Saving Grace with Brenda Blethyn, and he directed and starred in I'll Be There, a sweet-natured comedy about a faded pop star who discovers that Charlotte Church is his daughter.
When CBS decided that Craig Kilborn was leaving The Late Late Show, Ferguson was tapped to take the slot. After a disastrous first few weeks he made the program his own, with running gags and hilarious impressions of Prince Charles, Sean Connery, Dr. Phil, and Michael Caine, with the latter usually in outer space. Describing himself as a cheeky giant Scottish-American, he displays an innate knack not just for comedy but for interesting and energetic interviews, where -- unlike most chat show hosts -- he seems genuinely interested in his guests. He was Emmy-nominated for a 2006 episode where he ditched his usual format and instead made the entire hour a eulogy to his father, who had died the day before.
He is the author of Between the Bridge and the River, a bizarre, bawdy novel about a hard-drinking Scottish television star who runs from a tabloid-fueled sex scandal on a wild road trip across America. With its illegitimate American half-brothers and celebrity cameos from Carl Jung to Larry King, the novel received glowing reviews. And having written the story he wanted to tell, Ferguson says he has no interest in seeing the book butchered by moviemakers, so the film rights are not for sale. In 2008 he became a U.S. citizen, and in 2009 he wrote his autobiography, American on Purpose.
His sister Lynn is an actress who has appeared on two long-running British dramas, the cop show The Bill and the hospital drama No Angels, and she voiced the genius hen Mac in the animated Chicken Run with Mel Gibson. In the early 1990s he dated actress Fiona Fullerton, best known as a Bond girl from A View to a Kill. His wife, Megan Wallace-Cunningham, is a direct descendant of John and Abigail Adams. His ex-wife, Sascha Ferguson, is founder and proprietor of SpySchool, offering a curriculum of workout, bodybuilding, and defense classes teaching women about "the world of espionage; how to take out an assailant, climb up a building, rappel off a thirty foot cliff, ... [and] spy skills like firing a weapon and how to change your look with wigs and makeup". Ferguson and his ex-wife live two doors down the street from each other in Los Angeles, and share custody of their son.
Father: Robert Ferguson (postal worker, d. 2006)
Mother: Janet Ferguson (b. 3-Aug-1933, d. 1-Dec-2008)
Brother: Scott Ferguson
Sister: Lynn Ferguson (actress, b. 11-Apr-1965)
Girlfriend: Fiona Fullerton (actress, dated in early 1990s)
Girlfriend: Tricia Reid (musician, ex-)
Wife: Anne Hogarth (graphic designer, m. 20-Oct-1983, div. 1986)
Girlfriend: Helen Atkinson-Wood (actress, together 1987-92)
Wife: Sascha Corwin (bodybuilder, m. 18-Jul-1998, sep. 2004, div., one son)
Son: Milo Hamish Ferguson (b. 2001)
Girlfriend: Sharon Stone (actress, dated 2005-06)
Girlfriend: Amy Yasbeck (actress, widow of John Ritter, dated 2005)
Wife: Megan Wallace-Cunningham (art dealer, together since 2005, m. 21-Dec-2008, one son)
Son: Liam James Ferguson (b. 31-Jan-2011)
Naturalized US Citizen 1-Feb-2008
Risk Factors: Alcoholism, Amphetamines, Cocaine, Depression, Ecstasy, Heroin, LSD, Marijuana, Smoking
The Late Late Show Host (2005-)
The Drew Carey Show Nigel Wick (1996-2004)
Maybe This Time Logan McDonough (1995-96)
FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
I'll Be There (20-Jun-2003)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Brave (10-Jun-2012) · Lord Macintosh [VOICE]
Winnie the Pooh (6-Apr-2011) · Owl [VOICE]
How to Train Your Dragon (18-Mar-2010) · Gobber [VOICE]
Kick-Ass (12-Mar-2010) · Himself
The Ugly Truth (24-Jul-2009) · Himself
Niagara Motel (24-Mar-2006) · Phillie
Vampire Bats (30-Oct-2005)
Lenny the Wonder Dog (2005)
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (17-Dec-2004)
I'll Be There (20-Jun-2003)
Prendimi l'anima (27-Sep-2002)
Life Without Dick (5-Feb-2002)
Chain of Fools (22-Sep-2000)
Born Romantic (14-Sep-2000)
Saving Grace (24-Jan-2000) · Matthew
The Big Tease (26-Nov-1999)
Modern Vampires (19-Sep-1998)
Author of books:
Between the Bridge and the River (2006, novel)
American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of An Unlikely Patriot (2009, memoir)
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