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Craig Ferguson (born May 17, 1962) is a Scottish-American television host, stand-up comedian, writer, director and actor. He is the present host of CBS's The Late Late Show, a role that earned him an Emmy nomination in 2006.

Before his career as a late-night talk-show host, Ferguson was best known in the United States for his role as the office boss, Nigel Wick, on The Drew Carey Show from 1996 to 2003.

He is the author of the 2006 novel Between the Bridge and the River and his 2009 memoir American on Purpose, which details his life experiences over several decades. He co-wrote and starred in three films, including The Big Tease (2000).

UK career

Ferguson's experience in entertainment began as a drummer in a rock band called "Exposure." He then joined a punk band called "The Bastards from Hell." The band, later renamed "Dreamboys," and fronted by vocalist Peter Capaldi, performed regularly in Glasgow from 1980 to 1982. He credits Capaldi for inspiring him to try comedy.

After a nerve-wracking, knee-knocking first appearance, he decided to create a character that was a "parody of all the über-patriotic native folk singers who seemed to infect every public performance in Scotland." The character, "Bing Hitler", premiered in Glasgow, and subsequently became a hit at the 1986 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A recording of his stage act as Bing Hitler was made at Glasgow's Tron Theatre and released in the 1980s; a Bing Hitler monologue ("A Lecture for Burns Night") appears on the compilation cassette Honey at the Core. Ferguson also toured the UK during the late '80s under his own name as a support act to Harry Enfield.

Ferguson made his television debut in The Craig Ferguson Show, a one-off comedy pilot for Granada Television, which co-starred Paul Whitehouse and Helen Atkinson-Wood. This was broadcast throughout the UK on March 4, 1990, but was not made into a full series.

He has also found success in musical theatre. Beginning in 1991, he appeared on stage as Brad Majors in the London production of The Rocky Horror Show, alongside Anthony Stewart Head, who was playing Dr. Frank-N-Furter at the time. The same year, he appeared again at the Edinburgh Fringe, as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, opposite Gerard Kelly as Felix; the play, which was relocated to 1990s Glasgow, later toured Scotland. In 1994, Ferguson played "Father MacLean" in the highly controversial production of Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom at the Union Chapelmarker in London. Because it was performed in a practicing church, the production was closed down after just ten performances.

After enjoying success at the Edinburgh Festival, Ferguson made further forays into television with appearances on Red Dwarf, STV's Hogmanay Show, his own show 2000 Not Out, and the 1993 One Foot in the Grave Christmas special One Foot in the Algarve.

In 1993, Ferguson presented his own series on Scottish archaeology for Scottish Television entitled Dirt Detective. He traveled throughout the country examining archaeological history, including Skara Braemarker and Paisley Abbeymarker.

US career

After cancellation of his show The Ferguson Theory, Ferguson moved to Los Angeles in 1994. His first U.S. role was as baker Logan McDonough on the short-lived 1995 ABC comedy Maybe This Time, which starred Betty White and Marie Osmond.

His breakthrough in the U.S. came when he was cast as the title character's boss, Mr. Wick, on The Drew Carey Show, a role that he played from 1996 to 2003. He played the role with an over-the-top posh English accent "to make up for generations of English actors doing crap Scottish accents." His character was memorable for his unique methods of laying employees off, almost always 'firing Johnson', the most common last name of the to-be-fired workers. Even after leaving the show in 2003, he remained a recurring character on the series for the last two seasons, and was part of the 2-part series finale in 2004.

During this time, he also wrote and starred in three films: The Big Tease, Saving Grace, and I'll Be There, which he also directed and for which he won the Audience Award for Best Film at the Aspen, Dallas and Valencia film festivals. He was named Best New Director at the Napa Valley Film Festival.His other acting credits in films include Niagara Motel, Lenny the Wonder Dog, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Chain of Fools, and Born Romantic.

The Late Late Show

In December 2004, it was announced that Ferguson would be the successor to Craig Kilborn on CBS's The Late Late Show. His first show as the regular host aired on January 3, 2005. By May 2008, Ben Alba, an American television historian and an authority on U.S. talk shows, said Ferguson "has already made his mark, taking the TV monologue to new levels with an underlying story. But he is only just starting ...He is making up his own rules: It's the immigrant experience."

The Late Late Show averaged 2.0 million viewers in its 2007 season, compared with 2.5 million for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. In April 2008, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson beat Late Night with Conan O'Brien for weekly ratings (1.88 million to 1.77 million) for the first time since the two shows went head-to-head with their respective hosts.

By the end of 2009 Craig Ferguson tops Jimmy Fallon in the ratings with Ferguson getting a 1.8 rating/6 share and Fallon getting a 1.6 rating/6 share.[100025]

His success on the show has led at least one "television insider" to say he's the heir-apparent to take over David Letterman's role as host of The Late Show.

Television and appearances







  • Ferguson played Ted Truman in the indie film Trust Me.




  • Ferguson hosted the 32nd annual People's Choice Awards on January 10, 2006. TV Guide magazine printed a "Cheers" (Cheers and Jeers section) for appearing on his own show that same evening.


  • From 2007 to 2009, Ferguson hosted the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on July 4, broadcast nationally by CBS.


  • Ferguson was the featured entertainer at the April 26, 2008 White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, DC where he criticized the New York Times for not sending a representative to the banquet and told them to "shut the hell up...you sanctimonious, whining jerks."


  • Ferguson co-presented the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama with Brooke Shields in 2008, where Ferguson was involved in a joke about the touching of Shields' butt. When asked a few days later by Denis Leary, Craig confirmed that he did in fact have his hand on Shields' behind during the joke (although it remains to be seen if he was actually joking).




  • He continues to make standup appearances in Las Vegasmarker and New York Citymarker. He headlined in the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal and in October 2008 Ferguson taped his stand up show in Bostonmarker for a Comedy Central special entitled A Wee Bit o' Revolution, which aired on March 22, 2009.






Literature

  • Ferguson's novel Between the Bridge and the River (ISBN 9780811853750) was published on April 10, 2006. Ferguson appeared at the Los Angeles Festival of Books, as well as other author literary events. "This book could scare them", Ferguson said. "The sex, the violence, the dream sequences and the iconoclasm. I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with that. I understand that. It was very uncomfortable to write some of it." Publishers Weekly called it "a tour de force of cynical humor and poignant reverie, a caustic yet ebullient picaresque that approaches the sacred by way of the profane." His novel Between the Bridge and the River is dedicated to his son and to his grandfather, Adam. Craig revealed in an interview that he is writing a sequel to the book, to be titled "The Sphynx of the Mississippi"




  • In July 2009, Jackie Collins was a guest on The Late Late Show to promote her new book Married Lovers. Collins said that a character in her book, Don Verona, was based on Craig because she was such a fan of him and his show.


Personal life

Ferguson was born in Glasgowmarker, Scotlandmarker, to Robert and Janet Ferguson, and raised in nearby Cumbernauldmarker, growing up "chubby and bullied." He claimed in one episode of the Late Late Show to have been raised Scottish Presbyterian.

In an episode of The Late Late Show which aired December 8, 2008, a somber Ferguson talked about his recently deceased mother, Janet (August 3, 1933–December 1, 2008). He ended the program by playing her favorite song, "Rivers of Babylon" by Boney M.

Ferguson has two sisters (one older and one younger) and one older brother. His younger sister, Lynn Ferguson, is a successful comedian, presenter and actress, perhaps most widely known as the voice of Mac in the 2000 stop-motion animation film Chicken Run. She is currently a writer on The Late Late Show. His brother, Scott, worked for STV, and is married to actress Teri Lally. His elder sister, Janice, is a successful businesswoman and fellowship member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

Ferguson stated confusion at having once been asked to speak at his high school because he dropped out at the age of 15 and subsequently never finished it or attended college.

His first visit to the United Statesmarker was as a teenager to visit an uncle who lived on Long Islandmarker, near New York Citymarker. Later, he lived in New York City, where he worked in construction in Harlemmarker. Ferguson said that he "used to be a bouncer at a cool club in New York called 'Save the Robots'. That was the name of the club. I was the bouncer the first couple of weeks. I got fired. I was power-crazed. I was acting like a goblin from The Lord of the Rings."

Ferguson has married three times and divorced twice as a result of what he describes as "relationship issues." His first marriage was to Anne Hogarth from 1983 to 1986, during which time they lived in New York. From his second marriage (to Sascha Corwin, founder and proprietor of Los Angeles' SpySchool), he has one son, Milo Hamish Ferguson, born in 2001. He and Corwin share custody of Milo, live near each other in LA and remain good friends. On December 21, 2008, Ferguson married art dealer Megan Wallace-Cunningham in a private ceremony on her family's farm in Chester, Vermontmarker.

A recovering alcoholic, Ferguson has been sober since February 18, 1992. He said he had considered committing suicide on Christmas Day 1991, but when offered a drink by a friend, Tommy the Irishman, for celebrating the holiday, he was distracted from jumping off Tower Bridgemarker in Londonmarker as he had planned.

As mentioned on The Late Late Show on August 3, 2009, Ferguson holds an FAA Private Pilot License issued on July 31, 2009.

Ferguson is also a fan of Scottish football team Partick Thistle F.C.

Ferguson has three tattoos: his latest, the Join, or Die political cartoon on his right forearm, a Ferguson family crest with the Latin motto Dulcius ex aspiris ("Sweeter after difficulty") on his upper right arm in honor of his father, and the Ingram family crest on his upper left arm in honor of his mother.

Citizenship

Holding dual citizenship, he is currently both a naturalized citizen of the United Statesmarker and a citizen of the United Kingdommarker.

During 2007, Ferguson, who at the time held only British citizenship, used The Late Late Show as a forum for seeking honorary citizenship from every state in the U.S. He has received honorary citizenship from Nebraskamarker, Arkansasmarker, Virginiamarker, Montanamarker, North Dakotamarker, New Jerseymarker, Tennesseemarker, South Carolinamarker, South Dakotamarker, Nevadamarker, Alaskamarker, Texasmarker, Wyomingmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker and Indianamarker, and was "commissioned" as an admiral in the tongue-in-cheek Nebraska Navy. Governors Jon Corzine, John Hoeven, Mark Sanford, Mike Rounds, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin and Jim Gibbons sent letters to him that made him an honorary citizen of their respective states. He received as well similar honors from various towns and cities, including Ozark, Arkansasmarker, Hazard, Kentuckymarker and Greensburg, Pennsylvaniamarker.

Ferguson became an American citizen on February 1, 2008.

On June 27, 2009, after a USO-tour performance in Kosovo, he was given honorary citizenship to Camp Bondsteelmarker there.

Filmography



Bibliography



References

  1. "We did it exactly the same except for soccer references instead of baseball, and we brought down the house every night."
  2. Craig Ferguson 'may be next Letterman'. The Sunday Times.
  3. http://www.chroniclebooks.com/Chronicle/excerpt/0811853756a.html
  4. "Craig Ferguson set to pen memoirs." Variety. May 2008.
  5. http://www.amazon.com/American-Purpose-Improbable-Adventures-Unlikely/dp/0061719544/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245898564&sr=8-1
  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyZwYFfCn2E
  7. Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show, October 10, 2006
  8. American on Purpose, p. 259
  9. "Nebraska honors 'Late Late Show' host Craig Ferguson.", AccessMyLibrary
  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh-lW2opLyQ


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