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Eddie Izzard was born in 1962 in Yemen, while his father was working for British Petroleum. He grew up in Wales, however, and following his mother’s early death attended a variety of boarding schools. Izzard claims that two truths came to him early on in life, both which would help shape his future career: first, that he was a transvestite by nature, and; second, that he was going to grow up to be an actor.
Izzard’s early experiments with comedy began in his university days when he and a classmate used to perform in the Covent Garden area of London. Eddie eventually took his street performances to the rest of Europe and the United States, and his first real gig was in the mid 1980’s as a performer at London’s Banana Cabaret. In 1987, he performed at the Comedy Store in London, and by the early 1990’s, Eddie came into the comedy circuit full-force with performances at the Edinburgh Festival and in the AIDS benefit Hysteria 3. In 1996, Izzard earned his first role in The Secret Agent, a film which introduced him to Robin Williams, who would go on to become one of his biggest champions and help him jump-start a career. Williams helped Eddie Izzard bring his show, Definite Article, to New York, and then launched his follow-up show, Dress to Kill, as an opening act for his own performances. Dress to Kill was eventually aired on HBO to enormous success, and the show ultimately went on to earn him two Emmys by the new millennium.
Since that time, Eddie Izzard has brought his comedic talents to television, film, and the stage. His stage performances include roles in 900 Oneonta (1994), The Cryptogram (1994), Edward II (1995), Lenny (1999), A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (2001), Trumbo (2003), and Race (2010.) Izzard has appeared on innumerous television shows as well, including: Tales from the Crypt (1996), The Roseanne Show (1998), Good News Week (2000), Top Gear (2004), The Hour (2007), The Simpsons (2010), United States of Tara (2011), the Good Wife (2011), Treasure Island (2010), Mockingbird Lane (2012), and, of course, the talk-show circuit, including The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, The Daily Show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Chelsea Lately. Eddie Izzard’s film appearances include The Secret Agent (1996), Velvet Goldmine (1998), The Avengers (1998), Mystery Men (1999), Shadow of the Vampire (2000), The Cat’s Meow (2001), Alien Invasion (2003), Blueberry (2004), The Wild (2006), Ocean’s Thirteen (2007), The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008), Valkyrie (2008), Rage (2009), The Other Side (2011), Cars (2011), and Lost Christmas (2011.)
Eddie Izzard is currently listed at the very top of the 100 Greatest British National Comedians and ranks on Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. In addition to his contributions to comedy, Eddie Izzard is also an active voice for a variety of political issues, most notably the call for change to the British electoral system. His activism has many questioning whether or not he may consider running for a political office at some point in the future. In the United States, he has also championed for support to restore and rebuild New Orleans, and even donated all his proceeds from a 2008 performance in the area to the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Orleans.
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