DreamWorks Pictures / The New York Times

August 29, 2017

Co-founder of Monty Python to Return to Cornell

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“Writer, Actor and Tall Person” — this description found on his website is befitting for the 6’6’’ tall former A.D. White Professor at Large John Cleese, who has charmed Cornellians with his wit and humor.

The British star will be returning as part of the Visiting Filmmakers series for a screening of his film, A Fish Called Wanda, at the Cornell Cinema on Sept. 10.

Cleese, who is best known for his work in the ’70s BBC show Monty Python, can also be recognized as Q in the James Bond film Die Another Day, and as the ghost Nearly Headless Nick in the Harry Potter series.

The actor was appointed A.D. White Professor at Large in 1988, and served in that role until 2006, including a two-year extension to the usual term. Shortly after, he was appointed as the C.U. Provost’s visiting professor, a title he still holds.

“As the [Professors at Large position] is a limited term appointment, and Cleese so liked his association with Cornell, in 2006, the then-Provost Biddy Martin offered him appointment as a Provost’s Professor,” said Gerri Jones, a previous administrator of the Professors at Large program who now works in the Provost’s Office.

“Professor-at-Large — a wonderful phrase, [as if] they bring me here in a cage,” Cleese remarked with his characteristic humor regarding his position during an event at Statler Hall in 2003.

In 2015, Cornell University Press approached Cleese with the proposition of compiling a selection of his Cornell presentations. The book, which is still in progress, features performances by Cleese since 1999, including the upcoming performance titled “A Conversation with John Cleese” at Bailey Hall, which will be featured as the last chapter in the book.

During the performance, Cleese will be interviewed by Cornell University Press director Dean Smith. Questions from the audience will also be selected at random to be included in the book.

During this year’s visit — which marks the eighth time Cleese will visit Cornell — the actor will also be participating in several classes, keeping with the tradition that he has followed on all his previous visits.

In a previous interview with The Sun, the Cambridge Law graduate said that he hates traveling to Ithaca, but once he arrives, he never wants to leave.

Tickets to the screening of the heist movie A Fish Called Wanda at Cornell Cinema are now sold out, but starting Aug. 29, Cornellians can go to Willard Straight Hall to get their tickets to see Cleese’s performance on Sept. 11.