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Born: May 17, 1962 (1962-05-17) (age 46) Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality: Scottish American
Genres: Observational comedy
Subject(s): everyday life, pop culture
Craig (born May 17, 1962) is a Scottish-American television host, stand-up comedian, writer, director and actor. He is the current host of CBS's The Late Late Show, a role which earned him an Emmy nomination in 2006.
Craig Ferguson played the office boss Nigel Wick on The Drew Carey Show from 1996 to 2003 and is the author of the 2006 novel Between the Bridge and the River.
Ferguson was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His experience in entertainment began as a drummer in a punk band called "The Bastards from Hell." The band, later known as "Dreamboys," performed regularly in Glasgow from 1980 to 1982.
Craig Ferguson got his start as a comedian in the United Kingdom, appearing on the alternative comedy circuit under the stage-name "Bing Hitler". A recording of his stage act as Bing Hitler was made at Glasgow's Tron Theatre and released in the 1980s. In addition, a Bing Hitler monologue ("A Lecture for Burns Night") appears on the compilation cassette Honey at the Core.
Craig Ferguson toured the UK during the late '80s under his own name as a support act to Harry Enfield.
In 1993, Ferguson presented his own series on Scottish archaeology for Scottish Television entitled Dirt Detective. He travelled throughout the country examining archaeological history, including Skara Brae and Paisley Abbey.
After enjoying success at the Edinburgh Festival, Ferguson broke 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 1994 Craig played "Father Maclean" in the highly controversial production of Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom at The Union Chapel in London. After a spate of death threats the production was closed down after just ten performances.
After 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; he played that role 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".
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.
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. One of Ferguson's writers on the show, Philip McGrade, said that Americans had warmed to his confessional style; commenting on Ferguson's greater success in the US, McGrade said that Americans were more receptive to working-class comics than were British audiences.
Ferguson is the writer/co-writer and actor of movies including The Big Tease, Saving Grace, and I'll Be There, which he also directed. He played the person who cannot be described as either gender in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
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.
Ferguson's novel Between the Bridge and the River (ISBN 0-8118-5375-6) was published on 10 April 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."
Ferguson played Ted Truman in the indie film Trust Me. In the Red Dwarf episode "Confidence and Paranoia", he played "Confidence," a character who personified the concept.
In 2007 and 2008, Ferguson hosted the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular on July 4, broadcast nationally by CBS.
In 1994 he played Father Maclean in the London production of Bad Boy Johnny and the Prophets of Doom by Daniel Abineri.
He continues to make standup appearances in Las Vegas and New York City even while his show continues. He headlined in the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, along with Howie Mandel and others.
Ferguson was the featured entertainer at the April 26, 2008 White House Correspondents' Association dinner in Washington, DC where he delivered the line "shut the hell up New York Times, you sanctimonious, whining jerks."
Ferguson has signed a deal with HarperCollins to publish his memoirs in fall 2009. The book, tentatively titled American on Purpose, will focus on "how and why [he] became an American" and cover his years as a punk rocker, a dancer, a bouncer and a construction worker.
Ferguson was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to Robert and Janet Ferguson, and raised in nearby Cumbernauld.
His first visit to the United States was to visit an uncle who lived on Long Island, near New York City, as a teenager; later, he lived in New York City, where he worked in construction in Harlem (when Samuel L. Jackson was a guest on his show, Craig joked that he "had to sprint through Harlem to the subway," to which Jackson responded that white people "are very welcome in Harlem!"), and according to Ferguson "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 gatekeeper from the Lord of the Rings."
Ferguson has two sisters (one older and one younger) and one older brother. His sister, Lynn Ferguson, is a successful comedian, presenter and actress, perhaps most widely known as the voice of Mac in Chicken Run. 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 IOSH.
Ferguson has married and divorced twice. From his second marriage he has one son, Milo, born in 2001. Between the Bridge and the River is dedicated to his son, along with his great-grandfather, Adam. He has been seen with Megan Wallace-Cunningham, an art dealer, since 2005 and has confirmed that she is his girlfriend.
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 for celebrating the holiday, he forgot to jump off the Tower Bridge in London as he had planned.
As mentioned on The Late Late Show on March 26, 2008, Ferguson holds an FAA student pilot certificate issued November 9, 2007.
During 2007, Ferguson used The Late Late Show as a forum for getting an honorary citizenship from every state in America. He received honorary citizenship from Nebraska, Arkansas, Virginia, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee, South Carolina, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska, Texas, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Governors 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 states.
He received similar honors from various towns and cities, including Ozark, Arkansas, Hazard, Kentucky, Greensburg, Pennsylvania as well.
On the Tuesday, January 22, 2008, airing of The Late Late Show, Ferguson announced that he was scheduled to take his citizenship test in Los Angeles on Friday, January 25, 2008. The next Monday he announced that he received a perfect score, with footage of this shown as proof. Aware of the cameras, Ferguson gave tongue-in-cheek answers to some questions: for example, in response to a request to name the writer of The Star-Spangled Banner, he replied "Francis Scott Key... and Puff Daddy".
Ferguson became an American citizen on February 1, 2008. Clips from his citizenship ceremony were aired the following week during Monday night's airing of The Late Late Show on February 4, 2008.
He has made guest appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Rachael Ray, The Daily Show, The View, Loveline, Real Time with Bill Maher,The Dennis Miller Show and Million Dollar Password with Regis Philbin.
(February 5, 2013, Tuesday, 3:24am)