Johnny Vegas backstage at the filming of an episode of QI in 2007
|Birth name||Michael Joseph Pennington, Sr.|
5 September 1970 |
St Helens, Lancashire, England
|Medium||Stand-up comedy, television, film|
|Spouse||Catherine Donnelly (m. 2002–2008; divorced)
Maia Dunphy (m. 2011)
Michael Joseph Pennington, Sr., better known as Johnny Vegas (born 5 September 1970) is an English actor and comedian, known for his angry rants, surreal humour, portly figure and his high husky voice.
Vegas was born in Thatto Heath, St Helens, Lancashire, the youngest of four children of Laurence and Patricia Pennington. He has two older brothers (Robert and Mark) and an older sister (Catharine). He was brought up as a Roman Catholic. At the age of eleven, he attended St Joseph's College in Upholland, a Roman Catholic boarding-school seminary, to train for the priesthood, but came back homesick after four terms. He also attended West Park School, Alder Hey Road, St Helens.
After studying art and ceramics at Middlesex University for three years and gaining a third class degree, he returned to Thatto Heath, and took various short-term jobs including working in an Argos warehouse, selling boiler insurance door-to-door and packing bottles of Jif in a factory, before eventually becoming a barman at the Brown Edge pub in Thatto Heath.
Television and Radio
In 1996 Vegas made his television debut as a contestant on Win, Lose or Draw in the UK under his real name of Michael, but made references to the fact he wanted to be a comedian and that his stage name was "Johnny Vegas". His appearance was briefly shown during Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-Ups and BBC Three's Almost Famous 2. In the mid-nineties, Vegas spent time living in London and Glasgow with the intention of becoming a stand-up comedian. In London, he was mentored by 'comedy godfather' Malcolm Hardee.
In 2002, he starred in the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Night Class, which he co-wrote with Tony Burgess and Tony Pitts, with Dirk Maggs as director. Vegas played a former Butlin's redcoat teaching evening classes in pottery. It was a runner-up for best comedy at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.
Between 2007 and 2009, Vegas played Geoff "The Oracle" Maltby in the hit ITV sitcom Benidorm. It was announced in 2014 that he was to reprise this role for the seventh series which will air in 2015.
He played Jackie Symes in the 2003 film The Virgin of Liverpool, Alf Prince in the 2003 film Cheeky and Trevor in the 2003 film Blackball. He played Dave in the 2004 film Sex Lives of the Potato Men and the voice of Uncle Stewart in the 2004 film Terkel in Trouble.
Having achieved fame in entertainment, Vegas received plaudits for his ceramic work. Ceramic Review praised him, leading to a role in Pot Shots (collaborating with Roger Law), a film made for an international gathering of potters. This led to his work being acquired for a collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum and a commission from Old Spice to design a bottle for their aftershave.
Vegas married Catherine "Kitty" Donnelly in August 2002 and sold pictures of the wedding to Viz magazine for a pound. The couple separated in 2004. They reunited briefly (twice) in 2005. Vegas and Donnelly were divorced by agreement on 11 March 2008 after having lived apart for more than two years. In early April 2011, Vegas married columnist and Irish television producer, Maia Dunphy in Seville.
Vegas admitted on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross in May 2008 that he has been losing weight after being diagnosed with gout. On 30 October 2008, on an episode of 8 out of 10 Cats, he mentioned that he had lost 4 stone (25 kg).
|2003||The Virgin of Liverpool||Jackie Symes|
|2004||Sex Lives of the Potato Men||Dave|
|Terkel in Trouble||Uncle Stewart (voice only)|
|2013||The Harry Hill Movie||Abu|
|2001-03||Happiness||Charlie Doyle (12 episodes)|
|2002||Shooting Stars||Regular panellist|
|2005||18 Stone of Idiot||Host|
|2005-11||Ideal||Moz (53 episodes)|
|2005-12||8 Out of 10 Cats||Regular panellist|
|2007-09, 2015—||Benidorm||Geoff "The Oracle" Maltby|
|2012||Mr Stink||Mr. Croombe|
|2013—||Still Open All Hours||Wet Eric|
|2014||Warren United||Fat Baz|
|Secrets from the Clink||Himself|
- TV Guest appearances
- Win, Lose or Draw (1996) - Contestant (1st TV appearance)
- Attention Scum (2001) - Newsreader
- Tipping the Velvet (2002) - Gully Sutherland
- Bleak House (2005, 6 episodes) - Krook
- Dead Man Weds (2005, 6 episodes) - Lewis Donat
- ShakespeaRE-Told (2005, episode based on A Midsummer Night's Dream) - Bottom
- Massive (2008, 6 episodes) - Tony
- The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff (2011) - The Artful Codger
- Rude Tube (2012, 2 episodes) - Computer
- Moone Boy (2012, 6 episodes) - Crunchie Haystacks
- Black Books (2002) - Landlord
- Ed Stone Is Dead (2003) - Waiter
- Top Gear (2003) - "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car"
- Dave's One Night Stand (2010) - Host
- Celebrity Juice (17 March 2011, 13 September 2012, 16 May 2013, 26 September 2013) - Panellist
- Show Me the Funny (2011) - Guest judge
- A League of Their Own (9 November 2012) - Panellist
- Have I Got News For You (17 May 2013, 25 April 2014) - Panellist
- Celebrity Fifteen to One (6 June 2014) - Contestant
- All Star Mr & Mrs (18 June 2014) - Contestant, with wife Maia
- Night Class (2002)
- Lucky Lonny (2006) - by Mike Stott
- Chequebook & Pen (2010) - Les Dawson
- Diary of a Nobody (2012) - Mr. Charles Pooter
- Shennan, Paddy (30 November 2009). "Johnny Vegas: I lost myself in 'Johnny Vegas'". Liverpool Echo.
- "Johnny Vegas turns out for Saints". BBC News. 3 February 2005.
- Heaton, Paul. "@paulheatonsolo". Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- Aitkenhead, Decca (13 March 2006). "Here's Johnny ...". The Guardian.
- Sturges, Fiona (2 July 2011). "Johnny Vegas: 'I never liked being the centre of attention'". The Independent.
- Lezard, Nicholas (September 1, 2002). "Radio: Comedy turns on the potter's wheel; Night Class Radio 4". The Independent (London, England).
- Thompson, Ben (2004). Sunshine on Putty: The Golden Age of British Comedy. HarperCollins. p. 383.
- "Arts Diary: Night Class for Vegas. (Features)". Daily Post (Liverpool, UK). August 12, 2002. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Just a Minute wins Sony Award". funny.co.uk. May 9, 2003. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "Johnny Vegas biography". webarchive.org.[dead link]
- "Johnny Vegas biography". BBC website.[dead link]
- Clennell, Andrew (28 September 2002). "Comic sells pictures to Viz for £1". The Guardian.
- "Comedian Johnny Vegas marries girlfriend Maia Dunphy in Spain". Ghana MMA. Retrieved 3 May 2011.[dead link]
- BBC One, The One Show, 17 December 2012. Interview with Nicky Gumbel and Johnny Vegas
- "Johnny Vegas awarded Honorary Doctorate". Edge Hill University. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- Johnny Vegas at the Internet Movie Database
- Sitting pretty by Miranda Sawyer – The Guardian, 15 May 2005.
- St Helens Rugby