Brand at the premiere for Arthur in 2011
|Birth name||Russell Edward Brand|
4 June 1975 |
Grays, Essex, England, UK
|Medium||Stand-up, television, film, radio|
|Influences||Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Peter Cook, Lenny Bruce, Tony Hancock, Jack Kerouac, Stewart Lee|
|Spouse||Katy Perry (m. 2010–2012)|
Russell Edward Brand (born 4 June 1975) is an English comedian, actor, and author.
In 2004, Brand achieved mainstream fame in the UK as the host of Big Brother's Big Mouth, a Big Brother spin-off. In 2007, he had his first major film role in St Trinian's. He became known in the United States in 2008, after his major role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall; the film led to a starring role in Get Him to the Greek in 2010. He also worked as a voice actor for animated films Despicable Me in 2010 and Hop in 2011. He starred in the 2011 remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore film Arthur.
Brand is noted in the British media for his eccentricity and for controversies such as his dismissal from MTV after he dressed as Osama bin Laden, his behaviour as presenter of various award ceremonies and his former drug use. In 2008, he resigned from the BBC following prank calls he made to actor Andrew Sachs on The Russell Brand Show, which led to major changes to the BBC's policy. His drug use, alcoholism and promiscuity have influenced his comedic material and public image. He is also widely known for his short marriage to Katy Perry which ended in 2012.
Brand was born in Orsett Hospital in Grays, Essex, England. He is the only child of Barbara Elizabeth (née Nichols) and photographer Ronald Henry Brand. Brand's parents divorced when he was six months old, and he was raised by his mother. He has described his childhood as isolated and lonely. When he was seven, he was sexually abused by a tutor. When Brand was eight, his mother contracted uterine cancer and then breast cancer one year later. While she underwent treatment, Brand lived with relatives. When he was 14, he suffered from bulimia nervosa. When he was 16, he left home because of disagreements with his mother's live-in partner. His mother had lymphoma at the time. Brand then started to use illegal drugs such as cannabis, amphetamines, LSD, and ecstasy.
In an interview on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Saturday, Brand says he had a strange relationship with his father, whom he saw sporadically and who took him to visit prostitutes during a trip to the Far East. In an interview with Piers Morgan, Brand stated that he thought his dad was "the coolest dad in the world", and would turn up in a Porsche one moment to collect him from school and then be reduced to nothing another and have to move in with Russell's grandmother again. After his parents' divorce, Brand's father remarried twice.
Brand attended Grays School Media Arts College, a comprehensive school. His theatre debut was at the age of 15 when he played Fat Sam in a school production of Bugsy Malone; this inspired him to become an actor, and he began to work as an extra. In 1991, he was accepted to the Italia Conti Academy, and his tuition was funded by Essex County Council for his introductory year, with potential funding for three additional years. He later played small roles in children's show Mud and police drama The Bill.
In 1995, Brand applied for both the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Drama Centre London and was accepted to Drama Centre. He then decided to focus on comedy and began to write material with Karl Theobald.
Brand's first significant stand-up appearance was at the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year final in 2000. Although he finished fourth, his performance attracted the attention of Gagged and Bound Comedy Ltd agent Nigel Klarfeld. That year, he also made his Edinburgh debut as one-third of the stand-up show Pablo Diablo's Cryptic Triptych, alongside ventriloquist Mark Felgate and Anglo-Iranian comic Shappi Khorsandi.
In 2004, he took his first one-man show, the confessional Better Now to the Edinburgh Festival, giving an honest account of his heroin addiction. He returned the following year with Eroticised Humour. He launched his first nationwide tour, Shame, in 2006. Brand drew on embarrassing incidents in his own life and the tabloid press's treatment of him since he became famous. The show was released on DVD as Russell Brand: Live.
Brand appeared in a sketch and performed stand-up at the 2006 Secret Policeman's Ball. In March 2007, he co-hosted an evening of the Teenage Cancer Trust gigs with Noel Fielding. In December 2007, Brand performed for HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip as an act in the 2007 Royal Variety Performance.
His second nationwide tour, in 2007, was called Russell Brand: Only Joking and released on DVD as Russell Brand: Doin' Life.
Brand began performing in the US, and recorded a special for Comedy Central titled Russell Brand in New York, which aired in March 2009. Brand began touring the UK, America and Australia from January to April 2009 on a tour called Russell Brand: Scandalous. In October, a further four dates that were performed in November were added to raise money for Focus 12, the drug charity for which Brand is a patron. Russell Brand: Scandalous was released on DVD on 9 November 2009.
Brand's first presenting role came in 2000 as a video journalist on MTV. He presented Dancefloor Chart, touring nightclubs in Britain and Ibiza, and hosted the tea-time request show Select. However, Brand was fired after coming to work dressed as Osama bin Laden the day after the 11 September 2001 attacks and bringing his drug dealer to the MTV studios.
After leaving MTV, Brand starred in RE:Brand, a British documentary and comedy television program that aimed to take a challenging look at cultural taboos. It was conceived, written, and hosted by Brand, with the help of his comic partner on many projects, Matt Morgan. The series was shown on the now-defunct digital satellite channel UK Play in 2002.
In 2004, he hosted Big Brother's Eforum on E4, a sister show to Big Brother 5. The show gave celebrity guests and the public the chance to have their say on the goings-on inside the Big Brother house. For Big Brother 6, the show's name changed to Big Brother's Big Mouth. Following Celebrity Big Brother 5, Brand said he would not return to host the Big Brother 8 series of Big Brother's Big Mouth. In a statement, Brand thanked all the producers for "taking the risk of employing an ex-junkie twerp" to front the show. Of his time presenting the show, he said, "The three years I've spent on Big Brother's Big Mouth have been an unprecedented joy".
Brand hosted a one-off special called Big Brother According to Russell Brand, in which Brand took a surreal, sideways look at Big Brother through the ages. On 8 January 2008, Brand was the fifth celebrity to "hijack" the Big Brother house, in the E4 show Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack. Brand next returned to MTV in the spring of 2006 as presenter of the chat show 1 Leicester Square, which initially aired at 8 pm on Sundays before being shifted to a post-watershed time of 10 pm on Mondays, allowing for a more adult-oriented theme. Guests have included Tom Cruise, Uma Thurman, The Mighty Boosh, and Boy George. A second series began in September 2006 on MTV UK. After Big Brother 7 finished, Brand presented a debate show called Russell Brand's Got Issues, on digital channel E4. The viewing figures for the first episode were seen as disappointing, being beaten by nearly all of E4's main multi-channel rivals despite a big publicity and promotional campaign for the show. The poor ratings prompted the network to repackage the show as The Russell Brand Show and move it to Channel 4. The first episode was broadcast on 24 November on Channel 4, and it ran for five weeks.
Brand presented the 2006 NME Awards. At the ceremony Bob Geldof, who was accepting an award from Brand, said at the podium, "Russell Brand – what a cunt", to which Brand replied, "Really it's no surprise [Geldof]'s such an expert on famine. He has after all been dining out on 'I Don't Like Mondays' for 30 years". Brand hosted the 2007 BRIT Awards and presented Oasis with an "Outstanding Contribution to Music" award at the event. He also hosted one hour of Comic Relief. On 7 July 2007, he presented at the UK leg of Live Earth at Wembley Stadium, London.
On 12 December 2007, BBC Four aired Russell Brand On the Road, a documentary presented by Brand and Matt Morgan about the writer Jack Kerouac and his novel On the Road. Brand returned to Channel 4 to host Russell Brand's Ponderland, in which he discussed topics like childhood and science through stand-up comedy. The show first aired on 22 October 2007 and continued for the next five nights. A second series began on 30 October 2008, drawing more than a million viewers, and was broadcast every Thursday night for four weeks, plus a Christmas special that aired in December.
Brand was later announced as the host of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, which drew scepticism from the American media, as he was relatively unknown to the American public. Brand's stint as host of the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards was not without controversy. At one point, he said the night "marked the launch of a very new Britney Spears era", referring to it as "the resurrection of [Spears]". He also said, "If there was a female Christ, it's Britney". Brand implored the audience to elect Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and later called then–U.S. President George W. Bush "a retarded cowboy fella", who, in England, "wouldn't be trusted with scissors". He made several references to the purity rings worn by the Jonas Brothers, but apologised for the comments later in the show. These comments led to Brand receiving death threats by some offended viewers. Brand claimed that MTV asked him to host the 2009 awards after the ratings for the 2008 show were 20% up from the previous year. Also in 2008 Brand hosted a one off stand up comedy show called Comedy Live Presents: Russell Brand and Friends shown on Channel 4 on 25 January 2008. Brand hosted the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on 13 September 2009, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The ratings for the 2009 show were the best since the 2004 VMAs. On 12 February 2011, Brand guest hosted an episode of the hit American sketch comedy Saturday Night Live.
In 2002, Brand appeared on the TV shows Cruise of the Gods and White Teeth. In 2005, he played Tommy in the BBC sitcom Blessed, which was written and directed by Young Ones creator Ben Elton. Brand auditioned for the part of Super Hans in the Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show; the role eventually went to Matt King. In 2007, Brand appeared in Cold Blood for ITV, playing an ex-con called Ally. Brand played a recovering crack addict named Terry in the pilot for the ITV comedy The Abbey, written by Morwenna Banks. He voiced an Earth Guardian in Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind. Brand had a small role in the 2006 movie Penelope, though his first major film role was as Flash Harry in the 2007 film St Trinian's. He did not reprise the role for the sequel, St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold. He achieved American fame when he starred in the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, in which he played Aldous Snow, the boyfriend of the title character (played by Kristen Bell). Brand received rave reviews for his performance as Snow, and he revealed the character was changed from an author to a rockstar because of his audition.
Brand starred alongside Adam Sandler in the Disney film Bedtime Stories, which was released on Christmas Day 2008. He reprised the role of Aldous Snow for a buddy comedy titled Get Him to the Greek, co-starring Jonah Hill. He reunited with Forgetting Sarah Marshall director Nicholas Stoller and producer Judd Apatow for the film. Brand had a role in Julie Taymor's version of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, as Trinculo. In 2010, Brand voiced Dr. Nefario in the Universal movie Despicable Me, and is set to reprise the role in the sequel in 2013. Brand also guest starred in The Simpsons episode "Angry Dad: The Movie" as himself. Brand also starred in the 2011 live action/CGI animated film Hop, in which he voiced the film's main protagonist E.B. Hop opened at number one at the Friday box office in the US, earning $11.4 million. The same month, April 2011, he played the title character in a remake of Arthur, written by Peter Baynham.
Brand starred as Lonny in a film adaptation of '80s-set musical Rock Of Ages, released in cinemas in June 2012. His upcoming projects include a remake of Drop Dead Fred. Brand will also appear in an Oliver Stone film. Sandler has cast Brand in another film and will produce yet another, co-written by Brand and Matt Morgan, about a con-man posing as a priest; it is tentatively titled Bad Father. and he is also set to star as Fred Mumford in a film adaptation of the hit 70s program Rentaghost.
Brand has also set up his own production company with his friend Nik Linnen called 'Branded Films' and will be run from the Warner Bros studios in Burbank, California. It has been reported that the company is set up to primarily develop films for Brand himself to star in.
Brand's radio career began in early 2002, when he hosted a Sunday afternoon show with Matt Morgan on London's Indie Rock station Xfm. Brand was fired from the job after reading pornographic material live on-air.
Brand co-hosted The Russell Brand Show beginning in April 2006 on BBC Radio 6 Music. In November 2006, the show transferred to BBC Radio 2 and aired on Saturdays from 9 – 11pm. The show regularly drew about 400,000 listeners. In an episode of the show broadcast on 18 October 2008, Brand and fellow Radio 2 DJ Jonathan Ross made a series of phone calls to actor Andrew Sachs that crudely discussed Sachs' granddaughter. Sunday tabloid The Mail on Sunday broke the story and regarded the phone calls as obscene. Both presenters were later suspended by the BBC due to the incident, and Brand resigned from his show. The BBC was later fined £150,000 by Britain's broadcast regulator for airing the calls.
Brand returned to talkSPORT on 9 October 2010, with a Saturday night show that lasted 20 weeks. The show featured clips and back-stage recordings from his Booky Wook 2 promotional tour. Brand was joined by a host of guests, including Noel Gallagher and Jonathan Ross.
From May 2006 till May 2009, Brand wrote a column for The Guardian that focused on West Ham United and the England national football team. A collection of the columns from May 2006 through June 2007 was released on 15 November 2007 in a book titled Irons in the Fire. A second collection of the columns from June 2007 through May 2008 was released on 16 October 2008, titled Articles of Faith. The book also includes Brand interviewing Noel Gallagher, James Corden and David Baddiel about football.
Brand's first autobiography, My Booky Wook, published by Hodder & Stoughton, was released on 15 November 2007 and received favourable reviews. The Observer commented that "Russell Brand's gleeful tale of drugs and debauchery in My Booky Wook puts most other celebrity memoirs to shame".
Brand signed a £1.8 million two-book deal with HarperCollins in June 2008. The first book was Articles of Faith which examined Brand's philosophy, with the second being Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal released on 30 September 2010.
Brand recorded a cover of The Beatles song "When I'm Sixty-Four" with composer David Arnold for the 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He contributed two songs to the soundtrack of the 2008 film Forgetting Sarah Marshall in which he appeared as Aldous Snow, lead singer of the fictional band Infant Sorrow. He reprised his role as Aldous Snow in Get Him to the Greek and recorded sixteen songs for the soundtrack.
Brand appeared on the 2010 version of 3 Lions alongside Robbie Williams. He also appeared in the music video to Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds's single AKA... What a Life! playing a drug pusher.
Brand has been a vegetarian since the age of 14 and a vegan since October 2011. He dresses in a flamboyant bohemian fashion, describing himself as looking like an "S&M Willy Wonka". He has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and bipolar disorder, has suffered from bulimia, and went through a period of self-harming. Brand has shown interest in the Hare Krishna Movement and chants the Hare Krishna mantra for drug rehabilitation. During an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on her show in October 2010, Brand talked about his love of Transcendental Meditation.
Brand is known for having numerous high-profile relationships. His dating life won him The Sun's Shagger Of The Year award in 2006, 2007, and 2008. The award has been renamed "The Russell Brand Shagger of the Year Award" in honour of Brand having won three years in a row.
Brand first met American singer/songwriter Katy Perry in summer 2009 when Perry filmed a cameo for Brand's film Get Him to the Greek (although the cameo did not make it into the final cut of the film). Brand and Perry began dating after meeting again in September 2009 at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, where Brand, as host, remarked "Katy Perry didn't win an award and she's staying at the same hotel as me, so she's gonna need a shoulder to cry on. So in a way, I'm the real winner tonight." The couple became engaged in December 2009 when Brand proposed to Perry while on a holiday in India. The couple married on 23 October 2010 in a traditional Hindu ceremony, near the Ranthambhore tiger sanctuary in Rajasthan, India, the same location where Brand proposed. After 14 months of marriage, Brand filed for divorce from Perry on 30 December 2011 in Los Angeles, citing irreconcilable differences. After Brand and Perry reached an agreement on financial issues, a judge granted the divorce request in February 2012; however the divorce did not become effective until July 2012 due to California law requiring a six-month wait.
Brand and several other celebrities wrote to The Independent (as supporters of the Hoping Foundation) to condemn Israel's assault on Gaza, and the "cruel and massive loss of life of the citizens of Gaza". In February 2009, Brand and several other entertainers wrote to The Times defending Bahá'í leaders then on trial in Iran. In April 2009, he attended the 2009 G-20 London summit protests and spoke to the press. He has been a long time defender of the Tibetan cause.
Substance abuse and legal issues
Brand is a former heroin and sex addict and a recovering alcoholic. He has had numerous run-ins with the police, having been arrested 12 times. Brand was ejected from the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh, and he infamously introduced his drug dealer to Kylie Minogue during his time at MTV. He has abstained from drug use since 2003 and is now a patron of the addiction charity Focus 12. His abandonment of drugs and alcohol was instigated by his agent, John Noel, after Brand was caught taking heroin in a bathroom during his Christmas party. Brand regularly attends AA and NA meetings and cites his practice of Transcendental Meditation as a significant factor in his recovery from drug addiction.
On 16 September 2010, Brand was arrested on suspected battery charges after he allegedly attacked a paparazzo who blocked his and then-fianceé Katy Perry's way to catch a flight at the Los Angeles International Airport.  The next day, he was released from custody after posting $20,000 bail. Footage of the incident was later sent to TMZ.
On 15 March 2012, an arrest warrant was issued for Brand in New Orleans after allegations that he had grabbed a photographer's mobile phone and threw it through a window. The paparazzo was taking pictures of him with an iPhone, when Brand wrestled it from him and tossed it into a law firm's window. The warrant was for "simple criminal damage to property". He turned himself in to the police, and also offered to reimburse the replacement of the window. Brand was in New Orleans, filming the movie Lamb of God.
|St Trinian's||2007||Flash Harry|
|Forgetting Sarah Marshall||2008||Aldous Snow|
|Get Him to the Greek||2010||Aldous Snow|
|Despicable Me||2010||Dr. Nefario||Voice|
|Hop||2011||E.B./"Hoff Knows Talent" Production Assistant||Voice/Live-action|
|Rock of Ages||2012||Lonny Barnett|
|Katy Perry: Part of Me||2012||Himself||Cameo
|Despicable Me 2||2013||Dr. Nefario||Voice/Post-production|
|The Bill||1994||Billy Case||Land of The Blind|
|Mud||1994||Shane||Series 1 Episodes 1-6|
|White Teeth||2002||Merlin||The Peculiar Second Marriage of Archie Jones|
|Cruise of the Gods||2002||Glynn (Woolly Hat Fan)|
|A Bear's Christmas Tail||2004||Mr Wolf|
|A Bear's Tail||2005||Tony the Ringmaster|
|The Big Fat Quiz of the Year||2006, 2007, 2009||Himself|
|Cold Blood||2007||Ally Parkins|
|Big Time Rush||2011||Himself||Big Time Beach Party|
|Saturday Night Live||2011||Himself||Season 36, Russel Brand & Chris Brown|
|Brand X with Russell Brand||2012-||Himself||Host|
|Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery||2012||Himself||BBC Three Documentary|
|Time Out||Best Stand-Up||2006||Won|
|Loaded Laftas||Best Stand-Up||2006||Won|
|British Comedy Awards||Best Newcomer||2006||Won|
|33rd Annual Television and Radio Awards||Best Television Performer in a Non-Acting Role||2007||Won|
|British Comedy Awards||Best Live Stand-Up||2008||Won|
|British Comedy Awards||Outstanding Contribution to Comedy||2011||Won|
- Live (20 November 2006)
- Doing Life – Live (26 November 2007)
- Scandalous – Live At The O2 (9 November 2009)
- Live in New York City (21 November 2011)
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- Brand, Russell (2007). My Booky Wook. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-93615-3.
- Brand, Russell (2008). Articles Of Faith. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-729881-5.
- Brand, Russell (2010). Booky Wook 2: This time it's personal. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-729882-2.
- Carey, Tanith (2007). Russell Brand. London: Michael O'Mara Books. ISBN 978-1-84317-240-6.
- Stone, Dave (2007). Russell Brand: Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know. London: John Blake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84454-396-0.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Russell Brand|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Russell Brand|
- Official website
- Russell Brand at the Internet Movie Database
- Sex, Anarchy and Russell Brand by Joy Press, Salon, 9 April 2009
- Russell Brand on sex, Sachs and self-improvement by Robert Crampton, The Times, 4 April 2009
- Russell Brand Talks, Love, Sex, Ambition and Revolution by Caroline Frost, Herald Sun, 27 March 2009
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