Michael Palin

Michael Palin Photo

Michael Palin

Date of Birth: May 5, 1943

Born in Sheffield, England, Michael Edward Palin’s earliest memories of wanting to be onstage was at the age of eight or nine, when his mother took him to an end-of-the-pier show where there was a magician who asked for volunteers. Michael shouted “Yes!” and leapt up on stage, where he assisted the magician by handing him various props. Having watched the magician’s assistant do it with flourish, he copied that and put all that he could into his part of the act. It had a profound effect on him, leaving him with the knowledge that he enjoyed performing and could play characters.

Michael continued to perform throughout his school days. At Brasenose College, Oxford, where he studied modern history, his comedy monologues attracted the attention of his future writing partner, Terry Jones. Together, Palin and Jones wrote for television shows such as The Ken Dodd Show, The Illustrated Weekly Hudd and The Frost Report, where they met Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, and John Cleese. The rest is comedy history. Palin, Chapman, Idle, Cleese, Jones and American-born British filmmaker Terry Gilliam would later form the English sketch comedy troupe, Monty Python.

In addition to Monty Python’s original television series, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and films such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python and the Life of Brian, Michael went on to appear in several other films, including The Missionary (produced by George Harrison) and A Fish Called Wanda, playing a character (based on his father) who stammered.

For his role, Michael received the 1989 BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the Michael Palin Centre For Stammering Children, which opened in 1993, was named in his honor. He would go on to receive various BAFTA honors in 2005, 2009, and 2013.

However, Michael’s contributions to comedy are equaled only by his prolific work as an accomplished travel writer and globetrotting documentarian of travelogues. Between 1988 and 2012, he presented eight TV travel series for the BBC, starting with Around The World in Eighty Days.

In addition to his work as a novelist, playwright, children’s author, and personal diarist, he has also published a series of travel books to accompany his television series.

In 2000, Michael became a member of the Order of the British Empire, and in 2009, he was elected President of the Royal Geographical Society for a term of three years.

In September and October 2014, he performed his first-ever one-man stage show, Michael Palin: Travelling To Work. More recently, he played Vyacheslav Molotov in the dark comedy The Death of Stalin (2018), alongside Steve Buscemi.

Michael has been married to Helen Gibbons since April 16, 1966. They have three grown children together — Thomas , William and Rachel.


The Death of Stalin (2018)
Absolutely Anything (2016)
Arthur Christmas (2011)
Not the Messiah: He's a Very Naughty Boy (2010)
Fierce Creatures (1997)
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (1996)
American Friends (1991)
Inar gahined (1989)
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Brazil (1985)
A Private Function (1984)
The Meaning of Life (1983)
The Missionary (1983)
Time Bandits (1981)
Life of Brian (1979)
Jabberwocky (1977)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
And Now for Something Completely Different (1971)