Brand Russell life and biography

Brand Russell picture, image, poster

Brand Russell biography

Date of birth : 1975-06-04
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Essex, England
Nationality : British
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-05-24
Credited as : Actor Comedian and Singer, Personality, My Booky Wook

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Equal parts debaucherous rock star and grammatically correct intellectual, Russell Brand first made his mark on Britain as a stand-up comedian and MTV VJ with a penchant for skin-tight black pants. Battling a nasty drug addiction throughout the beginning of his career, Brand parlayed his controversial antics into a successful and critically acclaimed comedy act and talk show gig on MTV UK’s “1 Leicester Square” (2006). Catching the eye of American moviegoers as Aldous Snow in the hit 2008 comedy “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” Brand found a whole new audience. Serving as host of MTV’s “2008 Video Music Awards,” the quirky Brit was primed for Hollywood stardom.

Born June 4th, 1975 in Grays, Essex, England to Barbara Elizabeth and Ronald Henry Brand, a photographer, Brand grew up in Grays with his mother after his parents separated when he was only six months old. Brand led a troubled adolescence – his mother, Barbara, suffered a bout with cancer, and Brand himself struggled with bulimia as a teen. Finding an outlet for his troubles in acting, Brand landed his first stage performance at the age of 15, portraying Fat Sam in a school production of “Bugsy Malone.” Turning in an impressive performance, Brand landed a council-funded education at the private Italia Conti Academy in London, Britain's oldest theatre arts training school, and went on to earn a three-year scholarship to London's prestigious Drama Centre. Though Brand showed an obvious talent and aptitude for the dramatic arts, he was kicked out of the school a week shy of graduation for destruction of school property.

Russell made his theatrical debut, aged fifteen, in Bugsy Malone as Fat Sam. Essex council decreed it criminally neglectful to allow this chameleon like ability to put on hats to go un-nurtured and promptly funded an education at the fancy Italia Conti stage school, which lead to a three-year scholarship at the drama centre in Camden.

In his spare time he began performing stand up in pubs around London and reached the final of the prestigious Hackney Empire new act of the year competition. Brand was denied the victory that many assumed would be his (allegations of jury rigging… More came to naught) but was a runner up and his angry young man political rantings caught the eye of Time Out's Malcolm Hay who dubbed him "Essex's Bill Hicks".

Further gigs at the Empire followed and a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival with more flattering reviews and an appearance in the final of So You Think You're Funny?.

MTV caught Russell's show at the festival and gave him his own series, Dance Floor Chart, where he bantered bizarrely with intoxicated youths in discos. Additionally he presented Select their flagship tea-time phone in show. When Jackass arrived in Blighty Russell was afforded the dubious privilege of promoting it for MTV UK.

BRAND followed for UK Play "a challenging look at cultural taboos." Over ten episodes he had a boxing match with his Father (long before Dennis v Mortimer), had a bath with a homeless man, who he had living in his bed, acted as pimp to a heroin addicted prostitute and tried to convert the leader of the young BNP to socialism.

He also presented his own show on Sunday afternoon for Xfm and acted in Channel Four's White Teeth (Merlin-hippy commune leader/drug dealer), Steve Coogan vehicle Cruise of the Gods, and hosted/wrote The Russell Brand for Channel Four's Comedy Lab series.

Summer 2004 saw Russell host E4's live Big Brother discussion series Efourum, and presents Kings of Comedy for E4, in between which Russell took his one man show Better Now to the Edinburgh Fesitval - a hilariously honest chronicle of Russell's odyssey through a twilight world of whores, heroin and hairdos, demonstrating that the road of excess leads to the palace of unemployment. The show was a complete sellout and received 4 and 5 star reviews in The Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman and The Metro amongst others.

In 2005 and 2006 Russell continued his work on Big Brother, hosting Big Brothers Big Mouth. Which was very successful and is now lining up to another series for the forth coming Big Brother 7 this May. He also performed at Edinburgh again last year, with his hit show Eroticised Humour. He will be performing there again this summer. Russell has gone back to MTV to host a new music and enteratainment show, 1 Leceister Square.

Brand's autobiography, My Booky Wook, published by Hodder & Stoughton, was released on November 15, 2007 and received favorable 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 has begun writing his second memoir, My Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal, which was due to be released set in October 2009 but has now been pushed back to Autumn 2010.

Brand signed a £1.8 million two-book deal with HarperCollins in June 2008. The first book was Articles of Faith, with the second to be My Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal.

Personal life

Brand lives in Hampstead, London, with his cat, which he named after the singer Morrissey, of whom Brand is a big fan.

He has been a vegetarian since the age of 14, and is a fan of football and a supporter of West Ham United; Brand says that his love of football is "intrinsically about my relationship with my father". He dresses in a flamboyant bohemian fashion, describing himself as looking like an "S&M Willy Wonka". He has bipolar disorder, and he has suffered from bulimia in the past. He also went through a period of self-harm.

Brand is a former heroin and sex addict and a recovering alcoholic. He has had numerous run-ins with the police, having been arrested 11 times. During the time of his addiction, he was known for his debauchery. 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 2002 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.

After a string of high-profile relationships, Brand developed a reputation in the media as a ladies' man. 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.

In January 2009, 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.

In September 2009, Brand was reported to be dating American singer/songwriter Katy Perry. According to reports in November, he said that he is ready to settle down and start a family with her. On 6 January 2010 the pair announced their engagement.

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