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Cumming during the 2011 Fashion Week
|Born|| 27 January 1965 |
Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland
|Nationality||Dual British and American citizen|
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer, writer|
Cumming during the 2011 Fashion Week
|Born|| 27 January 1965 |
Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland
|Nationality||Dual British and American citizen|
|Occupation||Actor, director, producer, writer|
His London stage appearances include Hamlet, the Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist (for which he received an Olivier Award), the lead in Bent, and the National Theatre of Scotland's The Bacchae. On Broadway he has appeared in The Threepenny Opera, the master of ceremonies in Cabaret (for which he won a Tony Award), and Design for Living. His best-known film roles include his performances in GoldenEye, Spy Kids, and X2. Cumming also introduces Masterpiece Mystery! for PBS and appears on The Good Wife, for which he has been nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Satellite Award.
He has also written a novel, Tommy's Tale, had a cable talk show called Eavesdropping with Alan Cumming, and produced a line of perfumed products labelled "Cumming". He has contributed opinion pieces to many publications and performed a cabaret show, I Bought A Blue Car Today. Cumming has also promoted Bisexual and LGBT rights, same-sex marriage and sexual health charities.
Retaining his British citizenship, Cumming became a naturalised U.S. citizen in 2008.
Cumming was born in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland, the son of Mary (née Darling), an insurance company secretary, and Alex Cumming, a forester. He has stated that his father was physically and emotionally abusive towards him. He has an older brother, Thom, a niece and two nephews. Brought up in Angus, Cumming attended Monikie Primary School and Carnoustie High School. Following graduation, he spent a year and a half as an editor and columnist for the pop and TV magazine TOPS before entering the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. On graduation he married fellow student Hilary Lyon; they divorced eight years later and had no children.
Cumming made his film debut in Gillies MacKinnon's Passing Glory in 1986. His feature film debut came in 1992 when he starred alongside Sandrine Bonnaire and Bruno Ganz in Ian Sellar's Prague, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and earned him the Best Actor award at the Atlantic Film Festival and a Scottish BAFTA Best Actor nomination. American audiences first saw him playing the oleaginous Sean Walsh, an unwanted suitor of Minnie Driver's character, in Circle of Friends, an Irish film released in 1995. Also in 1995 he played Boris Ivanovich Grishenko in the James Bond film GoldenEye.
His first film in the United States was 1997's Romy and Michele's High School Reunion, playing Sandy Frink opposite Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino. Cumming co-wrote, co-directed, co-produced, and co-starred in the ensemble film The Anniversary Party with friend and former Cabaret co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh, in 2001. The two starred in the film as a Hollywood couple. The film premiered at Cannes and garnered two Independent Spirit nominations and a National Board of Review award. He went on to star in and direct Suffering Man's Charity, later released as Ghost Writer.
He had prominent roles in the Spy Kids trilogy, X-Men 2 (as Nightcrawler), Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut and played Saturninus in the 1999 Julie Taymor film production of Titus. His many other films include Investigating Sex, Josie and the Pussycats, Emma, Get Carter, Plunkett and Macleane, Son of the Mask, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Full Grown Men, Spice World, Burlesque, The Tempest, Boogie Woogie and the animated films Garfield: The Movie, Jackboots on Whitehall and The Smurfs.
Earlier in his career, Cumming also directed two short films, Butter and Burn Your Phone. The latter began its life as a one-off drama on BBC Radio 4. He continues to direct short films and video pieces.
In the mid-1980s Cumming made his TV debut in the Scottish Television series Taggart. He went on to star in STV's Shadow of the Stone and as Jim Hunter, an evil woodcutter, in the Scottish soap opera Take The High Road. He also appeared as the Angel in the lyrical Channel 4 series Heavenly.
His breakthrough role was as Bernard Bottle in the Christmas 1991 BBC comedy Bernard and the Genie, a Richard Curtis-scripted film in which he starred alongside Lenny Henry and Rowan Atkinson. Cumming went on to star as flight attendant Sebastian Flight in the BBC2 sitcom The High Life in 1995. The series was written by Cumming and co-star Forbes Masson, continuing an acting-writing partnership the two had developed since their drama school days. Masson and Cumming had previously formed a cult Kelvinside musical double act "Victor and Barry", who later made many shows and appearances for STV. They performed regularly at the Edinburgh Festival and appeared in the Perrier Pick of the Fringe season at the Donmar Warehouse in 1988, toured Australia in 1989 playing the Sydney Opera House, released a record ("Hear Victor and Barry and Faint") but were killed off onstage at the London Palladium in the early 1990s.
Cumming returned to British TV screens in 2011 to star as Desrae, a transvestite, on the Sky series The Runaway.
He has also made several documentaries: My Brilliant Britain, about Scottish humour, The Real Cabaret in which he investigated the Weimar cabaret artistes and the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? in which he discovered his maternal grandfather was a war hero who had died playing Russian roulette.
Cumming has guested on several U.S. TV shows: In 2001, he appeared in the HBO comedy Sex and the City as O the designer in the episode, 'The Real Me'. 2003 saw him playing a cameo role in the sitcom Frasier, playing Niles' yoga instructor. He also guest starred on 3rd Rock from the Sun.
In 2004, he shot Showtime's Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical in which he played the role of The Lecturer – a versatile character who narrates the story and transforms himself into several other minor characters. He also appeared in the television films Neil Simon's The Goodbye Girl, the Disney remake of Annie.
Cumming played the role of Bill Blaikie, a gay drag queen party promoter hired by Kit Porter to manage her café cum nightclub, in season 3 of The L Word. His character had an affair with Max, a transgender male character in the show. He appeared in episodes 2 to 7, which originally broadcast on Showtime in 2006.
In 2007, Cumming played Glitch/Ambrose, an inventor whose brain had been partially removed, in the TV miniseries, Tin Man. He also provided the voice of Chuck Masters, a 50-year-old, paralysed, HIV-positive gay man in Logo's Rick and Steve, a stop animation sitcom created by Q. Allan Brocka. Cumming also hosted the Oxygen cable television show, "Eavesdropping with Alan Cumming", in which he interviewed female co-stars of his film roles, and "Midnight Snack", where he and his dogs introduced cult films. Cumming hosted Saturday Night Live in 2000, with musical guest Jennifer Lopez.
He is also the host of the 2008–2014 seasons of the PBS Masterpiece Mystery! series.
He currently plays Eli Gold on the CBS television show The Good Wife. He appeared as a guest star in the latter third of the first season, becoming a series regular in the show's 2010–2011 season,. He has been nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Satellite Award for his performance.
In 2009, Cumming guest-starred in Lisa Kudrow's improvised web series Web Therapy, portraying Austen Clarke, a possible love interest for Kudrow's character, Fiona Wallice. In 2010, Showtime announced plans to air Web Therapy as a TV series, and Cumming's guest appearance was broadcast as part of the first season finale of the show on 20 September 2011. Originally, the character was intended for a one-off appearance, however plans were later changed and Cumming became a recurring cast member during the TV series' second season in 2012.
Cumming began his theatre career in his native Scotland, performing in seasons with the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh, Dundee Rep, The Tron Glasgow and tours with Borderline, Theatre Workshop and Glasgow Citizens' TAG. He played Slupianek in the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh's 1988 production of Conquest of the South Pole, which later transferred to the Royal Court in London and earned him an Olivier Award nomination as Most Promising Newcomer. He went on to perform plays with the Bristol Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company and played Valere in La Bete at the Lyric, Hammersmith, London. In 1991 he played The Madman in the 1990 Royal National Theatre production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo, for which he won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance. He also adapted the play with director Tim Supple. In 1993 he received great critical acclaim and the TMA Best Actor award for playing title role in the 1993 English Touring Theatre's Hamlet (playing opposite his then-wife, Hilary Lyon, in the role of Ophelia). He played the role of The Master of Ceremonies in Sam Mendes's 1993 revival of the musical Cabaret in London's West End opposite Jane Horrocks as Sally Bowles. He received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. He reprised the role in 1998 for the Mendes-Rob Marshall Broadway revival, this time opposite Natasha Richardson as Sally Bowles. He won a Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, and Outer Critics Circle Award for his performance.
Other U.S. stage roles include Otto in the 2001 Broadway production of Design for Living by Noël Coward, Mac the Knife in Bertolt Brecht-Kurt Weill musical The Threepenny Opera opposite Cyndi Lauper. Cumming performed alongside Dianne Wiest in Classic Stage Company's production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Viacheslav Dolgachev. In 2002, Cumming and then-boyfriend British director Nick Philippou formed the production company The Art Party. The company's first and only play was the first English production of Jean Genet's play Elle, which Cumming had adapted from a literal translation by Terri Gordon. The company folded in 2003.
In 2006 he returned to the West End playing the lead role in Bent, a play about homosexuals in Germany under the Nazis. In 2007 he took the lead role in the National Theatre of Scotland's production of The Bacchae, directed by John Tiffany, which premiéred at the Edinburgh Festival in August, transferring to the Lyric Theatre in London and then to Lincoln Center, New York, winning him Herald ArcAngel award.
He collaborated again with Tiffany and the National Theatre of Scotland in 2012, playing all the roles in Macbeth. He brought this critically acclaimed production of Macbeth to New York's Lincoln Center in 2012 and to a 73-show Broadway engagement at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 2013. Macbeth concluded its run on Broadway on 14 July 2013.
In 2013 Cumming also made a guest appearance on The Colbert Report singing a musical performance with Colbert "bridging the gap" between gay and straight Americans.
Cumming's novel, Tommy's Tale, was published in 2002. He has also written articles for magazines, notably as a contributing editor for Marie Claire magazine, writing on the haute couture shows in Paris, as well as what it was like for him dressing as a woman for a day. He also contributed articles to Newsweek, Modern Painters, Out, Black Book and The Wall Street Journal. He has also written introductions and prefaces to various books, including the works of Nancy Mitford, Andy Warhol and Christopher Isherwood and wrote a chapter of If You Had Five Minutes with the President, a collection of 55+ essays by members or supporters of The Creative Coalition. Cumming recorded a duet of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Liza Minnelli to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the 11 September Fund.
In 2005 he released a fragrance called "Cumming," and a related line of scented bath lotion and body wash. A second fragrance was launched in 2011, named Second Cumming, with all proceeds going to charity.
In 2012, he launched his photography career with his first exhibition Alan Cumming Snaps.
In July 2012 Cumming presented Urban Secrets on Sky Atlantic where he uncovers hidden secrets in various urban areas including London and Brighton.
Cumming lives in Manhattan with his husband, graphic artist Grant Shaffer, and their dogs, Honey and Leon. The couple dated for two years before entering into a civil partnership at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London, on 7 January 2007. Cumming and Shaffer remarried in New York on 7 January 2012, the fifth anniversary of their London union.
Once described as "a frolicky pansexual sex symbol for the new millennium," Cumming has stated that he considers himself bisexual, "although the pendulum has obviously swung." Previous relationships include an eight-year marriage to actress Hilary Lyon, a two-year relationship with actress Saffron Burrows, and a six-year relationship with theater director Nick Philippou. After his civil partnership with Shaffer, when asked if he was monogamous, he stated "I don't believe that monogamy is feasible." In 2006, Cumming stated that he "would dearly like to adopt a child," but that his life was "too hectic" for children.
Cumming used to be a member of the Church of Scotland, until his mother received a letter from them saying they had "read something about me being an atheist and would I like to leave." He said he had attended out of tradition, but realised being a part of it was "only condoning and validating lots of things I disapprove of: oppression, guilt, shame, etc."
Since coming out as bisexual in 1998, Cumming has promoted LGBT rights, MC-ing and attending fundraisers for organizations such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and taking part in an Equality Network video campaign, from New York, promoting the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Scotland. Cumming also supports several AIDS charities, including the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AMFAR) and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and is also a patron of NORM-UK, an English-registered charity concerned with foreskin health and matters related to circumcision; he has condemned the practice of routine infant circumcision, particularly in the United States where it is common. In 2013 his book entitled May the Foreskin Be With You was published.
In March 2005, Cumming received the Vito Russo Award at the 16th Annual GLAAD Media Awards for outstanding contributions toward eliminating homophobia. In July of the same year he was also presented with the HRC's Humanitarian Award in San Francisco, also for his LGBT public stance. In November 2006 Cumming received a Doctor of Arts honorary degree from the University of Abertay Dundee. He also is a patron of the Scottish Youth Theatre, Scotland's National Theatre 'for and by' young people. Cumming was appointed an OBE in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to film, theatre and the arts and activism for LGBT rights.
In 1998, Cumming won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for the revival of Cabaret.
In 2007, Cumming was honored with the Excellence in Acting Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival.
|1988||Conquest of the South Pole||Olivier Award||Best Newcomer in a Play||Nominated|
|1991||Accidental Death of an Anarchist||Olivier Award||Comedy Performance of the Year||Won|
|1992||Bernard and the Genie||British Comedy Award||Top Television Newcomer||Won|
|1992||Prague||Atlantic Film Festival||Best Actor||Won|
|1993||Prague||Scottish BAFTA Award||Best Film Actor||Nominated|
|1993||La Bête||Olivier Award||Comedy Performance of the Year||Nominated|
|1994||Cabaret||Olivier Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Nominated|
|1994||Hamlet||Shakespeare Globe Award||Richard Burton Award||Nominated|
|1994||Hamlet||Theatre Management Association Award||Best Actor||Won|
|1996||Romy and Michele's High School Reunion||MTV Movie Award||Best Dance Sequence||Nominated|
|1998||N/A||Vanity Fair Hall of Fame||Inducted|
|1998||Cabaret||New York Free Press Award||Best Actor||Won|
|1998||Cabaret||New York Public Advocate's Award||Won|
|1998||Cabaret||FANY Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Won|
|1998||Cabaret||Tony Award||Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical||Won|
|1998||Cabaret||Outer Critics Circle Award||Best Actor in a Musical||Won|
|1998||Cabaret||Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical||Won|
|1998||Cabaret||Theatre World Award||Outstanding Broadway Debut||Won|
|2001||N/A||New York Immigrant Achievement Award||N/A||Won|
|2002||The Anniversary Party||Prism Award||N/A||Won|
|2002||The Anniversary Party||Independent Spirit Award||Best First Feature||Nominated|
|2002||The Anniversary Party||Independent Spirit Award||Best Screenplay||Nominated|
|2002||The Anniversary Party||National Board of Review Award||Excellence in Filmmaking||Won|
|2003||N/A||Bailey House||Key Award||Won|
|2003||N/A||Convent of the Sacred Heart||Hatter's Ball Award||Won|
|2003||Nicholas Nickleby||National Board of Review Award||Best Ensemble in a Movie||Won|
|2004||N/A||Bailey House||20 for 20 Key Award||Won|
|2004||N/A||Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival||Artistic Achievement Award||Won|
|2004||N/A||Special Civil Rights Award||Won|
|2005||Son of the Mask||Golden Raspberry Award||Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2005||N/A||HRC Humanitarian Award||Won|
|2005||N/A||Scotland Magazine||Icon of Scotland Award||Won|
|2006||Bent||Theatregoer's Choice Award||Best Actor||Nominated|
|2006||N/A||Human Rights Campaign||The Elizabeth Birch Equality Award||Won|
|2006||The Threepenny Opera||Drama League||Honored|
|2006||N/A||GLAAD Media Award||The Vito Russo Award||Won|
|2006||Sweet Land||Sedona Film Festival||Birkner Humanitarian Award||Won|
|2007||Sweet Land||Independent Spirit Award||Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature||Won|
|2007||N/A||Big Apple Film Festival||Golden Apple Award for Honorary Achievement||Won|
|2007||N/A||Santa Fe Film Festival||Maverick Award||Won|
|2007||N/A||LAMBDA Liberty Award||Won|
|2007||Ghost Writer||Barcelona Gay and Lesbian Film Festival||Tribute Award||Won|
|2007||Ghost Writer||Provincetown International Film Festival||Excellence in Acting Award||Won|
|2007||Ghost Writer||SHOUT Film Festival||Beacon Award||Won|
|2007||The Bacchae||Herald Arcangel Award||Won|
|2007||N/A||Phoenix Film Festival||Copper Wing Tribute Award||Won|
|2008||N/A||Anti-Violence Project||Courage Award||Won|
|2008||N/A||Trevor Project||Hero Award||Won|
|2009||N/A||Scottish Style Awards||Most Stylish Male||Nominated|
|2009||N/A||National Trust for Scotland||Great Scot Award||Won|
|2009||N/A||PFLAG||PFLAG Choice Award||Won|
|2009||I Bought A Blue Car Today||SX Magazine||Best Cabaret||Won|
|2009||I Bought A Blue Car Today||Whatsonstage.com Awards||Best Solo Performance||Nominated|
|2010||I Bought A Blue Car Today||Time Out New York||Best of Cabaret||Nominated|
|2010||I Bought A Blue Car Today||Bistro Award||Outstanding Recording||Won|
|2010||N/A||Chicago International Film Festival||Artistic Achievement Award||Won|
|2010||N/A||National Gay and Lesbian Task Force||Leadership Award||Won|
|2010||N/A||Point Foundation||Courage Award||Won|
|2010||N/A||Theater Offensive||Out on the Edge Award||Won|
|2010||N/A||Johnnie Walker||Great Scot Award||Nominated|
|2010||The Good Wife||International Press Academy||Best Supporting TV Actor||Nominated|
|2010||The Good Wife: Fleas||Emmy Award||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2011||N/A||Denver Film Festival||Excellence in Acting Award||Won|
|2011||Cumming The Fragrance||Fleshbot Award||Sexiest Fashion||Won|
|2011||Zoorgamazoo||AudioFile Magazine||Earphones Award||Won|
|2011||Zoorgamazoo||Audie Award||Solo Narration – Male||Won|
|2011||Charity Work||Johnnie Walker||Great Scot Award||Nominated|
|2011||The Good Wife||Emmy Award||Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2011||The Good Wife||Critics' Choice TV Awards||Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2011||The Good Wife||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2012||N/A||Johnnie Walker||Great Scot Award||Nominated|
|2012||N/A||Matthew Shepard Foundation||Making A Difference Award||Won|
|2012||N/A||Live Out Loud Awards||Star Award||Won|
|2012||Macbeth||AudioFile Awards||Best Voice of the Year||Won|
|2012||Macbeth||Audiofile Magazine||Earphone Award||Won|
|2012||The Good Wife||Crime Thriller Awards||Best Supporting Actor||Nominated|
|2012||The Good Wife||Screen Actors' Guild||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|2012||Any Day Now||Key West Film Festival||Golden Key Award||Won|
|2012||Any Day Now||Napa Valley Film Festival||Favorite Actor or Actress||Won|
|2012||Any Day Now||Outfest||Best Actor Award||Won|
|2012||Any Day Now||Seattle International Film Festival||Best Actor Award||Won|
|2013||Any Day Now||Dorian Award||Film Performance of the Year||Nominated|
|2013||Any Day Now||Gaybie Award||Best Actor in a Gay Themed Movie||Nominated|
|2013||N/A||Bailey House||Arts & Legacy Award||Won|
|2013||Macbeth on Broadway||Drama League Awards||Distinguished Performance Award||Pending|
|2013||Macbeth on Broadway||United Solo||UAward||Pending|
|2013||Macbeth on Broadway||Broadway.com Audience Choice||Favorite Actor in a Play||Won|
|2014||Arthur: Show Off||Emmy Award||Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Nominated|
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