Mackenzie Crook

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Mackenzie Crook
Mackenzie Crook.JPG
Mackenzie Crook in 2009
BornPaul James Crook
(1971-09-29) 29 September 1971 (age 43)
Maidstone, Kent, England
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1996–present
Spouse(s)Lindsay Crook (m. 2001)
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Mackenzie Crook
Mackenzie Crook.JPG
Mackenzie Crook in 2009
BornPaul James Crook
(1971-09-29) 29 September 1971 (age 43)
Maidstone, Kent, England
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active1996–present
Spouse(s)Lindsay Crook (m. 2001)

Mackenzie Crook (born Paul James Crook;[1] 29 September 1971) is an English actor and stand-up comedian. He is known for playing Gareth Keenan in The Office, Ragetti in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, and Orell in Game of Thrones.

Early life[edit]

Crook was born in Maidstone[2] and grew up in Dartford. His father, Michael Crook, worked for British Airways, and his mother, Sheila, was a hospital manager.[3][4] He has two sisters. As a child he was put on a course of hormone therapy for three years due to a growth hormone deficiency.[3] In the summers he spent time with his uncle at his tobacco farm in northern Zimbabwe,[4] where he developed his love for painting.[3] He was educated at the Wilmington Grammar School for Boys, Dartford,[5] where he was the illustrator and cartoonist for the school magazine, Orion. He joined the Orchard Youth Theatre in Dartford when he was about 15 years old.


Early work[edit]

Wanting to be a graphic artist,[6] aged 18 he applied and was turned down three times for courses at the Kent Institute of Art & Design. He spent a while doing part-time jobs in a publisher's, a hospital, Halford's and Pizza Hut.[6]

Persuaded to join a local theatre company by its manager, he was guided to turn to comedic arts, resulting in Crook writing comedy sketches and the theatre manager becoming his agent.[6] He then became a comedian alongside Iain Lee for about eight years, in the guise of Charlie Cheese, "the cheeky chirpy chappy from Chorley".[3] He has also performed, both on stage and in the Channel 4 sketch show Barking, as a grotesque schoolteacher called Mr Bagshaw who is said to be based on a variety of obnoxious, overbearing science teachers he was taught by while in school.[7]

Film and television career[edit]

In 1996 Crook appeared in his first short film: The Man who Fell in Love with a Traffic Cone. Having been seen by Bob Mortimer in his one-man show in Edinburgh,[5] alongside others including Sacha Baron Cohen they were offered their first major television roles as comedy sketch contributors on Channel 4's The Eleven O'Clock Show in 1998, from which Crook was quietly dropped.[7] He was later a member of the main cast of the BBC sketch show TV to Go in 2001.[7]

In late 1999 he hosted the short-lived ITV1 show Comedy Café in the guise of his Charlie Cheese character. The show made by Channel X for ITV1 had Charlie Cheese interviewing various celebrities about their latest live tour, book, album or film release. In 2001, he auditioned for the role of Gareth Keenan in Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant popular mockumentary The Office. Written originally for a larger thuggish actor,[7] Crook won the role and by the end of the series in 2003 had earned himself two BAFTA nominations.[8]

Crook was featured in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007);[9] as Ragetti, a pirate with a comically ill-fitting wooden false eye. Neither Crook nor Lee Arenberg (Pintel) were featured in the 2011 movie Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. He has appeared in adverts as the character for Visa and M&M's. He has also featured as himself in adverts for MTV, Film Four and as a voiceover artiste for motor insurance company Green Flag in 2007. In 2010 he provided a voice over in an advertisement for the electrical retailer Currys.

Crook also appeared as Launcelot Gobbo in Michael Radford's 2004 film adaptation of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and had a minor role in the 2004 film Finding Neverland as a theatre usher. Other films he has appeared in include The Gathering (2003) and The Brothers Grimm (2005). Crook has starred in three of Tim Plester and Ben Gregor's short films: as Gary Tibbs in Ant Muzak (2002), as Servalan in Blake's Junction 7 (2004), and as Glorious George in World of Wrestling (2006). All three of these films have been released on DVD. He has also voiced in a television series called Modern Toss and has featured in I Want Candy as Mr Dulberg, a quirky university professor and voiced a character called Rolli Bobbler in the English version of an animated film from Finland called Quest for a Heart (original Finnish name Röllin Sydän). He also performed a duet with Ricky Gervais in the Concert for Diana.

Crook played the leading role of Paul Callow in the British comedy film Three and Out,[5] released on 25 April 2008.[3][6] On 10 May 2008 he appeared in an episode of the BBC1 comedy/drama "Love Soup" playing the character Marty Cady and appeared in an episode of Andrew Davies' 2008 BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit. He also provided his voice and movements to a character in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, which began filming in January 2009 and was released in 2011.[10]

Crook starred in Wyndham Price's drama Abraham's Point as Comet Snape and appeared in City of Ember as Looper, and on TV was featured in the documentary Tattoos: A Scarred History (2009). He also did Big Brother Celebrity Hijack and appeared in an ITV drama Demons (originally titled The Last Van Helsing) as a vampire named Dr. Gladiolus Hadilus Tradius Thrip. In January 2009, Crook featured in the second and third episodes of the third series of the E4 hit teen cult drama Skins. In the show Crook played psychotic Bristol gangster Johnny White. He has appeared in Merlin, for the first episode of the second season, as a man named Cedric, who tries to take Merlin's job as Prince Arthur's manservant. In November 2010 Mackenzie starred in A Reluctant Tragic Hero, a comic play by Anton Chekhov, on the Sky Arts channel. It also starred Johnny Vegas. Mackenzie played Corporal Buckley, a brutal career soldier, in Jimmy McGovern's Accused, broadcast on BBC1 in November 2010.[11] During the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con it was announced that Crook will play the role of Orell in the third season of Game of Thrones.[12]

Mackenzie has also written and directed a British television comedy series called Detectorists which was first broadcast on BBC Four on 2 October 2014. He also stars in the six-part series alongside Toby Jones.


Crook played Billy Bibbit in the 2004 London West End production of the stage play of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest opposite Christian Slater,[9] and in 2006 he appeared in The Exonerated at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

He starred in director Ian Rickson's production of The Seagull opposite Kristin Scott Thomas, as the troubled writer Konstantin for which he earned a nomination from the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.[3][13] Starting at the Royal Court Theatre in London in February/March 2007, it transferred to Broadway in September 2008. In December 2008 he finished the Broadway run of The Seagull at the Walter Kerr Theatre.[3]

From 15 July through to 15 August 2009 Mackenzie appeared at the Royal Court Theatre in Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem.[14] He and the play received rave reviews and it was transferred to the West End's Apollo Theatre in February 2010. In May 2011 he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play, for his role in the Broadway transfer of the show[15] and also appeared in the 2011 London revival.

Also during 2010, on 18 April, Mackenzie took part in the fund raising event We Are One, a celebration of tribal peoples, in aid of indigenous rights organisation Survival International, at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. The evening was a performance of tribal prose and poetry from some of the UK and Hollywood's leading actors and musicians. The event was created and directed by Mark Rylance.[16] Mackenzie appeared in the play "Aliens" at the Bush Theatre in October 2010 and in early 2012 appeared inThe Recruiting Officer at the Donmar Warehouse.

Other work[edit]

Crook has directed a music video for the London electro band Paw Paw (his sister Zoe is one of the band members). The stop motion animation video accompanies the band's debut single 'Wired OK', released on 16 July 2007 on Albino Recordings.[17] Crook appeared as a postman in the music video for Paul McCartney's single "Dance Tonight" alongside actress Natalie Portman. The video for the song was directed by Michel Gondry and was posted exclusively on YouTube on 22 May 2007.

Crook has a deal with publisher Faber to illustrate and write a children's book.[9] His first one, The Windvale Sprites, was released in November 2011. It was announced on 8 February 2012, that Crook's book was nominated for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, in the 5–12-year-old category.[18] The book contains references to a storm in 1987 which hit Dartford and surrounding areas. Crook teamed up with the writers of Modern Toss and footwear giant Kickers in 2009 to provide voiceovers for a new series of comedy cartoons called Random Bandits, which are featured online at the Kickers MySpace.[citation needed] On 9 April 2010 it was announced that Crook would star in the music video for Slow Club's new single, "Giving Up on Love", after band member Rebecca Taylor wrote to him.[citation needed] Crook regularly works in radio, and is scheduled to appear in the BBC Radio Four show North by Northamptonshire, in 2011. Crook stars alongside Geoffrey Palmer, Sheila Hancock, Lizzie Roper and Jessica Henwick. Crook narrated the audiobook version of the novel 'Charlotte Street' by Danny Wallace.

Personal life[edit]

Crook and his wife Lindsay, a former advertising executive, reside in the north London suburb of Muswell Hill. [19] Crook and his wife were married in April 2001, and have a son, Jude Michael, born 17 January 2003, and a daughter, Scout Elizabeth, born 24 December 2007.

As a teenager, he inherited a rare breeding pair of Mediterranean spur-thighed tortoises, leading to his hobby of breeding chelonians.[6] In January 2010 on the Andrew Marr Show, Crook revealed that he himself provides the tortoises used in his new play 'Jerusalem', taking them from his own herd. A committed conservationist, Crook purchased eight acres of Essex woodland in 2008, to create his own private nature reserve.[20] In an interview with the BBC he denied claims made on Wikipedia that he was a Green Party of England and Wales activist.[21]

His favourite musicians are Nick Drake and Kurt Cobain.[9]


1996The Man who Fell in Love with a Traffic ConeThe Manshort film
1998Still CrazyDutch Kid
The Eleven O'Clock ShowhimselfTV series
2001–2003The OfficeGareth KeenanTV series: 14 episodes
2002Ant MuzakGary Tibbsshort film
2003Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black PearlRagetti
The GatheringThe Gathering
2004The Merchant of VeniceLauncelot Gobbo
Sex Lives of the Potato MenFerris
The Life and Death of Peter SellersCar Salesman
Churchill: The Hollywood YearsJimmy Charoo
Finding NeverlandMr. Jaspers
Blake's Junction 7Servalanshort film
2005Spider-Plant ManScientistshort film
Monkey Trousersvarious charactersTV series
The Brothers GrimmHidlick
2006Land of the BlindEditor
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestRagetti
Popetownvarious rolesvoice only
TV series
also writer
Modern Tossvarious rolesvoice only
TV series
World of WrestlingGlorious Georgeshort film
2007Quest for a Heart (fi) (Original title: Röllin sydän)Rollivoice only: English language version of Finnish original
I Could Never Be Your WomanProducer
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndRagetti
I Want CandyDulberg
2008Three and OutPaul Callow
City of EmberLooper
Little DorritHarrisTV series: 1 episode
Love SoupMarty CadyTV series: 1 episode
2009MerlinCedricTV series: 1 episode
DemonsGladiolus ThripTV series: 2 episodes
SkinsJohnny WhiteTV series: 2 episodes
Solomon KaneFather Michael
2010Chekhov Comedy ShortsTV series: 1 episode
AccusedLance Corporal Alan BuckleyTV series: 1 episode
Sex & Drugs & Rock & RollRussell Hardy
The Adventures of TintinTom
2013Game of ThronesOrellTV series: 6 episodes
Almost HumanRudy LomTV series
The CafeDaveTV series: 2 episodes
One Chance
2014Muppets Most WantedSilent Guard at Prado Museum
DetectoristsAndyTV series
writer & director


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Maher, Kevin (17 July 2008). "Mackenzie Crook's tour of identities and the poignant Three and Out". The Times (UK). Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Booth, Jenny (11 January 2009). "My hols: Mackenzie Crook". The Times (UK). Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c Hardy, Frances (28 December 2007). "From Office to Romeo: Why Mackenzie Crook is terrified of love scenes". Daily Mail (UK). Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "The amazing Mr Mackenzie Crook: From The Office to Hollywood". Daily Mail (UK). 12 April 2008. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Mackenzie Crook". BBC Comedy. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  8. ^ Mackenzie Crook – Awards
  9. ^ a b c d Pool, Hannah (19 May 2007). "Out of office reply". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  10. ^ Jay A. Fernandez, Borys Kit (27 January 2009). "Daniel Craig to star in "Tintin"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 January 2009. [dead link]
  11. ^ BBC Press Office, 10 October 2010, Accused
  12. ^ "Game of Thrones Season 3: New Cast Members". 13 July 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2007: the longlist| Theatre". This is London. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "Mackenzie Crook talks new play Jerusalem". The London paper. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "2011 Tony Nominations Announced! THE BOOK OF MORMON Leads With 14!". Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "Mackenzie Crook". Mackenzie Crook. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "PawPawMusic". Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  18. ^ "Mackenzie Crook up for book award". BBC News. 8 February 2012. 
  19. ^ Dessau, Bruce (6 July 2009). "Mackenzie Crook: from The Office to Jerusalem". The Times (UK). Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  20. ^ Crook, Mackenzie (13 March 2011). "A wild shot". Live (Mail on Sunday supplement): 32. 
  21. ^ "Mackenzie Crook: From Jerusalem to Vermont". BBC News. 16 September 2010. 

External links[edit]