Sacha Noam Baron Cohen is an English actor, comedian,
and writer best known for his comic personas Ali G, Borat Sagdiyev,
Sacha Baron Cohen was born October 13, 1971 in England to Daniella (née Weiser), born in Israel,
and Gerald Baron Cohen, originally from Whales. He was the youngest
of three sons in an Orthodox Jewish family. Before university, he spent a year at Kibbutz Rosh HaNikra and Kibbutz Beit HaEmek with Habonim
Dror. He went on to study history at Cambridge University and wrote
his thesis on Jewish involvement in the American Civil Rights movement.
At the Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club, Baron Cohen acted
in plays such as Fiddler on the Roof (in which he played Tevye)
and Cyrano de Bergerac. While at Cambridge, he performed in
Habonim Dror Jewish theatre performances.
After leaving university, Baron Cohen worked for a
time as a fashion model, appearing in many fashion magazines. In the early 1990s, he hosted a weekly program on Windsor TV until he
was fired for broadcasting a lewd presentation for Valentine's Day.
From 1995-1996, Baron Cohen had another television hosting job and later
made his first feature film appearance in the British comedy The
Jolly Boys' Last Stand.
Baron Cohen appeared during 2-minute sketches as his
fashion reporter Brüno on The Paramount Comedy Channel during 1998.
He shot to fame when his comic character Ali G started appearing on
the British television show The Eleven O'Clock Show on Channel
4, which first went to air September 8, 1998.
In 2000, Da Ali G Show began airing and won
the BAFTA for Best Comedy the following year. The show featured Ali
G's interviews with famous people (often politicians) and gained notoriety
partly because the subjects were not privy to the joke that Ali G, rather
than being a real interviewer, was a comic character played by Baron
Cohen. In 2002, Ali G was the central character in the feature film Ali G Indahouse and his television show was exported to the United States in 2003 (with new
episodes set in America) for HBO.
Baron Cohen's feature film Borat: Cultural Learnings
of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan debuted in 2006. The film is about Borat's journey across the United
States in an ice cream van, in which the main character is obsessed
with the idea of marrying Pamela Anderson. The film is a mockumentary
which includes interviews with various American citizens that poke fun
at American culture, as well as sexism, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism,
jingoism, and Baywatch. Baron Cohen also frequently speaks
in Hebrew while playing
the anti-Semitic Kazakh reporter character. The movie debuted at the
#1 spot in the US, taking in an estimated $26.4 million in just 837
theatres averaging $31,600 per theatre, the fourth highest per-theatre
average of all time for movies opening wide.
Another alter ego Baron Cohen performed as was Brüno,
a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion show presenter. After an intense bidding war, Universal Pictures
paid a reported $42.5 million for the rights to the Brüno,
the movie, which debuted in 2009.
For his comedic work, Sacha Baron Cohen has received
several Emmy nominations, an Oscar nomination, a BAFTA award, and a
Golden Globe for Best Actor.
Baron Cohen was married in 2010 to Australian actress Isla Fisher, who converted to Judaism in early 2007. They have a daughter together named Olive Baron Cohen, born October