Ricky Gervais Biography

Ricky Dene Gervais is a multi-talented English comedian, actor, director, producer, and singer. With a background in philosophy and a career that started in music, he eventually found his calling in comedy. Gervais gained recognition through his work on the mockumentary series ‘The Office’ and went on to create other successful projects like ‘Extras’. His fame extended to Hollywood, where he starred in films and even wrote, directed, and acted in his own movies. Gervais has also been a host at the prestigious Golden Globe Awards and has been recognized as one of the world’s most influential people.

Quick Facts

  • British Celebrities Born In June
  • Also Known As: Ricky Dene Gervais
  • Age: 62 Years, 62 Year Old Males
  • Family: mother: Eva Sophia M Gervais, siblings: Bob Gervais, Larry Gervais, Marsha Gervais, Partner: Jane Fallon (1982–)
  • Born Country: England
  • Quotes By Ricky Gervais
  • Actors
  • Height: 5’8″ (173 cm), 5’8″ Males
  • City: Reading, England
  • More Facts
  • Education: University College London

Childhood & Early Life

Ricky Dene Gervais was born on 25 June 1961 in Reading, England. His father, Lawrence Raymond Gervais, was a Franco-Ontarian who came to England on foreign duty during the Second World War. Later, he earned his living as a laborer and hod carrier. His mother, Eva Sophia née House, was a homemaker of English descent. Ricky was born the youngest of his parents’ four children, having two elder brothers named Larry and Robert and an elder sister named Marsha.

Ricky was raised on a council estate in Whitney, the southern suburb of Reading. Although his family was not rich, they were happy. His mother, known for her wit, helped to make humor an integral part of their family life and they made constant fun of each other.

As a child, he was very introspective. When he was eight years old, one of his brothers asked him why he believed in God. This along with his mother’s reaction made him question his belief and within an hour he became an atheist, a conviction he holds till now.

He began his education at Whitney Infant School and then moved to Whitney Junior School. During this period, he showed a keen interest in science, receiving a microscope at the age of ten or eleven. By thirteen, his interest had become more intense.

For his secondary education, he enrolled at Ashmead Comprehensive School, graduating from there in 1979. Thereafter for a short while, he worked as a gardener at the Reading University.

In 1980, he joined University College London to study biology. But very soon, he realized that if he studied biology he would have to attend classes for forty hours a week; however, if he took up philosophy, he would have to toil much less. Within two weeks, he shifted to philosophy.

In 1983, Ricky Gervais graduated from University College London, earning an upper second-class honors degree in philosophy and then entered University of London. However, he never graduated from there. Instead, he started working as an assistant events manager at the University of London Union (ULU).

Early Career

In June 1982, while studying at UCL, Gervais formed a musical group called Seona Dancing with his friend Bill Macrae. They co-wrote a number of songs, which were sung by Gervais while Macrae played the keyboard. Eventually, they made a sixteen-song demo tape and were signed by London Records.

In 1983, London Records released two of their songs, ‘More to Lose’ and ‘Bitter Heart’. Unfortunately, in spite of being promoted, they were commercial failures and so the band split up in 1984.

Gervais remained with the University of London Union (ULU) until 1996. Thereafter in 1997, he joined a new radio station called Xfm as head of speech, where he hosted his own nightly programs. Concurrently, he also began to contribute regularly to Mary Ann Hobbs’ Radio 1 show.

At the end of 1997, Gervais felt the need of an assistant. By a twist of fate, the first CV that was handed over to him was that of Stephen Merchant and he called him for an interview, eventually hiring him as his assistant.

From January 1998 to August 1998, Gervais and Merchant hosted a Saturday afternoon radio show. For it, they created features like ‘Hip Hop Hooray’, ‘Make Ricky Gervais Laugh’ and ‘Song for the Ladies’. However, broadcast from 4 to 6 pm, it failed to attract a very large audience.

In August 1998, Xfm was taken over by the Capital Radio Group, making Gervais’ position redundant. Eventually, both the men left Xfm and Merchant began a production course at the BBC. As part of his coursework, he made a short film called ‘Seedy Boss’, enlisting Gervais to perform in it.

Also in 1998, they collaborated on a sitcom pilot, which was aired in September 1998 on the ‘Comedy Lab’ series of the Channel 4. Titled ‘Golden Years’, it was about a manager suffering from mid-life crisis. The pilot failed to find further success.

In 2000, he contributed comedy sketches to ‘Bruiser’, a TV comedy sketch show aired on BBC Two. Later in the same year, he began to appear regularly on Channel 4’s highly popular ‘The 11 O’Clock Show’.

Buoyed by his popularity in ‘The 11 O’Clock Show’, Gervais began to host his own talk show, ‘Meet Ricky Gervais’ on Channel 4. Aired on Friday nights, each episode had two celebrity guests. However, the program did not last long, running from 22 September to 27 October 2000.

On Gaining Success

In late 2000, concurrently with hosting ‘Meet Ricky Gervais’, Gervais began working with Stephan Merchant on a mockumentary called ‘The Office’. The work, a fictional event presented as a documentary, was initially inspired by Merchant’s 1998 coursework, ‘Seedy Boss’.

Aired on BBC Two, it initially failed to draw good ratings and was about to be dropped. Later, it gained in popularity, running from 9 July 2001 to 27 December 2003, winning several awards. Thereafter, realizing that it would not get any better, they put an end to the show.

In August 2001, concurrently with working for ‘The Office’, Gervais launched ‘The Ricky Gervais Show’, a popular comedy show at Xfm. Although it was named after him, it also starred Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington.

In 2003, he went on a tour across Great Britain with his standup comedy show called ‘Animal’. In the following year, he once again toured across the country with another of his standup comedies, ‘Politics’. Both these comedies were recorded and released as DVDs.

In 2004, Gervais published his first book, ‘Flanimals’, which depicted a number of apparently useless or inadequate animals. It would be followed by ‘More Flanimals’ (2005), ‘Flanimals of the Deep’ (2006), ‘Flanimals: The Day of the Bletchling’ (2007) and ‘Flanimals: Pop Up’ (2009).

‘The Ricky Gervais Show’ ran until the middle of 2005. Thereafter, in December 2005, it was turned into a free video podcast by Guardian Unlimited. It ranked number one throughout January and February 2006, gaining an average of 261,670 downloads per episode during the first month.

In July 2005, Gervais and Merchant launched ‘Extras’, a sitcom on extras working in television, film, and theatre. They not only created, wrote and directed the series, but also starred in it with Gervais appearing in the role of Andy Millman.

Debuting on BBC Two on 21 July 2005, ‘Extras’ became highly popular both in UK and USA, receiving great critical acclaim and a number of awards. Apart from a Christmas Special, it ran for two series of six episodes each. Also in 2005, he launched an American version of ‘The Office’.

Major Work

Ricky Gervais is best known for his mockumentary called ‘The Office’. He not only co-wrote the script, but also directed and starred in it, playing the role of David Brent, the central character of the series, winning a number of awards for it.

Family & Personal Life

Since 1984, Ricky Gervais has been living with Jane Fallon, a well-known producer and author, whom he had met in 1982 while studying at University College London. The couple lives between Hampstead and New York City.

According to Gervais, an atheist, they did not marry because there is no point in having a “ceremony before the eyes of God because there is no God”. The couple also chose not to have any children.

A humanist and a staunch supporter of gay rights, he states, “You can’t take equality ‘too far’.” Currently, he is a patron of ‘Humanist UK’.

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