Sacha Baron-Cohen’s life – clown school, McCains ad and Carol Kirkwood’s co-star

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Sacha Baron-Cohen has been loved for decades by many due to his wacky sense of humour and outrageous undercover characters.

The world wasn't ready for the Ali G star when he stormed TV screens in the late 90s, dressed from head-to-toe in neon yellow and wearing a red designer skull cap.

Ali G certainly put Staines – a suburban town in Surrey – on the map after he upgraded from his Channel 4 prime time television slot and took on the big screens with the movie release of Ali G In Da house.

Not long after the Kazakhstan journalist Borat Sagdiyev was born – with the mockumentary film tackling a whole host of issues in America and storming the US Box Office.

Other personas include Bruno Gehard – the flamboyant fashion show presenter – and Admiral General Aladeeb from his 2012 film The Dictator.

After such roaring success, Baron-Cohen went on to scoop up three Gold Globe Awards, one Screen Actors Guild Award and many more for his contribution to comedy.

But what was life really like for the man behind the alter ego's? Daily Star finds out…

Early life and School

The Ali G creator was born in Hammersmith on 13 October 1971, to Jewish parents Daniella Naomi (née Weiser) and Gerald Baron-Cohen.

His education began in St Albans at St Columba's college, with the comedian then striking up up an opportunity to attend Haberdashers – an independent all boys school in Hertfordshire.

Unbeknown to most, Baron-Cohen went on to further his studies at Christ College Cambridge University where he gained a upper-second-class honours degree in 1993.

During his time at Cambridge – which was mostly devoted to his studies in history and antisemitism – the movie star submitted a thesis about the involvement of Jewish Americans in the civil rights movement in the South during the 1950s and 1960s.

While at the famous university, he also joined the Amateur Dramatics Club appearing in productions by the Cambridge Footlights – much like many other celebrities such as John Clease, Peter Cook, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Caroline Flack to name a few.


It is no secret than many of Baron-Cohen's ideas and love for comedy came from a few well known sources.

The Borat star admitted that his many of his ideas were spurred on from a few of his Cambridge University heroes – Monty Python and Peter Cook.

He has also credited Peter Sellers for being the beating heart behind many of his own creations.

Peter Sellers fans will immediately recognise the connection between their work which includes transforming into a number of comical characters.

The Golden Globe winner once referred to Sellers as "the most seminal force in shaping [his] early ideas on comedy".

Clown school

The Borat creator did in fact attend clown school which became a pivotal part of his life that he owes entirely to his success.

He didn't just attend any old module either, the comedian studied with one of the best, most ruthless and outspoken clown's in the industry – master-clown Philippe Gaulier.

After finding huge fame, the Ali G star even returned to Gaulier's school to mark the 20th anniversary and attend workshops with aspiring pupils.

Speaking about his student Gaulier previously said: "He was a good clown, full of spirit."

Baron Cohen has alway hailed Gaulier, remarking: "Without him, I really do doubt whether I would have had any success in my field".

Modelling, adverts and TV

After leaving university, Baron Cohen became a fashion model – which he would later use as inspiration for Austrian character model Bruno Gehard.

In the early 1990s, he landed himself a hosting role on Windsor cable television working alongside BBC weather girl and legend Carol Kirkwood.

Before he became a household name, he also had a small role in an advert for McCain Microchips – if you blink for a split second you'll miss Baron-Cohen completely as he can only be seen for a brief nanosecond playing the role of a chef.

Creating characters was something that theatrical star had a natural flare for, so in 1995 he sent in a tape to Channel 4 showcasing one of his fictional personas which happened to be a snippet of Albanian TV reporter called Kristo. (This character would later morph into Borat).

Needless to say, the actor was a huge hit with Channel 4 producers and soon after he would land his own show Ali G which stormed the 90s

Life away from the cameras

In 2002 the Ali G presenter was first introduced to his now wife and Australian actress Isla Fisher at a party in Sydney.

After two years of dating the pair were engaged – with Isla converting to his Jewish faith before the pair were married six years later in a lavish ceremony in Paris.

They share two daughters named Olive, 14, and Elula, 11, and a son named Montgomery who is age six.

While the pair first opted to split their time equally between London and Los Angeles after starting a family they decided to make the move to Sydney, Australia – where they had first met – and still live there to this day.

Speaking about his religion, Baron Cohen once said, "I wouldn't say I am a religious Jew. I am proud of my Jewish identity and there are certain things I do and customs I keep."

When he's not working, he likes to attend synagogues around twice per year and will always try to be kosher.

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