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MAIN Arrow to Art & CultureArt & ... Arrow to Pop Culture Pop Culture Arrow to Pop IconsActors Sacha Baron Cohen

Sasha Baron CohenComedian Sacha Baron Cohen is most famous for raising hackles with outrageous social commentary that often pushes the boundaries of "acceptable" comedy.

His portrayal of fictional Kazakh Borat — the reporter who often portrays Kazakhs as a bunch of drunks who enjoy punching cows — is among the most notorious in a string of outrageous characters created by Sacha Baron Cohen.

Equally controversial is the comic's character, Ali G, a white man pretending to be black, along with another of Baron Cohen's alter egos, the flamboyant Bruno, a gay Austrian fashionista.

Born October 13, 1971 into an upper middle class Jewish family in London, Baron Cohen attended a UK public school before joining a Jewish youth group, where the acting bug first bit after appearances in local stage productions.

Following a year-long stay at an Israeli kibbutz, he returned to the UK to study history at Cambridge University while continuing to turn his hand at acting. This also reportedly included a singing part in a production of "My Fair Lady" in 1993.

In the late 90's, Baron Cohen moved from stage to TV with short skits on the Paramount Comedy Channel in which he exhibited his early talent for ambushing real guests with very embarassing interviews.

The brash comedian was soon hired by the "11 O' Clock Show" where his interviewing style became fully realized in the character of Ali G, (full name: Alistair Leslie Graham) a white man pretending to be black.


The Many Faces of Sacha Baron Cohen

Sasha Baron Cohen movie roles

Famous TV personas and film roles have included (top, left to right): hip-hop poser Ali G; race car driver Jean Girard in "Talledega Nights"; as star TV reporter Borat from Kazakhstan; and fabulous Austrian fashionista, Bruno.

(Bottom, left to right): As Adolfo Pirelli in "Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"; the station inspector in "Hugo"; as Admiral General Aladeen in "The Dictator"; and as Thénardier, the comically evil innkeeper in "Les Miserables".


Critics have accused Baron Cohen of insensitivity at best, and at worst outright racism for his portrayal of Ali G, while fans have defended the comedian for his send up non-blacks who emulate black street culture.

Despite the controversy, praise for Baron Cohen's cutting edge comedy led to his own starring role on the wildly popular Ali G Show wherein a new character, Borat, the star reporter from Kazakhstan, was born.

Meanwhile, Ali G's reputation was to precede him in the U.S. when Baron Cohen's most famous character assumed a starring role on HBO's Da Ali G Show in 2003 garnering him an even larger fan following.The comedian's other U.S. credits soon came to include the voice of King Julien in the Disney animated film Madagascar as well as a cameo appearance on the cable hit Curb Your Enthusiasm.

The comedian's name spread throughout the blogosphere in 2005 as the Kazakhastan government threatened legal action due to his caustic satire during his appearance on the MTV Europe Music Awards in character as Borat Sagdiyev.

In 2006, Sacha Baron Cohen next appeared on the big screen in the race circuit send-up, Talladega Nights, playing French race car driver Jean Girard. Most notably, his full-length movie based on his character, Borat, enjoyed phenomenal success worldwide when it was released in November of that same year, earning Sacha Baron Cohen a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.

He quickly became known as the highest-paid actor in the UK, and received a record salary of £16,000,000 for his next film based on Baron Cohen's "fabulous" Austrian interviewer persona, Bruno.

The brash actor has also appeared alongside Johnny Depp as the shady Italian barber Signor Pirelli in the film version of "Sweeney Todd" in 2007, and as the Station Inspector in the Martin Scorsese directed "Hugo" in 2011. The following year, he was back to shock audiences yet again with The Dictator (2012), a sendup of politics and oil riches which he co-wrote and starred in as Admiral General Aladeen. That same year he appeared as the evil innkeeper Thénardier in the musical screen version of "Les Miserables".

Coming up, the actor is slated to play an English football hooligan brother of a British spy in the film comedy Grimsby (2015), and in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass (2016).

Offscreen, Baron Cohen is married to Australian actress Isla Fisher, who gave birth to the couple's first baby, a daughter named Olive, in October 2007. Following a six-year engagement, the couple wed in a quiet ceremony in Paris in March 2010, the same year that their second daughter, Elula Lottie Miriam, was born. They also have a son, Montgomery Moses Brian, born in 2015.

More about Sacha Baron Cohen around the Web:


 

Sacha Baron Cohen - Biography, complete filmography and notable TV appearances, picture gallery, related forum from the IMDb.

Bruno Unofficial Fan Site - News & updates, plus more about the upcoming movie, and classic Bruno video clips.

Sacha Baron Cohen News - All the latest news, all the time, from various sources collected around the Web, at Topix.net.


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