Complete A-Z of Alan Cumming – from awards to Zeke

As Aberfeldy’s most famous son pops into the Book Festival, we compile the ABCs of Alan Cumming

comments

This article is from 2015.

Festival A-Z: Alan Cumming – from awards to Zeke, Chuck and Rupert

credit: Francis Hills

A is for Awards
Lining his impressive trophy cabinet are an Olivier, a Tony and a British Comedy Award for acting as well as an Independent Spirit Award for producing and an Earphones Award for his memoir’s audiobook.

B is for Bloody Mary
His mandatory pre-flight ritual.

C is for Cabaret
Cumming has played the role of the Emcee in three separate productions of the flamboyant musical. Starring opposite Jane Horrocks, Natasha Richardson, Michelle Williams and Sienna Miller as Sally Bowles, he has totted up some 808 and a half performances.

D is for Desrae
The name of the transvestite drag queen played by Cumming in The Runaway, a 2011 TV series based on Martina Cole’s novel. Dressing for the character brought him a new level of respect for women as he experienced uncomfortable bras, the disgusting smell of Veet and the trials of getting out of a car without opening your legs.

E is for Eurovision
He is a staunch fan, describing the annual contest as ‘like Christmas or Thanksgiving but without the family feuds and with a pretty racy bpm’.

F is for Fragrances
Those released into the atmosphere include Cumming and Second Cumming.

G is for The Good Wife
This American TV series features Cumming as Eli Gold, a political strategist with immensely dexterous eyebrows. The show, now in its fifth season, was the first time he had played a character over a number of years.

H is for Honey
The pet dog who starred alongside him as he introduced cult films for the Sundance Channel series Midnight Snack. He currently has two dogs named Jerry and Leon.

I is for I Bought a Blue Car Today
This 2010 cabaret show was the last time he appeared at the Festival and featured show tunes as well as stories about everything from his gay rights campaigning to net curtains in Bute House.

J is for James Bond
Cumming starred as Russian computer programmer Boris Ivanovich Grishenko in GoldenEye. In other East European matters, he played a Scot with Czech heritage for his debut film Prague, which premiered at Cannes in 1992 and earned him a Scottish BAFTA nomination.

K is for Kids’ films
On his CV are the Spy Kids trilogy, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas and animated films Garfield the Movie and The Smurfs.

L is for Lisa Kudrow
The Friends star played opposite him in his first Hollywood movie 1997’s Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Cumming later guest-starred on her improvised internet series Web Therapy.

M is for Memoir
Subtitled ‘A Family Memoir’, Not My Father’s Son is far from a traditional autobiography, with the book looking back on his complex relationship with an abusive father. It also documents Cumming’s journey to discover more about his maternal grandfather.

N is for National Theatre of Scotland
Cumming played the lead role in their production of Bacchae which opened in Edinburgh and toured Scotland before transferring to London and New York, as well as all the major roles in their run of Macbeth.

O is for OBE
It was awarded to him in 2009 for ‘services to Film, Theatre and the Arts and to activism for equal rights for the gay and lesbian community’. His mum, brother and husband attended the palace with him.

P is for Patron
NORM-UK is a charity which aims to advance education in all matters related to circumcision and surgical alteration of the genitals. As part of that campaign, Cumming authored the brilliantly titled May the Foreskin Be With You.

Q is for Question Time
Cumming was a panellist in 2012 where he came out on top in a verbal clash with Lord Forsyth over Scottish independence.

R is for Rowan Atkinson
The rubbery-faced one starred alongside Cumming in Richard Curtis’ 1991 Christmas TV drama Bernard and the Genie. The heart-warming romp featured cameos from the unlikely trio of Melvyn Bragg, Bob Geldof and Gary Lineker.

S is for ‘Scottish elf trapped inside a middle-aged man’s body’
The description he chose for himself when joining Twitter.

T is for Taggart
He might be a Hollywood star now but every Scottish actor worth their salt has done a stint on the enduring detective series. Cumming played Jamie, a chemist-shop boy wrongfully suspected of murder.

U is for US citizenship
In 2008, Cumming became a joint citizen of America and Britain, a decision he took so he could vote for Obama after deciding that he had to ‘stop bitching on’ about Bush and do something constructive.

V is for Victor and Barry
The characters created by Cumming and his friend Forbes Masson at drama school. The pair enjoyed two Perrier Pick of the Fringe seasons in London before they were killed off on stage at the London Palladium.

W is for Who Do You Think You Are?
In 2010, the BBC programme which reveals celebrity genealogies helped him trace the life of his maternal grandfather. Tommy Darling was a decorated WWII dispatch rider with the 1st Cameron Highlanders. After the war he joined the Malayan police force and never returned to Scotland.

X is for X-Men
In the franchise’s 2003 sequel (X2: X-Men United), he took on the role of Nightcrawler, a blue-skinned, barbed-tailed mutant who attempts to murder the president.

Y is for Yes
A strong supporter of Scottish independence, he travelled back to his native country to campaign in the run-up to the referendum.

Z is for Zeke, Chuck and Rupert
Characters voiced by Cumming in the stop-motion animated sitcom Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World.

Alan Cumming with Ian Rankin, Charlotte Square Gardens, 0845 373 5888, 29 Aug, 8.15pm, £10 (£8).

This article is from 2015.

Alan Cumming with Ian Rankin

Two of Scotland’s most successful creative talents hook up for an unmissable event. Alan Cumming made waves with a memoir about his tough upbringing, Not My Father's Son, the details of which came flooding back upon receiving a call out of the blue from his estranged father. Cumming discusses his life and acting career…

Comments

Post a comment