Biographic by Steve McGarry for March 16, 2014
Biographic Steve McGarry Ricky Gervais Born on June 25, 1961, in Reading, Berkshire, Ricky Dene Gervais graduated from the University College London with a degree in Philosophy. In the early 1980s, he was the lead singer of the "New Romantic" duo Seona Dancing, but despite enjoying a hit single in the Philippines, the broup failed to make an impact. Following a stint as events manager at University of London Union, and a spell as manager of the British rock band Suede, he landed an administrative job with London Radio station Xfm, but soon found himself behind the microphone. His assistant at Xfm was Stephen Merchant, the start of a partnership that would eventually pay huge dividends. His face became increasingly familiar to British TV viewers, thanks in part to his appearances on the satirical "The 11 O'clock Show" and the anarchic talk show, "Meet Ricky Gervais." Then in 2001, the BBC unveiled "The Office." Created by Ricky and Merchant, and starring Gervais as David Brent, "The Office" spanned just 12 episodes and a two-part Christmas special - but became one of the most acclaimed sitcoms in U.K. TV history. It was also a cult hit stateside, earning Emmy and Golden Globe Awards. By the time it ended in late 2003, Ricky was a star. Ricky's one-man shows sold out venues across the U.K. in record time. His "Flanimals" children's books became British best-sellers and spawned a wide range of merchandise. He made guest appearances on "Aliea" and "The Simpsons," became a regular on late-night talk shows, and appeared in such movies as the animated "Valiant," "For Your Consideration," and the big box-office hit "Night at the Museum." The U.S. remake of "The Office" became a huge hit, catapulting Steve Carell to stardom and adding to Ricky's fortune! Ricky's follow-up to "The Office" was the Emmy-winning sitcom "Extras," which featured cameos from a host of stars, including David Bowie, Samuel L. Jackson and Kate Winslet. Following the lead role in "Ghost Town" and an appearance in "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian," he wrote, directed, produced and starred in "The Inventor of Lying" and "Cemetery Junction." He earned a place in The Guinness Book of Records when a series of podcasts featuring Ricky, Stephen Merchant and their chohort Karl Pilkington became the most-downloaded in history. The broadcasts were subsequently animated and turned into a series on HBO. Gervais and Merchant are also the creative forces behind such shows as "An Idiot Abroad" and "Life's Too Short," and Ricky also stars in his own "Derek" comedy series, which airs on Netflix. Three years as host of the Golden Globe Awards, frequent talk show appearances and cameos on the likes of "Louie," "Family Guy" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" have made Ricky a fixture on American TV screens and moviegoers can see him this month in "Muppets Most Wanted."