Cheat Sheet: Simon Pegg
Date of Birth:
14 February 1970
Place of Birth:
Works of note:
Big Train, Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Run Fat Boy Run.
What you probably know already:
Most trendy kids will recognise Simon Pegg’s face from his recent film success, whilst those who’ve been around the block a few times will know him warmly from the ’90s as a hard working comic. He’s risen to fame quite gradually, progressing from sketch show to world conquering blockbuster, via bit parts and TV comedy series. Pegg began his career as a hard working stand up comic, touring London’s comedy venues with some success until he decided that jokes in front of a microphone weren’t quite his thing. Having finished with the stand up tours, he set about racking up an impressive list of appearances in fairly decent comedy series, including Big Train and Is that Bill Bailey, before he finally landed the opportunity to create his own comedy series with Channel 4. Partnering up with his pal Jessica Hynes, Pegg penned and starred in the incredibly satisfying, cult-creating comedy Spaced. The brief but brilliant show ran from 1999-2001, with 2 near perfect series totalling 14 episodes, seeing Simon win over the hearts and minds of many a geek and fan-boy.
It was in 2004 that Pegg made his big screen début with the Zom-Rom-Com classic that is Shaun of the Dead. The film saw him reunite with many of the Spaced favourites, including director Edgar Wright and co-stars Nick Frost and Jessica Hynes (albeit in a cameo role). Shaun of the Dead‘s success has seen Pegg all but leave television work behind as he’s taken on bigger and bolder projects; a small role in Mission Impossible III was followed by the smash hit Hot Fuzz, in which Pegg and Frost’s love of classic cop films saw them replicate the magic of what Shaun of the Dead had done for Zombie films.
Currently working on Tintin and the next Star Trek, Pegg is now a recognised actor on both sides of the Atlantic.
What you might not know
Born Simon John Beckingham, he later took the name of his step father, a man who came to know Simon’s mother through their mutual obsession with am-dram. It was his mother’s love of the stage that first introduced Pegg to acting and performing at an early age. Pegg graduated from Bristol University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre, film and television, proving that even pointless degrees can get you exactly where you want in life, so don’t let your parents tell you otherwise. By a strange twist of fate, it was whilst at Bristol that Pegg worked in a comedy troupe that included David Walliams and Matt Lucas – but by far the most bizarre celebrity-pal fact about Pegg is quite easily that, thanks an early friendship with Chris Martin before Coldplay became HUGE (they used to hang out in the same pub in London), he is the godfather of Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter, Apple. Madness.
Simon Pegg quote:
“I once showed a holiday video to my entire family and forgot there was a point where I flashed. I only realised about one second before it happened and couldn’t get to the remote in time to stop them all from seeing me pull down my trousers and reveal myself. My sister screamed and my mum said, ‘Ooh, that’s changed.'”
What to say at a dinner party:
“I, along with any real Star Wars fan, know that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars film, whilst Phantom Menace should never have been allowed to see the light of day. It’s what Simon Pegg thinks too. What? You liked Jar Jar? I’m leaving…”
What not to say at a dinner party:
“He’s just gone steadily downhill since the peak that was Spaced. To be frank, having seen Scott Pilgrim vs The World, it’s clear that Edgar Wright was the real brains behind all Pegg’s successes. Which is why Paul sucks.”
Simon Pegg released his autobiography in 2010 just before the mad Christmas rush, and it’s a fairly decent read. Whether he’s working with Nick Frost and Edgar Wright, or if he’s blazing a trail of his own in some new Hollywood funded cash cow, Simon Pegg is doing this nation proud. It’s just as well he’s non-threateningly plain looking, otherwise we’d all hate him.