Fawlty Towers reboot: Who is John Cleese’s daughter Camille Cleese?
Fawlty Towers is set to return to TV screenswith John Cleese and his daughter Camilla are writing new episodes for the British sitcom.
Born in London, Camilla followed in her father’s footsteps and became a comedian – performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as venues in her home town California – but her life before picking up the microphone was clearly difficult.
The 39-year-old’s youth was marked by run-ins with the law and a five-year stint in rehab amid drug addiction and alcohol.
6ft 1in former model Camille grew up in London before her parents, John, 83, and the late American artist Barbara Trent, her father’s second wife, divorced and she moved to Chicago with her mother aged nine.
Before entering the entertainment industry in 2014, she had a successful career as an equestrian – her father spent a fortune on a 16-acre ranch to support her horses – but she quit suddenly at 18 after a string of poor competition results.
Fawlty Towers will return to TV screens, with John Cleese and his daughter Camilla (pictured in September 2022) writing new episodes for the British sitcom.
Instead, she attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, which she described in an interview as “The University of Cocaine, Sex and Booze.” Mail on Sunday in 2008.
She said: “Everywhere I went I was given free booze and free drugs, mostly because guys like having a crazy blonde around and some people liked the idea that I was John Cleese’s daughter. I’ve never been sober.”
In 2006, her father froze her bank accounts and refused to take her calls to save his daughter from a life of drugs and alcohol.
They were separated for about a year when John sold the ranch to his daughter and her horses. From the best student and a talented jumper, she became homeless and relied on the help of her friends.
“I cried with all my might. The most painful thing in my life was that my dad didn’t talk to me. That’s what finally made me realize that I needed to get sober,” she recalled.
In April 2007, Camilla called her father and told him she was ready to get help. She was registered at the world-renowned rehabilitation clinic Sierra Tucson in Arizona.
“Finally I got a handle on my emotions. I don’t blame my father for my problems, but I learned that I had a lot of pent-up anger towards him. Like many children involved in divorce, I felt he had abandoned me,” she admitted in an interview after being clean and sober for 20 months.
Camilla opened up about her struggle to help “others in the same situation” – and in an interview with The Times in 2014, she blamed part of the blame on having famous parents.
London-born Camilla (pictured in the 80s with her parents) followed in her father’s footsteps and became a comedian – performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as venues in her hometown of California, but her life before taking the microphone was decidedly concerned
The 39-year-old’s youth was marked by run-ins with the law and a five-year stint in rehab amid drug and alcohol struggles
6ft 1in former model Camille grew up in London before her parents, John, 83, and the late American artist Barbara Trent, her father’s second wife, divorced and she moved to Chicago with her mother aged nine
She said: “It’s hard because one of the downsides of having parents like that is that they’re never around. I really had no supervision. It’s not their fault.
“I didn’t know if it was right or wrong. It’s just that I grew too fast and always looked older because I’m tall. When I was 11, I looked 18, so people treated me that way and people gave me drugs at 12.’
Looking back, she said she’s “kind of glad” she went through the struggle so early after seeing her friends face the same challenges in their late 20s and early 30s and watching it ” will really ruin your life.”
After a difficult youth, she turned to comedy. She worked with her father on a stage adaptation of his 1988 film A Fish Named Wanda, and was featured in the 2011 Alimony Tour.
Camilla also seems not afraid to poke fun at her father and his wives.
She told a sold-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2014: “I’m still single, which is amazing because my parents set an amazing example.
“They were married for almost 42 years – with seven different people. At the same time, we’re not Mormons or anything like that, not even close.
“If most people have a family tree, we have a family rolling grass, it just rolls around collecting dirt and debris, nobody knows how they’re related to anybody else, we just know not to fuck with each other, so that we are “not Mormons.”
Before entering the entertainment industry in 2014, she had a successful equestrian career – her father (pictured together) spent a fortune on a 16-acre ranch to keep her horses – but she quit suddenly at 18 after a failed a series of competitive results
Camilla (pictured in 2018) instead attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, which she dubbed the “University of Cocaine, Sex and Booze” in an interview with the Mail on Sunday in 2008.
Her father had four wives – Fawlty Towers actress Connie Booth, then Miss Trentham, then Alice Faye Eichelberger and now Jennifer Wade.
Camilla’s mother Miss Trent, who died of complications from leukemia in 2013, had three husbands. Before John, she married Giles Trentham, a fellow student at Oxford University, and kept his name after their divorce in 1970.
Her marriage to John broke up in 1990, and she later tied the knot again with attorney George Covington.
Camilla has one biological brother, her half-sister Cynthia Cleese, 51, from John’s marriage to Miss Booth.
It was revealed yesterday that John is set to return to the big screen as Basil Fawlty in a reboot of the Fawlty Towers star’s hit comedy.
The second and final series ended more than 40 years ago, but Monty Python actor John is writing new episodes of the first BBC program with his comedian daughter.
It has been announced that the new series, developed by actor and filmmaker Rob Reiner’s Castle Rock Entertainment, will look at how cynical and misanthropic snob Basil fares in the modern world.
While plot details are mostly being kept under wraps, the story will deal with hotel manager Basil’s relationship with his daughter, whom he only recently found out he is the father of.
Iconic: John played hotel manager Basil, tormented by “that pesky section of the general public who insist on staying in hotels” in two series from 1975 to 1979 (L-R: Prunella Scales as Sybil, John Cleese as Basil, Connie Booth as Polly and Andrew Sachs as Manuel in 1975)
Despite torturing “that pesky section of the population who insist on staying in hotels” in the previous two series, which ran for 12 episodes from 1975 to 1979, Basil and his daughter decide to re-enter the industry and open a boutique.
The original series follows the misadventures of high-strung Torquay hotelier Basil and his wife Sybil, played by Prunella Scales, as they try to save their hotel and their marriage.
In 2019 the show was named the greatest British sitcom of all time by a panel of television experts for Radio Times magazine.
The series will be executive produced by actor Rob Reiner, his wife and actress Michelle Reiner, director and producer Matthew George and Derrick Rossi.
John said: “What I love about Matt is that, unlike a lot of producers, he really ‘knows’ the creative process.
“When we first met, he came up with a great first idea, and then Matt, my daughter Camilla and I had one of the best creative sessions I can remember.
“For dessert, we had such a good overall concept that within a few days it was approved by Rob and Michele Reiner. Camilla and I are very much looking forward to expanding this series.”
Producer Matthew said meeting John and Camilla was one of the “great thrills” of his life, adding: “I’m obsessed with Fawlty Towers and the legendary characters it created.
“I’ve watched the first two seasons so many times I’ve lost count. I dreamed of one day taking part in the continuation of history. Now it has come true.”
Rob Reiner said: “John Cleese is a comedy legend. The very idea of working with him makes me laugh.”