April 3, 1943
Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom
Director, Actor, Screenwriter, Novelist
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Perhaps best known for creating and writing the award-winning British TV series "Yes, Minister" (BBC2 1980-84) and "Yes, Prime Minister" (BBC2 1986-88), Jonathan Lynn honed his comedic skills as a member of the Cambridge Circus satirical revue in the mid-1960s. After acting on the New York and London stage as well as British TV, he branched out into directing in the early '70s, staging plays in the West End, for the RSC, the NT and on Broadway. Lynn wrote the screenplay for "The Internecine Project" (1974) and made a short film, "Mick's People" (1982), before directing his first feature, the cult favorite "Clue" (1985). Lynn's subsequent work included the cross-dressing comedy "Nuns on the Run" (1990) starring Eric Idle and Robbie Coltrane; the fish-out-of-water hit "My Cousin Vinny" (1991), which garnered an Academy Award for supporting actress Marisa Tomei; Eddie Murphy's political satire "The Distinguished Gentleman" (1992); and the action comedy "The Whole Nine Yards" (1999), starring Robert De Niro and Matthew Perry, which was #1 at the box office for 3 weeks. Lynn's West End theater debut, aged 23, was as an actor in the role of Motel the Tailor in the original London cast of "Fiddler on the Roof. " His subsequent London directing credits include: "The Glass Menagerie"; "Songbook" (Best Musical, Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award); "Anna Christie" (RSC, Stratford and the Donmar); Joe Orton's "Loot"; "Pass The Butler" by Eric Idle, Shaw's "Arms And The Man" and "The Gingerbread Man" (Old Vic). At the National Theatre, he directed "A Little Hotel on the Side" by Georges Feydeau and Three Men on A Horse (Olivier Award, Best Comedy). As Artistic Director of the Cambridge Theatre Company, he directed 20 productions, producing 20 others, 9 of which transferred to the West End. His numerous awards include the BAFTA Writers Award, Writers Guild (twice), Broadcasting Press Guild (twice), NAACP Image Award, Environmental Media Award, Ace Award -Best Comedy Series on US cable, and a Special award from the Campaign For Freedom of Information.