Christopher Guest Biography 1948-
At the end of the 20th century, it looked like Christopher Guest was only starting to get his just rewards. Most famous for his rendition of one Nigel Tufnel (“my amp goes all the way to 11″) from This Is Spinal Tap, the faux rockumentary, Guest’s brilliance seems to have gone overlooked for much of his career. Only after emerging as a true auteur — writer, director, actor, and master of the genre of the mockumentary — has he begun to be acknowledged.
In the years 1998-2001, Christopher Guest was nominated for and won a slew of awards, including the Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead, as well as Best Screenplay for his hit satire, Waiting for Guffman, a lampoon of the drama of community theater that he also directed. Guffman won the Lone Star Film and Television Award for the year in 1998. Not making too poor a showing for Best in Show — a second spoof mocking dog shows and their neurotic owners — Christopher Guest was also nominated for the American Comedy Award for Funniest Actor in a Supporting Motion Picture.
The comedic stylings of Guest are simple, yet sophisticated. He lays down a very intricate structure in which his highly evolved and comedic actors play (Eugene Levy and Catherine O’ Hara have parts in both of his mockumentaries.) The characters are very developed; the director lets the camera roll and plays cut and paste from there.
Christopher Guest made his solo directorial debut with The Big Picture in 1989. His second film, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, was nominated for the International Film Fantasy Award for Best Film in 1995. Before that, he acted in several films, such as The Princess Bride (as Count Rugen) as well as Beyond Therapy and A Few Good Men. (He’s had a bunch of other bit parts as well.) And of course, there was Rob Reiner’s classic masterpiece that put Chistopher Guest on the map, This Is Spinal Tap, for which he got a writing credit and co-starred with Michael McKean, who is best known for his role as Lenny from Laverne and Shirley.
Guest got his start in the entertainment business writing music and comedy for the National Lampoon albums of the ’70s. He shared an Emmy with Lily Tomlin for helping to co-write her material in 1976, and later went on to star on Saturday Night Live during the 1984 and 1985 season.
The Fifth Baron Graden-Guest of Saling, England is Christopher Guest’s proper title, which he inherited from his father. He is married to actress Jamie Lee Curtis, with whom he has two adopted children. His brother is actor Nicholas Guest (who has appeared in over 50 films and television shows), and he also has a half-brother, Anthony Haden-Guest, who is a journalist.