Russell Edward Brand was born on 4 June 1975 in Essex, the only child to parents Barbara and Ronald, who separated when he was just six months old. Brand was subsequently brought up by his mother and rarely saw his father, with whom he had a difficult relationship. He remembers his father as what he describes as a ‘stereotypical Essex dad’, never turning up for the Saturdays they were supposed to spend together, and even his stepfather, Colin, looked on him as a ‘flouncy kid.’
Making his debut on the theatre boards age 15 as ‘Fat Sam’ in his school’s production of ‘Bugsy Malone’, the attention he received led him to decide that he wanted to be an actor. He promptly applied to the notorious Italia Conti Academy and was lucky enough that Essex Council deemed it ‘criminal’ not to allow his talents to be nurtured – and funded his education at the school. Sadly, Brand had other plans other than to perfect his acting credentials and while at the school became involved in drugs, alcohol and also became bulimic. The final straw came when he smashed a glass over his head after a bad audience reaction to one of his performances and in his final year he was expelled.
A small part in ‘The Bill’ in 1994 would be his TV debut and he soon found his niche for comedy after performing stand-up on the London circuit with Karl Theobald, who he had met at the Drama Centre in Camden. Brand’s stand-up show reached its biggest audience yet when he got through to the final of the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year competition in 2000. He didn’t win but his act caught the attention of agent Nigel Klarfeld of Bound and Gagged comedy group and he was immediately signed up.
Following his stage tour he was given his own series by MTV – ‘Dance Floor Chart’ – where each week he chatted with intoxicated youths at nightclubs in the UK and Ibiza and then went on to present the tea-time show ‘Select’. But his heroin addiction would soon ruin his new-found TV fame and after coming to work dressed as Osama Bin Laden not long after the September 11th attacks, he was unsurprisingly fired.
In 2002, he found his feet again after featuring in ‘Re:Brand’ on the now defunct satellite channel, UK Play. The show aimed to look at cultural taboos (a perfect avenue for taboo-tastic Brand) and was entirely conceived by Brand himself with the help of his comic partner Matt Morgan. It was perceived as particularly daring for pushing boundaries and more worrying, he was often drunk or high while filming. Brand had also begun hosting a Sunday afternoon radio show with Morgan on London’s XFM at the same time but he was fired after reading out pornographic material live on air.
Soon afterwards he appeared in Channel Four’s adaptation of Zadie Frost’s novel ‘White Teeth’ and Steve Coogan’s ‘Cruise of the Gods’ but was thrown off set for his drunken behaviour. Realising that his career would be dead unless he cleaned himself up, Brand’s agent John Noel forced him into rehab for his addiction to heroin – and sex. Noel’s reining in worked and since 2003, Brand has been proudly free of drug use and is now patron of addiction charity Focus.
Brand’s personal life antics were notorious. His sex addiction led to endless relationships with women and it was rare to see him out with the same woman more than once. His longest ‘attachment’ was pounced on by the press when he started dating Australian actress Teresa Palmer in May 2008 – their union lasted a whole five months.
From the moment he left rehab, Brand’s craving for fame became stronger and more focused, now that he finally had a clear head, and he reinvented himself into the flamboyant Gothic philander we all know him to be today, landing a job hosting Big Brother’s spin off programme, ‘Big Brother’s Little Mouth’ in 2004. It was here that he truly established himself as a comic talent and TV personality, receiving high ratings for the programme that would eventually lead to MTV forgiving his Bin Laden hiccup and inviting him to present the ‘1 Leicester Square’ chat show in 2006.
Russell Brand is available for corporate events, private shows, milestone celebrations (birthday, anniversary), fundraisers, festivals, and more.