Michael Palin

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Michael Palin (2005)

Sir Michael Edward Palin KCMG CBE FRGS (born May 5, 1943 in Sheffield , England ) is an English actor , author , singer , travel journalist and former President of the Royal Geographical Society . He was a member of Monty Python , where he often took on roles that called for exaggerated enthusiasm or unwavering calm.


After attending Birkdale Elementary School in Sheffield and boarding school in Shrewsbury, Palin studied history at Brasenose College , Oxford . According to his own statements, he had his first acting experience in elementary school and appeared in a performance of Charles Dickens ' A Christmas Story .

After Monty Python's Flying Circus ended , Palin worked with Terry Jones , whom he met at Oxford University, first on the TV comedy series Ripping Yarns . He then took on numerous roles in the following Monty Python films and appeared in the early films of Terry Gilliam ( Jabberwocky , Time Bandits , Brazil ).

Palin starred with John Cleese in the hit comedy A Fish Named Wanda and the less successful sequel Wild Creatures . His portrayal of the stuttering Ken in A Fish Called Wanda earned him a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor . At the same time, Palin received criticism from stutterers, which led him to found the "London Center for Stammering Children" (roughly: "London Center for Stuttering Children"), especially since his father stuttered and the role of Ken was based on him. Already in The Life of Brian Palin played the role of Pontius Pilate with a speech impediment that he imitated from one of his previous teachers.

A passion of Palin is traveling, which led him to film some travel documentaries for the BBC . The series’s success in the UK is due in large part to its humorous commentary and unusual itineraries. After almost every publication of a new documentary, there was also the "Palin effect", an increase in interest in the respective region by the British public.

Palin wrote two novels, Hemingway's Chair (1995) and The Truth (2012). He wrote the screenplay for American Girlfriends and starred in it. The plot of the film is based on the travel diaries of his great-grandfather Edward Palin, who was a fellow at Oxford University and left it in 1866 out of love for an Irish-American girl who was 19 years his junior.

From 2009 to 2012, Palin was President of the Royal Geographical Society , with whom he had previously been associated for many years in various functions.

Michael Palin has been married to Helen Gibbins since 1966 and has three children. On January 1st, 2000 he was appointed " Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) " by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain . On December 28, 2018, Palin's appointment as Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George was announced.

In 2019, Palin published a travelogue about the HMS Erebus , which was part of the Franklin expedition and was found again in 2014, entitled Erebus: One Ship, Two Voyages and the World's Greatest Mystery at Sea .

Voice actor

Palin's standard German speaker in motion pictures has been Michael Nowka since Monty Python's wonderful world of gravity (1971) , who also featured him in other Python films ( The Meaning of Life ) and others. a. in A Fish Called Wanda (1988) and Wild Creatures (1997).

Since Palin, like the other cast members of the python troupe, played many different roles in both The Knights of the Coconut (1975) and The Life of Brian (1979), he was dubbed in these two films by a number of different speakers; in The Knights of the Coconut by Joachim Pukaß , Joachim Tennstedt , Joachim Kerzel , Randolf Kronberg , Joachim Nottke , Andreas Mannkopff , Christian Rode and Norbert Gescher , in The Life of Brian mainly by Harry Wüstenhagen , in smaller supporting roles in the film but also by Thomas Danneberg and Mogens von Gadow .

In other notable films in which Palin took part, he was only spoken synchronously once by the following speakers:

In addition, Palin was voiced by Kai Taschner in the synchronization of Monty Python's Flying Circus , which was created for Sat.1 in the nineties , which did not adhere to the standard voices established with Monty Python's wonderful world of gravity and was therefore controversial .

Filmography (selection)


  • 1980: Great Railway Journey (from London to Kyle of Lochalsh / Isle of Skye)
  • 1989: Around the World in 80 Days
  • 1992: From Pole to Pole with Michael Palin (Pole to Pole)
  • 1994: Great Railway Journey (from Derry to Kerry) Ireland
  • 1997: Around the Pacific (Full Circle with Michael Palin)
  • 1999: Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure
  • 2002: Sahara
  • 2004: Himalaya
  • 2007: New Europe
  • 2008: Around the World in 20 Years
  • 2012: Brazil
  • 2018: Out and about in North Korea with Michael Palin (Michael Palin in North Korea)

Literary publications


  • Every Sperm is sacred (from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life )
  • Finland
  • Spam Song (with Terry Jones)
  • Lumberjack Song (The Lumberjack Song) with Terry Jones

Web links

Commons : Michael Palin  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Eastern Europe braced for Palin effect . In: The Observer , September 16, 2007 (English); Retrieved August 29, 2008.