Sadly, perhaps, Eddie Izzard is as renowned for his cross-dressing as he is his gloriously idiosyncratic stand-up style which marries sharp observation and a taste for surreal yet meticulously engineered narratives. Born in Yemen in 1962, he was brought up in Wales and Northern Ireland. His mother died when he was six, at which point he and his brother entered English boarding schools. He credits Peter Sellers with turning him on to comedy, getting his first laughs in school revues at the age of 12. Upon leaving school, he took his self-described brand of "talking bollocks with more bollocks on top" to the national circuit, notably the Edinburgh Festival where, in 1991, he ended up with a prestigious Perrier Comedy Award nomination. Generating intense interest, ironically, for resisting the move to television, he hit London's West End in 1993 for a run which extended from four to 13 weeks and propelled him into comedy's top ranks. Since then he has moved into straight acting -- making a concerted attempt to crack America/Hollywood with appearances on Broadway and in films such as Ocean's Twelve -- while also enjoying record-breaking comedy runs (most notably Definite Article at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1995). Not to mention appearing in the press every time the issue of transvestism enters the public consciousness.