Sacha Baron Cohen Biography
Who Is Sacha Baron Cohen?
First bursting onto the scene with Ali G, a fictional wanna rapper interviewing unsuspecting celebrities. Later creations include Borat, a highly-charged Kazakhstani, and Brüno, an Austrian fashion journalist.
Other original characters created by Coen include Grimsby and The Dictator. He has also appeared in movies from Sweeney Todd and Talladega Nights to Les Misérables.
Born in London, England on October 13, 1971, Sacha Noam Baron Cohen was the middle child. Cohen grew up in a suburb of London. His father operated clothing stores while his mother was a fitness instructor.
Cohen first developed a passion for hip-hop and break dancing as a teenager. He joined a Jewish youth group which led to his first experience of acting.
After a year on an Israeli kibbutz, Cohen went to Christ’s College, Cambridge University to major in history.
Cohen appeared in Cambridge Footlights productions . This is the university comedy troupe with alumni including Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Peter Cook, John Cleese, and Emma Thompson.
For his thesis, Cohen explored the involvement of Jewish Americans in the southern civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties. He remained in Atlanta for some time researching and interviewing Robert Parris Moses, famous activist.
Despite being encouraged to continue with graduate studies, Cohen left Cambridge University to pursue a non-academic path.
‘Da Ali G Show’
Cohen first honed his craft with stand-up comedy routines.
His first TV appearance was hosting a youth program.
After landing a role on The 11 O’Clock Show, a late 90s comedy program, Cohen stole the show with his character Ali G, a white rapper. Ali G later featured in his own TV series, Da Ali G Show. Here, the blinged-out creation interviewed a string of celebrities and distinguished guests expecting a legitimate interview.
Ali G’s popularity soared. He appeared as a cameo in Madonna’s 2000 music video for Music. Ali G Indahouse (2002) saw Ali G hit the big screen. Although the film was not a commercial success, Cohen had introduced American audiences to his character with a new version of his TV show.
Cohen has faced much criticism for the negative cultural and racial stereotypes he perpetuates. He has even received threats, according to some reports.
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Next in line for Cohen was Borat Sagdiyev, a childish and oversexed bigot from Kazakhstan.
Borat starred in his own mockumentary, Borat. This movie was a surprise hit, pulling in over $128 million at the box office.
Borat traveled the US on the premise of making a documentary. On the way, he conducted interviews with his behavior prompting strong reactions all round. The aim was to expose the “prejudices and hypocrisies in American culture.”
Cohen remained in character while filming the satire. Indeed, the persona he crafted was so authentic he even managed to persuade some bitter frat boys to spew out prejudicial and misogynistic remarks in a bar.
Lawsuits followed the release of the movie, including the frat boys above who claim Cohen duped them.
The Kazakhstani government was unhappy with the on-screen portrayal of the country. Legal action was not ruled out.
Despite this controversy and some looming legal battles, Borat was a huge hit with both critics and fans.
Cohen earned a Golden Globe Award and won an Academy Award nomination, too.
Movies that feature controversial star Sacha Baron Cohen are not for the faint-hearted, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to The Dictator. Sacha Baron-Cohen has taken the same concoction that he used in Borat by having a character from a completely different culture and exposing that character to those Western customs and culture that we’re all so used to experiencing.