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Graham Norton

Full / Real Name: Graham Walker
Born: 04 April 1963 (56 years old)
Gender: Male

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Bio

Graham Norton is an Irish actor, comedian and television presenter best known for hosting his own comedy chat shows So Graham Norton, V Graham Norton and The Graham Norton Show.

He achieved fame as a broadcaster on Britain's Channel 4 and also through his role as Father Noel Furlong in the critically acclaimed television series Father Ted. Though he only appeared in three episodes, Norton's performance as Father Noel proved extremely popular with viewers.

Norton is openly gay, and is one of the UK's most famous homosexual television presenters.

He has since moved from Channel 4 and done much work for the BBC, with various shows for BBC One and BBC Two, and work on BBC Radio 2.

Norton was born in Dublin, but because of his father's job, continually moved around Ireland in his early years. His family finally settled in Bandon, County Cork, in the Republic of Ireland where he grew up as part of the minority Protestant community.

In his autobiography, So Me, he noted that it was "easier to be gay than Protestant in Ireland". Norton attended Bandon Grammar School in Cork.

His sister, Paula Giles, is politically active in the Irish Green Party, and was the party's National Spokesperson for Food and Agriculture in the late 1990s. She was put forward as a Green Party candidate in the 28th Dáil elections, but only managed to secure 3.49% share of the vote in the Cork South West constituency.

Norton now lives in London with long-term partner Kevin Kelly, a Donegal man who is currently a student at the University of Ulster at Coleraine in Northern Ireland.

Norton's first appearances in broadcasting were when he appeared on a regular spot on the BBC Radio 4 show Loose Ends. This was when the show ran on Saturday mornings, in the early 1990s.

His rise to fame began as one of the early successes of Channel 5 when he won an award for his performance as the stand-in host of the late-night talk show usually presented by Jack Docherty.

This was followed by a comic quiz show called Bring Me The Head Of Light Entertainment, which wasn't well received as a programme but did further enhance Norton's individual reputation.

He also took part in the show Carnal Knowledge.

After this early success, Norton moved to Channel 4 to host his own chat shows including So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton. As a performer who is not only openly gay, but also naturally camp and flamboyant, it was here that Norton's act was fully honed as a cheeky, innuendo-laden joker.

He's one of the first to introduce the Internet on public television in the late nineties. He has interviewed many famous celebrities including Cher, Britney Spears, Sophia Loren, Elton John, Marilyn Manson, Mariah Carey, Shirley Bassey and Diana Ross.

In 2003, he caused a national outcry among the more sensitive area of the media when, on his British show on Channel 4, he made a comedic reference to the recent death of Bee Gees singer Maurice Gibb.

The Independent Television Commission investigated after complaints about this insensitivity were forwarded to them and eventually Channel 4 had to make two apologies: one in the form of a caption slide before the show, another from Norton in person.

Also in 2003, he was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy (though Norton is Irish the bulk of his television career has been in the UK).

In the summer of 2004, Norton moved across the Atlantic to start a new venture in American television. The Graham Norton Effect debuted on June 24, 2004 on Comedy Central.

In the midst of controversy surrounding Janet Jackson's Super Bowl performance, Norton was wary of moving into the market. Yet, The Graham Norton Effect got away with the same racy, suggestive jokes that made his previous shows so popular. The show, however, failed to attract an audience.

In 2005, he began hosting the Saturday evening reality TV series Strictly Dance Fever and a new series The Bigger Picture with Graham Norton, both on the BBC. He has been reading stories some nights on the BBC children's channel CBeebies as part of Bedtime Hour.

He played Mr. Puckov in the 2006 comedy spoof Another Gay Movie.

In 2006 he hosted the series How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? in which Andrew Lloyd Webber tried to find a lead actress for his West End version of The Sound of Music.

On 7 August Norton recorded a pilot for a new BBC chat/game show My Lovely Audience which is a mix of games and celebrity chats.

Norton was involved in a high-publicity advertising campaign for the National Lottery as an animated stooge to a character based on Lady Luck, played by Fay Ripley. He has also advertised McVities biscuits.

Norton caused controversy on October 7, 2006, when he described cocaine and ecstasy as "fantastic".

In 2007, Norton featured in Girls Aloud and Sugababes' Comic Relief video for "Walk This Way". He currently hosts the BBC One variety show When Will I Be Famous?

His chat show The Graham Norton Show began on 22 February 2007 on BBC Two. It's a format that Graham hadn't been involved in for four years, and is highly comparable to his previous Channel 4 shows.


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