Childhood & Early Life
Johnny Vegas was born as Michael Joseph Pennington to Laurence and Patricia Pennigton in Thatto Health, St Helens, Lancashire.
He was the youngest of the four children born to the couple. He had three siblings, two elder brothers Robert and Mark and an elder sister Catharine.
Raised as a Roman Catholic, he attained his formal education from West Park School, Alder Hey Road, St Helens. He then studied at St Joseph College, a boarding school seminary in Upholland. Though originally intended to train himself for priesthood, he returned after four terms being homesick.
He later on enrolled at the Middlesex University to study art and ceramics. After three years, he gained a third class degree in the same.
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Completing his education, he tried to have a career in pottery but in vain. For survival, he took up various odd and menial jobs.
He started working in an Argos warehouse, selling boiler insurance and packing bottles of Jif in a factory. He then worked as a barman at the Brown Edge pub in Thatto Heath
Comedy occurred to him inadvertently. He made a debut as a contestant in the television show, Win, Lose or Draw in UK. It was during the show that he used the stage name, Johnny Vegas which has stayed on with him since then.
He made a brief appearance in Channel 4’s 100 Greatest Stand Us and BBC Three’s Almost Famous 2.
It was in the mid-nineties that he took up residence in London with the intention of becoming a stand-up comedian. There, he was trained and mentored by Malcolm Hardee, the godfather of comedy.
In 2001, he was the face of the advertising campaign for the launch of the ITV digital. However, the launch was a disastrous one given the fact that the puppet named Monkey, voiced by Ben Miller, gained all the limelight.
In 2002, he made an appearance in the Dirk Maggs directorial Radio 4 sitcom ‘Night Class’, which he co-wrote with Tony Burgess and Tony Pitts. In the show, he played the character of a former Butlin’s redcoat teaching evening classes in pottery. The show gained a runner-up position at the Sony Radio Academy Awards.
While continuing with his television show, he made a big break at the big screen with the feature film, ‘The Virgin of Liverpool’. Same year, he starred in other films such as ‘Cheeky’ and ‘Blackball’.
In 2004, he had three movies slated for release including ‘Sex Lives of the Potato Men’, ‘Terkel in Trouble’ and ‘The Libertine’.
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Post ‘Night Class’, he followed up with the BBC3 sitcom, ‘Ideal’ in 2005. He starred in a total of 53 episodes posing the character of Moz. Same year, he appeared in other television series, such as 18 Stone of Idiot, Bleak House, Dead Man Weds and ShakespeaRE-Told.
In 2007, he yet again appeared in a television commercial for tea brand, PG Tips. Same year, he starred in the television series, ‘Benidorm’ for 24 episodes. While he was a regular in the first three series, he was next seen in the sixth series.
Year 2010 and 2011 saw him appear less on television. He made a guest appearance in one episode of ‘Dave’s One Night Stand’ and was seen in 2 episodes of ‘Celebrity Juice’.
2012 was a packed year for this comedian as he starred in a couple of television shows including, ‘Rude Tube’, ‘Moone Boy’, ‘A League of their Own’ and ‘Mr Stink’.
In 2013, he was seen in the flick, ‘The Harry Hill Movie’. Additionally, he also made a television appearance, ‘Have I Got News for You’, ‘Still Open All Hours’ and ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’
The success of the entertainment world had a direct favourable impact on his first love, i.e. pottery. He started receiving encouraging reviews for his work so much so that he was offered a role in ‘Pot Shots’, a film basically intended for an international audience. He was even offered to design a bottle of aftershave from Old Spice
Personal Life & Legacy
He tied the nuptial knot with Catherine ‘Kitty’ Donnelly in August 2002. However, the relationship did not last long and the two parted ways in 2004.
Though the two re-united twice in 2005, nothing could work out between them. They finally were legally divorced on March 11, 2008.
Three years later, he married columnist and Irish TV producer, Maia Dunphy in Seville.
In 2008, he was diagnosed with gout.