Simon John Pegg (né Beckingham; born 14 February 1970) is an English actor, comedian and screenwriter. He came to prominence in the UK as the co-creator of the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced (1999–2001), directed by Edgar Wright. He and Wright co-wrote the films Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and The World's End (2013), known collectively as the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, all of which saw Wright directing and Pegg starring alongside Nick Frost. Pegg and Frost also wrote and starred in the sci-fi comedy film Paul (2011).
Simon John Beckingham
14 February 1970
|Alma mater||University of Bristol|
Pegg is one of the few performers to have achieved what Radio Times calls the "Holy Grail of Nerd-dom", having played popular supporting characters in Doctor Who (2005), Star Trek as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott (2009–2016), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). He currently stars as Benji Dunn in the Mission: Impossible film series (2006–present), and he voiced Headmaster Phineas Nigellus Black in the computer game Hogwarts Legacy (2023). He provided the voice of Buck in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009), Ice Age: Collision Course (2016), and The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild (2022).
Simon John Pegg was born Simon John Beckingham on 14 February 1970 in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, the son of Gillian Rosemary (née Smith), a former civil servant, and John Henry Beckingham, a jazz musician and keyboard salesman. His parents divorced when he was seven, and he took on his stepfather's surname "Pegg" after his mother remarried. His brother, Mike (who starred in the 2020 film The Host), still uses Beckingham as his surname. He attended Castle Hill Primary School, Brockworth Comprehensive Secondary School, and The King's School, Gloucester.
Pegg moved to Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire when he was 16 and studied English literature and theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon College. He graduated from the University of Bristol in 1991 with a BA in theatre, film, and television, titling his undergraduate thesis "A Marxist overview of popular 1970s cinema and hegemonic discourses". While there, he performed as a member of a comedy troupe called "David Icke and the Orphans of Jesus", alongside David Walliams, Dominik Diamond, and Jason Bradbury.
"When I graduated from university where I studied theater, film and television, I went into stand-up because comedy was something I enjoyed but also because it offered me a certain autonomy that I wouldn't have if I was sitting and waiting for the phone to ring as an actor. Then, I drifted into comedy acting through doing stand-up, and that was something that I really enjoyed. But, it wasn't the only thing I ever wanted to do. There was a time when I was younger where I just wanted to be at The Royal Shakespeare Theatre."
Pegg's early appearances in TV series and films include Six Pairs of Pants (Meridian & Anglia, 1995), Asylum, Faith in the Future, Big Train and Hippies. Between 1998 and 2004, Pegg was regularly featured on BBC Radio 4's The 99p Challenge. Pegg's other credits include appearances in the World War II mini-series Band of Brothers; the television comedies Black Books, Brass Eye and I'm Alan Partridge; and the films The Parole Officer, 24 Hour Party People, and Guest House Paradiso. He played various roles during the tour of Steve Coogan's 1998 live stage show The Man Who Thinks He's It.
In 1999, he created and co-wrote the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced with Jessica Stevenson. The series was directed by Edgar Wright, with whom Pegg and Stevenson had previously worked on Asylum, and Pegg wrote the character of Mike Watt specifically for his friend Nick Frost. For his performance in this series, Pegg was nominated for a British Comedy Award as Best Male Comedy Newcomer. The experience of making a Spaced fantasy sequence featuring zombies led to Pegg and Wright co-writing the "romantic zombie comedy" film Shaun of the Dead, released in April 2004, in which Pegg also starred. At George A. Romero's invitation, Pegg and Wright made cameo appearances in Romero's zombie film, Land of the Dead. In 2004, Pegg guest-starred in a spin-off of the television show Danger! 50,000 Volts! called Danger! 50,000 Zombies!, in which he played a zombie-hunter named Dr. Fell.
He played mutant bounty hunter Johnny Alpha, the Strontium Dog, in a series of Big Finish Productions audio plays based on the character from British comic 2000 AD. Pegg also appeared in Big Finish Productions' Doctor Who audio story Invaders From Mars as Don Chaney, and appeared in the Doctor Who television series, playing the Editor in the 2005 episode "The Long Game". He also narrated the first series of the "making-of" documentary series Doctor Who Confidential.
Upon completion of Shaun of the Dead, Pegg was questioned as to whether he would be abandoning the British film industry for Hollywood, and he replied, "It's not like we're going to go away and do, I don't know, Mission: Impossible III", picking the title of an imaginary blockbuster. When the film Mission: Impossible III was subsequently made, Pegg appeared in it as Benji Dunn, an IMF technician who assists Tom Cruise's character Ethan Hunt. He has reprised the role in four further Mission: Impossible sequel films: Ghost Protocol (2011), Rogue Nation (2015), Fallout (2018), and Dead Reckoning Part One (2023), and will appear in the upcoming eighth film in 2025.
In 2006, he played Gus in Big Nothing alongside David Schwimmer. The same year, Pegg and Wright completed their second film, Hot Fuzz, released in February 2007. The film is a police-action movie homage and also stars Nick Frost, in which Pegg plays Nicholas Angel, a London policeman transferred to rural Sandford, a fictional village where grisly events take place. In 2007, Pegg starred in The Good Night (directed by Jake Paltrow) and Run Fatboy Run directed by David Schwimmer and co-starring Thandie Newton and Hank Azaria. In 2008, he wrote the dialogue for an English language re-release of the cult 2006 animated Norwegian film, Free Jimmy. Pegg received screenwriting credit for this, and also voiced one of the main characters in the English-language version, which has an international range of actors including Woody Harrelson.
Pegg co-wrote the script for a film called Paul, about two young men who encounter a comedic extraterrestrial alien during a road trip across the US. The completed script appeared on the 2008 "Brit List", a film-industry-compiled survey of the best unproduced British screenplays, inspired by the American Black List. In those films and in Spaced, Pegg typically plays the leading hero while Frost plays the sidekick. However Paul reverses this dynamic. The film was released in 2011.
"I've now done the ultimate nerd hat trick – Doctor Who, Star Wars and Star Trek."
Pegg played engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in Star Trek, the eleventh film in the Star Trek film series, released 8 May 2009. He reprised the role in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016), also co-writing the latter. In 2010 he appeared as William Burke in Burke & Hare, a film directed by John Landis about two Ulstermen who were notorious murderers and bodysnatchers in early 19th-century Edinburgh. His likeness was also used for the character of Wee Hughie in the comic book series The Boys; while this was done without Pegg's permission, he quickly became a fan of the title, and even wrote the introduction to the first bound volume. He voiced Reepicheep, the heroic mouse in Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Pegg and Wright completed the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (the first two films being Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) with their 2013 film The World's End. In July 2014, Pegg appeared on stage with Monty Python during their live show Monty Python Live (Mostly) held at the O2 Arena, London. He was the special guest in their "Blackmail" sketch. In 2015 he appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Unkar Plutt, the Junkyard dealer on Jakku.
Political views and activism
In 2020, Pegg signed an open letter calling for the wealthiest in society to pay more tax in order to help fight inequality.
Pegg is an atheist. He married his long-time girlfriend, music industry publicist Maureen McCann, in Glasgow on 23 July 2005. They reside in Essendon, Hertfordshire. Nick Frost was the best man at his wedding. The couple have one child together, born in 2009.
Pegg is close friends with Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, and appears as a violin-playing Elvis impersonator in the video for Coldplay's 2010 single "Christmas Lights". Along with Jonny Buckland, Pegg is godfather to Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter Apple. In return, Martin is godfather to Pegg's daughter. In a video interview with British GQ magazine in July 2018, Pegg stated that his daughter has sung backing vocals for Coldplay onstage at the Glastonbury Festival. Pegg is also godfather to the son of actor and friend Martin Freeman. Pegg's parents and sister briefly appeared in Spaced, while his mother appeared in both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
In a July 2018 interview with The Guardian, Pegg spoke about his battle with depression and alcoholism, and how rehab helped him recover from the latter. He stated: "When I watch Mission: Impossible III, I can see where I was then, which was fairly lost, and unhappy, and an alcoholic [...] I'm not ashamed of what happened. And I think if anyone finds any relationship to it, then it might motivate them to get well. But I am not proud of it, either – I don't think it's cool, like I was Mr. Rock 'n' Roll, blackout and all that shit. It wasn't, it was just terrible." Pegg checked into a rehab shortly before production of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. He hid his recovery from the tabloids through court orders, although some journalists went so far as to call the clinic pretending to be his mother. Pegg attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and has remained sober since.
Awards and nominations
- Pegg, Simon (2 October 2008). "10 Questions for Simon Pegg". Time. Archived from the original on 9 July 2015.
- Cadwalladr, Carole (4 February 2007). "A fair cop". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
- Norman, Neil (4 February 2007). "Simon Pegg: A geek made good". The Independent. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- Day, Elizabeth (17 September 2013). "Simon Pegg: 'My daughter was a blank slate. This little life had never eaten an E-number'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
As a child growing up in the Gloucestershire village of Brockworth....
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- Barratt, Nick (2 June 2007). "Family detective". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 23 January 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
- "Mike Beckingham: My brother Simon Pegg is 'incredibly supportive' of my acting career". standard.co.uk. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2022.
- Pegg, Simon (2010). Nerd Do Well. London, UK: Random House. ISBN 978-1-8460-5811-0.
- "Significant former pupils". The King's School, Gloucester. Archived from the original on 22 June 2015. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
- "Simon Pegg profile". Stratford-upon-Avon College: About the College" Alumni. Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- Davids, Brian; Pegg, Simon (22 May 2020). "Simon Pegg on Getting Dark in 'Inheritance' and 'Mission: Impossible' Updates". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original (Interview) on 6 June 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2022.
- "Six Pairs of Pants - TheTVDB.com". www.thetvdb.com. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
- Lee, Nick (20 May 2000). "Interviews - Edgar Wright". Spaced Out. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
- "Pegg, Simon (1970-) Credits". BFI Screenonline. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
- "Six Pairs of Pants (1995-10-13)". BFI. Archived from the original on 21 March 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
- "Entertainment | Royle flush in comedy shortlist". BBC News. 17 November 1999. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Simon Pegg plays The Editor (Press release)". BBC. 4 May 2005. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- Cole, Tom (28 September 2011). "Do you think Doctor Who Confidential should have been cancelled?". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company Limited. ISSN 0033-8060. Archived from the original on 12 November 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
- Sciretta, Peter (18 July 2010). "Simon Pegg Returns for Mission: Impossible 4". slashfilm.com. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
- Bradshaw, Peter (1 December 2006). "Big Nothing". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- Chilton, Martin (19 September 2014). "Hot Fuzz, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- "Pegg set for road trip flick". Metro. 31 March 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
- Setchfield, Nick (1 April 2009). "Simon Pegg Exclusive". SFX. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
- Thomas, Archie (3 October 2008). "Brit List brings scripts to light". Variety. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
- "Simon Pegg and Nick Frost Do America". JustPressPlay.net. 20 September 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
- Dargis, Manohla (17 March 2011). "Calm Down, People; He Comes in Peace". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 August 2015. Retrieved 22 October 2022.
- Bley Griffiths, Eleanor (26 January 2018). "Simon Pegg on doing "the ultimate nerd hat trick – Doctor Who, Star Wars and Star Trek"". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
- Siegel, Tatiana (12 October 2007). "Simon Pegg to play Scotty in 'Star Trek'". Variety. Retrieved 11 October 2007.
- Bradshaw, Peter (9 May 2013). "Star Trek Into Darkness – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
- Upadhyaya, Ruchinka (21 July 2016). "Simon Pegg teases the 'idea of the Federation', calls Star Trek Beyond a 'social commentary'". International Business Times. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- Ennis, Garth (2007). The Boys Volume One: The Name of the Game (Introduction). The Boys. Dynamite Entertainment.
- Weitzman, Elizabeth (9 December 2010). "'Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader' review: Generic faith-based message bores". Daily News. Jersey City, NJ. ISSN 2692-1251. OCLC 9541172. Archived from the original on 7 November 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
When Narnia is threatened by an evil force that radiates from a mysterious island, the kids -- joined by Prince Caspian (Ben Barnes), the mouse Reepicheep (Simon Pegg) and several recent recruits -- must locate and destroy it.
- "Simon Pegg Replaces Bill Nighy as the Voice of Reepicheep". 20 June 2010.
- Pegg, Simon; Hassan, Genevieve (1 October 2008). "Interview with Simon Pegg". BBC. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
- "'Monty Python Live (mostly) - One Down Five to Go' - Celebrity Blackmail". Monty Python.com. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- Breznican, Anthony (18 December 2015). "'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': A collection of cameos and Easter eggs: Simon Pegg". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
- "Hogwarts Legacy voiceover talent revealed with Simon Pegg confirmed as Headmaster Black | Wizarding World". www.wizardingworld.com. Retrieved 20 March 2023.
- Thorpe, Vanessa (14 May 2023). "'I kept my alcoholism secret on Mission: Impossible set,' Simon Pegg reveals". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
- Emma Powell (24 September 2014). "Russell Crowe and Douglas Booth among male celebs tweeting support for". London Evening Standard.
- Lee, Ann (12 July 2016). "Star Trek Beyond actor Simon Pegg has this piece of leadership advice for Theresa May". metro.co.uk. Northcliffe House, Kensington High Street: Daily Mail and General Trust plc. Archived from the original on 16 July 2016. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
Lead for the people, don't forget anybody. Don't just protect the people who are well off, look after everybody. There are a lot of people in this country who need to be looked after, who are so often forgotten.
- "Actor Simon Pegg demands higher taxes on the rich to combat inequality". ITV News. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
- Young, Jake (24 September 2021). "Simon Pegg aides Greenpeace in fishing protests". Marine Industry News. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
- Tomorrow, Don't Stop Thinking About. "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow". Greenpeace UK. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
- Simon Pegg [@simonpegg] (18 November 2010). "As an atheist, I'd skip the prayer and go straight to the colonel, who is arguably the god of affordable, bucket housed fried chicken bits" (Tweet). Retrieved 4 February 2017 – via Twitter.
- Harvey, Chris (27 September 2008). "Simon Pegg: hyperspaced". The Daily Telegraph. London, England. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
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- "Essendon's Simon Pegg On The Red Carpet At Star Trek Beyond Premiere". BOB fm. 13 July 2016. Archived from the original on 14 July 2016.
- Hattenstone, Simon (5 February 2011). "Simon Pegg and Nick Frost: Losers in love". Us Weekly.
- Apodaca, Joseph (22 August 2013). "Simon Pegg talks 'World's End,' quitting drinking for daughter". On The Red Carpet. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- Campos, Nicole (15 June 2011). "Simon Pegg's New Autobiography: Well Done, Nerd!". LA Weekly. p. 2. Archived from the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- Mallon, Tom (18 December 2017). "12 Great Coldplay Songs You Probably Don't Know". Rolling Stone.
- "Chris Martin – Martin + Paltrow Name Pegg As Godfather". Contact Music. 9 September 2007. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
- "Simon Pegg Q&A: "If I don't get recognised, I say I'm in Coldplay"". Coldplay.com. 29 October 2010. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
- “Simon Pegg plays Would You Rather?”. British GQ July 17, 2018. YouTube. Retrieved 2 November 2019. Archived by the Wayback Machine on 4 June 2019.
- Freeman, Martin; Slevin, Dan (8 July 2013). "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Q&A". Crazy for Martin Freeman. blogspot.co.uk. Archived from the original (Interview transcript) on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
- Jonze, Tim (9 July 2018). "Simon Pegg: 'I was lost, unhappy and an alcoholic'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 28 July 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2022.
And then he sits down to talk about depression. And alcoholism. And how he spent years trying to hide it, and how he nearly lost everything, and how he is lucky to even be alive. "It was awful, terrible," he says. "It owned me." Suddenly, this roof terrace in east London doesn't seem so sunny.
- "PIFF 2020 Winners". Prague-film-festival.com. Retrieved 15 May 2023.
- "Actor Simon Pegg receives honorary university fellowship for contribution to arts". The Daily Telegraph. London. 4 December 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2008.