Eddie Izzard's life - tragic loss, marathons, political ambitions and romance (2023)

Comedy legend and Hollywood icon Eddie Izzard is 60 years old today.

The star, who was born on February 7 1962, rose to fame as a stand-up comedian, before appearing in films including My Super Ex Girlfriend, Velvet Goldmine and Six Minutes to Midnight.

She also recently appeared in the hit Netflix series Stay Close, as the solicitor Harry Sutton.

Away from the stage however, she has also led a very interesting life, which has included a high profile political career and completing epic marathons for charity, as well as speaking publicly about a tragic loss when she was younger.

Tragic loss

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Eddie's parents were BP Chief Accountant Harold Izzard and Dorothy Ella, who were working in Yemen when the comedian was born.

The family moved to Northern Island when Eddie was one year old, before settling in Wales.

However when Eddie was just six years old and her elder brother Mark was eight, their mother died of cancer.

She has since spoken openly about her death, particularly in her autobiography Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death and Jazz Chickens and in the documentary, Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story, where she also made an emotional revelation, saying: "I know why I’m doing this [my career].

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"Everything I do in life is trying to get her [her mother] back. I think if I do enough things . . . then maybe she will come back."

Later reflecting on this comment, she told The Guardian that her death also had a huge affect on her pursuing a career as a performer, saying: "I do believe I started performing and doing all sorts of big, crazy, ambitious things because on some level, on some childlike magical-thinking level, I thought doing those things might bring her back."

Alternative careers

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(Video) Eddie Izzard - Force Majeure (2014). EXTRAS

Although Eddie Izzard has become one of the world's most popular comedians and actors, her career path could have been very different.

The star has admitted in both her stand-up programmes and in the press that she originally wanted to join the Special Forces when she was younger.

However after deciding against a career in the Special Forces, Eddie studied A-Level sciences and went on to study accounting at University.

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It was not long before her talent for performance inspired her to pursue her dream, and inspired by comedy legends such as the Monty Python team, Eddie left university a year later to pursue a career as a street performer.

The star has since lived out a variety of careers on screen, including as a solicitor in the hit Netflix series Stay Close in 2022.

Comedy roots and Hollywood fame

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Eddie began performing stand up comedy routines in the eighties, and from there it was onwards and upwards for the star, gaining awards for her stand up shows including Dress To Kill, which won two Primetime Emmy Awards.

Eddie also made a mark in Hollywood too, appearing in hit blockbuster films including My Super Ex Girlfriend, Five Children and IT, Velvet Goldmine, The Chronicles of Narnia series, Six Minutes to Midnight and TV series Hannibal.

She has continued to work in both Hollywood and comedy, performing tours across the world throughout the decades.

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(Video) “You Have to Keep Going:” Eddie Izzard on Acting, Marathons, and Activism | Amanpour and Company

Her love for connecting with audiences also extended to learning new languages, so she could better communicate her comedy to her fans in different countries.

Eddie has performed shows in German, French and Spanish, and can also speak Russian, Arabic and Italian, telling Newsbeat: "It's a very positive thing to do.

"It means something if you're going to learn the whole language."

Eddie added: "You could not tour France and you couldn't really tour Germany in English.

"You could do certain big cities but you wouldn't really get through. I want to get through."

Epic marathon challenge

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Eddie Izzard made headlines around the world when she completed a series of epic marathons for charity.

In 2009, the star ran the length of the UK and clocked up 30 miles a day, running from London to Cardiff to Belfast to Edinburgh and back to London.

In total the challenge was 1,100 miles, which is the equivalent of competing in 43 marathons in just one event.

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Eddie raised over £250,000 for the charity, but during scenes that were broadcast as part of the TV series Eddie Izzard: Marathon Man, she admitted that she does not enjoy running much.

Speaking to Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs while running the 13th marathon, Eddie admitted she "didn't like running" but completed the challenge to "fight for a fair life for everyone".

She has also completed a charity marathon for Sport Relief in 2012, running 27 miles in 27 days in South Africa, to honour Nelson Mandela.

(Video) Eddie Izzard at the 2022 Equality Utah Allies Gala

Political career

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Eddie Izzard is passionate about politics and revealed in 2020 that she aims to be elected as a Labour MP in the next general election, saying that her "worldview is that everyone should have a fair chance in life".

She explained her political ambition during an interview on Tom Watson's Persons of Interest Podcast, saying: "I want to be a Member of Parliament.

"I was trying to get in at the last election. I absolutely, definitely want to get in at a by-election or at the next general election."

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Talking about her ambitions, Eddie added: "We need to be heading towards a more positive future, so I will fight for that.

“My world vision is positive, it’s for everyone.

"I feel I can communicate because I have been communicating through comedy and drama and politics, being an activist, for over 10 years, and I feel I can put ideas forward – you need to put them forward in a grabbable way for people."


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Although Eddie Izzard is one of comedy's most well known faces, the star tends to keep her personal life away from the public eye.

She has confirmed in the past that she is single, saying: "Relationship-wise? Oh, this old chestnut.

"No, relationships are tricky. If you're trans and you're touring a lot, it's difficult to put it together.

(Video) Glorious 1997.

"'Cause I'm choosy and someone else will be choosy."

She added: "Yeah, it's difficult to get everything working perfectly."

The comedian and actor has not revealed since if she is still single or if she is now in a relationship.

Campaign for more roles for transgender people in Hollywood

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During an episode of Sky Arts programme Portrait Artist Of The Year, Eddie Izzard confirmed that her preferred pronouns were she and her.

The star, who identifies as transgender, revealed in an interview with The Guardian that she first identified as transgender when she was four years old, and that she came out as transgender at the age of 23.

However, she also revealed that after coming out as transgender, she was was told to hide her identity, saying to The Hollywood Reporter: "If you are coming out as transgender or gay or lesbian, it’s such a tough rite of passage and quest.

"It assaults your senses because, back in ‘85, everyone said, 'No, no. Hide about it.' I just thought they were all wrong."

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Speaking about her career, she added: "I have boy mode and girl mode. I do feel I have boy genetics and girl genetics. I have played one transgender character.

"I will play hopefully more transgender roles in the future, but there are a lot of boy genetics in me so I am happy to play boy roles.

"It would be great if more transgender actors can play more transgender characters."

She added: "We have come a long way, so let’s keep forging our way forward."

(Video) Eddie Izzard - Live at Madison Square Garden 2011

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How many marathons has Eddie Izzard ran? ›

Comedian Eddie Izzard does 32 marathons and 31 comedy shows in 31 days.

What did Eddie Izzard do for charity? ›

Over the course of her marathon's, Eddie raised £25,000 for UNICEF UK's important work with refugee and migrant children in Turkey.

How long does it take Eddie Izzard to run a marathon? ›

Izzard stuck to a pace of around 12-13 minutes per mile. It's not always walking pace – Izzard clocked a respectable five hours 34 minutes for his fastest marathon, while the slowest was completed in a rather more laborious nine hours 45 minutes.

Is Eddie Izzard married to Sarah Townsend? ›

She was previously in a long-term relationship with the British singer, director and producer Sarah Townsend after meeting at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1989 and they are still friends.

Who ran 3 marathons in 3 days? ›

HOLD FAST: 3 Marathons In 3 Days | A World Record Attempt by Jordan Tropf | FULL DOCUMENTARY » Believe in the Run.

Who ran 6 marathons in 6 weeks? ›

Most marathoners wanted to run just one marathon. Flanagan wanted to run in all six, and to try to complete each one in under three hours, a pace of under 6 minutes 50 seconds per mile. So far, so good. She ran the Berlin Marathon on Sept.

What is Eddie Izzard best known for? ›

Izzard worked as a street performer and in smaller comedy venues throughout the mid-to-late 1980s; her big break came when she appeared in Hysteria III, a 1991 AIDS fundraiser held at the London Palladium, and did her now-famous "Raised by wolves" sketch.

What is Eddie Izzard known for? ›

Eddie Izzard (born 7.2. 1962) Eddie Izzard is a British comedian and actor. He is known for his transvestism and he often dresses in women's clothes and wears make-up for his stand-up shows.

Who ran 27 marathons in 27 days? ›

Chatham's Scott Fisher completes 27 marathons in 27 days mission for Mast Cell Action. After 27 days of running, Captain Scott Fisher has crossed the finish line of his mammoth mission of running 27 marathons in as many days.

How many hours sleep before marathon? ›

Shorter runs mean more time for sleep, especially if you wake up early to run. Prioritize sleep in the final week before your race (10 hours every night, if possible).

Can the average person finish a marathon? ›

Average for beginners

At a speed of 12 to 15 minutes per mile, beginners can expect to finish a marathon in around 5 to 6.5 hours.

How hard is it to run a marathon in 3 hours? ›

A sub 3 hour marathon is quite competitive. If you want to have a shot at achieving this milestone, your other race times must also be quite competitive. That's because running is running. Fitness is fitness.

Who ran 7 marathons in 7 days? ›

Not Only Did He Run 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days—He Won Them All. Despite crazy weather, travel delays, and hundreds of miles, David Kilgore came out on top of the World Marathon Challenge. David Kilgore loves running.

What is the hardest marathon to run? ›

Marathon des Sables, French for Marathon of Sands (or MdS for short), is roughly a 250-kilometer journey in seven days in the hot sands of the Saharan desert.

Has someone broken the 2 hour marathon? ›

After surpassing his own world record in Berlin on Sunday, 69 seconds is all that separates him from breaking the historic “sub-2” barrier – that is, completing a full marathon (42.195 kilometres) in under two hours.

Who is the slowest person to run a marathon? ›

54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 3 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds – how's that for a record time? It is indeed the slowest marathon of all time. In 1912 Kanaguri Shiso came to Stockholm as Japan's first Olympic competitor.

Which of the 6 major marathons is the hardest? ›

The majority of runners who have finished all six marathons say that the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon both have the hardest courses to run due to the hilliness of the course profile, while the Chicago Marathon and Berlin Marathon are notoriously flat and fast.

Who ran a marathon in 2 hours? ›

On becoming the first ever person to run a marathon in under two hours, Eliud Kipchoge said: “It is a great feeling to make history in sport after Sir Roger Bannister [set the first sub-four-minute mile] in 1954.

How does Eddie Izzard pronounce his name? ›

What's the correct pronunciation of Eddie's last name? Common pronunciation is Iz-zurd (like "lizard") and Iz-ard (like "is hard"). Eddie has said he doesn't care which way it's pronounced although he himself says "Iz-ard" so I guess that's the way to say it.

Who ran 50 marathons in 50 days? ›

Dean Karnazes has run 350 continuous miles through three sleepless nights, ordered pizza during long runs, and inspired fans the world over with his adventures. So what does a guy like this do when he wants to face the ultimate test of endurance? He runs 50 marathons in 50 states-in 50 consecutive days.

Who ran 100 marathons in 100 days? ›

'It showed me how strong our bodies can be,' says amputee athlete Jacky Hunt-Broersma after running 104 marathons in 104 days. For some runners, the prospect of running the 26.2 miles of a marathon is challenge enough.

Who ran 32 marathons in 31 days? ›

Eddie Izzard Completes Her Latest Endurance Feat—This Time, 32 Marathons in 31 Days. Even George Clooney joined the British comedian for the final minutes of her last marathon.

Did Eddie Izzard really run 27 marathons? ›

Comedian Eddie Izzard, who admits she "doesn't like running", has notched up more than 830 miles, raising more than £275,000. Eddie Izzard has raised over a quarter of a million pounds for charity after completing 32 marathons and performing 31 comedy gigs in just 31 days.

Who holds the record for most marathons run? ›

Mark of 239 currently held by American Larry Macon. It's a gamble, but one that's worthwhile to Ben Pobjoy. The Mississauga, Ont., native has set out on a journey to break the Guinness world record for most marathons ran by a male in a year (239), held by American Larry Macon.

Who has the record for most marathons? ›

Ricardo Abad Martínez (Tafalla, January 8, 1971) is a Spanish ultrarunner. He holds the world record for consecutive marathons run on consecutive days, 607.
Ricardo Abad.
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Why did Eddie run two marathons on the 27th day? ›

Eddie had to run a double marathon on the 27th day (having spent day 5 in hospital) to complete the final marathon and arrive at the huge statue of Nelson Mandela at The Union Buildings in Pretoria - the place where in 1994, Nelson Mandela had become the first ever democratically elected President of South Africa.

Who is the youngest person to win a marathon? ›

Timothy Ford (born 1887) was an American long distance runner who won the Boston Marathon in 1906. At the age of eighteen, he is the youngest person ever to have won that race.

What is the toughest marathon in America? ›

Often referred to as one of the hardest marathon races in the country, the Pikes Peak Marathon has runners run up to an elevation of 14,115 feet.

Is 3 hours fast for a marathon? ›

If you are planning a marathon you might start thinking of the time you want to run and planning your training around running that time. Sub-3-hours is a very good marathon time and will involve training hard and being consistent in the training that you do.


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3. Eddie Izzard- Death Star Canteen
4. Eddie Izzard - Live From Wembley 2009.
(Felix Crisan)
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