British actor Mackenzie Crook rose to fame at the hands of U.K. comedy giants Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, when the pair cast him as Gareth Keenan, the snide, obnoxious, and mirthless servant of office manager David Brent (Gervais) on the immensely popular BBC sitcom The Office (2001-2004). Crook then moved into films, where his unusual manner and appearance -- gaunt and wide-eyed, with stark features and a thick Cockney accent -- were put to excellent use in a variety of roles, often farcically. Among other accomplishments, Crook played Ragetti, a washed-up, bug-eyed member of a zany two-person pirate team (used for comic relief and as a deus ex machina) in Jerry Bruckheimer's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise; evoked a bit of Shakespearean drollery as Launcelot Gobbo in the Michael Radford-directed Merchant of Venice (2004); and landed a small supporting role in the British sex farce I Want Candy (2007). Crook also signed for a supporting role in Michael J. Bassett's period adventure Solomon Kane.
Biography by Nathan Southern
- Injected steroids as a child to combat a growth-hormone deficiency.
- Planned on attending art school, but was never accepted.
- Performed stand-up for a decade before his breakthrough in The Office.
- Purchased Peter Sellers' former north London home.
- Wrote and illustrated the children's book The Windvale Sprites.
- Inherited a pair of breeding tortoises when he was a teenager and continued to raise them; several of his tortoises were featured in his play Jerusalem.