Sacha Baron Cohen was born in London, England to Jewish parents Gerald and Daniella Baron Cohen. He went to private school, then studied history at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he began acting in plays at the Cambridge Footlights dramatic club.
His big break came in 1994, when a British TV station had an open call for a TV host. Baron Cohen made a tape of himself in character as an Albanian TV reporter (an early version of his character Borat). Although he didn't get the gig, he won the attention of a producer, who kept him in mind for future projects.
In 1995, he appeared on the half hour comedy TV show Jack and Jeremy's Police 4, then debuted his character Ali G on Live from the Lighthouse (1998). Later that year, he became a household name, playing Ali G regularly on The 11 O'Clock Show for a season and winning the 1999 British Comedy Award as Best Male Comedy Newcomer. In 2000, he landed his own series, Da Ali G Show, for which he won a 2001 BAFTA TV Award for Best Comedy Performance.
In addition to playing Ali G on the series, Baron Cohen played two other characters. One was misogynistic, Jew-hating Khazakstani TV reporter Borat, who was based on a doctor he met in Russia who he found unintentionally funny. The other was Bruno, a gay Austrian fashion expert.
Baron Cohen made his movie debut in The Jolly Boys Last Stand (2000), also featuring Andy Serkis, who would go on to fame in the Lord of the Rings films.
He reprised the Ali G character in the feature film Ali G Indahouse (2002), then took it to the States, where he recreated Da Ali G Show from 2003 to 2004 for HBO.
His film work includes providing the voice of Julien in the animated feature Madagascar (2005) and the role of French race car driver Jean Girrard in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) opposite Will Ferrell.
Reprising his Borat character, he co-wrote and starred in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006), for which he won a Golden Globe Award.
In 2012, the actor developed another character, General Aladeen, the dictator of the fictional nation of Wadiya, for the film The Dictator (2012). Baron Cohen stirred up controversy when he showed up in character at the 2012 Oscars and dropped the supposed ashes of North Korea leader Kim Jong II all over TV personality Ryan Seacrest.
Aside from The Dictator, Baron Cohen played Monsieur Thénardier in the big-screen adaptation of Les Misérables (2012) and voiced King Julien XIII in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012). Later, he starred in The Brothers Grimsby (2016) and starred as Eli Cohen in the Netflix film, The Spy (2019).
In 2020, he starred in two critically acclaimed award-nominated films, Amazon Prime Video's Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Netflix's The Trial of the Chicago 7.
For his work in The Trial of the Chicago 7, he earned Best Supporting Actor nods at the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Baron Cohen also won a Best Actor Golden Globe Award for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.
Baron Cohen, who has a child with his girlfriend, Australian actress Isla Fisher, is reportedly soft-spoken in real life, unlike his outrageous characters.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (2020)
The Spy (2019)
Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016)
The Brothers Grimsby (2016)
The Dictator (2012)
Django Unchained (2012)
Les Misérables (2012)
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) (voice)
The Dictator (2012)
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) (voice)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006)
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
Madagascar (2005) (voice)
Ali G Indahouse (2002)
The Jolly Boys' Last Stand (2000)