Alan Cumming

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Cumming at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival
Alan Cumming (born 1965) is an actor, author, and campaigner.

He was born in Aberfeldy, Perthshire and grew up on a country estate near Carnoustie.

His London stage appearances include Hamlet, the Maniac in Accidental Death of an Anarchist (for which he received an Olivier Award), the lead in Bent, and the National Theatre of Scotland's The Bacchae. On Broadway he has appeared in The Threepenny Opera, as the master of ceremonies in Cabaret (for which he won a Tony Award), Design for Living and a one-man adaptation of Macbeth. His best-known film roles include his performances in Emma, GoldenEye, the Spy Kids trilogy, and X2: X-Men United.

He has also written a novel, Tommy's Tale, and an autobiography, Not My Father's Son.

Cumming is openly bisexual.[1] He lives in Manhattan with his husband, graphic artist Grant Shaffer, and their dog, Jerry.[2] The couple dated for two years before entering into a civil partnership at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, in 2007.[3] Cumming and Shaffer legally married in New York on 7 January 2012, the fifth anniversary of their London union.[4]

Previous relationships include an eight-year marriage to actress Hilary Lyon, a two-year relationship with actress Saffron Burrows, and a six-year relationship with theatre director Nick Philippou.[5] In 2006, Cumming said that he "would dearly like to adopt a child," but that his life was "too hectic" for children.[6]

Cumming has promoted LGBT rights, MC-ing and attending fundraisers for organizations such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and taking part in an Equality Network video campaign, from New York, promoting the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Scotland.[7] Cumming also supports several AIDS charities, and is a patron of NORM-UK, a charity concerned with foreskin health and matters related to circumcision; he has condemned the practice of routine infant circumcision, particularly in the United States where it is common.[8][9]

In March 2005, Cumming received the Vito Russo Award at the 16th Annual GLAAD Media Awards for outstanding contributions toward eliminating homophobia.[10] In July of the same year he was also presented with the Human Rights Campaign's Humanitarian Award in San Francisco, also for his LGBT public stance. In November 2006 Cumming received an honorary doctorate from the University of Abertay Dundee. He also is a patron of the Scottish Youth Theatre, Scotland's National Theatre 'for and by' young people. Cumming was appointed OBE in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to film, theatre and the arts and activism for LGBT rights.[11][12][13]

On 7 November 2008, Cumming became a dual-national and was sworn in as a citizen of the United States of America at a ceremony in New York City.[14][15]

He was listed number 70 in the Pink List 2008 and 12 in the Pink Scotland List, 2014.


  1. Adam Sandel, "Alan Cumming Is Bisexual — And You Might Be Too". The Advocate
  2. Peter McQuaid "The artful swinger – bisexual actor Alan Cumming – Brief Article – Interview". The Advocate, 28 September 1999, pages 59–62
  3. Natalie Finn, "Alan Cumming Groomed for Marriage", E!, 8 January 2007
  4. Jeremy Kinser "Alan Cumming Remarries Husband in New York". The Advocate, 9 January 2012
  5. Adam Higginbotham, Cumming out on top. The Observer, 6 February 2003
  6.,,7-2274013.html David Mattin, "Odd man out: Alan Cumming", The Times, 18 July 2006
  7. "Video: Scottish campaign for equal marriage launches 'It's Time' celebrity video campaign", Pink News, 24 June 2013
  8. John Dalton |"Film Star Wants the Foreskin to be with you" NORM-UK, 11 June 2007 archived at 19 December 2013
  9. "X-Man Nixes Circs",, 11 June 2007
  10. Andrew Gans, "GLAAD Media Awards to Honor Billy Crystal and Alan Cumming" Playbill, 25 March 2005
  11. "Queen's birthday honours list: Diplomatic service and overseas list", The Guardian, 13 June 2009
  12. "Bi OBE". Bi Media, 25 November 2009. "He was honoured for services to film, theatre and the arts – and for his work as a bisexual, lesbian and gay rights campaigner. 'I have a voice because of my work. I'm loud and I speak my mind,' he said".
  13. The London Gazette issue 59090, 13 June 2009, page B24
  14. "I bought a blue car today!", 7 November 2008
  15. Peter Ross, "Alan Cumming interview: seen the future, got the t-shirt" The Scotsman, 1 November 2008