John Cleese is preparing to lift the lid on his 50-year comedy career after signing a deal to write his first memoirs.

The 72-year-old actor has agreed a contract with publishing giants Random House to tell all about his time in the spotlight, from his part in Monty Python's Flying Circus to his Hollywood movies, including his stint as James Bond's gadget assistant.

Cleese, who has previously released two relationship advice books, will also reportedly touch on his four marriages in his autobiography.

He says in a statement, "It's the perfect moment to look back on my life in anticipation of the next 50 years."

Susan Sandon, of Random House imprint Cornerstone, says, "Comedy legends' autobiographies really don't come much bigger than John Cleese's. Enduringly popular, brilliantly witty and impressively erudite, he is a towering figure in every sense of the word. His memoir will be a major publishing event."