The Rt. Hon. Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest (born February 5, 1948), better known as Christopher Guest, is an American-born screenwriter, composer, musician, director, actor and comedian. He is most widely known in Hollywood for having written, directed and starred in several improvisational "mockumentary" films that feature a repertory-like ensemble cast, such as This is Spinal Tap. In the United Kingdom, he holds a Baronial peerage, and has publicly expressed a desire to see the House of Lords reformed as a democratically-elected chamber. Despite initial activity in the Lords, his career there was cut short by the House of Lords Act 1999. When using his title, he is normally styled for short as Lord Haden-Guest.
Guest was born in New York City, the son of Peter Haden-Guest, a British United Nations diplomat who later became the 4th Baron Haden-Guest, and his second wife, Jean Pauline Hindes, a former vice president of casting at CBS. Guest's maternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. His paternal grandfather, Leslie, Baron Haden-Guest, was a Labour Party politician who was a convert to Judaism, and his paternal grandmother's father was Colonel Albert Goldsmid, a British officer who founded the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade and the Maccabaeans. Both of Guest's parents had become atheists, and Guest had no religious upbringing. Nearly a decade before he was born, his uncle David Guest, a lecturer and Communist Party member, was killed in the Spanish Civil War fighting in the International Brigades.
Guest spent parts of his childhood in his father's native United Kingdom. He attended The High School of Music & Art (New York City), studying classical music (clarinet). He later took up the mandolin, became interested in country music, and played guitar with Arlo Guthrie. Guest later began performing with bluegrass bands until he took up rock and roll.