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Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson

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Also Known As: Rowan Sebastian Atkinson Died:
Born: January 6, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, GB Profession: actor, comedian, writer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Sharp-tongued comic performer known for playing sardonic characters on English TV. Atkinson began his career writing with Richard Curtis (who went on to script much of Atkinson's subsequent work) and performing in comedy revues throughout England. This led to a stint on the celebrated comedy series, "Not the Nine O'Clock News", for which he wrote and acted. Atkinson became famous starring in "The Blackadder", a BBC "situation tragedy" co-written with Curtis. The show spawned three sequel series--"Blackadder II", "Blackadder the Third" and "Blackadder Goes Forth"--which chronicled the life of the initially aristocratic Edmond Blackadder and his gradual descent down the English social ladder. Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry co-starred with Atkinson in the show's various incarnations.Atkinson's film career has been less exalted, consisting of small comic supporting roles in the Curtis-scripted "The Tall Guy" (1989), Nicolas Roeg's "The Witches" (1990), "Hot Shots! Part Deux" (1993) and a scene-stealing turn as a cleric prone to malapropisms in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994). Back on English TV, he and Curtis wrote and Atkinson starred in "Mr. Bean" (1990-92), a near-silent comedy...

Sharp-tongued comic performer known for playing sardonic characters on English TV. Atkinson began his career writing with Richard Curtis (who went on to script much of Atkinson's subsequent work) and performing in comedy revues throughout England. This led to a stint on the celebrated comedy series, "Not the Nine O'Clock News", for which he wrote and acted. Atkinson became famous starring in "The Blackadder", a BBC "situation tragedy" co-written with Curtis. The show spawned three sequel series--"Blackadder II", "Blackadder the Third" and "Blackadder Goes Forth"--which chronicled the life of the initially aristocratic Edmond Blackadder and his gradual descent down the English social ladder. Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry co-starred with Atkinson in the show's various incarnations.

Atkinson's film career has been less exalted, consisting of small comic supporting roles in the Curtis-scripted "The Tall Guy" (1989), Nicolas Roeg's "The Witches" (1990), "Hot Shots! Part Deux" (1993) and a scene-stealing turn as a cleric prone to malapropisms in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994). Back on English TV, he and Curtis wrote and Atkinson starred in "Mr. Bean" (1990-92), a near-silent comedy series that showcased the performer's considerable physical comic abilities. Atkinson took this accident-prone character to the big screen in the mildly enjoyable "Bean" (1997). Additionally, he returned to the series format as a by-the-book police commander in "The Thin Blue Line" (BBC, 1996-98).

In 1999 Atkinson reprised the role of Edmond Blackadder for the first time in a decade for "Blackadder: Back and Forth," a three-minute short in which he co-starred with the entire original cast, and he assumed the role of the latest incarnation of the British sci-fi cult hero Dr. Who for the satirical "Comic Relief: Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death." He also hilariously cameoed in the uneven romance "Maybe Baby" (2000) alongside a host of famous name talents from the UK British for writer-director Ben Elton, a frequent Atkinson colleague. Joining another huge ensemble of comedic talents, Atkinson's next major American outing was director Jerry Zucker's manic but lackluster caper film "Rat Race" (2001), a nod to the big comedies with outsized casts of the 1960s. He vocally reprised Mr. Bean for an British animated series in 2002, and that same year also helped bring a classic animated series to life on the big screen as Spooky Island Owner Emile Mondavarious in "Scooby Doo."

In 2003 Atkinson returned to the big screen again as accident-prone secret agent "Johnny English," a character he first created for a series of English credit card commericals from 1992 to 1998/ Reteaming with his frequent producing collaborator Tim Bevan of Working Title Films, Atkinson developed the movie's story and gags over several months with screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade--who previously penned the honest-to-goodness 007 films "The World Is Not Enough" and "Die Another Day"--and director Peter Howitt. The spy comedy proved to be an international sensation, grossing over $100 million in its first 39 days of release even before it was opened in the United States. He then made another scene-stealing cameo appearance as a jewelry salesman in Curtis' self-penned directorial debut "Love Actually" (2003).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Laughing Matters (1993) Creator

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
3.
4.
 Keeping Mum (2006)
5.
 Love Actually (2003) Rufus, Jewellery Salesman
6.
 Johnny English (2003) Johnny English
7.
 Scooby-Doo (2002) Mondavarious
8.
 Rat Race (2001) Enrico Pollini
9.
 Maybe Baby (2000) Mr James
10.
 Blackadder Back and Forth (1999) Edmund Blackadder
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1977:
Wrote and performed comedy revues with Richard Curtis at the Oxford Playhouse and the Edinburgh Fringe
1979:
Joined the English series "Not the Nine O'Clock News" as a writer (with Richard Curtis) and performer
1979:
Feature acting and writing debut, "The Secret Policeman's Ball"
1980:
Named BBC Personality of the Year
1983:
Co-wrote (with Richard Curtis) and starred as the title role on the BBC series "The Blackadder"
1983:
First non-comic feature role, "Never Say Never Again"
1985:
Starred in the West End production of "The Nerd"
1986:
Starred in "Blackadder II" (first collaboration with Ben Elton)
1987:
Starred in "Blackadder the Third"
1989:
Starred in the West End production of "The Sneeze"
1989:
Starred in "Blackadder Goes Forth"
1990:
Co-wrote (with Richard Curtis) and starred on the ITV series "Mr. Bean"
1995:
Starred on the British sitcom "Thin Blue Line" (BBC)
1997:
Reprised role of Mr. Bean for the big screen comedy "Bean"
2000:
Appeared in "Maybe Baby"
2001:
Offered a scene-stealing comic turn as an Italian tourist selected to participate in a hilarious "Rat Race"
2003:
Starred as a bumbling spy who can't get anything right in the comedy "Johnny English"
2003:
Joined the ensemble cast of the romantic comedy "Love Actually"
2006:
Cast in the leading role of a village vicar in the British comedy "Keeping Mum"
2007:
Reprised role of Mr. Bean for "Mr. Bean's Vacation"
2011:
Reprised role of the titular spy in the sequel "Johnny English Reborn"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Newcastle University: -
University of Oxford: Oxford , England -

Notes

"Atkinson is unusual in the sense that he's equally adept at both intricate verbal humor and slapstick physical comedy. Few comedians this side of Steve Martin are as accomplished in both areas. But there's also an obviousness to many of Atkinson's skits that make them tiresome. His favorite persona is that of the blissful idiot. ... I doubt that Atkinson will ever be a big star in America. For all his talent, his more mannerly sketches seem clever but too mild, while his crassest creations are comic criticisms of the kind of social and cultural inhibitions we vulgar Americans overcame a long time ago. ... Atkinson can be really funny, but there's something bloodless about his comedy as well." --Ken Tucker writing in Entertainment Weekly, March 6, 1992.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Sunetra Sastry. Makeup artist. Married in 1990.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Eric Atkinson. Farmer.
mother:
Ella May Atkinson.
brother:
Rupert Atkinson. Older.
brother:
Rodney Atkinson. Older.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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