Rowan Atkinson was born on 6 January 1955 in Consett, County Durham. Rowan Atkinson is an English comedian, actor and writer, famous for his title roles in the British television comedies Blackadder, The Thin Blue Line, and Mr. Bean. Rowan Atkinson has been listed in The Observer as 1 of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy, and amongst the top 50 comedy acts ever in a 2005 poll of fellow comedians.
Rowan Atkinson’s parents were Eric Atkinson, a farmer and company director, and his wife Ella May (née Bambridge), who married on 29 June 1945. Rowan Atkinson has 2 elder brothers, Rodney Atkinson, a eurosceptic economist who narrowly lost the United Kingdom Independence Party leadership election in 2000, and Rupert Atkinson.
Rowan Atkinson was raised Anglican. Rowan Atkinson was educated at Durham Choristers School, followed by St Bees School, and studied electrical engineering at Newcastle University. Rowan Atkinson continued with an MSc at The Queen’s College, Oxford, first achieving notice at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1976. At Oxford, he also acted and performed early sketches for the Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS), the Oxford Revue and the Experimental Theatre Club (ETC), meeting writer Richard Curtis and composer Howard Goodall, with whom he would continue to collaborate during his career.
After he went to university, Rowan Atkinson toured with Angus Deayton as his straight man in an act that was eventually filmed for a television show. After the success of the show, he did a one-off pilot for ITV in 1979 called Canned Laughter. Rowan Atkinson then went on to do Not the Nine O’Clock News, produced by his friend John Lloyd. Rowan Atkinson starred on the show along with Pamela Stephenson, Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith, and was one of the main sketch writers.
The success of Not the Nine O’Clock News led to his starring in the medieval sitcom The Black Adder, which he also co-wrote with Richard Curtis, in 1983. Despite a mixed reception, a 2nd series was written, this time by Curtis and Ben Elton, and 1st screened in 1985. Blackadder II followed the fortunes of one of the descendants of Rowan Atkinson’s original character, this time in the Elizabethan era. The same pattern was repeated in 2 sequels Blackadder the 3rd (1987) (set in the Regency era), and Blackadder Goes 4th(1989) (set in World War I). The Blackadder series went on to become one of the most successful BBC situation comedies of all time, spawning television specials including Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988) and Blackadder: The Cavalier Years (1988).
Rowan Atkinson’s other famous creation, the hapless Mr. Bean, 1st appeared on New Years Day in 1990 in a 30 special for Thames Television. The character of Mr. Bean has been likened somewhat to a modern-day Charlie Chaplin. During this time, Rowan Atkinson appeared at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal in 1987 and 1989. Several sequels to Mr. Bean appeared on television in the 1990s, and it eventually made into a major motion picture in 1997. Entitled Bean, it was directed by Mel Smith, his former co-star from Not the Nine O’Clock News. A 2nd movie was released in 2007 entitled Mr. Bean’s Holiday.
Rowan Atkinson has fronted campaigns for Hitachi electrical goods, Fujifilm, and Give Blood. Most famously, he appeared as a hapless and error-prone espionage agent in a long-running series for Barclaycard, on which character his title role in Johnny English was based. In May 2008 he appeared in the BBC documentary series Comedy Map of Britain.
Rowan Atkinson’s film career began in 1983 with a supporting part in the James Bond movie Never Say Never Again and a leading role in Dead on Time with Nigel Hawthorne. Rowan Atkinsappeared in former Not the Nine O’Clock News co-star Mel Smith’s directorial debut The Tall Guy in 1989. He also appeared alongside Anjelica Huston and Mai Zetterling in Roald Dahl’s The Witches in 1990. In 1993 he played the part of Dexter Hayman in Hot Shots! Part Deux, a parody of Rambo III starring Sylvester Stallone.
Rowan Atkinson, with his turn as a verbally bumbling vicar, gained further recognition in the 1994 hit 4 Weddings and a Funeral. That same year he featured in Walt Disney’s The Lion King as Zazu the Hornbill. Rowan Atkinson continued to appear in supporting roles in successful comedies, including Rat Race (2001), Scooby-Doo
(2002), and Love Actually (2003).
In addition to his supporting roles, Rowan Atkinson has also had success as a leading man. Rowan Atkinson’s television character Mr. Bean debuted on the big screen in 1997 with Bean to international success. A sequel, Mr. Bean’s Holiday, was released in March 2007 and may be the last time he plays the character. Rowan Atkinson has also starred in the James Bond parody Johnny English in 2003. Keeping Mum (2005, released in the U.S. in 2006) was a departure for Rowan Atkinson, starring in a straight role.
One of his better-known trademark comic devices is over-articulation of the “B” sound, such as his pronunciation of “Bob” in a Blackadder episode.
Rowan Atkinson’s style is often visually-based. This visual style, which has been compared to Charlie Chaplin, sets Rowan Atkinson apart as most modern television and film comedies rely heavily on dialogue, and stand-up comedy is mostly based on monologues. This talent for visual comedy has led to Rowan Atkinson being called “the man with the rubber face”.
In early 2008 it was confirmed that Rowan Atkinson would fulfil a lifelong ambition and take on the role of Fagin in Lionel Bart’s musical Oliver! which will be produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh. Rowan Atkinson was quoted as saying, “In the 1980s I enjoyed doing a lot of West End theatre and since then have been distracted very much by Mr Bean and film-making. I had been thinking for some time about returning to the stage, and the idea of the role of Fagin has long intrigued me. I even had the part in a school production.” The production will open in early December 2008. The roles of Nancy and Oliver were selected by the British public in a TV reality competition on the show. Jodie Prenger.
Rowan Atkinson married Sunetra Sastry in 1990, having met her professionally on the set of Blackadder. They married quietly at the Russian Tea Room in New York City, U.S., with Stephen Fry acting as the best man. The couple have 2 children, Lily and Benjamin, and live in England in the Northamptonshire village of Apethorpe.
In June 2005, Rowan Atkinson led a coalition of the UK’s most prominent actors and writers, including Nicholas Hytner, Stephen Fry and Ian McEwan, to the British Parliament in an attempt to force a review of the controversial Racial and Religious Hatred Bill — on the grounds that the bill would give religious groups a “weapon of disproportionate power” whose threat would engender a culture of self-censorship among artists.
With an estimated wealth of £100,000,000, Rowan Atkinson is able to indulge his passion for cars that began with driving his mother’s Morris Minor around the family farm. Rowan Atkinson has written for the British magazines Car and Evo.
Rowan Atkinson also holds a UK LGV licence, gained because lorries held a fascination for him, and to ensure employment as a young actor.
A lover of and participant in car racing, he appeared as racing driver Henry Birkin in the television play Full Throttle in 1995. In 1991, he starred in the self-penned The Driven Man, a series of sketches featuring Rowan Atkinson driving around London trying to solve his car-fetish, and discussing it with taxi drivers, policemen, used-car salesmen and psychotherapists.
Rowan Atkinson’s car collection is dominated by Aston Martins, including the DB7 Vantage used in Johnny English. Rowan Atkinson’s Aston Martin V8 Zagato, featuring a novelty registration plate, was driven by his character Dexter in the film The Tall Guy. Rowan Atkinson was cited for speeding in the car, just as his character was in the movie. Rowan Atkinson also received a driving ban as a result of the incident. Rowan Atkinson also races in his V8 Zagato, from which he escaped unhurt after crashing it into a barrier at an Aston Martin Owners Club event in Croft Circuit in 2001. Rowan Atkinson is reported to have placed an advanced order for a Morgan Aero Max, which costs £110,000.
Rowan Atkinson has raced in other cars, including a Renault 5 GT Turbo for 2 seasons for its 1 make series. Rowan Atkinson owns one McLaren F1, which was involved in an accident with an Austin Metro. Other cars he owns include an Audi A8, and a Honda Civic Hybrid.
The Conservative Party politician Alan Clark, himself a devotee of classic motor cars, recorded in his published Diaries this chance meeting with a man he later realised was Rowan Atkinson while driving through Oxfordshire in May 1984: “Just after leaving the motorway at Thame I noticed a dark red DBS V8 Aston Martin on the slip road with the bonnet up, a man unhappily bending over it. I told Jane to pull in and walked back. A DV8 in trouble is always good for a gloat.” Alan Clark writes that he gave Rowan Atkinson a lift in his Rolls Royce to the nearest telephone box, but was disappointed in his bland reaction to being recognised, noting that: “he didn’t sparkle, was rather disappointing and chetif.”
1 car Rowan Atkinson will not own is a Porsche: “I have a problem with Porsches. They’re wonderful cars, but I know I could never live with one. Somehow, the typical Porsche people — and I wish them no ill — are not, I feel, my kind of people. I don’t go around saying that Porsches are a pile of dung, but I do know that psychologically I couldn’t handle owning one.”
Keep visiting: www.lifechums.com more celebrities featuring shortly …………….