Rowan Atkinson Biography

Rowan Atkinson is an English actor and screenwriter, famous for his work in ‘Mr. Bean’ and ‘Blackadder’. This biography profiles his childhood, life, acting career, achievements and timeline.

Rowan Atkinson
Quick Facts

Birthday: January 6, 1955

Nationality: British

Famous: Millionaires Actors

Age: 64 Years, 64 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Also Known As: Rowan Sebastian Atkinson, Mr. Bean

Born in: Consett, County Durham, England

Famous as: Actor & Comedian

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Sunetra Sastry

father: Eric Atkinson

mother: Ella May Atkinson

siblings: Paul Atkinson, Rodney Atkinson, Rupert Atkinson

children: Benjamin Atkinson, Lily Atkinson

Personality: ENTP

Diseases & Disabilities: Stammered / Stuttered

More Facts

education: The Queen's College, Oxford, Newcastle University, Chorister School Durham, St. Bees School

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Rowan Atkinson is a celebrated comic actor and writer, who is best-known for his role as ‘Mr. Bean’ in the hit television series and two feature films of the same name. He is a man with a pliant face, who can alter his look from a complete buffoon to a snooty grandee in a matter of seconds. He learnt of his flair for comedy while attending Oxford University and since then, there has been no looking back. Apart from the rib-tickling ‘Mr. Bean’ comedy series, he has gripped audiences with his performance in ‘The Black Adder’. He is often lauded for his black humor and his knack for physical comedy. During his early years, he was introduced to future screenwriter, Richard Curtis, with whom he wrote and performed comedy lampoons at the Oxford Playhouse and later at the Edinburgh Fringe. This led to local popularity and a stint in the popular television comedy series, ‘Not the Nine O’ Clock News’, which he wrote and acted in. He made his motion picture debut with the James Bond thriller, ‘Never Say Never Again’ and went on to star in a number of films including ‘The Witches’, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, ‘The Lion King’, ‘Bean, ‘Johnny English’ and ‘Keeping Mum’.

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Rowan Atkinson
Childhood & Early Life
  • Rowan Sebastian Atkinson was born on January 6, 1955 to Eric Atkinson and Ella May, in County Durham, England. He is the youngest of the four children born to the couple and was raised as a staunch Anglican.
  • He studied at Durham Choristers School, St. Bees School and finally at Newcastle University, where he majored in Electrical Engineering.
  • In 1975, he continued his Electrical Engineering degree at The Queen’s College, Oxford. It was during this time he was introduced to the future screenwriter, Richard Curtis, with whom he wrote and executed sketches for the Oxford Playhouse and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe the following year.
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  • He started his acting career by appearing in a series of comedy shows for BBC Radio 3 called ‘The Atkinson People’, in 1978. The next year, he did a one-of-a-kind pilot for a sitcom called, ‘Canned Laughter’.
  • In 1979, he starred in a television comedy sketch show titled, ‘Not the Nine O’ Clock News’ along with Pamela Stephenson, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Chris Langham.
  • He earned widespread local success through his sitcom and went on to earn a role in the medieval sitcom, ‘The Black Adder’, which was aired in 1983 and continued till the next decade. Once again, he co-wrote the show with Richard Curtis.
  • In 1983, he made his motion picture debut with a supporting role in the James Bond film, ‘Never Say Never Again’. The same year, he was cast in a lead role for the film, ‘Dead on Time’.
  • From 1987 to 1989, he was called for the ‘Just for Laughs’ festival in Montreal, while shooting for the ‘Black Adder’. During this time, he was also cast in ‘The Appointments of Dennis Jennings’ and ‘The Tall Guy’.
  • In 1990, he was cast as the wretched, buffoon, Mr. Bean in a show titled, ‘Mr. Bean’. Little did Atkinson know that this series would end up changing his life and would cement his position as one of the greatest British actor-comedians of all time. Around the same time, he was cast in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic, ‘The Witches’.
  • In 1994, he gained further recognition with the film, ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and for his voiceover for the bird, Zazu, in Disney’s, ‘The Lion King’.
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  • A number of sequels of ‘Mr. Bean’ were made, which appeared on television until 1995. Two years later, he was cast in the film adaptation of the hit television series, which was titled, ‘Bean’. During this time, he was also cast as inspector ‘Raymond Fowler’ in ‘The Thin Blue Line’.
  • From 2001 to 2003, he appeared as a supporting actor in a string of films including, ‘Rat Race’, ‘Johnny English’, ‘Scooby-Doo’ and ‘Love Actually. Two years later, he appeared in the crime comedy, ‘Keeping Mum’, which also co-starred Maggie Smith, Patrick Swayze and Kristin Scott Thomas.
  • In addition to his supporting roles, he hit it big once again with another ‘Bean’ film, which was a sequel to the first, titled, ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday’, released in 2007. Two years later, he appeared in a theatre role for the musical, ‘Oliver!’ directed by Rupert Goold.
  • In 2011, he appeared in the sequel of the James Bond Parody titled, ‘Johnny English Reborn’, which was a hit at the box-office. The next year, he made an official proclamation stating that he was officially retiring from the character of ‘Mr. Bean’ and that there would be no more shows or films based on the famous character.
  • In 2013, he took on an ostensible role in a production of the play, ‘Quartermine’s Terms’ at a theater in London.
Major Works
  • The 1983 hit series, ‘The Black Adder’ was written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson and also featured Atkinson. Voted as the ‘second-best British sitcom of all time’, this show was also ranked as the ‘20th best TV show of all time’. Rowan Atkinson, cast as Edmund Blackadder, was the series’ protagonist and established himself as one of the best actors of his time.
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  • His role as ‘Mr. Bean’ in the ‘Mr. Bean’ series that began in 1995, is considered one of his magnum opus’ because it is believed that he created this character when he was in college and he always wanted to portray such a character. As a personality who ‘rarely spoke’ on television, he enthralled audiences with his one-of-a-kind physical humor and his relations with various people and situations. During its successful five-year run on television, Atkinson became a national celebrity for his role and the series became so popular that it spawned two film adaptations.
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Awards & Achievements
  • He was honored with the title of ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’, in 2013.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He married Sunetra Sastry on February 5, 1990 and they have two children. The family currently resides in Apethorpe, Northamptonshire, London.
  • He has been actively involved in politics where he voiced his support for the ‘Reform Section 5 campaign’ and when he attempted to force a review of the controversial ‘Racial and Religious Hatred Bill’.
  • Apart from his acting career, he is an avid car-lover and a racer. He has written for a number of car magazines and has also appeared on the popular television shows ‘Top Gear’ and ‘Full Throttle’.
  • He has raced a number of cars including the Aston Martin and owns a McLaren F1, a Honda NSX, Audi A8 and a Honda Civic Hybrid.
  • While this famous British comic actor from ‘The Black Adder’ fame was on a Kenyan Holiday, the pilot of his private jet fainted and this celebrity managed to steer the plane in the air for several minutes until the pilot regained consciousness.
  • This famous British actor used his Aston Martin DB7 Vantage in his film, ‘Johnny English’.

1. London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Isles of Wonder (2012)


2. Blackadder Back & Forth (1999)

  (Short, Comedy, Sci-Fi, History)

3. Love Actually (2003)

  (Drama, Romance, Comedy)

4. Dead on Time (1983)

  (Comedy, Short)

5. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

  (Comedy, Romance, Drama)

6. The Secret Policeman's Other Ball (1982)

  (Music, Comedy, Documentary)

7. Keeping Mum (2005)

  (Comedy, Crime)

8. The Witches (1990)

  (Comedy, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery)


BAFTA Awards
1990 Best Light Entertainment Performance Blackadder Goes Forth (1989)
1981 Best Light Entertainment Performance Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979)

See the events in life of Rowan Atkinson in Chronological Order

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Article Title
- Rowan Atkinson Biography
- Editors,
Last Updated
- August 17, 2018

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