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Rowan Atkinson is an English-born British actor best known internationally for his role as “Mr. Bean” rose to fame. In his homeland, however, he had been known as a comedian since the beginning of his career in 1979, and he gained great popularity mainly through his participation in the series “Blackadder” from 1982. Since the end of the character “Mr. Bean” he acts in various films and plays.
Rowan Atkinson was born to his parents in the town of Consett, England, the youngest of four children. His parents were farmers and entrepreneurs. Rowan Atkinson was raised Anglican. After leaving school, he first wanted to become an electrical engineer, which he also studied in Oxford. But as early as 1979 he appeared as part of a comedy ensemble on the BBC. Eventually, his role in Blackadder made him extremely well known – and loved – across Britain.
“Blackadder” is a comedy series consisting of four seasons, which mainly tackles various topics of English history and peculiarities of the English people. Since the extremely successful word joke, which made up many gags in it, is difficult to translate, its popularity was limited to the English-speaking world for a long time.
That changed enormously when he created the fictional character “Mr. Bean” which also works almost exclusively with slapstick and pantomime. Typically, the character “Mr. Bean” not, which of course made the humor understandable without language. Although a total of only 15 episodes were produced with Mr. Bean (plus two specials), Rowan Atkinson received enormous international recognition with this character. The actual TV series came to an end in 1995, but further appearances in other media followed, such as in two cinema films or in commercials. It wasn’t until 2007 that Rowan Atkinson announced that the character “Mr. Bean” no longer to be used.
The first of the two movies, however, didn’t go down too well with many sections of the audience because Mr. Bean suddenly spoke a lot in it. For the second feature film, therefore, they reverted to having Mr. Bean speak little or not at all.
In addition to his two best-known roles – that in Blackadder and that as Mr. Bean – Rowan Atkinson has appeared in many other productions throughout his career. Of these, the most recent role in Commissioner Maigret stands out, in which he took on the leading role as the French commissioner. He also dubbed cartoon characters and even released several records, albeit with moderate success.
Rowan Atkinson names Monty Python and above all John Cleese as a major influence in the development of his own style of humor. He met the authors and composers with whom he still works today in the 1970s in an acting course at the university.
The absolute highlight from an international point of view is of course his role as Mr. Bean. Even today, more than 25 years after the end of the series, this character should still be familiar to most people in Europe.
Famous quotes from Rowan Atkinson
- “I love walking in the rain then no one can see me cry.”
- “Criticizing someone because of where they come from is completely irrational and stupid. But everyone has every right to criticize the religion of others. That’s called freedom.”
- “Mr. Bean is actually a child trapped in an adult’s body. And because you identify with children in the same way all over the world, it goes down well everywhere.”
- “People think that because I can make them laugh on stage, I can do it in person. That’s not the case at all. I’m actually a pretty quiet, boring person who just happens to be an actor.”
His great passion for cars is well known. Rowan Atkinson collects cars, especially sports cars. With a McLaren F1 he once had an accident in England, after which he had to stay in the hospital for several days with a broken shoulder. Since then, several other accidents have followed, which Rowan Atkinson survived with only minor injuries.
Rowan Atkinson was married to a makeup artist from 1990 to 2015, with whom he has two children. He fathered another child with his new partner in 2017.
An asteroid discovered in 1999 is named after Rowan Atkinson and is named Asteroid (19535) Rowanatkinson.
In 2005 he campaigned vehemently for freedom of opinion and speech in Great Britain, which he saw as being threatened by various upcoming decisions. Along with such famous colleagues as Stephen Fry, he launched an appeal to the British Parliament to reject these decisions.
Because Rowan Atkinson has a tendency to stutter, he has developed an unusual over-pronunciation of some consonants, which has become something of a trademark for him. In this way he was able to celebrate great success in his career, although his stutter should have blocked his path to a successful stage character.