Rowan Atkinson, born on January 6, 1955, started his career by writing and performing with student acting groups at Oxford. Before he knew it, he was appearing on T.V. screens everywhere. He has become world-famous for his characters — most notably, Mr. Bean and Johnny English — but there is way more to him than just those two characters. With a long ongoing career in the British entertainment industry, Atkinson has managed to touch the lives of millions all over the world, and we’re pretty sure he has made you laugh at least once. Today, we celebrate the special day of this very special performer.
Rowan Sebastian Atkinson
January 6, 1955
In a relationship
Pretty much everyone knows who Rowan Atkinson is. From the famous T.V. shows and films he’s starred in, to his work on stage, you’re guaranteed to have a good time watching Atkinson do what he does best — entertaining. Atkinson was born on January 5, 1955, in Consett, County Durham, England. His zodiac sign is Capricorn and his ethnicity is British. He is the son of Eric Atkinson and Ella May (née Bainbridge) Atkinson, and he has two older brothers. While he was attending university in Oxford, Atkinson collaborated with the Experimental Theatre Club and the Oxford University Dramatic Society to write and perform sketches. It was there he met writer Richard Curtis and composer Howard Goodall, with whom he would continue to work later on. In 1976, he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for the first time, with The Oxford Revue, and people began to notice him and his talents.
After school, he was quick to reach a wider audience. In 1979, he wrote for and starred in a radio series called “The Atkinson People” and the T.V. show “Not The Nine O’Clock News,” both broadcasted by the BBC. These roles landed Atkinson the lead role in the British series of sitcoms “Blackadder,” following different characters in different time periods. The series ran from 1983 to 1989 and became one of the BBC’s most successful sitcoms. During the same decade, Atkinson made his cinematographic debut in “Never Say Never Again” (1983) and “Dead on Time” (1983), the latter of which he also wrote.
However, what made Atkinson achieve true worldwide success was, of course, “Mr. Bean.” The character first appeared in a half-hour special in 1990. The character’s selfish, childlike personality, combined with his mannerisms, facial expressions, and the non-verbal sounds he emitted, made him extremely popular. After getting a number of T.V. sequels to his special, Mr. Bean finally reached the big screen with “Bean” (1997). During this time, Atkinson also starred in the rom-com “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (1994) and Disney classic “The Lion King” (1994). From 2003 to 2018, he starred in the “Johnny English” movie franchise, in which he played the titular character. “Johnny English” was also a huge success. After ten years, Mr. Bean returned in “Mr. Bean’s Holiday” (2007). Although no more Mr. Bean films were made after this, Atkinson reprises his role from time to time, including at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.
Atkinson writes for and stars in the BBC sketch comedy show “Not the Nine O’Clock News.”
He stars as Edmund Blackadder in “Blackadder,” a series of four period sitcoms that he also co-writes.
“Mr. Bean” reaches British T.V. screens on New Year’s Day and becomes an enormous success over the next decade.
He lends his voice to the character Zazu in “The Lion King.”
Atkinson’s famous character makes his film debut in “Bean.”
The film is a spy-action comedy parodying the “James Bond” franchise.
Why We Love Rowan Atkinson
He is outspoken about his values
Atkinson regards freedom of speech as a very important right and opposes its restriction. Over the years, he has argued against and publicly criticized many bills and legislations on this subject.
He supports important causes
Atkinson has shown his support for charities and foundations such as UNICEF, Amnesty International, and Comic Relief. Some of the causes he’s supported include the environment, disaster relief, and gender equality.
He makes millions laugh
Atkinson has cultivated a unique comedy style that is instantly recognizable. If laughter really is the best medicine, then a great number of people all around the world are healthier because of him.
5 Surprising Facts
Atkinson loves cars
He has a collection of luxury cars and has participated in many races.
He studied electrical engineering
Atkinson graduated from The Queen’s College in Oxford with a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
He is part of the O.B.E.
Atkinson was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2013.
He flew a plane during an emergency
Atkinson was on holiday in his private plane when the pilot fainted but luckily, he was able to take control of the plane until the pilot recovered.
He has a speech impediment
Atkinson has always had a stammer, which is why his comedy has relied more on the visual than the verbal.
Rowan Atkinson FAQs
Did Rowan Atkinson retire?
No! Atkinson continues his career to this day.
Why was “Mr. Bean” discontinued?
Atkinson has said he would do less of the character Mr. Bean and similar material. However, he has also stated that he will never retire the character.
Did Rowan Atkinson have a daughter?
He has two! One with ex-wife Sunetra Sastry and another with current girlfriend Louise Ford.
Rowan Atkinson’s birthday dates